Disclaimer: I received an entry to the EnMarket Savannah Bridge Run 15K to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!
This is my sixth virtual race since the start of the covid-19 shut downs. Each one has been an important stepping stone to ensure my training stayed on track. That didn’t always happen, but the idea of completing a virtual race to full potential always brought me back to center. This race was no different. I completed this race on December 5, 2020. It was a good opportunity to finish the year on a positive note and take me into the holidays following a plan.
As with all of my virtual races, I like to keep to race day tradition to ensure authenticity. This starts with a flay lay the night before. I wore my BibRaave shirt and Buff USA performance hat. For the Double Pump 15K I decided to wear a little more cushion due to some knee pain. Therefore, I went with my Altra Running Duos. I rounded out my gear with my favorite Orange Mud handheld, Coros Global Apex watch, Injinji socks, RoadiD band for safety and my Knockaround Fastlane glasses. Finally, virtual race day weather could not have been more perfect. Santa was added for a little holiday cheer!!
Pre-race photo and ready to get started. During my training period I started scouted possible routes. It is always important to me to find a route as similar as possible to the actual race route. Again this ensures authenticity and buy in to the racing mindset for me. That presented some challenges as the longest bridge with decent elevation in my area, known locally as the Three Mile Bridge which spans Escambia Bay, was damaged by loose barges during a recent hurricane. Therefore, the pedestrian path was closed at the time of this virtual race. I had to think outside of the box. I finally settled on the Bayou Chico Bridge. This bridge is shorter in span distance, but it has a decent incline grade. It also has a nice protected pedestrian path on both sides of the bridge. This bridge is a few miles from my condo, so I plotted a course that took me through the North Hill neighborhood as a warm up, and it included some small inclines to engage the climbing muscles. Luckily I convinced a friend to run the first four miles with me to start the race.
I will make one note, I would like to receive more information on the original course where it has provided a virtual race option. The race directors should really provide a detailed layout of the course with total elevation gain and terrain details. This would help participants, like me, map out a similar course for the virtual race. As it stands, I generally have to engage in a deep dive search online to piece the information together and it is not always easy to find. After my warm up miles, I finally made it to the bridge. As previously noted, my bridge is shorter than the Savannah River Bridge. So my strategy was to run repeats on the bridge until I reached the 15K mark. In total I ran six over and backs on the bridge. This resulted in approximately 500 ft of total elevation gain.
I felt good for the Double Pump 15k virtual race. I maintained an 8.41/mi average pace. This includes multiple busy road crossing (I do not stop my watch for these interruptions). This was a challenging virtual race with a tough local course. I am torn over which I dislike running more the long, steady inclines or the shorter, steeper inclines. It feels good to continue supporting race directors during this period of time. I believe racers tend to get caught up in their goals and times and forget how much work goes into hosting a race. They sometimes forget that the race directors, volunteers and small businesses are equally invested in the in-person race. This is why have have no hesitation in participating in virtual races. I also think race directors will get better at the virtual race option.
Let me just brag on one thing though. The EnMarket Savannah Bridge Run race swag was top quality. The shirt is good looking and great quality. I will enjoy wearing it. The medal is one of the nicest ones I have earned. I am impressed with all of it. I cannot wait to complete this race in-person…hopefully in 2021!! This one should be on every runners’ list.
Finish Time (Moving Time): 1:27:17. Distance: 9.36Mi. Average Pace: 8:41/mi. Elevation Gain: 499ft. Strava Achievements: 6 earned. Cheers!