In theory, the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler is a perfect race: it doesn't start terribly early; it begins and ends in a fairly centralized location; the route is flat and scenic; and miles 7-9 run straight through the best place to view Cherry Blossoms. It's also a lottery so there's some thrill in "winning" a race bib. Lastly, it only costs $40, which is inexpensive compared to the increasing costs of popular races.
I was pumped when I scored a bib in 2016 via their bib exchange program. However, the race wasn't the dream I imagined. To my disappointment, the race organizers chose to remove most mile markers and water stops due to the windy conditions. I was completely unprepared (no watch or water, nor did I review the route), so it was pretty dang miserable. I knew there was a chance there wouldn't be cherry blossoms, but I've never done a race where the organizers didn't have a contingency plan or clear pre-communications regarding signage & water.
In 2017, I had an opportunity to run this race with Bridge the Gap DC, via my Team MHRC affiliation. I NEEDED to redeem myself so purchased a bib using a special code.
After having learned many lessons in 2016, I read the race's website in its entirety. I learned that the metro would not be running that morning (!!) and that everyone would need to use a car to get to the race. I frantically texted my friend for suggestions and he recommended Uber.
The morning of the race, I decided to rise much earlier than necessary in case there were limited Ubers. I'm glad I did, because both me and my friend had trouble getting Ubers. In addition, we both paid around $40 for a 15 minute ride due to the lack of Ubers - basically the same price as a bib!
I met my DC friends and another Team MHRC member before the start and we were able to take some great pictures.
The weather was perfect, and although I was warned by DC locals that there wouldn't be cherry blossoms, there were a few stretches of cherry blossoms! They weren't peak bloom, but it was still really beautiful. My overeating and drinking the day prior made me have a a few rough miles, but I'm proud I finished strong.
Will I run this race again? Maybe. The next ten miler on my list is the New Balance Bronx 10 Mile.
Kate Scott is an avid runner, who has completed three marathons and numerous half marathons. She travels frequently, most recently to Toulouse and Bordeaux in France. She currently lives in Northern Virginia and is a certified public accountant.