Race Recap: 2018 Murray, KY 5K – The Race The Wasn’t (And Then Was Again!) – Murray, KY

In April 2017 (before I started doing race reports), I ran the Murray 5K in Murray, KY with my sister-in-law, while my mom, brother, and aunt all ran the half marathon.  Mom, Aunt K-, and I all attended Murray State University (at different times, of course) and my grandparents still live there, so it was a fun idea to do it all together as a family.  In April 2018, Mom, Aunt K-, and I planned on running the same race again, but nothing really went quite to plan

The night before, we all went through our respective carb-loading and race-prepping routines, keeping in the back of our minds a reminder that the weather was calling for possible storms during the night and into the next morning.  Still, when we went to bed around 9pm, the race director had sent out an email saying everything was still on for the morning, and if any start time delays were to happen, they would notify everyone.  The morning of the race, I woke up around 4am and immediately heard the pouring rain outside, accompanied by the occasional clap of thunder.  Still, there was no word from the race director of any change to the 7am start time, so Mom and I continued our normal breakfast and pre-race routines, with Aunt K- incredulously following our lead.  We were watching the Weather Channel closely and it looked like the storms would pass, but it would just be a matter of when.

By the time we all piled into my grandparents’ SUV to head to the start line, the lightning and thunder had stopped, but the rain was still coming down quite hard.  Still, I was prepared as I’d ever be with my water-wicking clothes and a running hat to keep my contacts from washing out of my eyeballs.  I had just mentally accepted by that point that I would be running with soaked feet, but it was only a 5K, so I figured wet socks wouldn’t be the death of me.

When we arrived at the event, we saw dozens of other cars circling as well, trying to get the closest possible spot.  Normally I’d want to head on over to the start line to stretch, but not only did I not feel like getting soaked until I had to, but it was also still pitch black outside due to the rain.  As we huddled in the car together, all of a sudden we received word via simultaneous email and Facebook post that the race wouldn’t be a delayed start, but rather completely canceled.  Mom and I weren’t thrilled considering the training we’d put in and the time/distance we traveled for the race, but we weren’t nearly as upset as some other participants who took to social media to vent their frustrations with the event organizers’ decision to cancel rather than try to postpone the start time by an hour or two.

Later on would-be-race day, however, we all received emails that the race was going to be rescheduled, which we were all slightly surprised by – we assumed once it would be too difficult for race organizers to secure a new date with the city.  Eventually weeks later, the race was officially rescheduled for October 2018.

Race Day Take Two: Sadly, Aunt K- couldn’t make the new October date work with her work schedule, so Mom and I were on our own.  Thankfully for our second attempt there was no rain in the forecast, so we knew we wouldn’t have to worry about cancellation/postponement again; however, it was cloudy and 40°F at start time with zero chance of sunshine, so Mom and I did spend quite a bit of time staring at the clothes we brought, debating internally and out-loud between adding layers for temperature/wind/cloudiness and removing layers for how warm we might get while racing regardless of said wind and clouds.  We each finally decided on longer running pants, tank top, and a long-sleeve shirt we could remove if it got too warm (*Spoiler Alert: that was a non-issue – neither of us got hot enough to shed the long-sleeves).

The 5K course is a good one for anyone looking for a good beginner race – the course is relatively flat (only a couple of very small hills) and you get to see a nice little cross-section of town, including downtown during the Farmer’s Market, a small park, and then past the middle school (which is a lot more entertaining than some races I’ve run before that just meander through industrial areas).  Additionally, the race organizers give prizes to the best spirit teams along the course, the winners being voted on by the runners themselves, so between the 5K and half marathon courses, there are over a dozen creatively themed spirit teams cheering for runners and vying for votes.  My personal favorite team this year were dressed in bee costumes and held up signs like “Bees don’t need toenails.  Why should you?”

Sadly I didn’t break the elusive under-45min finish time that’s been taunting me every race lately, but I averaged a 14.46 min/mile, which is not bad for me, and I was also 6th place in my age group, which was an unexpected treat.  I joked at first that meant there were only 6 total people in my age group, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover I was actually 6 of 15 instead.  More importantly, this was the first race in awhile where I’ve felt good the whole way through – no rib cramps, no getting eaten alive by mosquitoes or swallowing swarms of gnats, no surprise cross-country section none of us were prepared for, etc.

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