For the second year in a row, I played the part of a chicken during the Chase the Chicken 3K Fun Run/Walk at the Wicomico County Fair.
In this race, the participants try to beat the “chicken” to win a chicken dinner from the Lions Club’s five-foot fry pan. This year, we had a female chicken — me, a male chicken and a kid chicken, for kids 12 and under to chase.
Female runners were trying to cross the finish line before me, and male runners were trying to cross the finish line before my colleague Derek. The kid chicken was Avery, the son of a couple of my running friends.
The race was at WinterPlace Park, the location of the fair, and we had a slight head start — I think it was 15 seconds. Last year, we had more of a head start, and I ended up basing my pace around two girls who were trying to stay in front of me. But this year, the kids weren’t competing against me.
Early on in the race, I heard one of the nearby kids say something like, “I am soooo tired.” I looked down at my watch to see that we were only 0.18 of a mile in. Even seasoned runners can make the mistake of starting out too fast, but that wasn’t a great sign.
I can’t remember if it was the same kid or another participant who asked if they had to beat the “little chick” or any chicken, because I was behind Avery at the time. I told him they’d be trying to finish ahead of Avery. It turned out that all the child participants ended up getting a coupon for the free chicken dinner, anyway.
Last year, we wore chicken suits, but this year, each chicken wore a white top and black shorts with an orange hat and socks. Maybe I just forgot the temperature from last year, but it seemed like it felt hotter this year, even without wearing a costume made of felt. I also had a cold, which wasn’t ideal for running — but I was glad it was the weekend of a 1.8-ish mile race and not the one of my 10K and half marathon. And, it didn’t bother me as much as I thought it might.
I ended up keeping a consistent pace for the less-than-two-mile run, finishing the first mile in 11:03 and running the last 0.81 (what my watch had) at an 11:01 pace, for a total time of 19:59. When I finished, a young girl was ahead of me with a strong finish. The field was smaller than last year, and I think there were three adult women who passed me, but I didn’t keep close track.
The course goes into the wooded trail at WinterPlace Park, which I’d recommend checking out if you haven’t. It’s not a long trail, but some may not even realize it’s there.
There was also a costume contest. Nobody entered for farmer, but there were two egg competitors, who had to face off in a chicken impression contest, which was fun.
Afterward, people could check out the Wicomico County Fair and its many activities. I worked each day of the Fair as part of my job with Wicomico County Recreation & Parks, and I got to see lots of interesting things, from cute animals to a watermelon seed spitting contest and the new Renaissance Ring.