This is the 2nd time I have run the St Pete GP 5k, but the first time I have run a race with my daughter. A little more than a month prior to the race my 9 year old daughter expressed an interest to compete in this 5k. Registration is handled online via imathlete.com. Last year packet pickup was handled at a local hospital admin building, this year’s packet pickup was done at the start finish line at Vinoy Park. The packet contained race bibs, event t-shirt, coupons, advertisements, complimentary general admission ticket to the Friday practice at the Indycar circuit. Not bad.
The 5k start time was pushed back to 7:15 which works out great for a lot of folks that work till 5pm. But the 5k start time wasn’t pushed back due to that reason, it was because there were still automotive activities still going on. Before the race, there was a short speech given by Sam Schmidt, and singing of the national anthem, and finally the start. Last year walkers had infiltrated deep into the start box, and had bogged down the runners, so this year I moved my daughter well up into the box to avoid all that. The start/finish line is located just outside the Vinoy, with the course heading south to the Indycar circuit and back again.
Thankfully we didn’t have to run the Pier (the more runners I talk to, each one talks about how they don’t like the Pier runs – it is such a long straight and neverending stretch, it’s a morale killer), and soon we end up on the Indycar circuit itself. Different from last year is the traversing the circuit. Last year we ran it clockwise, which meant our eyes were staring into the setting Sun on the airport runway. This year they ran us counter-clockwise, and didn’t have that issue. Sure there were a couple switchbacks on the way back that pointed us into the Sun, but not for any serious duration.
My daughter’s school teacher, and her husband pushing a jogger/stroller were also in attendance, and they passed us at the 1.5 kilometer mark. By the time we got to the 2 kilometer mark, my daughter wanted to take a 30 second walk break. In our training runs, we were taking 30 second walk breaks at each kilometer, so getting to the 2nd kilometer without a break was terrific! Once on the airport, you run through pitlane (not the runway), and that is where they had the waterstation. I had explained the waterstation to my daughter pre-race, and that she should take a cup, take a swig from it, rinse her mouth if need be, and try not to toss it on anybody when she tossed it. She got the cup, took a drink, and then tossed the remainder on another woman’s shoe. Water actually splashed up and hit the woman in the face, but what are you going to do? Keep going, is all. But seriously the woman shouldn’t have chose that area to overtake. Especially in the gutter where all the cups were being tossed.
We got done with the pitlane and airport hairpin, that pushed back in the direction of the finish line. At this point me and my daughter shared some laughs that made others around us laugh. My daughter had complained that her sweaty armpits were chilly. I laughed, and told her as soon as the race was over we’d take her to the hospital to have her chilly armpits looked at, and told her the doctors my have to amputate. It was fun to laugh during a race, as it distracted us during that dreary segment that lasts from the 2.5 kilometer mark all the way through to the 4 kilometer mark. (the final kilometer always goes by fast)
We worked our way north, left the Indycar race circuit, back to St Pete streets, and hit the final kilometer just around the intersection to the Pier. At this point my daughter was asking to take another 30 second walk break, but when I pointed out that the finish line wasn’t that much farther she agreed and pressed on. Once on the final straight to the finish line my daughter found herself wanting to race against another young boy. The really pushed each other, but he had more left in the gas tank, but still she had a great finish 31 minutes and 16 seconds! She had crushed her previous 5k practice time by over FIVE minutes!
The race was not chip timed, so as you run through the finish line you have to look at the clock and grab a card. If I have to gig the organizers for something, it would be the lack of chip timing. Not a big deal, just a few day delay in the posting of the results. And the confusion from people that didn’t take note of the finish clock when they passed it.
I really like getting the opportunity to run a race track, the volunteers did a great job, the police did a great job controlling traffic for us, people along the race route cheered the runners on. Post race vendors and organizers had plenty of bananas and orange slices to eat, and a free beer. The organizers are really close to hitting a grand slam with this event. They could do themselves a huge favor by utilizing chip timing. It would alleviate the hassle of going through race cards, and the results would be immediately available. A few days later, once the results were posted online my daughter was really excited to see how she had done.
2012 St Pete GP 5k, a set on Flickr.