Riverfront Revolution 10k: “A runable race”

by Monica Lewis

The inspiration for the title of this entry comes from the ominous signs that welcome visitors and residents alike to our humble home county, and which my husband and I routinely mock each time we see them: “Welcome to Prince George’s County.”  And beneath: “A liveable community.”  What does that mean?  Our cynical translation: “It is indeed possible, if not relatively probable, that you will be able to eke out an existence in this place.”

In the same vein, it was possible to run a relatively decent 10k at the first ever “Riverfront Revolution” race this past Saturday at the National Harbor.  (In addition to the 10K, there was also a 5k, a 1-mile fun run/walk, and a health and fitness festival.)  AND there were real, permanent-fixture restrooms to use—no port-a-potties—which is no small thing.  There were a great many obstacles, however, that made people like myself—people who like to know all that they can about what’s going on so that they can feel relatively prepared mentally—wonder why they bothered to get up so early on a Saturday morning in the first place.

The course map provided no indication of whether there would be water stops or not, and no one seemed to know if they existed (so I carried my water bottle for the first mile, just in case. . .); no one was sure where the starting line was, or when the races started (the 10k and 5k were supposed to start at 8:00 and 8:15, respectively, but they ended up starting both together at 8:15), and once we were all finally lined up, we had to listen to15 minutes of speeches, of all things—by the race director, by Jack Johnson’s representative, by some woman from News Channel 9, from a man dressed as a Revolutionary War soldier who fired his little cannon for us (which was not, but should have been, the cue to start); not to mention the fact that we also had to endure an invocation and the saddest group rendition of the national anthem you’ve ever heard (with about 10 impatient runners singing and the rest of us silently willing our muscles to stay warm).  Then, at last—the start—a man yelling “one, two, three, GO.”  No gun, no whistle.  Just a yell.  The people next to me began to speculate that this was a race run by people who had never run a race before.

It turned out that there were water/Powerade stops along the way, all manned by very friendly volunteers from a local fitness club, and the incredibly frustrating nature of the event could not dampen the community spirit—people were genuinely excited to be there, it seemed; the PG County police officers were vociferous in their cheering, as were many of the racers themselves.  It was humid and it was hilly—and there was a detour through a sandy bit that had seen far too much rain—but people were truly excited to be there.  Unfortunately, they had to wait until Monday to get their race results, as something went wrong with the timing system.  (They also had to forage for water upon finishing, as the finish line supply had run out. . .)

SO.  It was the first ever Riverfront Revolution, and so slack should be cut.  But clearly what this race needs is—you guessed it–PGRC.  Stinky and sweaty, I harassed a man I saw after the race who was wearing a National Harbor Events shirt and asked him why they weren’t working with PGRC. He didn’t know why not, but he agreed that they should have been.  I say next year we make our presence known so that the “Riverfront Revolution” can be more than just “runable”—it can be a race in which serious runners, semi-serious runners, not-at-all serious runners, joggers, walkers, and whomever can join the effort to revolutionize the National Harbor area PGRC-style!

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