Race: Ft. Steilacoom 5k

Runner: Frank Fisher

Race Date: 09/15/2018

Location: Tacoma, Washington

Results: 18:31, 19th place

3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

The course is fast for a cross country course. The competition is usually pretty solid, and lots of spectators around the course (mostly high school kids) to keep you hyped.

Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

It was the second race of the day and 15 minutes behind schedule. Official race results are not posted in a timely manner.

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?

The unspoken rivalries between high school coaches racing one another, which is probably just in my head.

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

I nailed the pace on the first mile, but then started second guessing myself due to some hip flexor pain and let off a little. However, I came in and finished the last 800m really well putting away a rival coach (I’ll be gloating next time I see him!). I’m pleased with the effort for an off day, and happy that I stuck it out and stayed strong.

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

The first mile is really flat and fast. You can get pinned in after the first turn, but it will open up and you can work your way through the crowd after that. There are two hills in the middle of the race that have short moderately steep climbs and long gentle downhills on the other side that you can use to carry some speed into the flats. Coming down the backside of the second hill you can really utilize that bump in speed to hammer it home through the finish.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Killing it on the short climbs won’t benefit you much, it might be better to maintain your effort and use the downhills to pass people that went too hard on the way up. Stay on the gas coming off the last downhill, the finish comes quick.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

For the most part, its flat and fast with a good surface. Have a good warm up, but be ready to wait at the start line. There is a kids race 1st and they wait till all the finishers are in before they start the open race.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Its in a park that is fairly nice, lots of trees and grassy fields. Nice for the middle of Tacoma.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

No.

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

Keep in mind, they’re about to run several races with 4000 high school athletes and they have a lot going on. Race start can be late, but they run it pretty well.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Yes. The winner is almost always low 16 minutes or better for the men and 18 minutes for women.

Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.

You won’t find much, if any, info for the open race online. Its old-school, show up in the morning fill out the registration, pay your $5, and get ready to race. Parking can be tough, there will be about 100 teams out there so there so be ready for a crowd.

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

No aid.

Weather and typical race conditions

Almost always cool, sometimes wet, perfect for cross-country.

Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?

Regular running shoes would be fine. Spikes aren’t necessary, but something with a little bit of traction would be good.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Yes. There are multiple points your fans can catch you at without having to run all over. It’s very spectator friendly.

How’s the Swag?

No swag. Ribbons for top 20 finishers!

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

4 stars. Its a fast course, with a competitive field. It also hosts one of the largest cross-country meets in the state, so the atmosphere is fun and the high school kids make great spectators. They’ll keep you pumped up all the way around the course.