This was my first year doing this race. I arrived at the park around 9, got my packet, put it back in the car, then headed out for a short 10 min warmup. My car was parked about 1/2 mile from the start so I planned to wear my sweatshirt to avoid being cold waiting for the start and to just through it on my car as I went by.
If you want to run a fast 5k, you have to start in the front. I did not know this. So I started in the back to avoid going out too fast. The problem is that it is all run within the Apex community park, and the roads are not very wide. Then after about 3/4 of a mile the route transitions to a walkway around the lake. The path is only wide enough for about 3 runners wide and if you get stuck behind a group that is going slower than you, then you have to wait for the side to be wide enough and safe enough to go by and have to avoid all the other people trying to go by. Let's just say the first mile was very stressful. Other than the sweatshirt handoff to the hood of my car, which went perfectly, there was a lot of not being able to get into a stride without tripping over someone running.
Mile 1 8:53 - Definitely did not go out too fast.
There was a small hill around mile 1 that stretched out the field of "I started too fast" people in front of me, so the next mile was great, the course was bumpy, couldn't even call it rolling and I was passing people so I was happy.
Mile 2 8:41, about the pace I wanted to run.
the last mile started off well, still on the lake, but I knew there was a hill to climb to get back to the start since I had warmed up on that part of the course. When I got to the hill I was still feeling good, but when I got to the top I was hurting so I had to ease off a bit to let my heart rate lower so I could make it to the finish. Then there was a short downhill followed by one more short uphill to the finish.
Mile 3 8:53, not bad for the last mile with that hill.
Then the finish sprint was .12 miles in :54 seconds for a final unofficial time of
Picked up up some chick fillet nuggets, fruit and a couple gatorades and was off. The other problem with this race is the course is on the park roads which remain closed until the last walkers finish, so we had to wait to leave. Normally this isn't a problem as I like to hand around afterwards, but we had some XMas shopping to do and I wanted to get going.
Overall I think it's a good race, but wouldn't recommend it if you are in a hurry to leave after, or want to run fast. But great for the family as the Chick Fillet cow was there and there was a guy dressed up as a turkey that ran the course as well. They also gave out finisher plaques to the under 11 kids just for finishing. Maybe when the kid is old enough to make it 3 miles We'll come back to do this one :-)