The 5K and 13.1 runners charging through the start!
When the seasoned race director, Ron Horn, founder of Pretzel City Sports, showed up at the starting line on his fire red scooter, I knew he had a cool event planned for us! The Dumb Dutchman No Frills 5K and Half Marathon is the definition of “cool running event.”
That's a race director with style right there!
This race was worth every penny (a big thanks to my partner’s father, Bill Gerhart, for roping me into running it and picking up the tab!). The registration for half marathoners included a tech t-shirt, brunch and a beer. The 5K crew, with a significantly lower registration fee, did not receive brunch, however, they did have a really nice assortment of bagels and other goodies for 5K finishers needing to refuel! The race is headquartered at Trooper Thorn’s, the quintessential atmosphere to come back to after a solid run.
Runners were gifted with perfect running weather this year! With morning showers preceding the race, turning to overcast skies during the race, runners experienced a record low temperature for this date. Being an early June race, historically it tends to be quite toasty, hence why it received its name the “Dumb Dutchman.” Fortunately, for those hotter years, the course is roughly 60% in the shade.
“Wild Bill” Gerhart running strong!
The location in Reading, Pennsylvania, the fifth largest city in PA, is centrally located between Philadelphia, and the capital Harrisburgh, allowing The Dumb Dutchman to pull in an array of athletes. Majority of the course is spent on paved or packed cinder sections of the Schuylkill River Rail Trail. This section of recreational trail was repurposed from the Reading Railroad. Fun fact: The Reading Railroad is one of the four railroads in the American version of the classic board game Monopoly. The beauty of this course being along the river is that it is fast and flat, unlike what one usually expects in Pennsylvania races. Depending on mother nature’s choice in weather, this race has potential to be a great opportunity to PR!
With a 5K turnaround point, and a unique course shape, I was happy to see that the crucial turns were very well marked—an impressive feat for a rainy morning! The nature of the course makes it easy for spectators to support their running friends. The half marathoners pass all but one of the five water and aid stations twice. Aid stations were packed well with all of the essentials and staffed by kind volunteers!
Me, holding pace!
My favorite part of this race experience was the incredible community vibe. There are a few spots on the course where runners pass fellow runners, I really enjoy these moments, it’s a chance to look for friends and pump each other up. This joyful camaraderie carried through to the end of the race too. Majority of participants stuck around for brunch, beer, and awards. This was refreshing compared to so many races where runners continue the sprint through the finish to their cars. It shows me that the running community is alive in Berks County, PA. Runners cheered and raised a glass of beer (or mimosa for me) to their fellow runners as finisher medals for the overall winners and age group categories were announced.
Alex Epler, first overall male finisher for the half with a speedy 1:21:25!
I was stoked to place fourth overall for females in the half marathon, first in my age group. Having signed up on a whim, I struggled to catch the ladies in front of me. Overall, there were a lot of strong and inspiring runners on course! I would definitely recommend this race for novice and competitive runners alike. The Dumb Dutchman No Frills 5K and Half Marathon is an extra fun, supportive, and fast race to push the limits of your running!
Medals & Mimosas!
Photo credit: Jason Gerhart @jason_gerhart @fresh_world_press