The Heroes to Hero 5k is one of my favorite 5ks of the year. It’s weird to say that now that I’ve moved away from New Jersey, I guess. At the group run at RunningCo. of Haddonfield last week, I found out the Heroes to Hero 5k was the same weekend I was in town. I knew I was going to run anyway over the weekend, so I decided…why not.
I decided it would be easier and more fun to run the Heroes to Hero 5k. It was the fourth time I’ve run and at least not my slowest. In 2019, I ran a 20:30, and I felt “more in shape.” Maybe? I don’t know; I was marathon training. My fastest was the first time I ran it in 18:41.
Anyway, the morning of the Heroes to Hero 5k was more chaotic than usual….which says a lot for someone basically living out of their suitcase. I woke up late. Usually, I like to relax and be up around 3 hours before a race. That morning I felt rushed. Since I was also driving up north to a friend’s wedding, I wanted to be packed as well. So it was a lot in the morning.
I arrived at the Heroes to Hero 5k around 7:45 for the 9 am race start. The course is a point-to-point, so you do take a bus to the race start. My friend Skip and I jogged for 3 miles and then got on a bus.
The Heroes to Hero 5k remembers three firefighters that lost their lives. On July 4, 2002, Fire Fighter Thomas Stewart III of the Gloucester City Fire Headquarter, Chief James Sylvester of the Mount Ephraim Volunteer Fire Dept. and Deputy Fire Marshal John West Sr. of the Camden County Fire Marshals Office all died tragically while attempting to save the lives of three trapped little girls in a house fire.
The Heroes to Hero 5k course follows their route, and it ends up being 3.1 miles. It’s unfortunate why the race happened but also a beautiful way to pay tribute.
You take a bus to the start. I wish I had brought water on the way because I found myself fairly thirsty at the start. The Heroes to Hero 5k ultimately began around 9:10. The first mile of the Heroes to Hero 5k got out fast. There are a lot of small kids pulling us along. As it usually happens, they faded after half a mile. I was running side by side with another woman. I didn’t feel good, but I also didn’t feel I was working “too hard.” When I went through the first mile in 6:09, I was pleasantly surprised. I thought maybe I could finally break 20 minutes again.
The second mile went through a lot of twists and turns. The Heroes to Hero 5k course makes several turns, and I can’t say I ran the tangents as well as I would have liked. My body started to feel tired. I told myself, you’re already halfway done. I felt dehydrated since I hadn’t had enough fluids and waited an hour before racing. I ran a 6:15 second mile.
The last mile of the Heroes to Hero 5k just focused on the end. We started running through a headwind as well as a few small hills. During the final mile, a woman passed me, which put me as third overall. I attempted to stay with her, but I didn’t have it in me. The last mile felt like it never ended.
Finally, we rounded the corner towards the waterfront in Gloucester City, and I saw the Heroes to Hero 5k finish. I finished with a 6:30 mile and 19:51 time.
Heroes to Hero 5k Thoughts:
It feels weird to say, “I did not feel good,” but also that I ran my fastest 5k time in a while. My training indicates I can run faster. Even if the wind weren’t a factor, I probably would have run faster, but I had a lot of other things going on. Anyway, I have no complaints as it’s my fastest 5k in a while.
As always, you can follow my Strava here.
Questions for you:
Do you enjoy point-to-point courses?
What is your favorite race?