When is a race not really a race? In the time of quarantine.
It might be a long time before we get back to live-action road races but last Sunday, I had the unique opportunity to race a 5k. Through a weird hiccup of circumstance, I actually won the HMEA 5k last year and when COVID forced this year’s fundraising event to go virtual, they invited the men’s (me) and women’s winner to run and be live streamed on Facebook as part of their fundraising day.
So how did it go?
It was hard. 5k’s are sort of the devil’s race. They are essentially all out sprints. Not having anyone to run with, or chase, or having any spectators cheering you on made maintaining a hard pace really difficult. Check out my face as I tried to finish strong and maintain my dignity!
The women’s participant was two minutes behind me, so after the first half mile, I was essentially running by myself.
It did make me have even more respect for Eliud Kipchoge’s first attempt to break two hours in the marathon. I’m shocked he came that close with barely any spectators.
It might have been mildly motivating to chase the car but it ended up driving almost twenty or more yards ahead of me. This saved any viewers from seeing my stressed and sweaty face but offered little motivation or wind break.
I was actually quite happy to just dip under 20 minutes given all the circumstances.
I hope we don’t have to do this again next year but if we do or if you are looking to do something similar for your race then here are my suggestions:
- Try to run it on a mostly closed course so the car can go slowly and stay in contact with the runner
- Place more spectators along the course
- Potentially make it an equalizer race where a few different runners go off at different times but finish more closely together (but not that close!) to provide a little more motivation on the course.
All in all, I was happy with my time, got a great workout, and helped out a great cause. I just hope I’m not alone again next year.