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February 19 2012 / Emily

Race Report: President’s Day Freedom Run 5k

Yesterday I ran the President’s Day Freedom Run 5k in Sanford, NC.  It marked my 36th consecutive month with a race of any distance.  A few weeks ago I went out for an impromptu 5k distance after work and nearly PRed, so I decided to try my hand feet at my first 5k in 5 months to see if I could actually PR on a day I planned ahead.

I found this race, about 90 minutes from home, and decided it looked like a good one.  Entry was only $20 even on race day, and the t-shirt was optional.  It was a nice enough design but I don’t need another white cotton race t-shirt, so it was nice to opt out and save some money.

A local Mormon church was the main sponsor, but it wasn’t a churchy race, much more of a Patriotic event, which I liked.  Also looking at the final race results there were only 166 runners, and I do appreciate a small race.  There were at least a dozen Marines running the event, and 2 ran with American and POW-MIA flags.  There were also two non-Marines running in ninja suits.  I later found they work at a karate dojo and were also sponsors of the event.

The race began up the road from the church, ran toward it and around/through the parking lot, back up toward and beyond the start to a turn-around point and water station, then back the way we came.  The last bit was through the church parking lot again, making 3 turns (into and looping around like a U) in the last 0.1.  Made it tough to find a kick in the finish.

I did manage a 29 second PR though!  My chip time was 24:44.  I was trying to catch this other gal in front, and I probably could have if it was a straightaway to the finish.  Turns out she won the age group (F25-29) from me by 2 seconds.  Darn.  I will still happily take second in the age group (8 women).

Side rant on “chip time” though… why bother with chips if there isn’t a starting mat?  This race, and plenty of others I’ve run, did not have a mat at the start, so everyone’s chip starts with the gun.  I realize it makes tallying the times much easier at the end when you don’t have to corral runners and tear tags, but my Garmin read 24:41 from when I crossed the start line.  I’d have liked to keep those extra few seconds.  I imagine it’s more expensive but races, please have start mats as well as finish mats for your chips.

All in all, it was a really nice race.  I’ve been focusing on the longer distances lately so the 5k just flew by.  The weather was unreal for February, low-to-mid 50s and quite sunny.  Especially odd since we’ve got a bit of snow sticking on the ground today!

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