On Saturday I ran the St Aloysius Gator Gallop 5K. This was the 11th year for this annual race in Yoder, Indiana — which is a very small town just south of Fort Wayne. The course is an out and back on a country road. The majority of the course is gravel/dirt.
St Aloysius Gator Gallop
The race starts at 7 p.m. and is one of the few evening races offered in our area, in fact this was the first time I have ever run an evening race. It was about 88 degrees at race start, sun blazing and the air was thick with humidity.
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I went into this race knowing it would not be a PR. I hadn’t run in nearly two weeks, but was hoping to get back into the game with a pace around a 10-minute mile. Whenever I finish a 5K in under 30 it’s still an accomplishment by my standards.
This did not happen this time. My official time was among my personal worsts. The word I would pick to summarize this course… brutal.
Official Time: 33:34
Per Mile Average Pace: 10:50
Age Group Placing (F 20-29): 5/10
Overall Placing: 62/120
St Aloysius Gator Gallop
Pre-Race — And naive
I was happy to get back into the running game. It’s been too long. And so far my knee is feeling great.
The post-race fare was respectable. Cold water at the race finish and then inside an air-conditioned gymnasium there was more water, bananas, goldfish crackers and pretzels. There were also trophies for finishers — including trophies for first through third place in each age group.
Definitely a step up from a ribbon. The only “swag” for runners was a cotton T-Shirt. No, I did not Photoshop the color. The design is fine though and I like the running scripture. For a $12 entry fee I can’t complain.
I’m almost tempted to classify this as a trail run. It’s basically all gravel/dirt country road. The gravel is not matted down so you are struggling to keep your ankles straight the whole race.
I was about 1/4 mile in when I already was saying “What the heck am I doing out here?” It was so enticing to want to walk, especially seeing the other walkers. My only walk was during the water stop on the turnaround where I basically walked about 10 steps as I sipped the water.
Performance-wise my body held up. The only issue I had was once I got to the finish my left quad tied up. Charley horse? I was kind of freaking out initially. The husband told me to walk it out.
It’s still a little strained feeling today. I want to say I lightly pulled the muscle maybe? I have no idea how it happened as I’ve never had any quad issues and did a thorough stretch and warm up.
I am literally running next to a semi here. The start/finish is on a main artery going into Fort Wayne.
The husband tried to catch my finish. At least the backside looked good.
Along with the gravel came dust. And on top of that the wafting of manure as you run through this country road.
The cherry on top was a complete lack of air on the backside of the course. The husband (who also got a personal worst) put it best: “My lungs were on fire!”
I made it. Looking tough.
I would recommend the Gator Gallop 5K in two instances: 1) You like to be beaten up by a race. 2) You are a walker or brand new runner and are afraid to come in last place. I would recommend the race to walkers because it is advertised as a run/walk.
I know often times folks want to walk a 5K but it turns out to be all runners. I would say at least a third of the folks at this race decided to walk.
The only reason I can picture running this race again would be if I was desperate for a race the last weekend of July, or if I decided to return in an attempt to show the gator who the (wo)man is.