Daniel Island Happy Hour 5K #1 (22:11)

Last Thursday, I ran my first spontaneous race in a while, the first race of the Daniel Island Happy Hour 5K series.

The Daniel Island Happy Hour 5K series is one of three Thursday night 5K series here in Charleston. Thursday night 5Ks are a big deal here. Other areas have Sunday morning races, but church + brunch rule in Charleston, so we have Thursday night races.

Between this series, Race the Landing, and Bulldog Breakaway, you can run a 5K on most any Thursday night in the summer. All of the Daniel Island Happy Hour 5Ks are on the same course, but with one race per month, runners get 3-4 week breaks from running that course.


I volunteered for the Daniel Island Happy Hour 5K series in 2014 and 2015. I was injured during the summer of 2014, and I ran the Race the Landing series and some other races in 2015, so I opted to volunteer. This year, Timing Inc. and Fleet Feet Sports took over the series and planned the races with about three weeks notice.

With my packed running schedule, I planned to volunteer again this year, but when Lucey Mortgage Corporation offered me a complimentary entry, I decided to run the 5K. In two years of volunteering for the series, I’d never actually run the race course. When I volunteered, runners asked questions about the course, and I answered them the best I could. Other volunteers had run the 5K course before, so I basically repeated what they said (ha!), but nothing beats first hand experience.

I’m busy with a running streak and increasing mileage, so I’m always on the lookout for new places to run and races to run as workouts. I was happy to be a part of Team Lucey and had no real time goals.


Race Day Night

Since this was a new-to-me trail course, I went into this race with zero expectations of “racing”. On Wednesday night, I ran my weekly track workout in Summerville, clocking one of my fastest 400m repeats (I opted for fewer and shorter repeats so my legs wouldn’t be too dead for the race). I worked until time for the race to begin, which is one positive thing about Thursday evening races- I stay busy with work and don’t get nervous.

The race started at 6:30, so I left my house immediately after work to drive to Daniel Island. I picked up my number and shirt and ran a two mile warmup around the island. Despite the warm temperatures, we had a slight breeze, and I found a great loop to run for warmups and cooldowns.

I got to the start and saw Melissa, Michelle, Hannah, Rachael, Dan, Cindy, Ed, Lorcan, and quite a few other runners I knew. The first race of any summer series is always the smallest, and a lot of graduations and events were going on because of the end of the school year, but the race had a good turnout.

Just a few feet into the race, I knew this would be a difficult, tactical course. Both the start and finish are in the grass, and most of the trail is single track and fairly narrow, making passing runners even harder. Along with trail, we had numerous wooden boardwalk-style bridges that I had to make sure I didn’t trip on. I hit the first mile in 7:05.


In the second mile, I regretted wearing my New Balance Fresh Foam Zante shoes, because they didn’t have much traction for the dirt portions of the trail. Fortunately the ground was dry, or else I would’ve been slipping and sliding (and probably falling). We ran into the other runners and I was glad to hear friends cheering because that’s one of the perks of the out-and-back first mile. I hit the mile 2 split in 7:15, so I didn’t slow down much.

With one mile to go, I could tell my body wasn’t a fan of the heat, and the course was curvy. I passed some runners in Mile 2 and the only runner I could see ahead of me was a 9-year-old girl. This race usually draws some faster ladies, and I saw a few at the start, so I thought I was #4 or #5 female. Not really knowing the course, I followed the little girl so I could hang on for a pint glass… or so I thought.

I hit mile 3 in 7:33. That’s even slower than my half marathon pace, but a lot of other runners had the same issue. At one part of the course, you see the finish, but you have 1/2 mile to go before you’re done- and that’s just mentally brutal.

I didn’t have a kick on the grassy stretch, but I finished in 22:11, just behind the little girl. My friend John told me I was the third female overall. I was surprised to place and went for a cooldown with Melissa and Larry before hanging out at the awards ceremony at Daniel Island Grille. Each race features a post-race party at a different venue, and your first beer is free.



The awards ceremony was where the weirdness happened. The race directors called out the awards, and I went up to accept the second place prize, a large basket of goodies from Fleet Feet Sports Mount Pleasant. The first female to finish the race works for Fleet Feet and was unable to accept the prize, so that bumped everyone up.

The overall female award went to the 9-year-old little girl. I’m glad I didn’t have the energy to pass her, because when you’re nine years old, winning first place in a 5K is one of the biggest moments of your life. It worked out for the best, and she beat a lot of older, experienced runners and almost broke 22 minutes on a very difficult course.

I’m proud of her and know she will love that bigger Fleet Feet gift card and basket of goodies; after all, 9-year-old allowances aren’t exactly as much as technical writing salaries.


I celebrated my finish at DIG and hung out with friends before heading home. Later that evening, Clay and I opened up the basket. One of the most fun items inside was a trucker hat from Fleet Feet. It worked out and fit perfectly, considering the Francis Marion University bucket hat I wear is older than the girl who won the race. Was 2003 really that long ago?

Overall, I had fun and am grateful to Lucey Mortgage Corporation for the opportunity to run the 5K. I accomplished my goal of a hard workout and am proud of that, plus I got to experience the race as a runner rather than a volunteer.


Race Name: Daniel Island Happy Hour 5K #1

Location: Daniel Island/Charleston SC

Date and Time: May 27, 2016, 6:30 PM.

Course: Trail with wooden bridges/boardwalks. Some grass, shaded. Lots of turns.

Swag: T-shirts, finisher’s medal that doubles as a bottle opener

Post-race Food: Bananas, oranges, and water at the finish. One free beer at the post-race party. Appetizers/food available for purchase at the post-race party.

Weather: 81 degrees, 54% humidity, 9 mph S wind

I received a complimentary race entry from Lucey Mortgage Corporation. Please consider Lucey Mortgage Corporation for your mortgage needs, as they proudly sponsor the Daniel Island Happy Hour 5K series and many other running events in the Charleston, SC, area. I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.

This entry was posted in 5Ks, Daniel Island, Daniel Island Happy Hour 5K, Trail running, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Daniel Island Happy Hour 5K #1 (22:11)

  1. Hollie says:

    That’s great to hear you accomplished your goal. We have a series that is on Tuesday evenings. I’ve done them before just to change it up.

  2. Great job! I wish I was able to do more stuff during the week! I have been itching for a 5K lately just to see my baseline since it’s been forever and a day since these feet raced 3.1! looks like a blast.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I haven’t really raced any of them in awhile, but it’s just a slugfest out there right now. The Fall will have a 5K every single Saturday too, so plenty to pick from besides just Thursday nights.

      I will admit the Thursday ones are difficult for people who work (and work in an area of town different from the race) and for those of us who work Fridays!

  3. laurenweiner says:

    I think its totally awesome that a 9 year old won! Congrats on a great job on what sounds like a less than ideal course!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      If I were 9 years old and won a race, I would probably say it was the best moment of my life… so I’m glad she won so she can say that.

      Heck, I’m 30 and have won a few races and they rank pretty high up there with life moments!

  4. Great report. And that’s so awesome that a 9-year-old girl won. She must have been over the moon. Congrats to you on continuing to crank out really speedy 5Ks!

  5. I wanna see you in the trucker hat! You’d rock it. A 9 year-old ran a sub-22 5k?!?! That blows me away. Congrats on a great race and finish time and place!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      The results list her time as just over 22, but I thought I’d be under. She would definitely be under on the roads, that’s for sure.

      I will post a hat picture in Monday’s blog.

  6. You really have to tell me your secrets for these free race entries!!!
    And yes, the highlight of that race was seeing that 9 year old take first place!!!! And to think that she is this fast now, in the heat, on trails ( and only 9)Can you imagine what she coukd do on a flat and fast course?😃
    I’m sure track and CC coaches will be keeping an eye on her!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I really don’t get many free race entries (but I have to disclose when I do, per FCC blogging regulations). I know Lorcan Lucey and he sponsors some races and occasionally receives a few free entries from sponsoring. As I mentioned, he graciously offered me one. He’s a great guy and does TONS for the running community- he usually runs Race the Landing but I think he did Bulldog last night (he sponsors both events).

      I’m sure that girl will be running XC/track if she’s not already! She is speedy but she seemed so happy and at home out there, like she loves running… and whether you are 9 or 90, that is what is most important.

  7. Pam says:

    As usual Amy, you ran to your potential and on a really hard course with heat being a factor. How fun that a 9 year old won the overall prize. She must have been so excited and will definitely be enjoying some more great races the future. I wonder if her parents are runners too? I really struggle in the heat, but used to love playing tennis in July and August in Texas. But then again, I was much younger.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Her parents were at the race and I think her dad may have run?

      The heat is something serious. The shade helped a little, at least. Right now I am just treating every race like a workout… no real time goals, more of effort-based.

  8. supereli23 says:

    Wow that is an awesome time for a 9 year old! She’s going to have a nice running future. Great job on a Thursday night race, I always find they are hard to do mentally–especially after working the whole day. Plus running in that kind of heat/humidity always makes the effort seem a lot harder.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      The effort doesn’t just seem a lot harder- it is a lot harder. Most of us have seen our 5K times slow down by around a minute due to the weather… and these are already fairly quick 5K times (19-21 minutes).

      I really hope the little girl who wins will stick with running. Maybe this prize and winning the race will help her do that because she’s got a bright future.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s