I’m now halfway done with my race a month goal! We are well into summer here in the Phoenix area and I was afraid it would be difficult to find races during the 100+ degree months. Luckily, StartLine Racing has a 5k sunrise series from May to July. Due to my schedule, I opted to only register for the final two of the five in the series and was ecstatic when my friend Katy decided to do the same.
The fourth in the series and my June race was a 5k through the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch Park in Gilbert, which is only about 10 minutes from my house. The race was small with less than 200 people taking part. They had fruit, bagels, water and Gatorade for the participants at the beginning and started right at 6:30 a.m.
The run started in the riparian preserve giving the runners plenty views of a pond full of a variety of birds. The trail portion also had high walls, making it a surprisingly cool run for a June summer morning.
We then exited onto Gilbert’s canal system. I had done this part of the course when I ran the 12k’s of Christmas. Running alongside water is nice, but there is zero shade which is fine in December but can be challenging in June. The race ended back in the riparian preserve. The StartLine Racing team had two water stops, which was wonderful considering the heat.
The same medal is given to participants of all the series and there is a special charm given for each race completed. I thought it was a very clever way to handle the series. Awards were given to the top three men and women and the top three men and women in each age group. I managed to finish third in my age group and received a third place charm to add to my medal.
I was ecstatic to finish third in my age group. I had been fourth so many times, just missing an award. I was nowhere near my PR, but I was happy with how I finished due to the heat and my limited running recently. I finished in 27:50, averaging an 8:58 minute mile.
I’m running the final Sunrise Series 5k this Saturday at Reach 11 in Phoenix. I’ve been having a calf issue lately, not entirely sure what it is, so I might take this one a bit easy. Hopefully it heals soon because I’m ready to run after being so lazy recently!