#126 – Go! St. Louis 5K

5kmLet me start by revealing that I have a love-hate relationship with this race.  I love what the Go! series brings to St. Louis — a buncha races, spread throughout the year, with events for everyone.  This weekend included a 1mi “Master’s Mile” (60+ year old runner), a bunch of dashes for kids, a 1.2mi race for school students, the 5K, the new 7K, marathon relay, half marathon and full marathon.  (Everything 7K and above are downtown, and held on Sunday.)  That’s a lot of events, and this weekend is earmarked on a lot of runner’s calendars.  That’s all good.

However, being a 5k runner is a little frustrating, as the race feels like an afterthought.  Looking in the 32-page Participant Program, there’s virtually nothing about the 5k, or any of the other races on Saturday. There’s no course maps, no info about parking, transit, etc.  Even the section for “Important Race Day Information” is all about the events on Sunday.

And to add another burr under my saddle, I went to packet pickup when it opened on Saturday morning, and was told there were no shirts in my size left.  The number of folks and the shirts needed shouldn’t be a huge surprise to the organizers — that’s part of the registration gig — but both times I’ve run this race, I’ve had this problem.  I was given a smaller shirt, and told that I could just give it away.  My guess is that someone who needed that smaller size didn’t get their shirt.  I stuck it in my bag, and lugged it around with me all day, putting it on the donation pile here in the house when I got home.

Despite the grumbles, I actually had a pretty good time.  The course was familiar, with stretches of it also used in the Undy a few weeks ago.  The nice thing with this course layout was that it doubled back twice, allowing you to get a sense for how far back in the pack you were.  I ended up being around ⅔’s mid-pack, and was very pleased with that.  While my time wasn’t exactly spectacular, it was pretty typical, and sub-50 — a perpetual target for me at “live” events.  And I ran most of the course, with only a breather taken going up one of the hills.

The Go! folks have started a three-5K series this year, encompassing this race, the All-American in June, and the Halloween race in October.  I signed up for all of ’em, and should get a fourth “challenge” medal in October for that.  They were races I would’ve been doing anyway, so bundle pricing and an extra medal was pretty easy to take.  🙂

So, #126 is in the books… and I’ve already got another “live” race slated for next weekend!

Race Course