My hometown event. Run local they say, and that is just what my 16 year old son and I did on Saturday morning. After celebrating my older sons graduation from High School on Friday morning, it was a jam packed weekend. We have only run this event one other time. Three years ago we ran the 5k, which was the only distance offered for the first nine runnings of this race. This being the 10 year anniversary of the event, they added both a 10k, and the 15 Quay Challenge (running both the 10k and 5k).
I do love a challenge, so I signed up for the 15, and my son signed up for his first 10k. Saturday morning came early, but I dropped by the Chamber of Commerce on Friday afternoon during packet pickup, so we were ready to roll. We arrived about a half hour before the race start, such an easy 5 minute drive from the house.
We both felt pretty good that morning. Albeit a little tired, especially my son. I actually ran the full “new” 10k course once in training just to familiarize myself with the course. They described this course as hilly, challenging and full of turns. 30+ turns on the course exclusively run in historic downtown. I wondered how many folks would miss turns and get lost on the course come race day. I have to say, they did a great job keeping us on the right track. They color coded the miles, and had signs denoting turns as well as volunteers. It was a great course, but tough.
The gun went off. The start is downhill which is part of the reason why my 5k PR of 20:45 in 2011 still stands today. Going out strong, my son and I clocked the first mile in 6:56. I didn’t want to tell him that so I kept quiet. Right then though comes the first hills, and my son dropped back a bit. He never caught back up to me, but was never that far behind. We wound around the hilly and twisty turny course at a good clip. Volunteers and signage made it easy to stay on course. I concentrated on just enjoying the run. I wasn’t trying to set any records, but did want to not have a personal worst. I was shooting for sub 50 minutes, but knew I had the 5k directly afterward so wanted to leave a little gas in the tank for that.
There was a big crowd, and quite a few spectators all along the route. The miles ticked by quickly. Mile 3 then 4 then 5. I knew the finish was uphill but tried to stay strong for the final push. I haven’t run a 10k race in almost two years, so of course I was surprised by how quickly it was over compared to a Half or Full marathon, which is pretty much all I’ve run the past two years. I crossed the line in 48:25. By far not my best, but also not my worst. I was actually surprised that I finished as high in the standings as I did. I finished 32/205 overall, and placed 8/32 in my age group. This event is the only one I’ve ever run where the age groups are 10 years instead of 5. As I’ve said before, and will continue to say, the 40-50 year old male age group is extremely competitive. I would have placed higher in both the 20-30 and 30-40 age brackets. Oh well.
I moved to the side of the street to start watching for my son. Not long afterward, I saw my sons red shirt off in the distance. He was chugging along nicely. As he made his way up to the finish, the hill was taking its toll. As he neared the finish, we cheered him on. One guy, probably in his 40’s overtook him just before the finish, and I yelled out to my son “strong, finish strong”. He turned up the heat, and passed that man and finished just in front of him. Huffing and puffing, he was proud of his finish and so was I. His first 10k, and he turned in a fantastic time on this difficult course. Overall he finished 43/205, and WON his age group!!! His time was 51:16. Quite the honorable debut!
As we celebrated his age group win, I had to remind myself that I had to run again. The 10k started at 7am, and based on my finish time, I had about 40 minutes rest before the 5k began at 8:30am. I drank an entire bottle of water without even really realizing it, and also ate a banana. I hoped I wouldn’t cramp up during my second race. My son stayed with family while I lined up for the 5k. A lot more people in this event, the crowd was deep for a local event. I wished I had brought a second race shirt, because I was still soaking wet from the 10k, but the gun went off and here we go.
Making my way on the 5k course I was familiar with, I felt good. I wasn’t overdoing it though. I wanted a respectable time. The course is hilly like the other, but has a different route. Ups and downs and some turns, I was hoping for a pace quicker than the first race. That was my one and only goal. Did I have enough left in the tank? Turns out I did. No cramping, either. Legs were ok. My son and friends were at the finish cheering me on as I ascended the finishing hill. Chip time was 23:45. Not great, but my goal was met. A pace quicker than the 10k. I finished 36/430 overall, and 7/41 in the 40-49 age group.
I felt good after running both races. Not overly tired, but still have it a good effort. My efforts that day led to an overall finish of 6th place in the 15 Quay Challenge. There were only 28 people that opted to take the challenge of running both races. So I guess sixth place isn’t too bad for this old timer.
The Run the Quay Race Events is a great locally run event. Plenty of food and water at the finish, they even had photographers there this year. Will wait to see how those photos turn out. More than likely horrible like most others. We had a great time at the race, and will surely return to run it again next year. The next race my son and I will run together will again be a new distance for him. We are already signed up to race the City of Oaks Half Marathon in November. Can’t wait, it’s always great to run with my kids.