Eastampton, NJ – a town I had never heard of before this race. My sister-in-law & I agreed at the beginning of the year to run a 5k together this spring. I tried to find a race conveniently located between her house and my house. Enter the Eastampton 5k. Eastampton makes Freehold, NJ look like midtown Manhattan on a Saturday night (no offense to the fine people of Eastampton). A nice little town though, with a nice recreation area which hosted the event.
This was by far the smallest race I have ever run in. I am used to the road races of the jersey shore, which usually number at least several hundred. I am guessing the Eastampton 5k had about a hundred runners, although I can’t say for sure since I never saw the complete results. The course itself was pretty wacky. A certified USATF course, it started and finished on 1/4 mile of uneven, rocky grass turf. The remainder of the course was a combination of roads and wooded trails, which included a steep uphill with wooden steps. It was definitely not a flat, fast road 5k, but more of a cross country course (I am guessing anyway, since I never ran cross country).
Having said all that, I still set a PR of one full minute from my 5k time last year. I finished at 23:19, beating my 24:19 from the Pier Village 5k last year. I still have a lot to learn about pacing myself; my miles splits were:
1 mile – 6:48
2 mile – 7:52
3 mile – 7:56
So I made the dreaded mistake of going out too fast and fading at the end. Still a decent showing for the first 5k of the season. Now I have a new time to beat by the end of the summer. Best of all I was able to witness the triumphant return of my sister-in-law Beth to the road racing world. She is already gearing up for the next one (who doesn’t get hooked after that first finish?). It was kind of cool to run a small race in a little town on a whim like that – not sure if I will go back to the Eastampton 5k but I will definitely look for the little “Eastamptons” around me in the future.