Now it’s time for some controversy. My challenge for the year is 13 13’s in 13. This race in Peoria was a 25k. That, technically, is 15.5 miles. Personally, I count this race as one of the 13’s because of the fact that it’s MORE than 13.1 miles. However, it isn’t technically a Half Marathon. Anyway, what I think really makes this race questionable was my attitude going into it. That was an attitude of “Since it’s not EXACTLY a Half Marathon, I guess I don’t need to break two hours.” So, I took it easy for one race. My final time reflected an average mile split of 9:34 per. My pace per mile to break two hours in a Half Marathon would need to 9:09. So, you can see my conundrum.
I was lucky at this race to be near my hometown of Pekin, Illinois. I got the opportunity to spend time with my parents and brother, and to see friends. We got to see Luke’s little boy’s ballgame, and hit the expo with Adam. Adam ran the full Marathon. The expo was set up outside at the Peoria Riverfront Museum area and was pretty small. Basically it was just a spot to pick up your bib and shirt, while the main organizers (Running Central) had a booth set up. The bib was pretty sweet for a first time race, but the shirt was lacking. The first day I wore it, it snagged all over.
Bib and Shirt
As for the race… It was a warm, humid day in downtown Peoria, IL. The starting temperature was around 68 with 75% humidity and by the time I finished it was 78 with 65%. For those who don’t know, most runners have an ideal race temperature of 60 degrees. For me, the ideal temperature is around 50. I’m a bigger guy, I warm up more easily! But, I guess I should probably get used to it, my next three races will probably be worse. That’s going to make it a real challenge to break the magic 2 hour mark.
This was the first Run River City Marathon and 25k race ever. They also did a Marathon relay and a 5k race. Each of the finishers of each race got a medal, different sizes based on which race they did!
Run River City Medal
The race started in the downtown area. It was a course that consisted of multiple loops. The first three miles looped around Caterpillar and back past the Civic Center to the downtown area. The next 3 miles headed north through some neighborhoods, past Woodruff high school, and back downtown. From there, we headed back past the Civic Center and up Main Street, which happened to be about the only real hill on the entire course, and one that I had been dreading for 6 and a half miles. Apparently, my recent races with all of their hills was good training! Main Street hill didn’t give me any troubles! I walked the water station at the top of the hill, and I was good to go! Miles 7-13 were one big loop out past Bradley University and into West Peoria past Madison Golf Course. We caught back up with Main Street and followed it from miles 13-15.3. From 15.3-15.5 was filled with spectators until the finish area, which was oddly sparse. It seemed to be mostly families waiting for their runner! It was also the first time I had my family at a finish line waiting for me! I was lucky to have my Wife and close friend watching in Chicago last year, but they weren’t at the line. In Peoria, Mom, Dad and Wife were there, and I have the pictures to prove it!
Thankfully, most of the last mile and a half were downhill. However, by this point, my legs were pretty weak and tired. Downhill running doesn’t feel real great when jello legs have set it!
Overall, the course was nice, but not great. I would have taken it through more parks, but I do know that the full Marathon course did go through some. There were quite a few people out and about watching the race. But, for a city the size of Peoria (115,000 or 370,000 in the metro area), there weren’t a lot of spectators. Maybe in the future that will change as the city embraces the race. From what I hear, there were some heads butting over blocking off roads during church times. There were plenty of water and Gatorade stops along the course, thankfully. On my scale of 1-10 I’ll give this race a 5. Positives: close to family, decent flat course, sweet medal. Negatives: long drive, warm temps and humidity, not many spectators.
And, now, I have a week off until my next one. Temps are forecasted to be 71-88 degrees on June 1st in Edwardsville, IL for the Thin Mint Sprint. Hopefully, my body responds and I can run under 2! Find out in a week or so!
What do you think? Should this 25k count towards the 13 13’s in 13? Why or why not??