Surviving the Worlds Longest 5k – a true story!

This past weekend, I took on a new challenge.  It was something I NEVER thought I would do… but with all the challenges I have faced, I knew that this one was one that I couldn’t pass up!

The 2017 Run with the Flamingo’s 5k – the Worlds Longest 5k!

Yup, it’s a 5k… and then a little bit more!

Now that you have stopped laughing… let me explain!

Purposely measured a little long, The Pink Flamingo Classic is not a true 5k (3.1 miles). The official course length is 3.15 miles.  It’s all part of the Pink Flamingo Classic tournament weekend in DePere WI.

What is the Pink Flamingo Classic?  The Pink Flamingo Classic has been around for a while, even tho I had never heard of it until this year (yeah sometimes I think I much live under a rock!).  So I did a little investigating and found their website…

The Pink Flamingos run/organize a 14″ slow pitch softball tournament in De Pere, WI.  It was started by a group of individuals to help support groups/organizations around the the city of De Pere.  The basis of our tournament is Family, Food and Fun.  The festivities include high-quality softball, bounce houses, cheap food and beverages, as well as on-going raffles throughout the weekend.  This year, 2017 the tournament will take place at Legion Park on the newly named “Flamingo Field” on July 14 – 16th.

The weekend also includes the World’s Longest 5K run on Saturday as well as a concert by Big Mouth & the Power Tool Horns, Saturday evening (no charge).  So come on out and enjoy yourself while at the same time support several local groups/organizations.

So, there you have it!

The morning of the 5k, there is also a parade! Coolest part?  The 5k finish along the parade route, so if you don’t get to the the point along the course where the parade stars (at the DePere High School) you will become part of the parade as you finish your 5k!

When my good friend Kerri (yeah the one that I have been running crazy miles with this year!) told me about the event, I knew that I needed to check it out.  It’s a fun run (no chip timing or anything fancy like that) and a lot of people dress in pink, or in costume.  Since the other tentative plans that I had on my calendar fell through, I realized on Thursday that I could actually run this!  I got up early on Saturday and headed to the park to get registered.

As I mentioned, this is a very small, now key event.  When I went to get registered, I received my t-shirt and a pink tag to pin onto the bottom of my shirt with my name and age.  No race bib.  Just a pink address label size tag indicating who I was and what age group I was in.  This was a first!

Since there is not a lot of parking at Legion Park and Flamingo Field, I opted to drive over and park at Lisa’s house, that way I didn’t have to worry about fighting parade and tournament traffic to get out later in the morning.  This also worked out nice because I could then stash my post race snack (my Noosa Yogurt) in her fridge to keep chilled!  She wasn’t running today, but would be out for the parade late in the morning, so I headed back to the park where I found the girls waiting!

As I mentioned, this is a small race.  I believe I heard that they had just over 150 people pre register for the event and then about another 100 register on site before the race.

The true definition of a fun small town race!

When I asked Kerri where the start line was, she pointed and said “over there at the end of the parking lot, on the other side of the dumpster”!  Oh, ok!  🙂  I don’t think I have ever run this small of a race before!

I was using this race as a benchmark to see where I was with my short game.  For those of you that have been following me for a while know, my running for the last year has been focused on distance… not speed.  What better way to see how I can push myself on the short run that a small 5k with a few friends!

Kerri and I headed to the start line together and we ready to start this mission.  She will openly admit that she sucks at pacing herself when she runs and usually relies on me to set the pace, so she doesn’t start out too fast.  Today I told her that I wanted to to push me!   We both know that we always start out fast at the beginning and end up dying.  Today, the mission was to start off strong and not die!

We hit the 1st mile in just over 9 minutes!  She kept going so I pushed on too.  Mile 2 was just as strong.  At one point, Kerri fell behind as she stopped to take a picture at the unofficial Bloody Mary stop along the course.  No, she didn’t have one, but that’s just not something you see every day during a race, so she had to grab a picture!  I did have to walk a bit just past the official water station as I went to take a drink too quick and it went down the wrong way.   Hard to run when you are trying to cough!  Finished mile 2 and was still under a 10 minute pace!

Just after the 2 mile marker, I lost Kerri.  I pushed those 2 miles and had to walk part way up the next hill.  But I wasn’t done!  At this point, I was passing the school and saw where all the floats for the parade were getting ready to start.  I was still ahead of them! (in reality you have about 30 minutes to get to this point in order to stay ahead of the parade).  It was really cool running through here as people were already lining the street for the parade, so they were cheering on runners as they passed! This really was motivating!  I charged on and ended up finishing strong.

When I turned the final corner and headed into the park I felt good.  I knew that I had given this race my all!  As I crossed the finish line, I had to stop and unpin my pink tag from the hem of my skirt and turn it in so they could record my official time.  They actually had a board that they stuck each label to, in the order in which you crossed the finish line and then someone else came by and added your official race time to the board.  Might be old school, but for a small race like this, it still works! My official time: 30:59.  Kerri finished about a minute in front of me, fast enough for 4th in our age group!  Well done girl!  I guess this Ultra Marathoner (aka slow pace runner) still can pull off a decent 5k pace after all!  maybe there is hope for me in my Duathlon next month!

After the race, I headed to Lisa’s house, grabbed my Honey Stinger Waffle to snack on and headed to find them at the parade!  The parade reminded me of some of the small town parades from up north but it was still fun!  Floats, candy and water fights!

Water fights?

yes, Water fights!  Each of the floats (I believe it was each of the teams playing in the tournament) were stocked with water balloons, squirt guns and more!  They were tossing balloons at each other and spraying the crowd along the street!

yes, this was a small race, but it was a lot of run, well organized and a run course!  Thank you Kerri for telling me about this fun morning!  Will I run this one again?  You better believe it!  As long as I am in town next year, you will see me out there tackling another Pink Flamingo Classic 5k!


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