Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Tallahassee's January bonanza of 5K road races

You may not care for the five-kilometer distance, but 5K road races have become a kind of standard. Even if you prefer marathons, you have to admit that the shorter, 3.1-mile races have their uses. For instance, if you want to test your level of fitness, you can race a 5K. That will not only tell you where you stand physically, but you’ll have recovered from the effort in at most a few days. You can’t really do that with a marathon, because even though racing 26.2 miles may very well be a good test of fitness, by the time you’ve recovered from those miles you’ll no longer be in the kind of shape you were before the race.


Of course, a 5K performance is only a good benchmark if the 5K you run is really five kilometers long. Sometimes a good time may make you suspect that a course is short, or you’ll want to believe that a course is long after running a slow time. If you truly want to be sure, you could run on a track. But if you want to stay on the roads, look for a race with a USATF-certified course.


In order to be USATF certified, a course has to be measured in a prescribed way. This means that any USATF-certified 5K course is very close to the same length as any other certified 5K course. Other conditions may still vary--hills, turns, potholes, and the weather--but at least you’ll know you’ll be running the right distance.


You may want to get a 5K benchmark at the beginning of the new year. If so, you’re in luck. During January of 2018, there are five 5K races on USATF-certified courses in Tallahassee.

Geb Kiros
Geb Kiros

The first is the TMH For Life Challenge 5K on 6 January 2018, starting at 9:15 AM from the Tallahassee Memorial Cancer Center. This race features some significant ups-and-downs in the Miccosukee Hills neighborhood, but Geb Kiros was able to run a winning time of 18:07 at the event in 2017. Sheryl Rosen turned in the winning women's time, a 19:35.

Vince Molosky, Geb Kiros
Vince Molosky

Gulf Winds Track Club's 34th annual Bowlegs 5K is scheduled for 13 January 2018, starting from the FAMU/FSU College of Engineering at 9:00 AM. The USATF-certified course loses some elevation during the second mile, dropping toward Munson Slough. Later in the race, the runners have to climb back up from the Slough. Vince Molosky shrugged off the hills to run 16:57 at the 2017 Bowlegs, winning the race. Sheryl Rosen won the women's division in 18:55.

Sheryl Rosen
Sheryl Rosen

On 27 January 2018 the ninth annual Trent Trot 5K gets going at 8:30 AM at Roberts Elementary School. The out-and-back course winds through Dublin Downs, hitting some gentle slopes along the way. Mark Zamani won the 2017 trot in 16:42, and at 20:31 Caitlin Wilkey was first in the women's standings.


The inaugural Verity Health 5K also starts at 8:30 AM on 27 January 2018. Because it's a first-year race, no one has raced the course, which begins and ends at Bannerman Crossings in Bradfordville.

Jim Halley
Jim Halley

Closer to the center of town, the Tulip Trot 5K starts in Cascades Park at 9:00 AM on 27 January 2018. The course features a lot of turns, but avoids big hills by never allowing the runners to stray far from the Saint Augustine Branch. Running 17:56, Jim Halley was the men's winner in 2017. Sheryl Rosen was the first overall woman in 19:08.

Sheryl Rosen
Sheryl Rosen

Those are your choices right here in Tallahassee if you’re looking for a January 5K to see what kind of shape you’re in at the start of 2018. If later in the year you want to see how much you’ve improved, be sure you’re testing yourself on another USATF-certified course.


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