Saturday, May 9, 2015

31st Annual Guthrie Gallop (Race Report)

There are 52 weeks in every year, but here in Bradford County Pennsylvania we like to cram a year's worth of racing in to a single month. This year's May race schedule looks like this:

May 9: Guthrie Gallop 10k/5k
May 16: Mutt Strut, 5k, Sayre
May 17: Chief Wetonah Challenge, Mt Pisgah (Half M & 7 Mile)
May 23: Pound the Ground for Ultrasound, 5k/10k, Sayre
May 25: Memorial Miracle Miles 5k, Litchfield
May 30: Miles For Military 5k/10k NEB
May 30: 3rd Annual Racing Heart 5k, Towanda
May 31: Score 4 Your Color 5k, Troy 

I kicked my month of "May Madness" off this morning with the Guthrie Gallop "Double," the 10k event at 9:00AM followed in quick succession by the 5k at around 10:30. The race is now in its 31st year. I've run it off and on during the last decade since moving to "The Valley." Last year I opted for just the 10k. It was hot as hell for that race. Conditions were similar for 2015, if not so muggy as in 2014. For many of us times were a few minutes slow in 2014, made all the more apparent a couple weeks later by the improved finish times at the 1st Annual Pound the Ground for Ultrasound 5k/10k which utilizes the same course. But no matter, everybody must deal with the same conditions.

In early 2014 my training went poorly, but as spring arrived I found myself accidentally "racing myself into shape" en-route to loftier goals later in the year. This year I'm following a similar path, but doing it intentionally: loads of short road races as speed work, a handful of mountain trail races from half marathon to 50k, and a few long, flat rail trail runs to round things out before a long autumn ultra. 

I've run 7 races between 4k and 25k so far this year and will toe the line at a mountain 50k at the end of May. After a brief setback in April (ankle sprain) I'd say that things are progressing along nicely. This morning's run was about getting in a combined 15k of hard, race-pace running, supporting a local tradition, and catching up with the dozens of great people I've had the pleasure of meeting thanks to the Valley Running Club.  (facebook)

My run went as well as can be expected. 10th overall, 1st in my age group in the 10k, and 13th overall, 3rd in my age group in the 5k. No personal bests, but despite the heat I think I ran consistently and laid some groundwork for the months ahead. 

The Guthrie Gallop has been around for 31 years and it shows. The race runs like a well oiled machine, efficient and organized registration table, course markings, RF chip timing with pizza and awards to follow. Put on your calendar for next May.  

Check out Bradford County Races  (facebook) for more events in the area.

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