Zoo Stampede: Awesome race, awesome place, awesome giveaways

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Here I am posing with some flamingoes after the Zoo Stampede 5K at the Salisbury Zoo. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

I signed up for this year’s Zoo Stampede because I loved the cool design on last year’s shirt. I ended up coming away from this year’s Zoo Stampede with an awesome shirt and also a fun experience.

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Here’s a picture of the shirt design. I love it! (Vanessa Junkin photo)

The race, as you may have guessed from the name, is at the Salisbury Zoo. Since the zoo is a place I often run, I also thought it would be great to support the zoo during a race. If you are reading this from outside the Delmarva area, our zoo is free and a great asset to the community.

I’ve been having some issues with shin splints, so I foam-rolled the morning of the race — Saturday, April 16 — and also rolled my ankles out. I ended up running the entire 5K, which is something I actually haven’t done in a while. Recently, I’ve usually ended up taking at least one short walk break to roll out my ankles, or walked through a water stop, but I felt pretty good on Saturday.

I actually didn’t stop for water, which is also rare for me, but I figured I could do it for the relatively shorter distance than what I’ve been used to.

The course went through the zoo and then around the Salisbury City Park, a route I’m extremely used to running (but the opposite direction as I normally run). I was certainly getting tired, but I tried to power through to the end.

I finished with a time of 26:50, which is not my fastest time but one that I’m happy with. My watch logged an 8:41 average pace, and it’s pretty on par with other recent 5Ks I’ve done.

I was thinking it had been forever since I’d actually raced a 5K, and I used this blog to remind myself. The last 5K I raced in was the Casey Cares 5K on Aug. 1, and there I ran a 26:29. At the 3rd Wave Brewing Co. 5K last year on May 30, I ran a 26:48.

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Here’s the medal I received for placing third in my age group at the Zoo Stampede 5K on Saturday, April 16. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

I ended up placing third in the female 20-29 age group, and I was happy to see that there were actually 24 people in my age group. (See results, timed by the Eastern Shore Running Club, here.)

The race is sponsored by VP Shoes, and there were an astounding amount of random giveaways. While not quite the case, it seemed like almost everyone walked away with a prize.

Giveaways included pairs of shoes (winners received a certificate so that they can get shoes in a good fit and size), running socks, zoo T-shirts, VP Shoes gift certificates, and more. I ended up winning a “secret prize,” which was a pack of metallic temporary tattoos. Maybe I can wear them to a future race, as I did sport a temporary tattoo at last weekend’s Run for the Animals 10K.

It was also announced that the Salisbury Zoo now has free Wi-Fi.

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Here I am with my medal after the Zoo Stampede awards. (Michael Piorunski photo)

I definitely want to return to this race next year. It was a fun time with a great shirt and very good odds for winning a random prize. Plus, it’s at the zoo!

I also liked testing myself at this distance. I only did two 5Ks last year, but I actually really do enjoy them. I’m already signed up for the eRace the Stigma next month.

Splits:

Mile 1: 8:22

Mile 2: 8:45

Mile 3: 9:02

Last part (my watch logged the total distance as 3.09): 0:42

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