The Florence Forth 10K in Durham, NC was my first race of 2017. I hadn't done the race before but heard good things about it from friends who had done it in the past. The race is usually the NC USATF 10K Road Championship as well so it draws a fast field. Florence Forth was started by Leslie and Will McDow who lost their daughter Florence on March 4th, 2012 after a long battle with autoimmune encephalitis. Proceeds from Florence Forth allow the AE Alliance to raise awareness, educate doctors and improve clinical care so that no one faces autoimmune encephalitis alone.
I arrived at the race around 7am, an hour before the 8am start. I ate a GU Energy Stroopwafel before doing my dynamic warm-up. After that I met my friend Zack and we headed off for an easy 1.5 miles warm-up run to get loose. Zack was coming off taking 2nd place overall at the Colonial Half Marathon in Williamsburg, VA in 1:10:08 just six days before. About 30 minutes before the start, I drank a scoop and a half of Generation UCAN. UCAN has been working for me for over a year now and I highly recommend it to anyone who has had trouble figuring out nutrition in the past. It's a steady, slow burning carbohydrate that doesn't spike and crash like gels and other sugar based products and it doesn't cause stomach distress.
The race started and I went out fast chasing the lead pack and Amanda. The first half of the first mile is downhill so it's easy to go out fast. It's a gradual climb the second half of the first mile. Half a mile in I pulled even with my friend Molly and chatted with her as we ran together the rest of the first mile. I opened with a 5:49 first mile.
I could still see Amanda ahead of me on the long straight stretches. I wasn't sure what place I was in because it was a deep and fast field. I ran mile three in 5:52. Another uphill came around 3.75 miles that didn't stop until the four mile mark which I split in 5:57. Mile four to five was mostly downhill with a couple uphills. I ran mile five in 5:50.
Once we crossed Main Street it was a downhill back to the finish. I recovered from the hill and was able to increase my leg turnover the final 0.2 miles to finish in 36:42 for 21st place overall out of 389 and 3rd in my age group out of 32. It was my fastest 10K since 2012 and just one second off my PR on a completely flat course.
The winner of the race was Matthew Elliott in 31:12. The top 12 runners broke 35:00 minutes including the female winner, Sarah Rapp, in 34:40. Amanda placed 17th overall and 2nd woman in 35:59. Zack ran 33:02 for 8th place overall and 2nd in his age group. Another friend, Bart, placed 14th overall and 2nd masters in 35:13.
The race was very well organized. They had mile makers at every mile, including mile 6. For some reason a lot of races don't put a 6 mile marker out for 10Ks but I appreciated it was there and it's the little things like having a 6 mile maker that make a race and course better. The only thing the race was lacking was a formal awards ceremony after the race. I was disappointed and surprised the race didn't have an awards ceremony as it was the NC USATF 10K Road Championship. Other runners I talked to were also confused why there wasn't an awards ceremony. Overall this is a great race and I can see why it's been voted Best 10K in the Triangle numerous times. I would do this race again and highly recommend it.
Socks: Smartwool PhD Run Ultra Light
Shoes: New Balance 1400v4 road flats
Shorts: Adidas Men's Supernova Short Tight
Singlet: Adidas Running Syndicate
Arm Warmers: Asics Arm Warmers
Gloves: Smartwool Liner Gloves
Road ID Wrist ID Slim
Watch: Garmin 920XT
Sunglasses: Rudy Project Rydon
Beannie/Hat: Smarwool PhD Training Beanie