I guestimate I’ve run about 300 races in the last decade, but the Bakersfield 6k was the least organized race I’ve done. I hate to say that, but nothing from the parking to the actual race was well organized. All of the races started about 30 minutes late, and I ran 5 miles for a 6k race.
Where did it all begin?
My friend Brittany wanted to celebrate her birthday with a fun race and opted for the Bakersfield races. There is a 6k/10k/half marathon/marathon. After running Shamrock last weekend, I didn’t feel like running another half marathon, and quite frankly, I’m glad I didn’t deal with that. Brittany and I left Edwards around 4:50 am and arrived to the Bakersfield 6k around 6:15. After a long line of traffic, we were able to park around 6:45. I was a little antsy because I typically like to get 3 miles warmup before a 5-6k. After picking up our bibs, we were informed the race would go off 10 minutes late. 10 minutes was good news so I could warm up but ten minutes became 20 minutes, and the Bakersfield 6k finally left at 7:55 (exactly 30 minutes late).
Bakersfield 6k Race:
The Bakersfield races have been going on since 2016. With a longer history and hundreds of people running, I never anticipated getting lost. I really didn’t anticipate being in the lead either. But I don’t think I ever went the right way during the Bakersfield 6k. The volunteers didn’t know where we were supposed to go. At the start, I took off with the lead pack of 2 other men. I felt fine, and I had high hopes I would be able to hold between 6:20-6:30 pace.
During the first mile, we went down and up a small hill. I didn’t realize the Bakersfield 6k would have any hills, but who knows if it was supposed to. Around .75, the two men and I realized the road was not closed off. There were cars on the same route, and it seemed wrong. Even though the volunteers had told us it was the correct way. Ultimately we decided to u-turn. I hit the first mile in 6:40. I pretty much knew at this point no one knew where to go.
I continued going the same way, which led me to running alone the rest of the time. The two other men just ran back to the start. Despite wearing a 6k bib, not one volunteer said: “this is the wrong way,” or you go this way. I just continued running alone. I went up about a 100-foot hill during mile 2, which I was not expecting. I looked over and saw people running down an adjacent hill and was just able to cut over and begin running with them. I had no idea who those people were. 10k? Half-marathon? Marathon? I looked over and saw at least half marathon bibs, but it wasn’t until I reached mile 8 of the marathon that I realized I was around the half and marathon runners.
Around 3.5 of the Bakersfield 6k, I asked a volunteer at an aid station if he knew where the Bakersfield 6k was supposed to go. He did not. He apologized. Finally, two half marathoners said the race start was only a couple of miles away. I decided to just continue along the route and figured it would be around 5-6 miles.
Finally, around 4 miles, I saw some other Bakerskfield 6k runners. Wahooo, finally, I was in the right spot. I just followed the rest of the Bakersfield 6k runners to the finish. I crossed 5.1 miles at a 7:13 pace. Which 7:13 is exactly the same pace I ran at Shamrock the week before. To me, it felt like a challenging workout.
Bakersfield 6k Thoughts:
I am extremely disappointed because I thought I had a 6:20-6:30 6k in my legs, but it was not the right day for it. I’ve had a hard time with running the last 6 months because I’ve felt it’s “one thing after another” from injuries to race organization. Hopefully, I’ll have some confidence booster races sometime this Spring. It was a “good workout,” Hopefully, I can run faster another day.
To add, I did reach out to the Bakersfield 6k race organizers for clarity but did not hear back after my initial email.
Questions for you:
Have you run the Bakersfield 6k?
Have you ever done a 6k?