Saturnalia 10k Race Report – Keith Laverty

Race: Saturnalia 10k

Runner: Coach Keith Laverty

Race Date: 12/16/2023

Location: Squaxin Park in Olympia, WA

Results: 1st OA, New CR

Strava Activity Link:

Video Race Report on YouTube

3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

  1. The mix of wide/runnable trails/roads and challenging/twisty punchy hills and staircases!
  2. I appreciated having some good competition up front to keep the effort honest from the get-go — Got the most out of each other!
  3. Super convenient race logistics and parking; plus the start/finish was right next to a gym in case you needed a little break from the winter cold!

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

I’d say belief in self! After the 1st mile, the eventual 3rd-place finisher made a big, strong move on an uphill. And while it certainly felt demoralizing in the moment, I think I did good job of just keeping myself in contention and continuing to believe in my ability. Then sure enough, I was able to eventually repass into 1st position around the halfway point while also not getting myself overly fatigued too. Certainly rode a fine line though and most of the race was spent with my gas on the pedal!

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

Pay close attention to the course signage and arrows. There are several twists/windy turns and sections of running a public parking lot for the parks, so just stay attentive! Then don’t forget about the final 100′ uphill that leads to the grass field toward the end!

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

I enjoyed the sections along the water, primarily in the 4th and 5th miles of this race. Otherwise, lots of lush, classic, green PNW trails!

We did luck out with a clear day to enjoy the water, I could even see the Capitol building across the water during my warm-up.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

On paper, this doesn’t appear to look terribly difficult. However, all of the hills in the 2nd half are deceivingly hard, especially since many of these are steeper staircases or steps to climb up. With being a relatively short-ish distance, you’ll feel those hills plenty!

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

Rock Candy Running and Mathias Eichler always do a great job with clear communication in their race event details, e-mail newsletter and everything on their website. Very well-organized, well-marked, well-loved event!

Competition – Is there a strong field?

There was this year! Last year’s winner and myself ran about 2 minutes or so under the men’s course record. The top female also took a huge chunk of time off from last year’s (inaugural) winning time too.

Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.

Very simple and straightforward. Also, the 9am start was convenient.

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

No aid station during the course but plenty of snacks and warm drinks post-race!

Weather and typical race conditions

Honestly…. I think we lucked out majorly! It was cold but very dry and even a little sun. I’m sure some future years could get some cold, rainy conditions!

Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next runner?

Likely a grippy trail running shoe and even something on the lighter/faster end of things. On a rainy year, I could potentially see some stair sections or downhill sections being a little slick!

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

There is one paved spot/intersection in particular where all the runners will run through 4 times! So that’s likely the best spot to spectate on course. Otherwise, not too long of a wait to hang out at the start/finish area at Reeves Middle School.

How’s the Swag?

Hand-crafted and swag this year in the form of a tree ornament made out of wood! Each finisher also received a pre-determined number to go pick up a surprise goodie or gift after the race too.

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it

4.5 stars — I think this event will become a staple, winter community event. Friendly folks and a fun way to end the year of racing!

Keith Laverty is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about him or to work with him, check out his coach profile.