Friday, March 1, 2019

Race Review: Fireside Frostbite 5 Miler

Race: Fireside Frostbite 5 Miler
Location: Ambler, Pa
Date: February 23, 2019

Local community race, just over a thousand runners. This year was it's 20th anniversary!

This race wasn't originally on my calendar. A few co-workers were talking it up, haven't met up with this group from work yet. Checked my training schedule. Had to do some adjusting, but feasible. Alright, I'm in!

Packet Pickup: smooth process. Option to pick up the night before at the Ambler Theater or on race day at the school. I work 20 min away, dealt with a few extra minutes of rush hour traffic, but got it done Friday night to get it out of the way. Once in town, easy walk in and pick up.
Parking: a decent amount of parking at the school, but warnings that it would fill up quickly, may have to walk a few blocks. I got there a half hour before race time, parking lot was a few minutes from filling up.

Pre-race: could stay warm in the high school. Sponsors set up in the gymnasium to check out, packet pickup looked to still be smooth. Could also use the school facilities if needed.

Race: starts and ends in front of Wissahickon High School. National Anthem at 8:55. Race started promptly at 9 am.

Map: (a bit of a blueprint of the neighborhood) 

Elevation: high/low listed below. Ascent, according to my phone 307 ft.
My race: leading up to the race, did some extra miles earlier in the week for my training plan before doing a small taper. My right calve/shin had been feeling the extra miles. KT Tape, CEP compression socks, and a bit of stretching for a couple days. Still slightly feeling it the night before, but barely thought about it on race morning. Between the hills and this week, was hoping to maintain between 7:50-8. I didn't locate/review the elevation map, but saw warnings there were some hills. I know my pace for my hills, I may be a bit aggressive with my goal. Start of the race, first few minute alerts pace started with a 6. I told myself a few times to slow down, took a couple minutes to listen. Mile 1 is down hill. First hill shows up. Someone that know's the course was very encouraging. They almost made it sound like that was the only hill. (lol...) A decent incline, decline after that. Gradual inclines remainder of the way! Pacing: I settled in the 7:30's. The last mile averaging 7:40 and trying hard through those inclines to maintain at 7:40. Never thought about my calve/shin, thought more about cadences and my legs getting heavy towards the end. Results 7:44 vs my watch/ph 5.05 mi @ 7:40. Darn those tangents! 

Scenery: course described as "rolling hills". Scenery includes the high school, through some of the local Ambler neighborhoods, then along a wooded area behind the school fields/parks as you approach back towards the school. Several houses and intersections had fans cheering us on along the way, crowd cheering as we approach the finish line!

Pre/post race: met up with one of my co-workers, an #igrunner IRL!, and a trail buddy that I trained with for my fall races. First time catching up with them in a bit! Was great to see everyone, although missed seeing a couple other co-workers that ended up not committing. Their loss, had a good time!


Shirt: Pic doesn't do the color justice, it's much brighter. Tech, long sleeve, is a bit thin, but very comfy! Penguins, title sponsor, race name on the front. Sponsors and beneficiaries listed on the back. 
Medal: optional, survey said 25% of the participants would like one. Had to indicate interest or grab one of the extra's. I chose not to since my medal display is full and this wasn't a goal race, but they do have penguins, I love penguins (unless they are from Pittsburgh). 
In lieu of medals, you could choose a race towel, a Dietz and Watson Hat, or a previous year's shirt. I would have chosen a hat, but they were gone. No worries. Towel below:
Food: Post race, it is tempting to hang out at the finisher's area for a while. After you've met up with your group, I recommend heading back to the school. Food is setup in the lobby by the gymnasium, single file line can get pretty long depending when you get there. Food includes: Chili, two types of tomato pie provided by Sponsor Fireside Bar & & GrilleAdditional food provided:  banana, apple, soft pretzel, chips. popcorn, Dietz and Watson sausage snack, coffee, and plenty of water.

Photo's: Free race photo's by Jack McCoy Photography! A pre race photo (I didn't see the photographer, missed out on that), a starting line photo (I was on the opposite side, could only see my hat), and a finish line approach photo. Below!
Chip timing: provided by Run The Day
Results readily available online! Later on, as I was checking my email, noticed results were also sent via email by 10:30!
Overall: A great community race, a slight hill challenge (hills are good for you!) , swag, and food. Would definitely recommend!

Facebook: aarcFiresideFrostbite
Instagram: firesidefrostbite5

If you do any races, please remember to review them on ! Your opinions help other runners decide what races to run!  Follow me on BibRave: Joe G


  1. Hi. Thanks for the review of our race. I'm the President of the Ambler Running Club. Perhaps we will see you next year?? In case you're interested, we have practice runs on the course, every Sunday morning at 8am, starting 10 days after Thanksgiving.

    1. Hi! Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate it! Your race was very well managed and a great experience. Will be sure to put it on my calendar next yr and spread the word. Sunday's are typically my rest day, but will try to stop out for one of the group runs. Thanks!


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