Equestrian Park is one of my less desired courses to run, however, the TAPPS 5k/10k/1 mile walk supports a good cause, and it was another race to run, so I got over my hesitation due to the course.
We got to the park with enough time to check in, get our bibs, and meander a bit, before the race started. Fellow Findlay Automotive Group employee, Terry Stockdale spotted me, and we went for a short warm up run along the course, getting an idea as to how we would run, as this park is a bunch of interconnected trails.
A slight delay held up the start of the race, which was already starting a bit later than we would have preferred. It wasn’t that bad of a delay, and before we knew it, off we went! All distances seemed to have started together, so there was a bit of a crowd at the start.
Once we got around the first bend/loop piece, though, we started to have some room to run. People found their rhythms, and paces, without a ton of congestion clogging up the trail. I tried to start even, and steady, without too hard of an effort, knowing the slight climb ahead of us. There was a younger competitor that was all about preventing people from passing him. Unfortunately for him, his conditioning did not allow him to prevent his being passed, except in short, unsustainable bursts.
As we got to the top of the park, the three race leaders ahead of me took an odd turn, and started running part of a Zombie Run course that was being held next to the park. I kept going where I hoped the course was actually supposed to be routed, and lead the race for about a quarter mile. It did not take long for the fleet footed Ethiopian runner to go past me, like it was nothing.
Shortly thereafter the other two previous leaders passed me, reclaiming their spot in the top 3. The heat got to me a little, and another few runners were able to overtake me, too. On the return portion of the course, however, I was able to reel in some runners ahead of me.
I ended up managing a third in age group (second if you remove the first overall runner), and 6th overall. Not too shabby!
It was a fun race, with adequate aid station help, and only minor course direction issues.