Runway Run 5k – Columbia Metropolitan Airport – Columbia, SC – 11/17/12

Runway is now in its 3rd year – its a 5k held completely on the flat concrete of one of CAE’s runways. While it was initially held to celebrate the opening of the new runway, its been turned into an annual event. I think I can safely say the race will continue – I have never seen an explosion of a race like this one. Last year there 152 participants, but this year over 600 were signed up. Nuts.  Everybody and their mom showed up, sometimes literally. They had to park most of the cars on the grass.

This was the second of my first same-morning double dip. I had just come off an 8k PR at the Shandon Turkey Trot and jumped in the car almost right after to come to this race.  I actually had plenty of time to spare, showing up about 45 minutes before race time.  Which is still plenty of time for legs to get tight.  After picking up my packet I see Ken Calcutt, my training group leader. I thought I was having a hallucination at first because the guy hardly ever pins on a bib, and if he does its for longer distance. This was his first 5k since the 2011 Jailbreak last May.  Still, he can run sub 7 pace in his sleep, so he was shooting for a sub 22 on minimal training.  Schmitz, Teo, Rocky, James Hicks,  Katie Hines,  Steven Rudnicki, the Ashtons and Michael Ferlauto were some of the familiar faces. A vast majority of this race was unknown to me, looked to be a lot of first-timers and new runners, which is cool. Need to do some CRC recruiting!

I did a few laps around the plane that was parked near the start as a warmup. Temps were a little cold but not too bad. Wind sucked though – all swirly and in no particular direction. Having raced this last year, I knew the wind is the main factor in this event. No trees or anything to block it, so it just knocks you back with any gusts. On the flipside, its nice when its at your back.

I lined up 2nd row behind the Ashtons – I figured it was safe to say I wasnt beating either one of them.  The start took me by surprise and I was getting swarmed right off the bat. I think people in front were trying to avoid the cattle stampede effect of the 600 person field.  I ran the first 400 meters conservatively, as I was still a little tight from the Shandon race. However, Teo and Crazy Legs were already gapping me, and my fragile ego couldnt let that happen. I caught up to Schmitz about a half mile in, but I’ll be damned if Teo isnt just crushing it. Just after the mile mark I start to catch him. Mile 1 was 6:28 by the Garmin. Immediately I get hit by a hurricane gust in my face, and it basically makes you just jog in place. We do a loop at the end of the runway,  and I’m hoping to get some of the wind at my back, but its just not happening. On the plus side, I’m finally warmed up again. After passing Teo and a couple of others, a huge gap opens up. The next guy is like 50 meters ahead or more. But dude is adopting blue shoe style head flopping and has looked back a couple of times.  Looks like I’ve found a target. After the loop the course folds back on itself, and I’m left by myself running all alone alongside the huge midpack . Wind is annoying but I feel my speed picking up some and I’m starting to make up ground on the straggler. Hit mile 2 around the same 6:28ish – I guess the wind is taking its toll. Mile 2 marker means time to throw down. I start blasting whatever I’ve got left, which is not a whole lot.  You can see the finish from forever away, which helped me push a little. I near the straggler and dude is hurting, but still blasting some pretty good speed. He’s looking more suspiciously 35-39,  so I ratchet it up another notch and finally pass him with about a half mile to go. At about this time we start running into the kids run, which was a very poor timing decision. I’m having to do all kind of jukes to make sure I dont flatten some poor 6 year old. This is tough because my legs and lungs are starting to complain quite a bit about all the abuse, and I’m flopping around all over the place. I blue shoe it as hard as possible in the last stretch, fearful that guy is going to come back and catch me.  Hit the line at 19:46.

They didnt post age groups but I got 2nd in AG,  9th overall. Cool pair of custom socks. Nice change from generic medals. I’m not ashamed to say I got chicked by three fast women,  because that equates to 6th overall male and more open TDC points!  I’m very pleased with the result and time given the 8k finished less than 90 minutes before this race.  Eric Ashton took the overall win once again, I believe he’s won it all 3 years. Kathryn Ashton and a high school girl battled it out the whole race, but the girl , Brooke Grice,  was able to hold her off for the win. Looks like Teo, Schmitz, Ken, Katie Hines, Thomas Tapp and Steve Rudnicki all placed in their age groups. James Hicks just missed out on an age group placement by a whole second. Ouch.

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