Runner's World Heartbreak Hill Festival Part 2: Kids & Dogs Racing

The Runner's World Heartbreak Hill Running Festival left me in tears multiple times ... happy tears! Whether it be from laughing so hard (thanks bloggers) or sheer inspiration and motivation, I was blubbering like a baby. (This doesn't seem hard these days :P)

Runner's World made sure there were races for more than just the adults - enter the Kids Races on Friday night and the Dog Races on Saturday morning.

I didn't want to miss either so on Friday after picking up my own bib at the Expo I headed up hill to Athlete's Village, which doubled as the Start Line.

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Getting a good spot was my number one priority so I could soak up all the cuteness.

The event even had some big name guest stars - Bart Yasso, Shalane Flanagan and Sarah Reinertsen. Oh and the Mayor. I'll throw him a bone here. :P

The race was broken into three parts: 2-5 year olds (1/4 mile), 6-8 year olds (1/2 mile) and 9-11 (1 mile). The 9-11 kids had two heats: fun and competitive.

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Adorable-ness abounded. Yes worthy of creating my own word over it!

And yes that is the New Balance mascot - a giant shoe - which was a big hit with the participants.

The horn blew and the kids were off. With this being the younger kids, some parents paced the kids through the one lap around the upper quad of Boston College. There were meltdowns from the onset and I totally understood how the kids were feeling. Hey, when the run isn't going well ... it isn't going well. :P

I wish I had thought ahead and made a sign for the kids, but instead I jumped, whistled, clapped and cheered as loud as I could. I freakin' love being a spectator.

Once the 2-5 year olds finished, the 6-8 year olds made their way to the Start Line. Their goal was 2 laps around the upper quad, which was 1/2 mile.

Bart Yasso did a GREAT job announcing the kids and lending commentary during the races. I wish I had faked my own birth certificate so I could've participated.

I also wish I had taken more pictures.

But I definitely snapped a picture of EJ, who was participating in his first race in the 6-8 year old heat.

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It was great hearing the crowd support for EJ and hearing Bart Yasso say "And EJ has finished his first race" once he crossed the Finish Line.

With a 2:22 marathoner on hand, I couldn't wait to hear Shalane's advice to the kids pre-race. She kept it simple.

"Run until your teeth sweat"

which she shared was what her dad used to tell her when she was their age.

The 9-11 year olds looked like they were bringing their A games to the 1-mile course. I spotted a few stopwatches and GPS watches out on the course. The 1-mile loop consisted of 4 loops around the upper Quad.

There was quite a battle in the front pack and quite a few lead changes, which drew the crowd in for sure.

I noticed one little girl check her watch during her third lap. Gotta stay on top of those splits. :)

While most of the kids were having no problem with the 4 laps, there was a girl who seemed to be struggling. She was falling behind the group and she didn't look to be enjoying herself.

Out came Sarah Reinertsen to the rescue.

As the young lady, Dorley, came by the announcer platform on her third lab, Sarah jumped into the race to take the final lap with her.


Not sure if that little girl knew she was running with an Ironman. You could see a tiny smile crack on Dorley's face and by the time they crossed the Finish Line - she was downright beaming!

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Sarah told me after the race that she didn't want Dorley to leave with a negative feeling on running.

Hello warm fuzzy feelings.

With the first three heats completed, it was time for the competitive mile ... with two participants: 1 boy and 1 girl.

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It was another amazing battle which came down to the wire with the young boy taking the #1 spot. But both were able to win a division award! :)

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Pretty cool to have these two holding the tape for you! Another awesome thing? They were able to reattach the tape so both participants could break it. Love it!

I had a great time taking in the atmosphere of the kids race and yes I was jealous of their little medals. I can't wait to watch my friends' kids run in these races ... or borrow them so I can run with them. :)


On Saturday, it was the puppies time. I had only been away from my dogs for about 48 hours, but I needed my doggie fill.

The original plan was a 2-mile run, but the heat was too much and it was dropped to a 1-mile course (4 laps around the upper quad).

I luckily made it just in time to get some footage of the pups and their owners in action.

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I hope you all liked my commentary. ;)

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With the high temps, some dogs were not holding up well, but it looks like 69 dogs finished. The winner posted a 5:55 - must've spotted a cat somewhere along the course.

Eukanuba, which hosted the dog run, had a vet on hand at the Finish Line in case any dogs needed any care.

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I could hear the vet telling some owners to make sure they got their dog into the bath tubs provided at the Finish Line.

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The upper quad provided lots of shade for the pup post-race hangout. It looked like someone just replaced runners with dogs since this is a similar site after any race I have run.


The races raised money for the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston’s Children’s Hospital.

If you ever get the chance to watch a Kids or Dog race during a festival weekend, I urge you not to skip it!!

Have you participated in a Kids or Dog run?