|Worth the Drive|
|The Keeper of the Plains|
|Site of Race Packet Pick Up|
|Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Musuem|
|As seen on one of the many vacancies downtown|
Saturday afternoon and evening was spent catching up with friends before our predawn wake-up call on Sunday. Though the morning was cool, it certainly could have been colder this time of year. With the high forecast to be near ninety, I was thankful for the early morning start. The half and full marathoners took off shortly after the scheduled 7:20 start time, and we started running about thirty minutes later.
|Moments before the start of the 5k|
The course immediately took us over the Arkansas River to McLean Boulevard, where we ran north to Douglas Avenue and back across the river. From Douglas we turned north and basically looped behind the Keeper statue before heading south on McLean and back to the start/finish line. The course was, of course, flat (duh, it's Kansas) and very fast. I felt like I was making pretty good time but refused to look at my watch. I guess I was afraid I might start slacking if I knew I was faster than my normal pace.
Though there were 609 finishers in the 5k, I ran alone for nearly all of the last mile. Flat courses can be good and bad. They're great because there are no hills obviously, but, by the same token, you can see far, far ahead. With hills, you can set small goals and fool yourself in the process. Example: If I just make it to the top of this hill, I will likely see the next [reference marker] is not far away. On a level course, you can see your reference point nearly a mile away, but it appears as if it's ten miles away. In this race the final turn was just beyond Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. From there, it was a chip shot to the finish line. I could see the light standards far off in the distance, and it looked like a twenty-minute ride on the bullet train to get there.
|Lawrence-Dumont Stadium at last!|
It seemed like the road was getting longer the more I ran, but I finally made it to the bridge taking us again across the river for a fast, slightly downhill finish. There was a good crowd of spectators around the finish corral cheering on participants as I hurried to close out the loop. I finished in 23:04, a 7:26/mile pace. This represents my best time ever in a 5k and was good enough on this day to capture 3rd place in the men's 45-49 division.
This was a fun course to run, a course almost tailor-made for folks new to running or returning after a long absence. The city hosts this event in both the spring and fall, so it's not too early to start planning your trip to Wichita now!
|3rd Place in the men's 45-49 bracket, 5k|