Monday, January 19, 2015

Third Times a Charm-MLK Trail 5K

Today we ran the MLK Trail 5K at Wakefield Park.  This was our third year doing some variation of the race.  We had not so great experiences the last two years with issues with poor course markings, but we love the idea of being able to race on a Monday so we decided to give it one more shot.

This year there were two distances.  The 5K was not being officially timed, and there were no prizes being given out so it was more of a fun run.  The 10K was officially timed and had awards.  I'm not sure that I understand the logic of not timing one distance if you are going to the trouble of having the timing mat set up anyway.  I'm guessing it's a cost issue since the race is for charity, but I would gladly pay a little extra for the 5K to get an official time.   The race was much improved over the past two years.

Packet pick up was easy once again.  We got there right when it opened at 8 am and were able to pick up our packets.  Shirts were extra and were a long sleeve cotton t shirt, but I always like the design so we got it.  I also appreciated that they actually had kid sized race shirts because the kids really do like to wear their race shirts to school and so many races don't offer shirts in child sizes. 

Bathrooms were also much improved as the park bathrooms were open this year so we didn't have to go to the recreation center to use the bathroom.  The race started on the CCT, and the race director warned us that the trail was muddy and wet.  No big deal for us, but I think it alarmed some of the runners who weren't quite used to trail running.  The race started promptly at 9 am and had a fairly good section of wide trail before it got to single tracking.  The 5K and 10K runners were on the same course for the first two miles.  Within the first mile we hit a ton of mud and ice.  I was running with the boys as I wanted to make sure they didn't get lost given previous issues with this race.  We hit right around a 9:50 for the first mile.  The first mile also included a small stream crossing.  As most other runners were trying to pick their way over on the rocks, I had a proud mama trail runner moment as my two guys ran straight through the stream.  I don't think the other runners appreciated our 'splash and dash' technique, but hey, it's a trail race.  We were looking to get dirty! 

After the first mile we circled back and headed out of Wakefield and into Lake Accotink.  Right around 2 miles we hit a water stop.  This was at the top of the only real climb on the course, and this section was also paved trail.  We had a nice 9:27 pace for the second mile.  At the water stop, we were supposed to turn around and head back to the finish while the 10K runners continued on.  Small problem:  they had no signage indicating this and were relying on the water stop volunteers to warn 5K runners to turn around.  They were not very vocal about this though so Zach overran the turnaround and only came back because I was shouting at him.  If I wouldn't have been there, the little guy would have been off to do the full 10K.  For next year, I would recommend a sign at the turnaround point.  Otherwise the course was very well marked this year and easy to follow.  As we headed back in the third mile, we were back on the very muddy trail sections so slopping along and getting messy.  The last mile was around 9:50 again.  We all finished within a few seconds of each other slightly over 30 minutes.  I beat the kids this time just because my legs are used to the trails, and they can't outkick me on the trails yet. 

We were actually among the really early finishers of the 5K so I'm pretty proud of their times.  They did a great job in some sloppy trail conditions.  The post race food was awesome.  They had hot veggie soup and chicken tortilla soup along with pita bread and a wide variety of sweet and salty snacks.  Overall we were very pleased with the race this year and will be back again.  Nice job fixing the issues from the previous years MetroRunWalk!

By the way, the awards from Richmond 8K arrived this week, and wow are they nice!


  1. Your kids look really fit and strong! It's great that you were able to make a family event out of it, like you do with so many races. I'm super impressed that you did this. I have zero tolerance for muddy races!

    1. Thanks! The kids love getting muddy, and I don't mind it. So I guess you won't be signing up for any mud runs!

  2. Those race awards from Richmond are so cool! Glad the race was better than previous years!