I ran happy during the Brooks Run Club’s Run Happy Fest

Disclaimer: As a member of the Run Happy Team, I received a box of Run Happy Fest gear for free.

Swag in blue and yellow box, including gray Run Happy Fest shirt, white water bottle, three tubes of Nuun and an armband light.
Here’s the box I received for the Brooks Run Club Run Happy Fest, not showing the medal, which I would earn later.

Runners had a couple options during the five-day Run Happy Fest, hosted by the Brooks Run Club.

I decided to take on both challenges — run a 5K and a cumulative 26.2 miles. It was free for anyone to participate in the Run Happy Fest, and as a member of the Run Happy Team, I received a box before the event launch that included a shirt, water bottle, three tubes of Nuun and an armband light.

The challenge ran from Oct. 13-17. I didn’t run during the first day, but on the second day, I figured I’d head out for a fast 5K. I didn’t get up early enough to do it in the morning, but it worked out that I ran after work, because I had some delicious ice cream afterward.

Vanessa Junkin poses with ice cream after running. Text reads "Run Happy Fest 5K" at the top, and "3.12 mi - Distance, 31:48 - Time and 10:12/mi - Pace" at the bottom right.
Here I am with my ice cream after the Run Happy Fest 5K.

Since I was already thinking about getting ice cream, I decided to run the Tim Kennard River Run 5K course, which starts and ends at Salisbury University. I didn’t really want to run around the campus because it was still light out and I knew I would be doing a lot of running around the campus with the location change for our Eastern Shore Running Club group runs.

I started out following the course successfully, but once I got to Camden Avenue, I was going to have to wait too long to cross the street because of cars, so I improvised and went up to Rolling Road instead of crossing Camden, which changed the course. However, I did run 3.11 miles, and despite not running on a closed course, I was able to complete my 5K in 31:48 — faster than I ran the in-person Run, White and Blue 5K last month.

I don’t wear the race shirt for in-person races, but I figured I could wear my shirt for this one, so I did. I ran the first mile in 9:55, the second in 10:11, the third in 10:23 and the last bit in 1:17 (10:49 pace). Then, I got pumpkin pie ice cream from Island Creamery and made the Instagram reel I’d gotten an idea for (I’ve been getting into these lately!).

The 26.2 miles were not too difficult to rack up, since I have been marathon training. I knew I would have a long run that would help me get there — I ran 17.23 miles on Saturday, Oct. 16, with my friend Diana. Strava had us at 18 miles, and GPSes don’t seem to match at the Trap Pond trails, but 17.23 was what synced from my watch to the Run Happy Fest site.

Vanessa Junkin, in magenta "Run Happy" shirt and pink shorts, holds up white Run Happy Fest water bottle.
Here I am with my water bottle after finishing the cumulative 26.2 miles as part of the Run Happy Fest.

On the day in between these runs, I ran another 5K — that one not for speed. Noticing that my neighbors were going all-out this Halloween, I did a little Halloween tour with photos.

To finish out the 26.2 miles and get myself to just under 31 miles for the week, I ran 5.5 miles on the Loch Raven trails in Baltimore County. It was my first time running these trails, and I’ll be writing about them in a future post.

I synced my watch, so my miles were automatically tracked on the website for the Run Happy Fest, but on the last day, it wasn’t working. I wasn’t sure if this was because my phone had to be reset or what, but I manually logged my last run. This put me at a cumulative total of 6:01:54 for the marathon. I didn’t calculate it all out, but I would assume it probably averaged my miles, and I had some slower miles in the first half because I ran on roads for the last two-ish miles. However, I was not going for speed for the 26.2 cumulative miles. I will be doing that all at once at the Philadelphia Marathon next month!

Along the way, I earned different badges online. Nearly 30,000 miles were tracked by participating runners.

It’s always fun to mix things up with different challenges, and it certainly didn’t hurt that this was free. Learn more about the Brooks Run Club, join and enter to win prizes on the Brooks website.

Run Happy Fest medal (white with blue writing and yellow ribbon)
Here’s my finisher medal. I received the medal for free, and it was also free with a purchase of Run Happy Fest gear on the Brooks website.