How to Race with 10,000 Runners

The Crim 10 Mile Race in Flint Michigan is a great event.  It is well-organized, has an interesting course lined with appreciative fans and caring volunteers.  It also had over 10,000 runners!  And that makes for a very congested, slow start.  I was using the Crim 10 as a measurement to see how I was pacing in my marathon training.  I thought if I could maintain about an 8:30 pace for 10 miles now, I’m on track for running 8:45’s in the October Free Press Marathon.

I started about 2/3 of the way back in the field as we walked about 5 minutes to get to the starting mat.   As we crossed under the Start banner we were able to do a slow trot and stutter step around each other to find openings.  The entire first mile was stop and start as people jockeyed for position.  I knew we were going out slow but when we got to the 1 mile mark and my watch read 9:35 I was surprised and disappointed.  I knew I had to pick it to make the race worthwhile.  If I was going to run that slow I would have stayed home and done 18 miles at that pace like my training program called for.  I picked up the pace but I also didn’t want to turn it up so fast that I couldn’t hold it for the entire 10 miles.  Each of the next 3-4 miles I gained a little time back.  then the back half of the race I still felt strong so I pushed it a little more and had negative splits the entire race including a final mile just under 8 minutes.  My finishing time of 1:26:10 put me in 2224 place out of 9536 finishers, and 187 out of 572 in my division.  Not bad for a tune-up race.

If you haven’t run the Crim, I recommend you put it on your calendar for next August.  The residents of Flint really seem to enjoy hosting the thousands of runners and they make it agreat event for everyone.

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