RACE RECAP - RUNNING THE AVE 5K
What a day.
What a fucking awesome day.
Pardon the language, but damn it was a great day. To put things into context for anyone that doesn’t know, this race is the whole reason why this site, the Run Vineland Crew, and the entire Movement all exist. I approached Main Street Vineland with the idea for a big race back in late March of 2018. The original plan was to make it happen in the Fall of ‘18, but after a few meetings we came to the conclusion that the time frame wasn’t ideal for the scale we were trying to pull off. So it was pushed back to summer of ‘19.
I sat on this idea for months and now I had to wait a whole year to see it come to fruition. At first I was bummed about it. A year seemed too long. We’d definitely lose momentum. Or at least I thought so.
Because of that year, SCR was able to grow into something beyond my own imagination, and the Run Vineland Crew helped to build up a massive following that actually served to be the backbone of the Running THE AVE 5k. To spare you the long story, you can read about the inception of those things here. Needless to say, that year was so important to the success of this race and all the races still to come. It definitely would not have happened the way it did and now it goes down in the history books as the event that changed the game in Vineland.
145 registered. 129 ran on race day
1st Place - Eric Bofinger was gunning for a sub-17:00 and blazed through the course in 16:52
2nd Place - Marco Cardoso, age 46 (you read that right) clocked an official time of 16:59. A 5k PR for him
3rd Place - Crew member, Estevan Barreras made us proud with an 18:18 finish
First Female - Rachel Pereddy, from Little Egg Harbor broke the tape at 21:01
Vineland’s Fastest - Sergio Custodio also took 4th overall in 18:46
76 out of 145 registered were from Vineland
3 runners from out of state: 2 from Vermont and 1 from Maryland
46% of runners were over the age of 40
91 of 129 finished under 30 minutes
Full results and media here
145 registered runners. Game changed.
145 is an unprecedented number for a race in this area. Most local races struggle to reach 70+ without offering a second distance like a 1 Mile Fun Walk or a kids race. This was always going to be just a run. Not that walkers weren’t welcome, but we didn’t want to offer a 1 Mile Walk option. This was an event for runners by runners and we wanted to stay true to that. In addition to that, we also had fully closed roads and police support for the entire race. That’s something else you don’t see around here. Most races are limited to hosting their events in parks or school grounds; and if they are using roads, it’s usually just partial support where the runners are limited to either the shoulder or just on lane. No ones ever really had a problem with that because these races haven’t ever really needed full closure and it’s usually based off of the VPDs discretion. But from the very beginning all involved in planning this agreed that fully closed streets was a must.
The idea behind this race was to give runners and non-runners alike the experience of a large scale, “big city” race without having to drive out to Philly or AC. Landis Avenue is the largest and widest main strip in South Jersey; it’s like it was made for racing! With all the resources that Main Street Vineland had at their disposal, we knew this had the potential to change the way people viewed their local 5k. We went into this knowing the game would be changed.
The date of this race was chosen for 2 reasons:
There was a serious lack of races going on locally that weekend.
It was the first weekend of summer break.
Clearly it’s not the most popular time for races because, well, summer in Jersey is so friggin’ brutal, but seizing the opportunity to add the excitement of summer vacation to this event seemed worth a try. Luckily it worked out in our favor. Barely a cloud in the sky and temps in the low 80s at the start was the ideal conditions and no one seemed to struggle with it
The course was designed primarily to showcase the best of Downtown Vineland, but a sweet bonus effect was how conducive it was to fast times. As runner, it’s nice to have a course that is legitimately “flat and fast,” as a race director, it’s a great feeling to know people will remember your race and hopefully come back because it was a PR for them. Watching 100+ belting down the broad channel that is the NE Boulevard is a unique experience. Part of me wishes I could’ve seen it from the runners’ perspective, but then again, I’ve got my own special view that I will never forget.
Community involvement was at the forefront of making this a memorable morning and I can’t thank my friend Natalie, owner of Peace Love Yoga enough for not only sponsoring the race, but also for setting up as the ultimate support station at the midpoint. Juice shots, water guns, and the level of cheering you typically see in a much larger event set a standard for support stations that’s going to be hard to match.
My favorite part of the whole morning was how the Run Vineland Crew came through and showed everyone how it’s done. Something like 27 people rolled out Sunday to represent the Second Capital. They didn’t just run though. In typical RVC fashion, a lot of them went back out after finishing to cheer on the rest of the pack and help them get to that finish line feeling good. Being stationary at the finish chute lended myself and anyone else watching the perfect spot to watch that unfold. People were hanging out by the chute cheering on every runner that came in. I don’t think anyone finished without an audience and that’s exactly what I wanted this race to offer people: unmatched support.
When it came time for the last two runners to approach the finish line, everyone waiting gathered around to give the loudest encouragement I have ever witnessed. Color me proud. Those two women even went home with the True Grit Award. Something designated specifically to celebrate those that know they may come in last, but run anyway because they aren’t the kind to give up.
The Movement redefined.
All in all, this race served one purpose: redefining and introducing The Movement to the masses. The idea that you can motivate, inspire, and improve a community through not just running, but healthy and challenging social engagement is what Second Capital Running is all about. Nearly 200 runners, spectators, and community figures got to experience that firsthand. That’s not something you can put back in the jar. It’s out there now and there’s no ignoring what we have started and frankly, there’s no avoiding it. If someone doesn’t know about it yet, they will soon.
There is so much more to come out of this. SCR and the Run Vineland Crew are truly just getting started and the vision of a strong united running community in this area is only getting more and more real. Just thinking about where things were a year ago and what happened on Sunday gives me this jolt of blatant optimism that only drives me to put even more of myself into this. There are already things in the works to make 2020 the year that will hopefully bring a new running boom to not just Vineland, but the Cumberland area as a whole. I can’t wait to reveal it all to you. It’s gonna require a lot time and effort, but I’ve never felt more supported than I do now. #runvineland