The Runner’s World 5K and Runner’s World 10K were Day 2 of the Runner’s World Half & Festival in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Runner’s World brought me out to the race as their guest, along with a cadre of other bloggers. My quest? Run four races in three days for a total of 26.2 miles.
I was only half successful, thanks to plantar fasciitis. Despite that, I had a phenomenal time.
The Runner’s World Half & Festival is basically fantasy camp for runners. All participants—not just bloggers—at the weekend’s events had the opportunity to meet Deena Kastor, Bart Yasso, and the entire Runner’s World team. Seminars, running clinics, kids races, a dog run, pasta party, and other events filled our days and nights with all things running.
The Runner’s World 5K, 10K and Half-Marathons courses started and finished at SteelStacks, a 10-acre music, art, culture, and entertainment campus that was once home to the second largest steel manufacturer in the nation, Bethlehem Steel. Rising over the finish line is a series of iron-forging furnaces. The “stacks” are now home to 1,000 concerts and eight festivals annually, including the Runner’s World Half & Festival. It’s an incredible setting for a race.
I’ve already recapped the Altra Trail 3.8-mile Trail Race. Up now: The Runner’s World 5K & 10K, back-to-back events!
Runner’s World 5K
More than 1,655 participants tackled the Runner’s World 5K on Saturday, October 17 at 8:00 a.m. I lined up in the cold ready to for an easy jog.
It was about 40 degrees at the start, so I bundled up for the first time of the season. I wore (all freebies): Sparkle Athletic Headsweats visor, Oakley Polarized RPM sunglasses, Brooks Dash 1/2 Zip, Moving Comfort UpRise Crossback Sports Bra, New Balance Tonic Tank, GORE Running Wear Mythos Windstopper Gloves, Brooks Streaker Capri, Balega Hidden Contour socks (one of the race sponsors), and Asics Gel-Nimbus 17.
The 5K course takes runners on a 3.1-mile tour of Bethlehem’s North Side. Shortly after the start, runners climb the Phillip J. Fahy Memorial Bridge to cross the Lehigh River. On the other side you see the Bethlehem Public Library and some of the town’s original 1741 settlements. Runners are treated to scenic views of South Mountain, Bethlehem’s eclectic South Side, and Lehigh University’s campus. Then a fast downhill turn brings you past Bethlehem’s City Hall and back to the Fahy Bridge. One of the most fun parts is running through the former Bethlehem Steel complex and past the Sands Casino to finish under a flaming arch (literally) in the shadow of the steel stacks.
There’s really only one major hill to speak of as you cross the bridge near Mile 1. Then there’s a gentle incline as you head up the road to the casino, near Mile 2.5. Overall, I’d call this a generally easy course.
I’d come to the race nursing a new niggle in my left foot that I suspected was plantar fasciitis. I walked the Altra Trail Run the day before and wanted to test out my foot on the road.
So I consciously ran at a very easy pace, especially knowing I had another 6.2 miles to run after this. I was uber tuned into my body, and my foot in particular, which felt a little achy and tight, but not too bad. Read the rest of this entry →