Nov 27, 2009

Race Report: 2009 Turkey Trot 5-miler


I'm the blue shirt. Thanks to Carl for the photo.

Interesting race yesterday.

As I wrote in the previous post, I finished the race last year with about 60% of the field in front of me and 40% behind of me. My time was 49 minutes.. just under 10 minutes per mile.

So I walked up to the starting area for this race saw 99% of the 2000-strong field standing in front of the 10 minute per mile area. There was nobody - literally nobody - standing near the "walker" sign behind the 10mpm sign. I decided to take an informal survey of the field. The extreme front - the 5-minute-per-mile sign - looked like it had real competitors - and as I started walking back, by the time I saw the 6-minute per mile sign there were folks standing there who obviously can't run the race that fast. I lined up at the 9-minute-per-mile marker, it looked like that was at 60-70% back from the starting line.

Like last year, the race had 20 minutes of sentimental stage-stuff with honor guards and national anthems, all after the 8:30 scheduled start. When we finally did get under way, it was obvious I made a good choice with my position in the field, it appears that most of the people who lined up at 9mpm were actually capable of running 10mpm, like me. However, I was still shocked at who I passed. Not only were there walkers in front of me who were difficult to pass, but I saw strollers, and even a person with a dog on their leash - all lined up in the middle of a 2000-person field!

And, by the way, if you'd ever like to see a case where races are not limited but really should be, check this race out. The two-lane road is impossibly crowded for for first couple of miles, and when we turn onto the one-lane road, it gets pretty crowded again. Even in the last mile, the crowds made it difficult to pass. It must have been much worse in the main part of the pack. One particularly interesting thing was the police car, presumably there for traffic control, parked on the side of the road a few hundred feet in front of the start. In an already-crowded race, I wondered what the cop was thinking when he left his car there.

I also screwed up, and apparently missed the instruction where I'm supposed to pick up a timing chip at the race, even though they had race packet pickup two days before in a different location. I picked up my packet on Tuesday, and just showed up at the starting line on Thursday morning assuming they didn't have chip timing. Oddly enough, I did go through the packet enough to go through each of the ad fliers and throw most of them out, so I can't imagine how I missed it - but apparently I did.

Anyway, my race went well. My main goal was to finish in under 50 minutes, which I did in 49:47 (net, 50:50 gross). My time last year was 48:34, and my secondary goal was to beat that, which I didn't. Can't complain. I ran hard and did fine.

I make this race sound horrible. It's not. There are better races out there but this one isn't that bad and a lot of friends show up to run it, which always adds to the fun. I'll probably be back next year if I'm in town.

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