This was the fourth consecutive year that I have run in this event, and this year was just as good as previous years. The event always takes place on the first Friday in November, and is used as a fundraiser for the Young Alumni Committee of the University of Memphis. Four years ago, this was my first ever run, and now I try to schedule it every year. Kind of like an anniversary I suppose.
This year’s event was the first of three consecutive days of races for me, and I had intended on running it at an easy pace. The problem is that I tend to be terrible at taking it easy during an event. Throughout the event, I was trying to slow down, but I still ended up running the event in 29:01, which is still one of my faster 5K times to date. But, I do not empty the tank and flat at sprint at any point, so maybe I did not expend too much effort.
The attendance for the race this year was down considerably from 2012. It was the home opener for the Grizzles, so maybe that was a reason. Also, I’m sure having a 7pm start on a Friday night also costs the event a few runners, but I hope they never change that aspect. There are so few races in that time slot here that it helps this race stand out and in early November, this time slot helps lead to some PR’s. I have personally PR’d the course twice, and might have again this year if I would have been going 100% for the entire race. The race has great, long-sleeved shirts, and you see them all over town, a fact that the organizers are very proud of. However, the shirts do not really change from year to year, so repeat runners have multiples of the same shirt in their closets. This was combated by changing the race shirt color year to year. My first year it was blue, second black, and third dark grey. This year they went back to black, so I have two shirts that are basically the exact same. I was kind of hoping for a repeat in blue, if they were going to repeat, since it is my most worn out of the three shirts. Oh well, I wore the new shirt last night.
Swag: A: Great shirt that gets quite a bit of use from this runner, a Nike backpack, several coupons, and a great spread after the race. These are consistent every year and have spoiled me for other 5K races.
Course: A+: I love that it runs around campus, including my old fraternity house. For alumni returning to campus, it is a nice way to see what has changed since graduation. It also is not too hilly of a course and is plenty wide to accommodate runners. Runners finish in a giant inflatable tiger head on the Alumni Mall.
Overall: A+: I will always be partial to this race due to its significance in my weight loss and running. It is always organized well and provides good value for the runner. It I ever moved away, it would be a 5K that actually tempted me to visit specifically for.