After back to back slow 5k cross country races I wanted a little redemption and decided to add this local 5k to my race calendar near the end of the year. If I was hoping for a chance to run fast then I should have researched the course a little closer because it turned out to be quite the hilly one !
This was a first time event put on by Fellowship Church in the Longview neighborhood in a partner ship with St. Augustine U. to provide a scholarship to a student in need to be able to continue their education. I was mainly attracted to it because of the location , close by and an area I've never raced in my 41 years of racing.I don't usually mention this in discussions of my early years running but I actually had a failed attempt at beginning to run the summer before that I consider my running to have begun. In 1976, the first Summer of my marriage, we lived in a duplex just off of New Bern Ave not far from Longview shopping center. I had a one mile loop that was pretty flat that I ran with my hair still down my back in a pair of keds high tops. I think that lasted about three weeks before I dropped it. I have no records of those runs, just vague memories of being very sweaty ! Anyway, so with my mind thinking flat I was surprised just how hilly it was just across the street !
So, back to the race at hand. It was raining lightly but mostly a drizzle and the temperature was close to 48F so it was actually not bad for running. After getting checked in I went for my usual warm up and tried to avoid the hills as much as possible. As I went to the start it was obviously a small field and also a young looking one. ( more on that later)
The race began with a downhill which felt nice but it would also be finishing back up that same hill ! I was feeling pretty good and had a bit of zip despite fighting off a cold all week. The first uphill wasn't as bad as I thought it would be but it was obvious that the whole course was going to be up and down, up and down. I hit mile 1 in 7:21 which made me happy. That was roughly my goal pace and I felt strong.
But the hills just kept coming and although I was pushing the pace I did slow down in mile 2 to 7:39. I was holding out hope that mile 3 might be a bit easier but nope. I was going hard but still slowed some more to 7:48. The final .1 hurt going uphill but I was satisfied with my effort on this day. There was no age group racing excitement as I never saw anyone to chase and I was just focusing on my pace. Way off my goal of sub 23 with a chip time of 23:48. I guess it will have to wait until next Spring or Summer.
As I mentioned this seemed like a young crowd. There was a large group fo the NC STATE XC Club team running that dominated the front of the race. When I looked at the results there were 85 finishers and of those about 55 were under 40 and only 6 were over 50. Not the usual mix that you see in most road races. My time was good enough to win 3rd place Master with a 42 and 41 year old ahead of me And because of no double dipping in the awards no one won the 60 and over age group because I was the only one in the race !
Despite the hills, which after looking at several others strava maps,it looks like the average is just over 200 feet of climbing which is quite a bit for 5k,I have to give them a two thumbs up on the event. Everything went off well with the organization and volunteers. And it was nice to race in a part of town that never gets seen in other events.