Saturday was the perfect day for a run – the storms earlier in the week brought cooler weather, the sun was shining and the setting was picturesque. The Hardest Cider Run is part of a series put on by SourFish Events. The Great Pumpkin Run last fall was put on by the same group so I knew what to expect. This race took place at the Hauser Estate Winery, where Jack’s Hard Cider is produced – and man, was it GORGEOUS!
Just like the Great Pumpkin Run, there were several waves to choose from when you registered for the race. This kept the course more spaced out and easier to tackle the terrain. The organizers brought in a local fitness studio for the warm up at the start line.
Then we took off! The first quarter mile was downhill through vineyards, then we tackled a MASSIVE hill. I didn’t see anyone running up the hill and while watching an earlier, the hill was not easy for anyone!
After the giant hill, there was a very steep down hill, then flat through the back of the estate. I hit mile 1 and there was a donut with my name on it! In addition to the regular race, the race organizers added a Hungry Apple Challenge, where you pick up a cider donut at each mile marker. The donuts were actually REALLY delicious – but definitely several mouthfuls. I grabbed my donut, a photo and continued on my way.
Mile two was mostly downhill and I actually felt really great during this mile. The grounds were fairly wet from the rain storms and, with the mile marker at the bottom of the hill, there was a big marsh with my donut.
What goes down, must come up – there was a giant hill that I had to make my way up towards the finish line. However, once I made it up, I was rewarded with a chance to run through the vineyards rows, which made this race very unique. It was very narrow though – so similar to the Pumpkin Race, I was stuck behind some slower runners and it was mud pit!
Finally I saw the last mile marker and my last donut! Roswell grabbed a photo of me chowing down. And then I tackled the last .10 mile and picked up my cider to celebrate the run!
Overall, the race was incredibly difficult – the terrain was uneven, it was super hilly and the recent rain made the ground muddy and slick. However, the location was one of the prettiest places I’ve run and, since I wasn’t running for time, I was able to take it easy. The donuts were a nice treat and my first food challenge! And of course, I love cider so I wish there were more races that involved cider. If I were to run this race again, I would definitely work some hill training and trail runs in to my training program.