On Friday night, I ran my first 7K. It was better than any Friday night happy hour I have been to.
The HARRC After Dark, now in its’ fifth year, is put on by the Harrisburg Road Runners Club. As a HARRC member (which is very affordable and worthwhile), the race was only $20. I even talked Sara into joining me!
The race started at 7 p.m., and the crowd gathered around the starting point, located at Kunkle Plaza, which is by Front and State Streets in Harrisburg.
It was a gorgeous night with low humidity, and a great crowd showed up to partake in 4.34 miles. With a ready, set, go, we were off. The course takes you towards the Walnut Street Bridge, before descending down to the path next to the river. The first half mile was a little crowded, but eventually, everyone settled into a place and pace.
To distract myself, I focused on picking people off in front of me. My watch beeped for the first mile just as we passed the marker for it. 6:44. Whoops! I have a bad habit of going out way too quickly in shorter races, so I knew I needed to reign it in, or I’d pay for it dearly. For me right now, that was way too fast of a pace for a 7K. I am not in the shape I was three years ago.
I slowed to a low seven-minute pace, and continued to try and pass people. Right before the second mile, we ran up the ramp to the path near the Governor’s Mansion. We ran down Front Street away from downtown, passing the second mile marker (7:11) until we hit the turnaround, marked by an orange cone and a friendly volunteer. I was so happy to turn around and be running toward the finish line as opposed as away from it. I also loved this part of the race because we were able to see all the other runners.
The third mile marker didn’t come as quickly as I’d have liked, but I keep a consistent pace, logging that mile in 7:10. We passed the Governor’s Mansion again, and I knew it was less than a mile until we were done, and unless something bad happened, I’d be under 31 minutes. We passed the fourth mile marker (7:07), just before the Sunken Gardens, and I reminded myself it was only a third of a mile, then I could be done.
I crossed into the finish chute at 30:24. Since this was my first 7K, it was an automatic PR.
This was a very well-organized race. There were signs for each kilometer and mile, and the course was easy to follow. After the race, everyone is invited to shower and enjoy pizza in the YMCA’s gym before the awards ceremony. I even got a sweet trophy, and am your state champion in the 7K for women 25-29. Though, to be fair, it’s a pretty small race!
I’d highly recommend this race, and it’s definitely going on my calendar for next year.