"It's a little self indulgent..." - My mom
"After I read a sentence, I get mad at myself for caring what you're doing." -Karl Dusen

Monday, February 15, 2010

Favorite Defunct Races #4

Panhandle Trail 5k/10k- Yeah, believe it or not I am wistful for a Kevin Smith race. Shortly after I moved to Pittsburgh from Richmond, I was terribly bored and took to exploring new locales around the city and suburbs. I began wandering into the west, and hoped to find a race out there. It just so happened that a 5k/10k double was scheduled for mid-October on the Panhandle Trail, a frequent training ground over the previous few years. I usually started from Walker's Mill, on the eastern end of the trail, and these races started at McDonald, so it was a nice change of scenery.
I convinced my mom to come along, and on the drive to the race I saw something starling - a smoldering hole in the middle of a pedestrian mall in Carnegie. Not just any smoldering hole- the site of the former Red Hots, a wing joint frequented by my high school cross country team. It had recently become Red Onions, and even more recently -- like, a few hours before -- burned down. That's a shame.

The drive to McDonald was scenic and pleasant, and the weather, in the low 50s, was good for a race. The course wasn't a great race course, it's somewhere I'd run for free all the time, but since the fundraiser directly supported trail improvements, it gets a pass.

Unfortunately, my body at the time was not. I didn't warm up terribly well, since I had nine miles of racing ahead of me, and I basically pulled away in the last mile to beat some high school freshman in just over 17 minutes. After a quick jog, I met Hounds Leslie McIntire and Eric Wilkins at the starting line for the 10k, which simply traveled 1.5 miles farther than the 5k out-and-back course.

Warmed up, and more likely frustrated at my middling 5k time, I took the first half of the race out pretty hard, 16:40, a good 30 seconds faster than the shorter event. After hitting the four mile mark in 21:30, I started to tire and told Leslie to go for it. Wilkins finished third and the Hounds swept the race. Not that it was a terribly deep race, but it was just a nice event to have. It was cheap, raised money for the trail, and brought some active people out for a scenic run in autumn. Though Pittsburgh's weather is typically pretty cloudy, I think that city does gray better than any other. I love running in the fall no matter what the climate, even rain, though that least of all. When door prizes remained after the drawing, Smith simply threw the remainders in the air.

That was the last, and as far as I can tell, only, time this race has been run, though the annual Trot for Tots 5k/10k is run on the same or close to the same course.

I did see this notice in the Collier Township bulletin: Watch for a spring “Friends 10K/5K Run on the Panhandle Trail”. Contact Bruce Linner: 412-279-2210, linner4@verizon.net.

So maybe this race isn't defunct after all...

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