You can’t get much more local than a race four miles from home, and on Saturday, I ran the Dash Thru the Den 5K at West Ashley High School, which fit in perfectly with my #Team5K summer goal.
The 5K was hosted by the WAHS DECA, a extracurricular activity that prepares high school and college students for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management, and the proceeds benefited DECA’s trip to the national convention this summer. I like to support local schools and students and feel like my race fee went to a good cause.
The WAHS students planned and directed all aspects of the race, dedicating many hours to promoting the race, recruiting sponsors, obtaining door prizes and awards, and learning the ins and outs of running and race management. They put forth a lot of effort to understand the details of managing a 5K race, which may seem second-nature to most of us who run and race but involve a lot of work and learning for someone in high school.
I slept in a bit but was happy to wake up to cooler temps and got to the race a little early to pick up my number and shirt and go for a 2-mile warmup jog. The course was around the WAHS campus, and I admit this was my first time seeing the school. I’ve lived here almost three years but never had a reason to drive by or visit the school. My high school had around 400 students so WAHS’ building and campus were pretty impressive.
The 5K race start was pretty impressive. The WAHS band played before the race and during our first lap, and the cheerleaders also performed. I have run a lot of races, including several at high schools, and this was the first one with a marching band (I was a member of my high school’s band).
To start, we ran a lap around the track before heading onto grass and a trail behind the school. The grass had dew, and grass and trail slow everyone down a little, which was probably not a bad thing in the first mile. The top 3 females all ran pretty close together and basically took turns leading in the first mile. After the first mile, I passed the other two ladies, including Bronwen who does speedwork with us on Wednesday nights (I think the other girl is a WAHS student).
The second mile of the course was entirely paved as well as most of the third mile. The course directions and signs were clear and the course was closed (my friend and Sunday OnShore run clubber Chris was the officer on duty at the race). The third mile ran through a breezeway at WAHS and then back onto a gravel road. I felt myself slowing a lot on the gravel road.
We headed back onto the track to finish the race, with the WAHS cheerleaders at the entrance to the track. At the Mile 3 mile marker (before mile 3), Bronwen passed to take the win. She was on my tail the whole last two miles and made a move at just the right time (I have zero kick). Knowing she was close made me push the pace harder than I would have otherwise.
I finished in 21:31 on the 3.04 mile course.
I ran the fastest average pace of all my summer 5Ks despite the grass and trail. If the course was 3.1, I would have probably finished under 22, which hasn’t happened since November. The speedwork is paying off, and the cool temperatures helped!
For placing second overall female, I received 2 tickets to the Cinnabarre movie theatre in Mt. Pleasant as well as one of the nicer medals I’ve gotten for a 5K. I was really happy with my award because Clay and I don’t go to the movies often so this gives us an excuse for a super-cheap date night (I think we will use them to see Vacation Movie, the remake of National Lampoon’s Vacation).
Students were at every turn on the course and did a great job cheering the runners on and providing directions. WAHS is a fairly new school (early 2000s) combined from two schools and does not always get the best publicity, but all of the students I interacted with at the race were super friendly and positive. You could tell they were thankful for every runner who came out. Many WAHS students, teachers, and administrators participated and it was great seeing them support the school.
This 5K gave runners a chance to support DECA and feel like a bigger part of the West Ashley community. Outside West Ashley does not have many 5K races, and DECA plans to host this each year to raise funds and give the community a chance to visit the campus.
Race Name: Dash Thru the Den 5K
Location: Charleston, SC (West Ashley, Outside 526)
Date and Time: May 23, 2015, 8:30 AM
Course: Track, grass, well maintained trail, roads around the WAHS campus
Entry fee: $20 for WAHS students, facility, and administrators. $25 for public. $30 race day.
Swag: T-shirt (cotton)
Post-race Food: Bananas, oranges, muffins, water
Weather: 66 degrees, 83% humidity