Race: Jordan 5k
Where: Jordan, ON
When: Saturday April 9, 2011
Part of the Subaru of Hamilton Niagara Running Series http://www.instride.ca
Such great race conditions! Prairies flatness, little wind, and about 7C at the start with sun shining. Could it get any better? The Jordan 5k has built a reputation as a flat fast race, attracting ever faster customers. The results of the day is evidence that future years can only get better.
During the awards presentation race director Jerry Friesen paused occasionally, astounded by the times he was reading out. Jerry has grown the Subaru race series for many years, and the fruits of his efforts have come to harvest, perhaps unexpected so early in the season. Definitely a proud moment for him, one that every race director must dream about.
So many 5k races these days are decided with a 15-something clocking on the men’s side, frankly a disappointing reflection of our local competition. Many high schoolers worth their salt can run this. Jeff Scull won the Jordan 5k with an honest 14:44 effort, on a certified course. Now that’s better, but it doesn’t end there by a long shot.
The women’s side was won by Lucy Njeri with a 16:47 course PB, and I cannot find a faster time for her in any other GTA race – likely her best to date. If this were this year’s Boston 5k, her result would have placed her comfortably inside the top 10.
All male age categories (three deep) under 35 years, placed with a 15-something time. That’s right, if you finished with a 16 no award waited. And male masters younger than 50 had to run well under 18 minutes to hear their name called. At 47 years of age, my barely sub-18 got me 5th for age, one place off the prize list as the top master was also in my category. On that note, I give my regards to Steve Boyd who apparently made the 3 hour plus trip from Kingston to reel in the $50 cash top master’s prize. The race’s reputation for a quality field is travelling far, attracting ever better customers.
At the 2k course marker seven minutes flat into the race, I looked up to a sea of runners, probably 50 or so ahead of me. I had set a good 3:30/k pace, but the numbers ahead amazed me. Had the running establishment improved that much over the winter? Apparently so. In many races, you can get into a lonely spot, with no challengers to keep your pace honest. Not the Jordan 5k. My legs were rusty, but inspiration was always in front and behind, chase or be chased from line to line. Now that was good racing and the quality of the field ensured today would not be mailed in.
So how deep was the field? The Jordan 5k should be the deepest and fastest 5k road race in Ontario this year. Over 20% of participants – 85 in total – finished under 20 minutes. The Beaches Spring Sprint 5k in Toronto recently had a similar ratio, however that course was not certified and had only half the field. And the quality of the Jordan field distinguished itself further: 40 runners under 18 minutes and 15 speedsters under 16.
I entered this race to see where I fit in against very good competition. Just coming back 3 weeks from an injury layoff, I cannot complain about my result. I have become used to collecting prizes, but this time, I just shared a comeuppance with many others who also fell short of the mark.
The next race in the Subaru series (Confederation Park 5k, May 7) is coming up soon, and the field may be just as deep and just as strong. There is clearly work to do, or I will be eating humble pie once again. I am looking forward to it, with hopes that Mr. Boyd chooses local for his next 5k.
Finally, since I mentioned the Beaches Spring Sprint, my congratulations goes to Team Running Free colleague Anthony Davey who collected a sub-17 time in this race, further evidence of how fast we are all getting, regardless of age. Anthony, I hope to be joining you soon!