Winter Series Race Recaps

the original shortest distance has been changed to 5.5K

As I have mentioned in previous years, the Hudson Mohawk Runners Club sponsors FREE races throughout the winter for its members. The course is pretty boring but free is free. Usually, I try to run 4 of the races and volunteer at one. That gives you Winter Warrior status and a prize. In 2020-1 of course, the series was cancelled. So I was very excited that last year (2021-2) they decided (with some restrictions) to offer the five races again. Unfortunately, I had to be out of town for the last two dates and and then one was cancelled so I only ran two of them.

This year, COVID restrictions have been removed and I signed up for ALL five 4 races.

Winter Series #1 – 12/11/22

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

There was a choice of a 5.5k race or a 15K.

I had 6 miles on my training plan and so I ran that the day before with two friends

and attended my running group holiday party that night.

You can see why I signed up for the 3.4 miler (not the 15k).

Race Day:

I was happy after a late night and SNOW on the ground that the race did not start until 10 am.  I arrived around 9:30 and signed in. I was greeted by so many familiar faces.

I also noticed when I looked at the course map that they changed the start from previous years and now it was a 5.5k or 3.4 miles rather than the advertised 3 miler..

Elevation according to my Garmin:

The temperature had dropped from the night before, the roads were slippery due recent light snowfall. It was also windy and snowing…

My friend was recovering from an injury and asked me if I would run with her… I gladly accepted.

This was not the time or place to do anything crazy.  It was just a fun race.

Many of my friends were running the 15k and we all walked to the new start (the 15k racers started in the same location but headed in the opposite direction) and off we went.

The course was just a loop starting and ending at the college campus. In the middle, you were running around a NYS Office campus. There were rolling hills here and there and lots of wind.

I ran almost the whole race with my friend… using intervals, as well as, walking when it was too slippery to run.

we had fun!!

When we hit the last mile… she told me to run ahead… and so I did.

When you crossed the finish line, there was a clock and they handed you a piece of paper to record your time.

My finish time was 48:00. (PW. LOL)

Post Race:

I waited about 2 minutes for my friend to cross and then we went inside to get something warm to eat.

we weren’t even last!!

The best part of these races were the refreshments.  I had some delicious soup, some cookies, chips and then some hot chocolate.


There were awards but for 10 year age groups and with only 1st and 2nd place given, I rarely win and wouldn’t have even I ran my best time.

I was so glad that I had done my long run the day before and I could head on home….

Final Stats:

None!  I never started my watch!  Oops!

Winter Series #2 – 1/1/23

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

This week, there was a choice of a 5.5K race or a half marathon.  I had run the half marathon one year and it was deadly (4 loops!!)  And besides I had done my 7 mile long run the day before.

Normally the hubby & I go out for New Year’s Eve but this year, we stayed home… I did stay up until midnight and indulge in a little bubbly.

Race Day:

I was happy after a late night that the race did not start until noon!!.  I arrived around 11:30 and signed in.  I was greeted again by so many familiar faces and more than I had expected.  There was a new 5k in Saratoga at the same time so I thought many runners might have gone there instead (Not so!!).

It seems although they advertised the race as 5.5k (the same course as Winter Series #1), it was indeed the same course as last year’s New Year’s Day race (3.5m). And I did remember that it was usually 3.75 miles NOT 3.5!!

Hangover_Half-002-L Elevation according to my Garmin:

 Although there was both a 3.5 miler and half marathon, they started at the same time and location.

The course was similar to the last race but started in a different location so it was longer. I made sure this week that I started my Garmin.  I don’t care about my pace at all but there are no mile markers so it helps to see which mile  you’re in.

As I said, all runners started together. Some of my friends were running the half. Shortly after we started running, we had to either turn left or right. (I hesitated but got it right this year.)

I had planned to run/walk intervals with my running friends. But after a mile, I was just too cold to stick with them.  It was very windy (a light jacket and gloves would have helped).

So I left them and ran on my own.  I did my best to run at a nice even pace but it felt harder and harder to speed up… so I didn’t. It seemed like runners were passing me by and those half marathoners sped by at incredible speeds (some even twice!!)

Since I wasn’t running that fast, I didn’t need to stop for water but still had to walk a few times.  Toward the end, I did pass a few runners… but it was too little, too late.

Finally, the finish was in sight, I gave it all I had. As I mentioned above, there was a clock and they called out times but you recorded your own time on a piece of paper. Mine was 42:03 (but 41.41 according to my Garmin).

And yes, it was 3.75 miles!!

I waited for some friends and took their finish line pics.

This guy always races in a tuxedo each year … isn’t he cute?

Post Race:

We all went in to get something to eat.  There was the usual delicious soup, lots of bagged snacks and coffee and hot cocoa. That hot soup really hit the spot!!

There were also the awards… Not a chance even I raced this race with 10 year groups and only 1st and 2nd places.

Final Stats:


Initially, I was a little disappointed with how slow I was running compared to a year ago.

2022 – 6 minutes faster plus no walks

But then I remembered that I had run 7 miles the day before this year and last year, I added on 7 extra miles AFTER the race.

It’s all good!! I had fun and that’s the most important part of running.

Winter Series #3 – 1/15/23 

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

This week, there were 3 choices: 5.5K, 10k or 25K.

My half marathon plan had me scheduled for 9 miles.  I was lucky to a have a friend join me on the cold icy roads the day before

That meant that like the previous races, I would choose the shortest distance and run/walk it for fun.

Race Day:

It was cold and windy… In fact the feels like temps were around 10 degrees.

At least I dressed warmer than last time.

I arrived early enough to get parking for this 10am race.  I was surprised that it didn’t seem as crowded as previous ones.  Perhaps it was because it was a 3 day holiday weekend.

I chatted with all the runners that I knew and soon it was time to head outside.


All three races started in the same location (by the tennis courts).  However, it was a different location than the first in the series.  I was wondering whether or not, it would be a 5.5k or shorter or even longer.

Since it was long walk to get to the start, my friend Heidi and I started running right away

always look goofy when you see a camera

and I ran her 1:1 intervals.


It was cold and windy but we chatted to keep our minds off the weather.

Finish time didn’t matter.  I didn’t even bring a watch. But I was secretly hoping that Heidi would have a faster finish time than the previous 5.5k.

I ran/walked the whole race with her until the last 3/4 of mile when I took off on my own.

I waited at the finish line for Heidi.

I was thrilled that we were both 2 minutes faster that our first 5.5k race.

Post Race:

We rushed inside to get warm and have some hot soup and snacks.

I had to go to work so we didn’t stick around for the awards.

Final Stats:


I think I finished somewhere around 46 minutes (just beating the 10k winner.)

Winter Series #4 – 1/29/23

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

Three choices again but this week: 5.5K 3.75m, 15K or 30K.

11 miles done the previous day so I definitely planned on run/walking the shortest distance.

Race Day:

As always, I try to arrive early to get parking and have time to chat with my friends.

Most of my racing friends (including Karen to my right) were running the 15k. I said that I would wait after my race to cheer them on.

All the runners started together.  I told my friend Heidi that I would do her 1:1 intervals with her until mile 3.

one glove? I think I was getting ready to take the next pic.

Eventually Chris decided to go slower and did her own thing.

It was very chilly when running INTO the wind but actually a lovely day to run.  Today I found it hard to run at Heidi’s pace so I did run ahead but waited for her on the walk intervals.  I also think it helped her to pick up the pace on her runs. (and she had a 4 min PR!!)

There were a couple of ladies who we were leap frogging with.  I’m pretty sure we did the same at the last 3 races.  They ran slow but never walked.  We had a discussion about intervals… not sure they were convinced they worked.

Eventually, we got to the mile 3 point and I took off. Mind you, I thought it was 5.5k or 3.4 miles.  And it took me forever.  Probably because I was too tired to run fast.

But actually, it was 3.8 miles.  They changed the race to the January 1 course.

I crossed around 48:XX.

Then I waited at the finish line for my friends:

Post Race:

We all went inside for some refreshments: chili, bread, baked goods, hot cocoa, fruit, etc.

required post race pic (I’m not preggo, that’s my gloves in my front pocket)

I hung around for a long time chatting with racing friends and of course, discussing our racing plans for the year.

Final Stats:


I did not wear a watch.

Winter Series #5 – 2/12/23

I had planned to run this race but I changed the dates of my February vacation in Florida so I was unable.

Additional Race Reflections:

I feel very fortunate to have this opportunity.  The races are fun but if you want to take them seriously, you can.  And with the longer distances offered, you could use them as training runs for a half or full marathon.

And then there’s the camaraderie of the local runners and free food!

Win Win for the HMRRC Winter Series!


  • Ample parking.
  • Well marked course.
  • FREE if you are a member of HMRRC. $5 if not
  • Indoor restrooms
  • Warm place to congregate before and after
  • Several distances to choose from.
  • Many familiar faces.
  • Awards – gift certificate for Bountiful Bread
  • Post race refreshments – delicious soup, snacks, cookies, hot chocolate, coffee and more
  • Free Photos


  • Self reported finish times (sometimes I forget to look at the clock or start my watch)
  • 10 year age group awards and only 2 deep.
  • Usually windy.
  • Boring course.
  • Several loops if running more than 3 miles.

Would I recommend these races?

Absolutely. Great way to stay active during the cold winter months.

Next Up:

Feb. 19, 2023

Happy Running! Have you run any races in 2023 yet? Any races on your schedule? How do you stay motivated during the cold weather? Please share.







Since today is Tuesday, I’m linking up with Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner).


19 thoughts on “Winter Series Race Recaps

  1. This is such a great idea. Gives people motivation to keep running in the winter, and like you said you can take them seriously or just do them purely for fun. I like the variety of distances too. I will say that reading
    this post and looking at your pictures made me cold though!


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