Clean Air 5k (19:50)

I wasn’t supposed to run this race.  In fact, until about 2 hours before, I had planned to drive up 90 minutes North to a different race.  Sometimes life happens, and I wasn’t able too.  Which is unfortunate because I had actually signed up for the original race too!

I knew about the Clean Air 5k/10k plus a good friend of mine, Noelle, was running.  When I realized I wasn’t able to drive north, I decided to leech on with her and go into Philadelphia.  She was running the 10k, but I figured the 5k was enough for me.

The course itself was a simple out and back on the Schuylkill River.  In fact, it was the exact place I set my 5k PR last year.

Noelle and I warmed up, and I knew I didn’t feel great. Of course, the weather was pretty much ideal, and I felt like garbage.

The 5k started 15 minutes after the 10k, so I waited around and then lined up.  All of a sudden we were off.

As I settled into racing, I saw a huge pack of men and women taking off out in front.  To be honest, I was surprised the 5k was so competitive, but you never know who will show up.

I found my groove and hit the first mile in 5:57.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold that pace.  My calves were stiff, and I just didn’t feel good.  Not every race can be your best, and I figured quickly this was not going to be great.

Thanks to my friend Paul for these photos

The next mile began weaving through the 10k walkers.  I felt as though I couldn’t get any momentum because I was going around and weaving.  We hit the 180-degree turn around mile 1.6, and at that point, I knew the course would probably be long.

As I headed back towards back to Philadelphia, I caught one woman.  From someone watching the races, it was probably easy to see who was running which race. However, when you are racing it’s hard to pay attention to multiple people going different paces.  I hit mile 2 around 6:07 and just focused on the finish.

The third mile was rough, and I just wanted the race to be over.  I didn’t regret running, but I was riding the pain train home.  During the third mile, a woman passed me and tried to motivate me to hang with her.  As much as I wanted to keep up, it wasn’t in the cards, and she took over fourth place.

The last half mile was spent trying to get home.  When I crossed the third mile in 6:09, I knew there was no way it would be an accurate course.  I finished up with 3.25 miles in 19:50 and overall pace of 6:05.  That would equate out to an 18:45 5k which is about what I’ve been running.  A little bit slower on an easier course, but I felt more fatigued.clean air 5k


I can’t say I’m happy about the time, course or how the events that morning played out but some days are like that.  I’m proud I still competed, and I had an enjoyable time with friends.  Plus it’s nice not to race in pouring rain.

Noelle and I post race

Questions for you:

What was the last morning things didn’t go as planned?

Have you ever raced a long course?


  1. Back in 2014, when I was getting back into running and training for my first half, my wife and I did a 5K. And … the course was long. Probably 3.25 or so just like you experienced. My wife doesn’t love running that much, but she did it anyway for moral support for me. Of course, I appreciated it. But, to this day, she still brings up that the course wasn’t measured correctly! Haha.

    Also, this race just sounds like it was a grind for you. You get those races and you get those training runs. But, you actually weren’t far off your usual time. The fact that course was long, you were thrown off that morning, and you just weren’t 100% can take a toll mentally. That said, you still powered through and that’s what matters. Congrats on that and the great finish!

  2. Congrats on a great race and finishing injury free! Your time was really good for the long course and adjusted. You did the best you could and played the hand you were dealt when you couldn’t make the other race, and that says a lot!

  3. On the plus side, woohoo for doing a race in great weather! 😉 Hopefully more of your outings in the spring and summer are like this. My legs were toast during my “workout” on Wednesday morning. I was supposed to complete intervals, but after a long warm up and attempting the first one, I knew it wasn’t in the cards. (And then I got a massage after work, lol.)

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