The 5k started at 8:15 am, so I arrived just after 7:30 to pick up my packet (race bib, timing chip, light-weight hoodie), have time to take said packet back to my car, and use the restroom before running. I even had time for socializing with friends before the race began.
The race started just a few minutes late. The lollipop course looped Pike Island and the finish line was the same spot as the start line. Footing was mostly hard-pack dirt, with some patches of grass and sand. The trail is wide and flat, which makes it a great race for those new to trail running or those seeking a PR.
I started the morning with an upset stomach because I may have had some wine the night before. Thankfully, this subsided before running, but I figured it would be slow going. At one point, some runners ahead of me stopped just before a mud puddle, to figure out how to pick their way across it. I went around them and somehow my speed increased after that. I kept myself from looking at my watch because I didn’t want to focus on pace, so while I felt like I was working hard, I had no idea whether that feeling translated into running fast.
Once I knew I was about a half mile from the finish, I pushed myself to increase my pace and leave it all on the course. According to my watch, the 5k distance was actually 3.74 miles, which I was fine with since the race organizers had informed us ahead of time. My finishing time was 40:48 for a sub-11:00 pace, which is an off-road pace PR for me. I’ll take it!
The official results for the race are a bit skewed because they’re calculating based on a 3.1 mile course, rather than the 3.74 miles, so I was glad I had my watch.
Post-race refreshments included bottled water, muesli, strawberries, and pretzels. The awards ceremony was held at Lucky’s 13, a local restaurant, where we were also given a free beer.
Overall, it was a really nice race morning and I would consider doing this race again. The logistics were easy, volunteers were friendly, the location was pretty, and I love the hoodie. I would definitely recommend this one to runners who are looking to try running off-road for the first time because it is not a technical course.