The Stickman’s Tandem 5K is the fifth in a series of eight races organized by Shenandoah Valley Runners over the winter months of December through March. This year Caitlin and I were able to attend the first race in the series (Ugly Runner (Sweater) 2017 5K at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley), but due to travel and inclement weather, we had to miss races 2, 3, and 4. We were glad we could get back into the series and run this first race donning our Team Running Riddles outfits!
This particular 5K was held at Strasburg High School. You have the option to team up with another runner in which your times are added together (with the lowest time from a team of two winning). Teaming up is optional, however since Caitlin and I were already planning on running together, we entered as Team Running Riddles (naturally).
The course ran from Strasburg High School out along the nearby nature trail into the Strasburg Town Park, returning to the high school along Queen Street through town. It was a fairly flat and fast course with a few slight moderate inclines.
We arrived 30 minutes prior to the race. There was plenty of parking at the high school even with 360 or so runners. The weather was great for this time of year (overcast with no wind and temps in the mid to upper 40s), so we warmed up on the track for 15 minutes, said hello to a few people from Lord Fairfax Community College, and then lined up at the starting line.
Throughout the race we made sure to say “thank you” to all the volunteers that were out serving as course marshals. I know they had a shortage and needed help the day before, so without them this race may not have happened. One happened to be Larry Baker with LFCC Workforce Solutions, who I gave a hand shake as we ran by.
Around mile 2 into the race Caitlin received some encouragement from another runner we passed (since our names are on the back of our Team Running Riddle shirts). We rounded the bend and hit a slight incline heading up towards the high school, which turned into a sharp down hill right into the finish line with a finishing time of 31:11.
While it wasn’t the time Caitlin hoped for (she has a goal of breaking 30 minutes), we stayed positive and noted that she finished 15 of 29 out of females 13 and under (and was one of only THREE 9 year old or younger females to run the race). I jokingly told her when I was her age if my Dad asked me to run a 5K I would of grabbed onto his legs and begged to stay home.
Post-race refreshments were bagels and orange slices with free water from the water fountain in the hall (as one race volunteer put it). To reward Caitlin for giving it her best, we made a stop at Sheetz on the way home for some yummy breakfast food (sliders for her, egg white wrap for me).