Runners World Festival 5k (18:56)

I went to the Runners World Half Marathon Festival with no major race goals. I went to have fun and enjoy myself (which I did)! My plan, if you call it that, was to work hard in the 5k. Whatever happened in the half marathon was the whipped cream to my coffee (IE: bonus). The 5k is what I’ve focused on for the last four months. So last weekend I continued to concentrate on the 5k.

My training leading up to the festival is here.  At the Festival, I decided to run the 5k and 13.1. I am obviously clumsy and injury prone so I  did not want to risk falling during the Altra trail run. I thought adding the 10k was too much for me personally. I applaud my fellow bloggers that can handle that!

Anyways, I didn’t set my alarm for the race, and it backfired as always. I woke up at 6:30, when realistically I would have liked to wake up at 5:30. Oh well, I ate breakfast and jogged down to the starting line.  I wasn’t stressed since I had everything I needed. I hid my bag in the bushes (if they really wanted a pair of smelly running shoes…go for it) and ran a 3 mile warm up. I met up with Allie and Laura at the starting line, and before I knew it, we were off.

The race started, and I got caught up in the moment.  I knew the 5k was hillier than what I’m used too, and the crowds were flying.  Like any race, I also knew I shouldn’t take it out too fast.  The race started, and I found myself running near several of the Runners World editors.  Talk about a crazy crowd!

During the first mile, I found myself as second place women. The first place woman was about 10 seconds in front of me, and I was desperately trying to catch her. We ran up a bridge and then back down. I hit the first mile in 6:03.   I knew 6:03 is a little faster than my usual first mile (Normally my first mile is between 6:05-6:10 and those five seconds makes a lot of difference.  This course was uphill during the first mile as well.).

I thought to myself…either I will ride the pain train home, or this might finally be the race I run under 19 minutes again. During mile two, we doubled back over the bridge, and I saw many Runners World bloggers who cheered me on!

I was feeling good, and the second mile was fast. I can’t think of a single 5k where my second mile is the fastest.  The combination of the downhill, cheering and adrenaline caused me to run a 5:50. That is my fastest mile in over a year! That led to riding the pain train home.

As usual, the third mile was about “holding on”. Several people including another woman passed me. As we went uphill, she surged by me like I was standing still.  She later went on to win the 10k and hat trick!  It was a little bit demotivating to see so many people pass me, but I knew I had taken the race out of my comfort zone. I knew I was giving the race everything I had, and there were faster runners out there.

high fiving bart

Not only did I take it out faster but I did so on a harder course! (hashtag #derp).  During the final mile, I held on for dear life and just hoped I could finally break 19 again. When I reached mile 3 at 18:15, I knew I was close. I sprinted as hard as I could, high-fived Bart Yasso and crossed the finish line in 18:56.

finishing runners world


I finished as 3rd women overall with an 18:55 chip time and 18:56 gun time.  Since I placed overall, gun time wins.

I’m happy with the race.  I will never complain about progression, and the course was much harder than I’m used too. To be honest, I’m beginning to wonder if I thrive more on courses which elevation change.  I do believe, however, on a flatter course, I could be closer to 18:40.  I just have to wait for another good day and a good course.

In summary, I am progressing, and I had a good race.

Questions for you:

Do you thrive more on hilly courses or flat courses?

Categories: Tags: , , ,


  1. Congrats Hollie!!! That has to feel so good to place at such a fun race and during an amazing weekend at Runners World! I’m impressed that you ran so fast on a hilly course! I love hills on longer distance races but not 5K’s. Nice work!!

  2. You were flying!! That first mile was a tough one for me. I think if I go back next year I’ll stick to the 5k and half as well… the trail and 10k were fun but it’s hard to race anything well, obviously, with all four. Congrats again on your amazing sub-19!!

  3. It looks like you actually leapt across the finish 🙂 Awesome job, I loved following your Twitter/Instagram photo posts from this weekend and seeing so many fun things.

  4. Great job Hollie! I can’t imagine running a mile under 6:00, particularly in a race like this. You’re amazing! It’s great to see your time under 19:00. Great job! I thrive on hilly courses, mostly because I don’t have much of a choice for training on flat courses!

  5. Great work breaking 19 minutes! You keep inching closer and closer!!

    I think I thrive on courses with slight rolling hills, I’m able to power up, and get some speed back down.

  6. daaaaaaang youre fast!! wow.

    I love hilly courses. I think i’m faster on flat (obviously) but I can power up hills like nobody’s business! haha

  7. You were amazing!!!! I seriously cannot believe you did a sub 19 on that hilly course. You rock and I’m so glad I was there to see it 🙂 well…from behind!

  8. Congrats on getting back under 19!!! That is seriously so amazing! I remember that course being so hilly and difficult. Also that finish photo is amazing.

  9. awesome awesome time! hills kill me, my normal route is pretty flat so the hills take a toll on me. way to go!!!! cant wait to hear how the half went.

  10. Sub-19 again! Knew you would be seeing those numbers again, workouts are working. 3rd place too, I mean talk about a great day!

  11. Great job on the Sub-19 on a difficult course and placing 3rd OA. Congratulations and yay for high fiving Bart Yasso!

    Mile splits have to be really weird on hilly courses because 5 seconds is 5 seconds, but a major uphill or downhill is going to affect that (you gotta race the course, too). I bet the other people- both crowd support and runners- gave your pace a big boost as well.

    I live in Coastal SC and have never run a hilly race- the closest thing we have are bridges and connectors. I did really well in the Bridge Run but I think it was due to the crowds motivating me, I don’t think I’d be a very good hill runner and am glad I don’t have to be ;).

  12. What a great race, I’m so happy for you! You are killing it girl! 🙂 Can’t wait to see where you come in next, your training is seriously paying off. Oh, and the Bart Yasso high five, that was epic.

  13. Congrats on placing on such a difficult course! I found your blog through Alison on Inverted Sneakers 🙂 And a high-five from Bart Yasso sounds like a great way to end a 5k 🙂

  14. I like flat courses, even thought I won my 1st 5k on hills.

    Trail courses, are fun. But I seem slower so I thrive on flat courses.

    Happy running hollie.

  15. It was so fun to stand on the bridge and see you as one of the leaders!!!!! Loved cheering you on for this race. Totally nailed it!

  16. Amazing race on what I heard is a tougher course! I always psych myself out on races that are more challenging. Congats on breaking back under 19 too!

  17. Congrats! There’s nothing like gutting out a race, “holding on” like you said, and leaving it all out there. I tend to do better on gently rolling courses. I don’t do well with big climbs, but I like a small climb because of what comes after–that nice little downhill. Whereas with a flat course, it’s just grind, grind, grind. Keep on progressing!

Comments are closed.