The race is billed as a fast "downhill" 5K, which it wasn't really. The race drops a little over 200 feet over the 5K distance and it broke down like this... mile 1 started flat with a short downhill on a tight right turn, but you are in the mass of 700 runners so breaking free is impossible. Then the course takes another right turn and stays pretty flat until about mile 1.5, goes downhill a bit, then flat again. From 2-3 miles is mostly slightly downhill, then it flattens out into the right hand turn to the finish. To me it felt more flat than downhill, but it certainly does give you a faster time than most road 5K's.
Many years ago I was a road racer and I once ran a 5K in 16:32...last year I ran several 5K's in prep for a marathon I ran in the fall and the best I could run was 20:56 on a dirt loop, but somewhat flat. They billed it as a XC run, but it really was a flat dirt road loop in a small park in NH on Thanksgiving morning. My goal yesterday was to try to run under 20 minutes, which for a runner of 56 years old is not an easy feat. Add to that the fact that I have been training for the Hardrock Hundred means that most all of my running has been long and slow on trails. As a matter of fact I have not run fast at all yet this year, just running two 50k trail races and one 50 mile trail race with one coming up next weekend in Vermont. I will add that I did do hill repeats on and off weather permitting from January to May, but with the winter we had here, it was more off than on.
So does slow and rocky and rooty running help one run sub 6 1/2 minute miles on a road? I would think not....BUT!
I ran 19:52. Mile 1 was run in 6:10, mile 2 was run in 6:15 and then I started to tighten up and ran the last 1.12 miles in an average of 6:42 (I missed taking mile 3 split). So I averaged 6:25 per mile. I finished 76th overall, and 5th in my age group of 55-59.
Here are the official results:
76 5/18 M5559 19:52.9 6:25 STEPHEN PERO 56 M 316 JAFFREY NHIt was fun but man, did it hurt! What hurt the most was my lungs....I was coughing for hours and had trouble talking after the race without breaking into a cough. My legs feel fine today, a slight right knee irritation that I've had nagging me since all the road miles over the winter, but that is slowly going away as I run more trail miles. The weather was nice, 60's and off and on drizzle, no wind at all.
Now on to the Pittsfield Peaks 53 miler in Vermont, which claims to have over 14,000 feet of climb...what else could be the best last long run for Hardrock! Wish I could average 6:25 per mile there!