This race was the first of two 5Ks that Caitlin and I planned to participate in over the June 3-4, 2017 weekend (the other being the 3rd Annual Color Me Clarke 5k Color Fun Run / Walk). While our strategy was to have fun doing the latter race, for this 5K we were going to attempt to get Caitlin a new PR.
Sponsored by Shenandoah Valley Runners, the Front Royal Kiwanis 5K ran through the northwestern part of Front Royal with proceeds going to the Warren County Special Olympics. The course began at the Warren County Health & Human Services Complex and wound through the streets of a local suburb and along the grounds of Randolph-Macon Academy.
Being our first time running this race we had no idea what to expect. With Caitlin ready to go in her “run fast” shirt, we arrived a few minutes early to check in and loosen up with warm up drills. Even though this race was very inexpensive to register for, you still received a t-shirt for participating, which was super nice.
The weather was really pleasant for an early June morning…not terribly hot or humid. Glancing around we saw that the race was not that large (41 participants to be exact), but it was an enthusiastic mix of runners of all ages and experience levels…from walkers to some very VERY fast elite runners.
We made our way to the starting line which was located roughly a 1/4 mile down the street and were off and running after “ready, set, go!”. The first part of the course was the easiest. It was mainly flat suburb streets with some gradual down hill mixed in. Then mile 2 hit. This portion of the course was mostly uphill as it led us into the grounds of Randolph-Macon. Caitlin kept plugging along as I reminded her to take short quick strides on the uphills. I also constantly made conversation with her to keep her mind off of the gradual incline that seemed to go on for quite a bit.
For mile 3 there was some reprieve from the uphill portion as the course made its way back into the starting point area with some smaller ups and downs. Caitlin really wanted to stop and walk but to her credit she kept her steady metronome-like pace. Once the finish line was in sight, we both sprinted to the end, with Caitlin coming in slightly ahead of me. Her finishing time was a new PR of 30:28.
It was awesome that despite it being a small race, the race organizers still gave out age group award ribbons. I’m very fond of this as it helps excite the younger runners and rewards them for running 3.1 miles…instead of sitting on the couch on a Saturday morning. Caitlin and I both received 2nd place in our age groups (Female 0-14 and Male 35-39).
If you are looking for a small town, local 5K that is well run and benefits a great cause, I’d recommend signing up for this race next year. Be sure to get in a little bit of hill training beforehand!