Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Torch Run "5K"

Ran the Torch Run on Saturday, on my way down to the state track meet. The course was purportedly 0.3 mile short last year so they went out and remeasured and re-routed. It was still a little short (3 miles instead of 5K).

I felt a lot out of place before lining up because I was the only one within three miles wearing a singlet and race shoes. Oh well, for a good cause. It was hilly with the course starting and finishing at the UAF police station and going up Tanana Drive to Kuskokwim, down past Ballaine on the bike path to the crossing with Ballaine and back on Farmers Loop to Tanana and to the police station. With the hills splits were all over the place, with the last mile (uphill) being about 15 seconds slower.

17:02 for 3 mile solo effort, I'm more than okay with that.

I'm not really okay with the local race schedule.

We are into the silly season here. All that some of us (a minority I expect) want from time to time (once or twice a month would be great) is an accurately measured race course on reasonable terrain. What we have instead are the ubiquitous 5K fund raiser fun runs--90% certain to be on a mismeasured course--or killer hill classics like the Anihilator, Two Way Torture Test, Masochism on Moose Mountain, Ester Dome Ass Kicker, and of course the Equinox Marathon itself. Now I've done each of these and will likely do them again but geez it sure would be nice to have a series of accurately measured road races that could draw in some of the faster local competitors so that we could have some good race times. As it is, we have a handful of races, each with it's own foibles:

Chena River Run--becoming the most competitive race in town. Downside is the course is so winding that times are 10-15 sec slower. Plus it's early, so most runners don't even have their best race legs yet.

Water Run--great little event on perhaps the fastest course in town, an out and back along the Chena River starting and finishing at the GVEA Power Plant. The downside is that it's just three days before or after the Chena River Run, so usually you have to choose one or the other. As such the competition is spotty because most opt for the bigger race. The other downside is that it's an out and back on bike paths so coming back you are taking your life into your hands going against jogger/walkers going 3-4 abreast and utterly clueless that other runners are returning.

Midnight Sun Run--probably my favorite race in town, and effectively the only 10K. I enjoy this event but do wish we'd have one or two more that would have a fast course and that would start at a reasonable time of day (say 9AM).

Santa Claus Half Marathon--more or less tied with Midnight Sun Run as my favorite. The only thing I'd like to have is another half marathon in town that has the entire course on flat pavement. I think we could run a minute faster at leasat if the entire thing was paved--that said I like the Santa Clause race as it is.

4th of July 5K and Labor Day 5K--these are put on by Lathrop coaches Kevin Brinegar and Chad Carroll. Both good events on accurately measured courses. My only complaint about these is that you have to navigate that narrow little wooden bridge (twice) on these runs.

That's it. We have like 60 events in town but for accurate road races with fast courses and good management all we have are three or four 5Ks, a 10K, and an off road (mostly) half marathon. My solution, if I could have a say:

Move the Water run either a week earlier or later, and maybe change the course so runners aren't colliding.

Add a festive and fast 10 miler or 15K in mid-late May.

Add a half marathon (or 20K) road race in early July (week or so after the 4th, when we used to have Santa Claus)

Add a 10K road race in August.

Run my XC series in September and October!


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