The race course is painfully flat with some turns that do help to make it feel faster. I say painfully flat because I generally don't like flat courses. I prefer some rolling hills and I'm actually faster on a course with hills. Most of the race course is in the Tucker Estates neighborhood. I knew the course well from working previous races held on the same course.
I arrived at the race around 11:45am to help the 5Ks 4 K9s group get registered for the race. I volunteer with the group and it's a lot of fun. The group takes dogs from the Pitt County Animal Shelter to local races and runs them in 1 mile and 5K races. It gives the dogs great exposure to the community. The dogs get to socialize with other dogs, get outside, get exercise, and show the community that shelter dogs make great pets. The program has been very successful and all the dogs that have been taken to races have been adopted, and some are even adopted on the day of the race.
After doing a 2 miles warm-up and some striders I made my way over to the starting line on Charles Blvd. The race starts with a long straight stretch down Charles Blvd. until you make a right turn onto Red Banks. The weather was great for racing. It was a little cloudy with temperatures in the low 50s with a slight breeze. Over 100 runners lined up including three kids I coach on the D.H. Conley Cross Country team. I've been encouraging them to run more in the off-season and to do local races to stay in shape. I was glad to see Stephen May, Anders Stoakes, and David Liu at the race.
I was feeling good as I ran the first mile in 5:47. I was even talking to Melanie some. I had a big lead already so I had to stay focused. Melanie kept encouraging me as I ran the tangents of the turns. I took a look back once I turned off Tucker and onto Red Banks and I saw Stephen and Anders in second place.
As the race turned onto Baytree Drive I noticed there were other course arrows on the road in white chalk that were not ECRR's markings. They were going the opposite way of the race course. I thought this was odd and Kip informed me later that they were not there when he marked the course with cones and signs just a couple hours before the start.
Stephen and Anders finished side by side for 2nd and 3rd places overall. David Liu finished second in his age group. All three kids that I coached placed and got awards. Another friend, Susan Garvey, ran her 5K PR while battling shin splints. Susan just completed the Couch-To-5K program done by the City of Greenville Parks and Recreation.
Once Stephen and Anders finished we headed back out on the course for a cool-down run. We cheered other runners on as they were close to finishing. I kept going until I found my girlfriend Jamie, leader of 5Ks 4 K9s. Her dog was struggling to keep running and just wanted to stop and lay in the grass. I ran with Jamie and her dog Jack to the finish. The 5Ks 4 K9s group did well, the first runner/dog team finished the 5K in 27:17. This was the most dogs the group has had at a race. Nineteen dogs went to the race, with seventeen running, and two cheering from the sidelines. All the adoptable dogs got out of the shelter and got to participate in the race which was an amazing feat all on its own!
For a training run, the race went well. My pace was consistent and my last mile was my fastest. The course is flat and fast so if you like that than it's a PR course. I was faster on hills in Raleigh last month for a 5K than I was for this race. It was a good first year race and the awards were nice trophies and medals. A total of 104 runners finished the race.