A race on a Wednesday? Of course! Every day is Saturday at the beach!
Last summer without realizing there was a 5K every Wednesday in Corolla, we came down to our beach house for a quick stay in August from Wednesday to Wednesday, and weren’t able to run in the race. I decided to plan better this year and we scheduled our vacation to make sure we were here on a Wednesday – just for the Outer Banks Lighthouse 5K.
I hadn’t registered in advance, so Bill and I drove into town on Tuesday morning so I could sign up. Registration was a breeze, and after filling out a very short registration form and handing over $38, I was all set. While there I got to meet Matt and Karen of Outer Banks Runcations. Since I’d caught them at a quiet moment, I had a chance to chat for a while.
Karen told me a little about Runcations and I learned that in addition to the 5K in Corolla every Wednesday, they also have a 5K in Nags Head every Thursday. And as if that’s not enough to keep these two runners busy, they also hold other activities such as duathlons (run/bike/run), run/swim/run events, and seasonal races.
With our registration we received a little Brindley Beach red fabric swag bag containing this adorable beach chair and car sticker.
The race shirt is a poly/cotton blend that feels so comfy, but unfortunately isn’t a girl’s cut. The fabric feels similar to my Ragnar Trail shirt, and I have a feeling that it will become a favorite for wearing around the house when I totally want to chill.
After a fitful night’s sleep, I woke early (for vacation, that is) so we could get to Corolla by 7:30 AM. As we were walking out our door, we saw a couple of horses on the dunes beside our house. Bill snapped a few pictures of them and then we were off with plenty of time to spare.
We arrived at the Lighthouse parking lot, parked, and easily found the restrooms from our many runs in the area during previous summers. We headed over to the race starting area to chill, and about fifteen minutes before the race started I headed out on an easy warm-up run. My stomach had butterflies which calmed as I relaxed during my easy run.
Once back at the start area I looked for Bill, but didn’t see him and assumed he had headed out to take pictures of us starting. Since he is on injured reserve, he couldn’t race and volunteered to take pictures for me. I looked around for our daughter-in-law Julie’s cousins and aunts (who are also vacationing on the OBX), and spotted her cousin Kelsey just before the race started. Since I wasn’t positive which of her relatives planned to run that morning, I wasn’t sure who to look for.
After a quick wave to Kelsey, I turned, focused on the race ahead, and after a ten second reverse count down, air horns blasted, and we were off!
Bill captured this picture at the start. Note the young lady on the front line in blue shorts – more about her later…
I seeded myself in front of the families with younger children in hopes of not having to weave too much at the start of the race and that worked out well.
We thinned out pretty quickly and I felt that I was in a pretty good place and seemed to run with many of the same runners for the duration of the race. What I didn’t notice was that Julie’s cousin Erik was near me the whole time! That’s Erik in the gray shirt and black shorts just in front of me.
We started the race at the Whalehead Hunt Club and ran out of its beautiful grounds past Currituck Sound and onto the wide concrete sidewalk that runs parallel to Route 12 for the majority of the race. As the race director explained, when a race is run on an island with a two-lane road, it’s impossible to close roads for a race. We were to obey all traffic signs and watch for cars! Unfortunately, we were in the sun much of the time, but I expected that after seeing the race course map and being very familiar with Corolla.
After a water stop at the turnaround point we headed back toward the hunt club with a little detour past the Currituck Beach Lighthouse and the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education.
As we headed back toward the beautiful Whalehead Hunt Club, we only had one right turn and a quick sprint down the lawn to the finish line. Again, little did I know that Erik was right in front of me and about to beat me by seven seconds. Not that I’m competitive or anything, but had I realized he was so close…
With a race goal of running a sub-26, I finished in 25:55 (8:21 pace) which was good enough to earn me first place in my age group. Considering the heat and humidity, I was very happy with my time!
The overall winner was Mike Fox with a time of 17:46 (5:44 pace)…
And right on his heels was the second place finisher and first place female thirteen-year-old Kelsey Chmiel with a time of 17:59 (5:48 pace). Did I mention that she’s only thirteen? Wow, just wow!
Post race refreshments included a wide variety of foods from the typical race items like bagels and fruit, to even cereal and milk!
After the race I had a chance to say hello again to race director Matt (Karen was out directing runners on the course), and thank him for a great race.
Eventually Bill and I found Julie’s cousins and aunts and uncles, and before we all went our separate ways, we got a quick picture of the race finishers.
Back at our beach house, Bill got this picture of me proudly showing off my finisher’s medal before I settled into an afternoon of doing what I do best at the beach – relaxing.
If you happen to be vacationing on the Outer Banks this summer and are looking for a fun early morning family event, I highly recommend running the Runcations Outer Banks Lighthouse 5K or Nags Head 5K! A race in the middle of the week? Why not!
- Have you ever run a mid-week race?
- Where is your favorite beach?
- Have you ever planned a vacation around a race?