Slowest 5K Races


By Jack McDermott

Last month we featured the fastest eleven 5K races according to my own psuedo-scientific study of local 5K race times. This month we feature the slowest eleven 5K races or “races you should avoid” if you are going for that yearly PR time:

# 12 – Deerlake (October) – For no apparent reason this race was run twice in 1999. I guess the deer-flys are bigger in the Fall as this one was slower.

# 13 – ECHO Run (August) – Held at the natural history museum it gets its name from a peculiar natural phenomena occurring out on the course. During the race, if you yell, “I’m king of the World!” you will hear a faint echo: “Don’t quit your day job!”

# 14 – Run for the Cookies (February) I am still looking for that secret ingredient that makes me crave girl scout cookies like heroin. Every Spring I mutate from a mild-manned young gentlemen into a crazed thin-mint junkie. This run is sponsored by a girl scout troop and run behind TCC. Unfortunately, I do not weight the requisite 195 pounds for the Clydesdale division, but I’ve been checking out Grandma Parker’s recipes using lard, and I intend to “qualify” next year.

# 15 – Sizzler (June) “Sizzler” refers to the temperature, not the race times. This race on St. George Island is described as “scenic.” “Scenic” ranks right up there with “Gently Rolling Hills” as a marketing ploy used by race directors to disguise tough courses. In my experience “scenic” usually means your race times will suck. No exception here.

# 16 – Bowlegs (February) I really should do some research about how on earth they chose this name. Coming to this race, I expect to see sailors suffering from scurvy, or some rough-riding cowboys fresh from the trail. (Although rumor has it that the Marlborough man doesn’t have much of a kick at the end of a 5K race). It starts at the same place as the Reservation Run, but it doesn’t end there.

# 17 – Red Pepper (March) – The race times were slow for this one, and I must admit I don’t know much about it. However, one of my “beer spies” has informed me that there was a big Bud Light truck at the finish line so this race must have some redeeming value.

# 18 – Run for Rover (June) — I can still hear that childhood chant, “Red Rover, Red Rover, send the fat blonde kid over” (I’ve already spent 17 years in therapy and my emotional scars still haven’t healed). Rather than re-live any childhood trauma I skipped this race, but I am told it is a tough race with lots of dogs. I like dogs.

# 19 – Apalachiocola Oyster Fest (August) — Oysters are great as an aphrodisiac but do they make a good pre-race meal? This was the slowest race on pavement in 1999. Any race where I finish in the top 10 can’t be that competitive — either that or my competition ate too many raw oysters before the race. My grandpa used to say, “The world is your oyster … just don’t choke on the pearls.” (I still haven’t figured what that means — something about why I shouldn’t get married.)

# 20 – Wilderness Run (November) – This one looks more like an adventure race on the discovery channel than a GWTC grand prix event. Slower runners should bring a compass and 3-days rations just in case you get lost. The “rope ladder” will make you feel like “George of the Jungle” so hit the gym and work on that upper-body strength before you try this one. Rumor has it that the race insurance liability premiums tripled because of this one race. Be careful and use the buddy system.

# 21 – BuckLake Alliance (October) — In Pamplona, Spain they have the annual “Running with the Bulls” (talk about motivation!) In Tallahassee we have the more sedate “Running with the cows” (watch where you step!). This race certainly satisfies the race director’s penchant for farm animals. And if you ever wondered what it would be like running a race in a cow pasture, here is your opportunity.

# 22 – Steve Prefontaine (September) — The University of Oregon star and Olympian Steve Prefontaine may be the only one who could run a fast time here; of course, he’s dead, and you may be too if you try for a PR on this course. Please wear your race-number because all unidentified bodies found on the course our shipped to The Tomb of the Unknown Runner in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Honorable Mention – SportsBeat 5K (May) — If you enjoy heat-stroke and breathing car exhaust you might check-out this race. I didn’t have enough race results to put this in the survey, but in 1999 it had to be pretty close to the bottom of the list. This year’s race featured much better weather (This year I was dressed as a cow; last year I was a bloated, dehydrated runner), but if you missed the 1999 event, you missed something special. True there is a brief respite of shade on Cactus Street, but it lasts about as long as Bill Clinton’s chastity. I recommend volunteering for the race, then gorging off the free food at the post-race party.

That’s all for this month, but in the immortal words of Walter Mondale, “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s whether they have beer at the finish line.”