Sunday, May 11, 2014

30th Annual Guthrie Gallop (Race Report)

115 athletes made it out for the hot and sunny 2014 running of the Guthrie Gallop 10k, while another 208 runners and 69 walkers competed at the 5k distance. This year’s races marked the 30th annual running of Bradford County’s oldest road race (The Camptown Races 10k Trail Run will be 48 years old in September). Although I’ve been living and running in Sayre Pa for nearly a decade, curiously, I’ve only run one prior Guthrie Gallop, a 45:42 (4th in age group, 19th overall) on the old course in the 2012 10k event.

At 9:00AM, after a few words from the race director the race got underway. I primarily think of myself as a trail runner, but I like to support local races on whatever surface they are run, and so this spring I’ve been treating such events as an excuse to get in a little speed work. Based on recent road race finish times in a 1 miler and a 5k, I used the McMillan Running Calculator to project a pace between 7:07 and 7:15 per mile. As in both of those races, I wrote the target pace on a small piece of tape which I attached to my Garmin Forerunner 110 as an in-race reminder. This meant forcing myself to begin the race at a conservative pace, letting some of my VRC friends and frequent training partners go, and then hopefully holding on to that pace through out the event while reeling some of those friends back in.

My friend Paul took off like a bat out of hell, dragging Curtis along with him, and while running a 7:06 pace went on to a 9th place finish. Needless to say I never saw Paul again. My fellow trail junkie Tracy (who crushed me by more than 20 minutes at Hyner) also got the jump on me.

Remaining patient, I didn't pull even with Tracy until nearly the half way point. We cruised through the first 5k in about 22:20 as the sun beat down in full force, held at bay only by the constant breeze off the two rivers.

Something strange happens when you do a lot of long trail runs. You get in great shape, but "warming up" seems to take longer and longer. Mile 4 would be my slowest of the race. Two or three runners who i had chatted with earlier in the race passed me and I began to wonder while I still ran these ridiculous, painful short races.

The pity party ended in mile 5, which was 15 seconds faster than mile 4. By the hair-pin turn at the course’s most northerly point I’d made significant strides toward reeling in another VRC friend, Curtis. He’d nipped me by a scant 10 seconds or so a few weeks earlier at a local 5k, so I let it by my motivator for the last miles of this weekend’s 10k.

I pulled even with Curtis in the last half mile and tested the water with a small move. He responded, and so I tucked in behind him to bide my time. There was a strong headwind on the southbound leg of the course.
Just before the end of the course there are two right hand turns. I made my move on the first and got some separation, but I did not dare look back. Curtis had a personal cheering section on the final turn before the finish straight away. I dropped the hammer there and cruised in to the finish at 6:40 pace over the final .2 of the course.

At most races it seems like I spend more time alone than anything. I can't catch the front runners, but its usually a fair distance back to the next group, so it was nice to be able to actually use some strategy and do some “racing.”

I crossed the finish in 16th place (2nd in my age group) in just under 47 minutes, slower than my run here two years earlier, albeit on a hotter day and on a different course.

Later in the morning Maria finished the 5k race barefoot like a badass.

My sister ran the 5k as well, after having taught a Zumba class earlier in the morning.

After the race we hung out, talking with friends, attending the awards ceremony, and eating pizza. The finish line party was by no means up to the high standards set by my favorite trail races, but for a small local road race it wasn't bad either.

I wore a pair of Merrell Trail Gloves (review) for this 10k


with my sister Ann

with Maria

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