Skipjack Run 10K: A fun small-town race and my fourth in eight days

Vanessa Junkin standing at water's edge of small beach, wearing running clothes and holding medal.
After the run, I went to the small beach and got my feet wet.

September is always a busy race month, and this year, I decided to do four races in eight days — not because I wanted to do that many races so close together, but because I wanted to do these four races and they were all held around the same time.

First up was the Mike Sterling 10K in Crisfield, followed the next day by the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon. The following Thursday, I ran the Run, White and Blue 5K in Georgetown. The Skipjack Run 10K was Saturday, Sept. 11 — one week after the Mike Sterling 10K — in Deal Island.

Group of runners poses for a photo near green race arch.
Eastern Shore Running Club members got a group photo before the run.

I had a strong race at Mike Sterling, running 1:05:17, a 10:30 pace. Though it’s far from a PR, I was happy with that, since I’d wanted to be under an 11-minute pace. So, I had hoped to be even faster at the Skipjack 10K. However, I think I knew that wasn’t really a reasonable goal, with so many fast miles on my legs over the preceding days.

Selfie of Vanessa Junkin with crab pots in the background.
Of course, there were plenty of crab pots at Deal Island Harbor.

I didn’t end up finishing with a faster time than I did at Mike Sterling, completing the Skipjack Run in 1:08:36. However, my time at the Skipjack Run was still faster than my fastest 10K of 2020, and faster than a usual training run. My average pace on my watch was 10:52; since I logged a little more than 6.2 miles, my average pace on the results was 11:04.

The race began at 7:30 a.m. from Deal Island Harbor after recognition of the anniversary of 9/11 and the singing of the National Anthem. Soon after starting the run, runners headed up the Deal Island Bridge and down into the rural community of Chance. Aside from the bridge, the course is flat. I hadn’t been to Deal Island in years, and I was reminded of a couple of friends who used to live in Chance; the course went not far from their old house. It was nice to be back.

I was pretty much running alone after the 5K runners were no longer on the course; the 10K had 56 runners. There were times I would see other runners, but I was never in a group or pack after the split.

I knew that to beat my time at Mike Sterling, I would need to keep a pace of under 10:30. I did that for the first two miles — 10:16 and 10:21 — but there was something that made me feel I wouldn’t be able to keep that up for the whole race, and I’m sure at least some of that was mental. There were unmanned water stops, and during Mile 3, I stopped to get some water and take a walk break, with that mile coming in at 11:33.

Small Skipjack Run medal hanging with blurred beach in the background.
Finishers received this Skipjack Run medal.

I walked twice during the fourth mile, when I also got some more water, and then decided to step it up for the last two. After another mile in the 11s (11:48), I was able to run the last two miles in 10:49 and 10:45, with the last bit (.32 on my watch) run at a 9:38 pace. The last mile of the race included a trek up and back down the same bridge.

Though it wasn’t that close in time to my other recent 10K, I wasn’t disappointed. I enjoyed taking part in this small-town race supporting local charities, enjoying some different scenery and seeing plenty of running friends, along with teams from TEAM 360. The race was also affordable at $25, and participants got a long-sleeved shirt and finisher medal. There were also really nice overall and age group awards. After the run, there’s a fun run on the small beach for kids.

The run has an active Facebook page. Registration is already open for 2022, if you’re interested!

Gray long-sleeved shirt with a white rounded square that says "Bay Dredging License / 21 in large font / Dept of Chesapeake Bay Affairs," along with small medal.
Here are the Skipjack Run finisher shirt (with sponsors on the back) and finisher medal.

Splits

Mile 1: 10:16
Mile 2: 10:21
Mile 3: 11:33
Mile 4: 11:48
Mile 5: 10:49
Mile 6: 10:45
Last bit (watch had 0.32): 3:04 (9:38 pace)
Total time on watch: 1:08:39 / 10:52 average pace; total time on results: 1:08:36 / 11:04 average pace


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