HERO 5K a fun chance to race downtown

I run in downtown Salisbury all the time. But Saturday was my first chance to do an urban-style race that was completely within the downtown area. Plus, I got to help veterans through my race entry fee.

Here I am after finishing the HERO 5K on Saturday in downtown Salisbury. (Michael Piorunski photo)
Here I am after finishing the HERO 5K on Saturday in downtown Salisbury. (Michael Piorunski photo)

I’ve been in Salisbury for a little more than six years, including college, and I’d never heard of a run held completely downtown. (The Tim Kennard River Run 10-miler goes into the downtown area, but the course goes plenty of other places in Salisbury, too.) As far as I’m aware, there has not been a race held downtown in many years.

The inaugural HERO 5K, one of the events of HERO Day in Salisbury (the other was a dog walk), offered runners that chance. The timing and location were perfect for The Daily Times to put together a small team of runners to take part in the event. I got the word out to colleagues probably a month-and-a-half or nearly two months before the run, so everyone had time to prepare.

I ran as part of our Daily Times group, and so did Maryland Editor Ben Penserga, Community Conversations Editor Susan Parker, former colleague Charlene and her friend Catie.

It was a nice course. I like the idea of having a race downtown anyway, but it also gives people who aren’t downtown as much a chance to see what’s changed since they’ve been there last. And, it’s just a different race atmosphere than you’ll get at other 5Ks in Salisbury.

The race also had a theme and beneficiary that I think all Americans can get behind: Celebrating our heroes. The 5K benefited the Veterans Support Services of America in Quantico. According to the event page, the nonprofit helps rural veterans. (And you can read more about it by clicking on the name above.)

There were also speakers at the event before the runners took off, along with a large American flag displayed high in the air by a Salisbury Fire Department truck. A couple or a few people rucked the course — carrying many pounds — including Salisbury City Council President Jake Day, who was part of the HERO Day event team and is also an Army officer.

The race seemed to go by quickly. I didn’t wear a watch — I haven’t been wearing my watch or self-timing my races since late April, with one exception — and I finished in about 23:14, which is pretty fast for me. I checked MapMyRun online to see if it was possibly short, and it appeared that it could have been 3.1 miles or maybe slightly under 3.1. (Race distances sometimes seem to be tracked differently depending on how wide people take turns, or things like that.)

Part of the reason it may have seemed to go by quickly for me is because I am very familiar with the roads and because I have gotten used to doing longer distances in my marathon training. Marathon training certainly changes my perception of distances: Even 10 miles doesn’t seem like that much sometimes, compared to 20.

The Eastern Shore Running Club, of which I’m a member, did the timing for the event. I didn’t place — there were awards for Top 3 female and male runners— but I felt like I had a good run.

Since breaking my 5K personal record of nearly seven years in late September, I haven’t been as motivated to break my new record of 22:36. After all, it wouldn’t be very exciting if even though I finally broke that 5K PR, I broke it again less than two months later. I feel like I’ve accomplished that goal for now, so I’m not yet itching to break it again. I’m sure that day will come: Probably next year.

I wasn’t sure what to wear, but it didn’t feel too cold out when I was outside, so I decided I’d run in a T-shirt and shorts, wearing a sweatshirt until soon before the race began. I realized when I checked the weather on my phone at the event that it was actually only 36 degrees not long before the race began. But running that morning in a T-shirt and shorts really wasn’t bad, as it was sunny, and not windy. My throat felt cold and sore at the beginning, but that didn’t seem to make too much of a difference.

Here’s a map of Salisbury, in case you’re reading this from outside the Delmarva area.

Keep up with HERO Day on the Facebook page, and with VSCOA on its Facebook page.