This race used to be a 5 mile race. It was cancelled in 2013 due to lack of participation in previous years, and it got changed to a 5k in 2014, which was the first year that I missed it, due to injury. I missed it in 2015 due to injury as well. But this year, I was finally able to return. The race flyer said it was a 5k. But the River Festival brochure still said 5 mile. When I was doing my pre-race warm-up, I noticed that the arrows painted on the road were labeled with "5 mile." I asked the people in charge of the race if it was a 5k or a 5 mile. I told them about all the conflicting information. One of them said "a 5k is like, 3 miles, right?" I told them I really would like to know which distance I was running, as it would effect how fast I started out the race. They told me it was definitely a 5k.
The 20 or so of us that showed up to this very un-advertised race lined up, and were told that there would be two water stations, one a little ways down River Road, and another one at the turn around of the out & back course. Knowing the road, it sounded to me like those two water stations would have to be awfully close together, but...ok. The Pageant winners dropped a piece of yellow caution tape that they had stretched across the road, and we all took off, trying not to get tangled in the tape as it fluttered to the ground.
Even though I had my doubts about the "5k" distance, I decided to trust the people putting on the race, and so I took off as fast as I could. Two high-school looking boys took off fast, but I passed them both in the first half mile. The first water station was somewhere around 1.5 miles, and the second water station was nowhere in sight. Now I was getting close to 2 miles, and there was still no sign of the turn-around. Definitely a 5 miler. I knew I couldn't hold my pace much longer, so I had to start slowing down. Also in the back of my mind was the fact that my next half marathon was a week away. I had felt ok with sprinting a 5k, but killing myself on a 5 miler seemed like less of a good idea. I continued running hard, but I did not push myself quite as hard as I could have for the rest of the race.
When I crossed the line I let them know that the race was in fact 5 miles, not 5k. They were very apologetic. Apparently they didn't communicate well with the road-painters and they had assumed it was still the old distance. Someone asked if anyone had one of those fancy watches that said exactly how far the course was. I said yeah I do...it was 4.97 miles.
I finished the 5 miles in 32:57. Last time I ran this race, in 2012, my time was 33:08. Always nice to see improvement! I'm also happy to say that my heart rate stayed below 190, which shows that I am getting into better shape finally. Nice to see that I can now run hard without my heart trying to beat out of my chest!
I wasn't really upset about the distance, although if I had known ahead of time it was going to be 5 miles, I may have decided to stay home and save my legs for the half marathon. This was just a little local race run by some people trying to raise money for a good cause. Some other local runners have said they are boycotting the race because of the disorganization, but I won't go that far. It's not a chance for me to be competitive, just a chance for me to race myself and see how much faster I can get from year to year.