Race recap: Hard Cider Run

21 Jun

It’s been a long time since a race recap has appeared ’round these parts… But Christopher and I ran a really fun 5K race last weekend — the first 5K we’ve raced in almost 3 years!


The Hard Cider Run is a series of races held mostly in the Midwest and Northeast at orchards, wineries, and cider mills. Participants run a scenic 5K through the apple trees and earn a sweet glass of hard cider at the finish.

We have bypassed so many short-distance races in favor of full and half marathons the last few years, because we opted to spend our race dollars on the Big Kahunas — races in which we get more bang for our buck. But we signed up for this one not only because it was local, but also because our entry fee got us a T-shirt, finisher’s medal, and commemorative stemless glass.

race_43746_6789_511dab04-30c8-4be1-bdfb-0e24a27e5ea0(The race also offers free race photos!)

The race was Saturday morning at Jonamac Orchard in Malta, Ill., about 10 minutes west of DeKalb. The weather was brutal: hot (temperatures in the low 80s at race start) and humid.

We were placed in the first corral, which actually proved to be a blessing. The race was popular, although the unfriendly weather likely kept a good number of people away, but the first corral was not very crowded. We had plenty of room to run.


Christopher and I didn’t have any time goals, but we figured since we were in the first corral, we might as well try to go as fast as we could, for as long as we could, given the conditions.

We ran almost entirely on grassy “trails” that wound through the orchard, only stepping on crushed limestone or gravel “roadways” to turn into the next line of trees and, at the end, to come down the finish chute.

The first stretch of the route was situated where the orchard has its corn maze, so it had been tilled last in the late fall; it was uneven and filled with ruts, roots, and rocks. I unfortunately stepped right in one of those holes and fell flat onto my knees and stomach. I got right back up, brushed off the dirt, and kept on.

Our first two miles were 8:20 and 8:25, respectively, and we benefited from an occasional breeze. Our last mile was 9:10, when the sun was at its highest and hottest, and the breeze had stopped.

The final stretch of the route was situated where the orchard has its “attractions” in the fall — a petting zoo, children’s play area, etc. — which meant all of the spectators gathered there to cheer on the runners. We spotted our family — my dad and his sister came down to watch the girls while we ran — and bolted down the chute; my RunKeeper says that last quarter-mile was a 7:50 pace!


I crossed at 27:26 which is my second-fastest 5K — only 30 seconds off my personal best from 3 years ago and good enough for third place in my division. It’s just too bad the race didn’t hand out age-group awards!


This was a fun, well-organized race with lots of perks! It was well worth the $35 registration and is a truly fun 5K, especially for runners who don’t often race the shorter distances or for those just starting out on their distance-running journey.

Distance: 3.1 miles
Duration: 27:26 chip time
Average pace: 8:50 per mile
Mile 1: 8:21
Mile 2: 8:25
Mile 3: 9:11


4 Responses to “Race recap: Hard Cider Run”

  1. thedancingrunner June 21, 2018 at 11:35 am #

    Awesome job!! We need to get a cider run down here…I would definitely put it on my race list!!

  2. cat h bradley June 21, 2018 at 1:43 pm #

    Looks like you guys ran a great race, nice job! Glad you were able to hop right back up from that fall-those can be scary sometimes!

  3. katielookingforward June 21, 2018 at 7:45 pm #

    Good work! My goal is to get a faster 5k this year, and I need to keep my eyes open for a good priced and fun race!

  4. Mindy June 22, 2018 at 9:38 am #

    YAAAAAAAAS. Great job! And, congrats on the age group placement – that’s so incredible!

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