race for the homeless 5k
Photo: George Porter

Race: Race for the Homeless 5K

Runner: Laurie Porter

Race Date: 08/03/2019

Location: Vancouver, Washington

Results: http://www.resultsdb.com/race_results.aspx?RACE_Code=RFH5K19

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

Beautiful course, 100 percent of the proceeds which are matched by New Heights Church are donated to Share House (an outreach ministry to the homeless of Clark County) and a nice t-shirt.

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

Course was crowded on the way back.

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

I can’t think of anything weird.

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

I ran this race last year and I was definitely feeling fitter and hoping to better my time and place. My first mile was fast with the down hill start. I had a lot of people with me until turnaround. I did pass a few people including one girl near the turnaround. Coming back through the Fort is where it got crowded so I was not able to take advantage of the tangents. With about 1200 meters to go we turned to go up the other side of the park and the crowds were gone. I focused on effort because now I found myself in no man’s land. Then THE HILL! I kept telling myself, “I can do anything for 1K!” I shortened my stride but kept my frequency all the way to the top. I tried to push as hard as I could down Officers Row and to the finish. I am certain it wasn’t pretty. I was stoked because I bettered my time from last year by 29 seconds and place by 10 spots and the conditions were worse. My place, 2nd Woman, 10th overall and my time was 22:07.

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

The start is down hill so your first mile will be fast. Going out run perpendicular to the hill in other words allow the hill to pull you, relax and go. Realize you have three good hills a head of you. Depending on where you are in the pack there is a section of curves going through the Fort where you should focus on running the tangent. On the last hill which is 300 meters long try to maintain quick turnover but shorten your stride so hopefully you will have something left at the top. The pain will be worth because you are almost to the finish line. On your way you will run down Officers Row. This is where you gain inspiration, muster your courage and finish strong!

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

I would get there a little earlier. The lines were longer getting my race packet.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Don’t expect a fast course. Depending on where you are in the pack, it can get crowded.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

The course is located at the Historic Fort Vancouver. The start takes you through the Old Barrics, then around the Fort. Next you run over a land bridge and over the waterfront path were the turnaround is. Then you run back but around the other side oft the Park. Then you run down Officers Row which is breathtaking!

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

This course is mostly flat with three good hills. The first two hills are near middle of the course and the last hill is about at 1k from the finish and it’s a long tough one.

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

It’s a well organised race. One thing I would change is the head start of the 10K. They gave them a five minute head start. The faster people were catching up to them before the turnaround.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Not a strong field, mainly recreational runners.

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.

No jumping through hoops for this one. It is well advertised even by the local Clark County Running Club. Here is their website: https://newheights.org/race/

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

There were two aid stations, monitors and photographers along the course.

Weather and typical race conditions

It was about 70 degrees and sunny with 89% humidity.

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

In August go light with a singlet or jog bra and shorts and racing flats or light trainers.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

If you can run, it is fairly spectator friendly.

How’s the Swag?

You get a nice t-shirt and lots of goodies including: fruit, energy bars, bagels and gourmet popsicles. There are no awards or medals.

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

If you are looking for a fun, beautiful course I give it 5 stars. On the other hand if you are looking for a competitive or PR course then I would give it 3 stars.

Laurie Porter is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about her or to work with Coach Laurie, check out her coaching page.