My family has fallen in love with the Christmas Town 8k at Busch Gardens. Each year, we seem to have a bigger family turnout. This year, my mother-in-law (Judi), cousin & his wife (Paul & Missy), and my sister’s stepdaughter (Olivia) joined us. My mom, sister, brother-in-law, brother, brother’s girlfriend, and of course my whole family also returned to run the race.
Steven, Makayla, Gabby, Judi, and I headed to Williamsburg on Saturday to pick up our race packets and Busch Gardens tickets. After picking up our packets, we checked into our hotel and then headed to the park. It was chilly with a chance of rain in the evening. We rode some rides, got some dinner while watching a show, walked around, and sat down for the outdoor ice skating show just as the rain started It was cold and wet but we had umbrellas/ponchos so we decided to stay and watch it. Afterwards, we caught an indoor production of Scrooge and then headed back to the hotel to get some sleep.
Sunday morning was uncharacteristically warm for December (61 degrees was the high for the day!). My mom had crocheted us some really cute Santa wrist warmer gloves and we still had our ponytail hats from last year, but it was just too warm for me to wear them during the run. I did wear them afterwards and some chose to wear them during the race. I hate being too hot during a race but I know I’ll get to wear them in the future.
After getting to the park and meeting up with the rest of our family for some quick pictures, we got to watch the little kids run their fun run! It’s always so stinking cute. Then we wished each other well and lined up in our corrals. The girls and I waited in the 2nd corral while Steven seeded himself at the back of the first corral.
Go time! The girls and I started together but quickly settled into our own comfortable paces. The first and last mile and a half or so are pretty boring as they are in the parking lot. They do have a lot of direction changes, which isn’t great for running but it is nice to get to see some other runners you know as you pass them in opposite directions throughout the run. The park itself is a very scenic run and I especially love running across the bridge that is lined with Marines on either side, giving their support.
I passed Gabby towards the end of the race and knew I was about half a mile behind her.
When I finished, Steven and Gabby had already completed the race and were making their way back to the finish line to cheer everyone on. I joined them and we had a blast cheering at the finish line. Hot chocolate along with some chocolate samples are given out at the end of the race, along with the usual waters, pretzels, bananas, etc.
Congratulations to Judi on her first 8k! She had been iffy about walking it because of a foot injury, but she was feeling good on race morning and decided to go for it and she did great!
After everyone was done, we grabbed a few photos and checked our finish times. Gabby got 3rd place in her age group – woot woot!
Our official times:
Steven – 44:15 / 8:55 pace
Gabby – 45:30.71 / 9:09 pace
Kim – 50:31.36 / 10:10 pace
Makayla – 55:37.27 / 11:11 pace
Just as a side note, 8k is just under 5 miles. According to my GPS, I ended up running 5.29 miles. I think my GPS may have been a bit off and in addition to that, the course had a lot of twists and turns and I did not run the tangents. There are some great youtube videos that explain this well if you are interested in learning more information. I was a little bummed because I did feel like I was running faster than a 10:10 pace. Based on the mileage that my GPS logged (5.29 miles), my pace would have been 9:34. I just ran a lot more than I needed to and my total official time is based off of 8k. I need to be more mindful of running tangents in the future.
We headed back to the hotel to clean ourselves up, grabbed some lunch, and then headed home.
I love this race and hope to continue racing it every year. The race swag alone is worth the cost of registration (reduced price ticket to Christmas Town, FREE ticket to Busch Gardens for the following spring, race t-shirt, and race medal for each participant). As a bonus, I was finally able to fulfill my wish of the family wearing matching PJs on Christmas morning because we used our race shirts 🙂