Race Report: Apple Hill Harvest Run 8.5-mile

Sometimes races fall into place during a training cycle. The Apple Hill Harvest Run 8.5-mile event happened to be the perfect race and distance with some climbs to register for.  Not only is this another one of those races that matches distance with what I have on my training calendar but it makes for a nice trip up to Camino, CA (Apple Hill) with my wife and son. Over the last couple of years we have made this trip up and made a half-day out of it. 
The morning was a bit early, but with it being the morning of Day Light Savings it wasn’t too bad. The 8:50AM start time for the 8.5-mile run had us leaving the house at 7:00AM to get up to the Camino, find some parking and pick-up our shirts and bibs (my wife did the 3.5-mile distance pushing our son in the baby jogger). 
the official race shirt
 After grabbing the race swag and getting a little settled in I met up with fellow 2014 San Francisco Marathon Ambassador Team member Alisyn, who was there to run the 3.5-mile distance. She took 2nd in her age group and walked away with a gallon jug of apple juice. 
bib pinned and ready to run
After the kids race distances (1/4 mile and 1/2 mile completed), it was time to line-up at the start. The horn went off, and we went up the first climb which was about a 1/4 mile up before we would be led through a downhill route for the next 5 miles. The course was an all paved road with all right hand turns along some apple farms and local roads. 
elevation chart from my Strava account
Over the first five miles, I would see many runners fly down the hills, while thinking in my mind … “you better save your legs for the final 3 miles”. For most of the race, the runners who I traveled around stayed fairly close together. My plan was to run slower than I did, but when you end up in a group that is running well and you just forget about the watch and just run with what is comfortable. On this day hitting sub 7’s was really comfortable, which was a surprise not because of the hills but more so the fact that I was running at 3,200 feet of elevation. Hills have been something I have been running lately, but in Sacramento I don’t get much elevation training. 
At around mile 2 of the race, I ended up running along side a young runner (about 13 years old). I did the normal “good job” greeting. What I didn’t know was that I would be running along side this runner for most of the race. At each climb, I continued to provide verbal support to him, telling him “good job” and “get after this hill”. He and I pulled and pushed each other up and down the hills over the next 6+ miles.

After hitting the 8 mile mark, the 3.5-mile participants became visible as the two courses met along side each other. The 8.5-mile runners stayed to the right of the road while the 3.5 stayed to the left, this left a clear path for those who were going to get after the final hill. With the young runner still next to me with the final hill to climb, I looked over and told hill “You have this kill, this hill.” He kicked it into full gear and finished a few seconds in front of me.

Right after I crossed the finish, I headed over to the kid and gave him a high five and made my way to chat and talk to friends around the finish area, while I await my wife and son to cross the finish. He came across me again and shook my hand telling me “Good job”. He then introduced me to his mom as the guy who helped him run the race. After a quick introduction to his mom, I learned this was his first 8.5-mile race. Knowing this put a big smile on my face.

I guess in the end even though this Sunday run was part of my training plan, it was also another person’s race. I know a lot of times we say “good job”, “way to go”, “get after it”, but until this day I didn’t realize the power some simple words have for those around us. Congrats to this kid that conquered his first 8.5-mile race on a very tough course.

Did you race this last weekend? Do you have a Race Report to share? Feel free to share it on the Race Report Link-Up.

4 thoughts on “Race Report: Apple Hill Harvest Run 8.5-mile

  1. You're such an inspiration and positive soul – definitely left a positive impact on that kid, and I'm sure he'll run for many more years to come.


  2. I need to do this race next year! How great did it feel to have the boy introduce you as “the guy who helped him run the race”? That is awesome!


  3. This race is so fun you really should put it on your calendar. It felt awesome to know that a couple words helped this kid.


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