My girlfriend Kathy and I arrived in Plymouth, North Carolina, right on the Roanoke River, early on race morning so that we could register and collect our race goodies. (We love to dress alike, so we had our matching North Carolina Roadrunners Club shirts on.) We got very nice bright green Washington County Walks! t-shirts and they even had some food and drink for us pre-race so that we could be all fueled and hydrated for the 5k.
It really was a festive morning, with lots of families and mothers with children out to take part in a very delightful, cool-but-sunny morning. And the topography around Plymouth is very, very flat, so you could tell it was going to be a great run. There were several high-school-age kids taking part, and you knew with their young, springy knees they were going to push the pace. But most of the other participants were adults intent on walking, so as runners I had a thought that Kathy and I had a pretty good chance to figure in the top places. And Kathy was good enough to give me the green light to see how fast I could run.
With the start of the race, as expected, about five youngsters took off like a shot, with Kathy and I and a few other runners in the next pack, and then a mass of walkers behind us. The race started right along the river on Water Street and then took a couple of turns that made a small loop just off the river. Next we passed through the main part of Plymouth -- which, like every other town, is on Main Street -- turning past some county buildings (Plymouth is the county seat) and a quick water stop. One by one I had picked off the young-uns who had sprinted from the start, and I was able to keep a nice, smooth pace of about 8:20 through the first couple of miles. The last mile took us back towards the waterfront, with a loop around a park where they were getting set for post-race festivities including a cookout and live music as part of the overall Washington Walks! morning. There was one high-schooler I just wasn't able to catch up to, though, and him and his young, springy knees got first place in the run, with me coming in second with a very nice 25:52 time, my first 5k under 26 minutes in many years and definitely my fastest run of the year. Kathy had been running an excellent race as well, picking off the hot shots, and finished as the third overall and first woman finisher!
Fortunately, there were more post-race refreshments for the runners, because we needed some more fuel after having run so hard. Since we had something to stay for at the awards presentation, we hung out through some of the entertainment and BBQ! Kathy and I each got beautiful ribbons to commemorate our performances that we can show off! The organizers of Washington Walks! did a great job putting on their 5k and Family Fun Walk/Run; it's a beautiful, scenic, and very fast area to be running, and hopefully more runners will get the word about what a great location it is to go after a PR run. Thanks for having us in Plymouth!