I improved my virtual 5K time at the Zoo Stampede

Vanessa Junkin takes a selfie in an old Zoo Stampede shirt for the Virtual Zoo Stampede 5K. Text shows the name of the event, the distance of 3.11 miles, the time of 29:10 and the average pace of 9:23/mile.

It looks like virtual races are all we will be able to have for a while, and on Saturday, April 25, the day that the Zoo Stampede was supposed to take place here in Salisbury, I ran the Virtual Zoo Stampede 5K Self Challenge.

I hadn’t signed up for this race. I likely would have volunteered at the finish line with the Eastern Shore Running Club, but since there was no longer a finish line to work, I decided to run the virtual 5K.

I wore an old Zoo Stampede shirt, as was suggested — this race always has great shirts! — and tested myself on the same road course that I used for the two 5Ks for Front Lines that I ran the previous two weeks. This was a free event, and the Zoo Stampede was my third 5K of the quarantine period. I know we are not technically in a quarantine because we can leave our houses for essentials, but that’s what most people seem to be calling it.

Since my time at the first 5K for Front Lines was 30:03 and my time for the second one was two minutes slower, I wanted to aim for a sub-30 5K. That would be far from a personal record, but it still takes a good effort for me. I haven’t been working much on speed, and it can also be tough to motivate yourself when there’s no race atmosphere. In the last virtual 5K I’d run, I’d also had shin pain.

When I ran this latest virtual 5K, I didn’t have shin pain, foot pain — which randomly came up one day — or breathing problems. I got a couple messages from members of the BibRave crew and was still able to break 30 minutes for my virtual run with quick stops to get photos of something pink and an animal (I didn’t stop my watch).

I ran the first mile in 9:27, the second in 9:34 and the last one — in which I didn’t stop for any photos — in 9:09. I ran the last 0.11 at an 8:47 pace, ending with a time of 29:10.

I’m pleased with this 5K effort. I walked home from the end of my 3.11-mile course, and when I got home, I made a donation to the Salisbury Zoo online. This was not required or even encouraged in the Facebook event, but I’d talked about it with some friends, and I wanted to support our local, free zoo. It is closed at the present time because of COVID-19, but it is a great community asset.

VP Shoes also gave away gift cards to randomly-chosen winners. The Eastern Shore Running Club has a great partnership with VP Shoes, and even though the physical store is closed, purchases can be shipped for free or maybe even delivered (depending on your location).

If you’d like to learn more about the Salisbury Zoo or make a donation, visit www.SalisburyZoo.org. The Zoo has also been rocking its social media while they are closed — follow the Zoo on Facebook and Instagram.


Mile 1: 9:27
Mile 2: 9:34
Mile 3: 9:09
Last part (.11): 58.7 (8:47 pace)
Total: 3.11 miles in 29:10 (9:23 average pace)

3 thoughts on “I improved my virtual 5K time at the Zoo Stampede

Comments are closed.