Thought for the Day

Sunday, May 30, 2004

ARR Summer Series 5K #1 2004

I ran the first of the five Arizona Road Racers Summer Series 5K races.
It was held in beautiful but weird Papago Park, on a very nice morning for Phoenix. It was 68 F when I left the house at 5 am, and only in the 80s by the time the race was over.
I had agreed to help out at this race, so I ended up being used as a runner, running batches of filled out race entries from the registration tables to the timing table where the timer was doing his level best to get them all entered into the computer. It was interesting, and kept me warmed up and occupied while waiting for the race to start.
This race is especially complicated because it is age and gender handicapped.
Each person is given a starting time based on how old they are and whether they are male or female. As a 45 year old male, my starting time was 12:19 after the gun.
This starting procedure, and the popularity of this race, and the fact that the course doubles back on itself, makes for a very crowded race from start to finish. You are always weaving through slower people who started ahead of you. Then, near the turnaround, there are runners in both directions. there is no clear marking of which side runners should stick to, so there was a lot of dodging and stutter-stepping.

Still, it's a very fun race. Because of the crowding, the rolling hills, and the loose dirt on part of the course, it is not a place to run a PR. but I didn't race really well. I ran a 21:37.
That was much better than I did last year, though. I can't believe I've been in Phoenix that long.
So the result of this handicapped start was that a 14 year old boy won, a 41 year old woman finished second, and a 53 year old man came in third.

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