Race: Temple Alumni Weekend 5k
Location: Temple University, Main Campus, Philadelphia
Distance: 5 km (3.1 miles)
Date/Start Time: 26 April 2014, 9:30am
Distance Travelled to Compete: 4.8km/3.0 miles
Weather conditions: Moderate temperatures, 50-60s, no humidity.
Course conditions: A few inclinations but nothing big, looped course around campus.
Preview: The Temple Alumni Association runs a 5k run and 1 mile walk every Alumni Weekend, which is the last weekend in April. In my final semester at school, I wanted to make the most of this experience, as students were able to run for free, and even not as a student, the deal is very solid for $10 when you play at least twice that for most area 5km runs.
Normally I never do a race on a whim, and especially not during offseason. Except I’d been training once per week with the City Sports run crew once the Love Run ended, mainly to keep myself in shape getting through the last throes of my final semester of graduate school. It was through a classmate that I’d heard about the Alumni Weekend 5k and the fact that it was free of charge (save the subway fare of course) to get up there and run, and realising I’d never have another chance likely to run a timed 5k free again – welp I wasn’t missing the chance, was I?
Registration started promptly at 8:30am and signup tables were set up along 13th Street. For those who were alumni, or community members, they had to pay a $10 fee and people who could did register in advance, presumably through the alumni association. For those of us that were students, we had to walk up and as long as we showed our student IDs, we were in.
I walked across the street to pick up my kit, which I was also pleasantly surprised to get for a 5k – they didn’t have any small sizes left so I took a medium. Ah well. Can’t complain about the kit – yet another Temple pride piece of clothing I could wear.
Eileen Bradley is a local who has been helping out with Temple-run races for 26-odd years. Insane. The director acknowledged her presence over the years and renamed the race itself after her. Remarkable.
The walkers walked their mile and lo and behold, it was our turn. Three loops around campus. Oy. The students groaned in union, but once Eileen gave the signal, we were off.
The first loop was straightforward. Incline up 13th Street, around Diamond Street, and then left on Broad Street, a preview for those to come who would run Broad Street. It was Mile 3 or so on that course. Broad Street at that point was downhill. And to our pleasant surprise, the band played as we were headed down Broad Street, the same spot they would play for Broad Street Runners.
We closed in on Cecil B Moore and hung a left at that corner. I noticed myself overtaking some students and being overtaken by others. Another left on 13th and we were back to where we started. First loop split? 8:40. Wow.
Second loop proved to be annoying with that hill, I was pushing hard enough because to be frank I don’t run 8:40s and definitely not in offseason. I had to take a few breaths and water on Diamond Street but cruised down again past the band. That lap was a bit slower, and the winner actually overtook us in a blue suit covering his entire body – instead of the little green man, it was the little blue man.
Third lap was uplifting knowing it was the final lap. Overtook a few of the locals who were sauntering through the 5k, but overall, I had no complaints. Busted my tail and finished in about 27:50 or so. The sun had come out, and thankfully I had a water bottle on me to see me through.
After crossing the finish line, an official took the tag off my bib for ranking purposes and I queued up to get myself water, a pretzel, and other refreshments. Seriously there was a lot of stuff and I have no complaints.
As the race is coupled with Alumni Weekend, it is a great scene to get out with fellow students or with family and enjoy the rest of the attractions in the courtyard off Polett Walk. Overall I’d recommend the race – great for a speed test, generally decent weather, low (or no!) cost. If you are hydration-sensitive, I would take on a small water bottle with you – there are zero actual water stops and supplies are only post-race. Not a problem for most runners, but just good to know on the few that do need it.
One thing I will mention in general is that many colleges and universities out there, particularly medium to larger sized schools, will host 5k runs as part of their homecoming or alumni weekend. For students and alumni alike, this is a great low-cost option if you are hurting for cash or on your typical student budget, and most schools will not charge their own students, unless money is being raised for charity, which in most cases, does not happen.
Finally if you’re a student who finds himself or herself too busy for their own good, running these races gives an attainable way to do something fun with other classmates and keep in shape. Case in point as I was joined by several other grad students who also wanted to take advantage of running a free 5k.
No regrets on this one, time was slowish, but again given the cycle for me, it was to be expected. And that will get better, once I become an alumni, free of the schoolwork!