Race Recap and Results: The Great Pumpkin 5K XC 2014

Halloween was definitely in the air on a foggy Saturday at the Great Pumpkin 5k at Heiser Farms just outside of Dayton. Many participants were in costume, making me rue the fact that I had decided not to wear my undead Superman shirt. Conditions were perfect for running, low 60s, moist but not soggy ground. Numbers were a little lower than I had expected, but that was because I was comparing it to the Zombie Apocalypse Run at the same location last year. Spirits were high as everyone was getting their bibs and warming up.

Even though this was a local run, it seemed to have pulled in mostly people from outside this area. I only saw a couple familiar faces. The amount of kids on hand, especially the 5 year old that completed the 5K course, was inspiring. It was funny to see the horde of children chasing Batman around and then shooting down a slide to collect their goody bag after the big race. All three of my kids and my niece participated in that and had a great time. They had no problem with the kids event being a chase instead of a race.

The 5K course was fun, but tough. There were several short climbs, and a lot of turns in the forested area. That was not good for me as my shoes were more for road runs, and the traction was not ideal. I paid the price for not grabbing my go-to trail shoes on the way out that morning.

The first section was on a dirt road skirting the edge of a field. It had a couple minor rises, and varied footing. After crossing the road, the majority was on tight ‘trails’ not really delineated by worn ground, but by the placement of flags and cones. Even though it contained a lot of turns, there was no fear of being off course or going the wrong way. The trickiest part was watching out for the hard round dropping from the trees that would be easy to roll an ankle on. After leaving that area, we went around another field and dropped back into the trails for a couple more turns. The finish was back along the same roads we started on and into the chute.

Personally, I thought the race was very well run. I was hoping for the win, but after gradually getting in front, then losing my lead for a short time due to being directed the wrong way but getting it back, I was passed with about a half mile to go. I don’t know if it was the late start time, but I never mentally got into race mode. I had fun and ran relatively fast but didn’t really get into it. Considering the course and my time in the low 16:40’s, the course was probably short, as a friend said his Garmin clocked it at 2.8 miles. Of course, getting an accurate trail cross country course is difficult.

I hope to go back next year. The time of year and location make it a great run. There was an announcement that next year may possibly include a late afternoon start time, more zombies, beer garden, and a band. All great incentives to return for a great time. Being able to link the yearly pumpkin patch trip with a run for the family makes a good day even better.

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