The spring 5K race season starts in earnest this Saturday with the CPCC Skyline Run -- and I've got the scoop on what to expect of this race from Kaye McGarry, who has been its volunteer chairperson since 1996:
Q. How many runners are participating?
A. We expect more than 1,000. We would love to top 2008, when there were 1,406 registrants. Registration for the 5K is $18 through Thursday, $20 Friday, and $25 on race day. Fun Run cost is $8. [For registration details, click here.] Proceeds from the race raise funds for student scholarships and other student needs.
Q. I’ve been told that the 5K course is flat and fast, and beautiful to boot. True?
A. You heard right: The course is flat and fast. And yes, the scenery is lovely. We start and finish on the main campus of CPCC. Many folks have just not seen the beauty of the quad on main campus in the spring, when the flowers and gardens are at their peak [she adds that runners and spectators who stick around campus after the race can catch the final day of CPCC’s six-day ArtsFest. Click here for a full schedule of events]. As for the course, we love to keep to the neighborhoods – and the ones runners will go through in Elizabeth are beautiful. [For a peek at the route, click here.]
Q. Tell me about the team competition.
A. Teams of three or more can compete in the Men, Women, or Mixed categories; a minimum of one female time must be included in a Mixed team’s total. The three best times for each team are totaled to determine the team’s time and place. Teams can be made up of friends, neighbors, co-workers – they must include a team name when registering, and can wear T-shirts or carry signs to promote the group they represent. The first-place team in each category will receive a gift certificate for a “V.I.P. party” at Jillian’s Billiards Club on East Bland Street.
Q. Fun Run details?
A. The Fun Run starts at 7:30 a.m., followed by the 5K start at 8. The Fun Run is a ½-mile run for ages 12 and under. They go around American Legion Memorial Stadium next to CPCC – so do not go on public streets. Every participant will receive a blue ribbon, with an extra prize going to the first-place boy and girl finisher. The entry fee has remained at $8 and includes a T-shirt – because we want to encourage families to come on out by making it affordable for everyone. Oh, and Sir Purr, the Carolina Panthers’ mascot, will be the official starter for the Fun Run as well as the 5K.
Q. Anything else you want to mention about the event?
A. The 5K is also open to walkers, wheelchairs and baby joggers. We'll hand out plenty of door prizes while waiting for the results. Before and after the race, runners and spectators can listen to bluegrass music from the Flat Possum Hoppers, who were also with us last year.
Turns out some other weekend plans will prevent me from getting out there and taking a crack at my 5K PR of 22:38. But it sounds like it'll be a great day for those who can make it: Saturday's forecast calls for sunny skies and a high near 83 (so probably around 60 at the start). Are you in?