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Bird In Hand 5k and Half Marathon

The last few days have been jam packed with great things that I am dying to write about! This morning, while running the Bird In Hand Half Marathon, the topic on my mind was how do I approach the beast, do I write several topical posts or do I try to wrap them into a cohesive enough package for one post. Well, I decided multiple posts made the most sense.

Earlier this spring, when my small group from church was deciding on a half marathon to do together, our first plan was the Bird In Hand Half Marathon since it is so close to home and has such a great reputation. I went ahead and registered for the 5k and half marathon but before the others had the chance to register, the race sold out. I had heard nothing but positivity for the event so I didn’t mind that I was registered for an additional race this fall. Two years ago when I started running, we were on vacation over the weekend of the BIH Half and last year I thought about registering, since it takes place a mere 2 miles from my house but I took too long making up my mind that the race sold out and then the weather ended up being 90 and incredibly humid so I was glad in the end that I wasn’t registered.

When I travel several hours to run, I don’t get to see the preparation. I show up on race day, or at best the day before for packet pickup, and see everything set and ready. Since I drive past the start/finish/expo field and parts of the course on my way to and from work every day, I was about to see things coming together. First a small tent, then a large tent, then two pieces of scaffolding, up to Friday where the Amish were working feverishly to finish preparations after a full day of heavy rain on Thursday.

Okay, did you catch what I said there? Amish. The Bird In Hand Half Marathon and 5k are fundraisers for the Bird In Hand Fire Company and like lots of volunteer fire companies in Lancaster County, they rely heavily on Amish involvement. And who knew, but there’s actually a fairly hearty Amish running community?! A handful of times, I have seen Amish runners while I myself an out running but since they run in their regular Amish attire, you are not always sure if they are logging miles or going to the neighbor’s to help with the evening milking process. I had done some research soon after registering so I was excited to see them in action. Read more about the Amish running community here.

I left work a bit early yesterday afternoon, on my 28th birthday to get home and change clothes for my first run of my new year. Second shift Dan even took the night off work and decided at the last minute to register for the 5k if there was still availability. There was! We lined up together planning to stay together as long as we could, which wasn’t very long since the pack was a little tight with people setting into their paces.

We both finished well although our times were a little slowed because parts of the course run though access paths between fields which was really cool but we aren’t trail runners. I didn’t feel my best after eating half of a birthday Edible Arrangement a few hours before the race J The race was awesome with great runners and support.

This morning, we returned for the half marathon. There’s something really great about being able to get up less than an hour before the race starts. We left home at 7:05 for the 7:30 start and were still in plenty of time. Based on the way my summer went, I was just looking to finish and have fun. I did both, so I will call it a success. Even though I see this every day, the scenery was perfect. My finish time wasn’t my best but I had a great time and I’m ready to be back on my training A-game. BIH Half Marathon is known for some of the most unique finisher medals. Hand made by the Amish from real horseshoes.

After the race, there was a community picnic. I don’t just mean the post run granola bars were for anyone, although they did have a great supply of post run snacks for runners, this was an everyone welcome picnic. Chicken barbeque, hot dogs, sausage, potato salad, carrots and celery, cake, ice cream, the works. It was so nice to hang out and have a great lunch before we started the long 2 mile drive home. We’re already making mental plans to register next year. The Amish put on top notch events.

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