Race Review: B Strong 5k

This was the 2nd Annual B Strong Race, held in Bremen, IN.  Bremen is a small town just south of South Bend by about 15-20 miles.  The B Strong Foundation was set up in memory of Karen Neeley of Bremen, Karen showed faithfulness and strength in God through her battle with lung cancer (never was a smoker). She inspired many with her strength and courage. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” -Deuteronomy 31:6


Registration was easy online at runsignup.com. We registered for $20 per runner.  If you go to runsignup.com now, they already have info up for the 2017 race.  Registration will open February 16, 2017. 

Packet pickup

You had 2 chances to pick up your packet, Friday evening or Saturday morning.  We choose Saturday morning.  It was quick and hassle free. I always do appreciate the option of picking up your race packet the night before though.


I didn’t realize it at the time but I think we parked where only volunteers were supposed to park. Oops.  My apologies.  Other parking could be found at the Library parking lot about a block away. There was also parking on the east side of the school. 


The shirts were the main SWAG this year and they were the same design as last year except they were a neon green shirt instead of bright yellow.


This race is run on a completely closed course, so plenty of room to run without having to worry about cars.  The course is fairly flat with one hill on it.  The mile markers were measured out accurately.  Aid on the course consisted of 2 water stations and a Gatoraid station and mile 2.5.  Seemed like an odd place for Gatoraid, truthfully, I don’t think Gatoraid is needed on a 5k race. The only complaint that I had on the course was that it was long.  I confirmed with others, and they had the same distance of 3.17.  At the same time, no one made claims that the course was certified. Other than that, the course is very well marked, great volunteers, and no reason to have gotten lost. 

Post race food

The race was ready for you when you finished with ice cold bottled water, cookies, granola bars, and cookies.  


This year the race had custom medals made.  The top 3 overall and top 3 in each division received one.  I did not see if the top 3 overall received anything different besides the medal.  I kind of hope so.  Otherwise their awards look the same as the division winners. But really, it’s a good looking medal.  

My Race

As some may remember last summer, I volunteered at two races last year.  The Chicago Marathon and the B Strong 5k.  At B Strong, I simply insured (along with our 3 kids) that no cars tried to enter or cross the race course.  Pretty simple job considering our area to watch was within the first quarter mile of the race.  As I was watching the race and saw the results thinking I could have placed in the top 5, so naturally, I had to register to run it the next year.

Fast forward to this years race.  The family had just returned home from our 5 day vacation at Wisconsin Dells the afternoon before.  I spent the last 5 days running on hills tougher than I had ran on since the 2015 Boston Marathon, as well as 4 straight days at water parks.  This left my body feeling not as strong as I would have liked it to when we got home.  And then, to make matters worse, right as we were going to bed, I start feeling a very sharp pain in my lower back which I have never felt before.  I kept trying to get comfortable (no doubt keeping Tina awake), but nothing is working.  I even tried heat (which turns out, according to my doctor, was the wrong move). Still no improvement.  Finally I turned to Tylenol.   After a little while it seemed to help and I got probably a total of 2 hours of sleep.

When I woke up at 5:30, the pain was still there. Great. To tell you the truth, I felt it more when sitting or laying down.  I was instantly questioning if I should run or not. The whole family left the house around 6:30 and drove to Bremen.  I had decided to try a warm up, see how it felt and would make a final decision from there. But first had to drive a half an hour to the race (and of course I forgot to take more Tylenol before leaving). The pain driving was about enough for me not run.  

We arrived there and walked into Bremen High School to get our packets (Emma, Chloe, and Tina were all running the 5k as well). After that I went to go test things out.  Running didn’t bring on much pain, but the legs felt dead (probably from the hills of the last week). After the warm up I decided to give it a try but would strictly listen to my body and if I needed to really back off I would.  If I needed to quit, I would do so.  

Lucky for me, my parents had come to help watch Derek while we ran. Lucky because my mom had some Aleve that helped as well.

After the national anthem and prayer, the gun signaled the start of the race.   With the back pain and all, I was not sure how far back to start. Luckily the roads were completely closed off to cars so there was plenty of room to pass.  From the start, I held back quiet a bit and people just kept passing.  I was probably as far back as 25th. The first mile consisted of running on roads for the first half mile straight east and then a crossed a parking lot and onto sidewalks.  Sidewalks got a little crowded but not too bad.  Still passable.  First mile was 6:18.  Yep, that’s slow for me.  

I was starting to pass people on the second mile.  Of course there is always one runner who just won’t let you pass.  Well, I found this runner at the B Strong 5k.  Had to be a high school kid.  Every time I ran beside him, he would serge ahead.  Knowing that we were just passed a mile, I knew this would not continue for him, it was just an annoyance. Anyways after a bit I got around him and that was that.  

At about a mile and a half is B Strong Hill.  It is the only hill on the course, and really isn’t that big, just another annoyance if you will.  The second mile was complete in a time I really rather not think of running again in a 5k, 6:42.  We are now talking about me running my goal marathon pace in a 5k.  This has really become bad.  My body hates me, but I had made my way to the top 10 and I knew that no one ahead of me was in my division so I could still win that.At about 2.25, that division win went away as I was passed by what I assume has a high school teacher as students were cheering him on.  I guess if there is one good thing that came out of this race, it is that I made a teacher look good infront of his students. 

The last mile was another 6:41 and a little while later, the race was mercifully over for me.  I finished with a 20:46 (ouch).  For the record, the course was long at 3.17, so I did run faster than 20:00 5k. I was able to hold onto a top 10 finish by placing 9th overall and 2nd in my division. 

After finishing, I grabbed a bottle of water and went backwards on the course to find the rest of the family. I came to Emma first.  Before the race, I really thought she could place in her division, but she was not having her best day.  She wasn’t complaining but just didn’t have it.  

After running to the finish with Emma, I went to find Chloe as Tina was finishing up right behind Emma.  Tina joined me, and we found Chloe about a quarter mile from the finish running with my dad (who was pushing Derek in the stroller).  Chloe wasn’t doing too bad.  It wasn’t a PR but she was doing good compared to her Flotilla Run.

 I think everyone in the family can blame our below desired performances at the B Strong 5k on the vacation we were on last week, but I don’t think any of us regret the trip at all.  It just wore us out and to race the next day without any rest took a toll on us all.  The B Strong 5k is a great community event and recommend it to any local runners. 

What’s next for me:

Thankfully the body is free of any aches or pains right now, just tired legs.  This weekend is the Logan’s run held on the campus of Notre Dame.  With the option of a 5k or 10k, I finally can get away from the 5k distance and run a 10k.

After this weekend, I am without any races until September 11, when I will run in the Volition Run Half Marathon.  I would love to have you join me in Chicago.  Use promo code BibRave to save 15% on registration!

On October 1, I will be running the inaugural Fort 4 Fitness Marathon.  This is not the first year of the Fort4 Fitness races, just the first time of having a marathon. 

Later on this fall, on October 22, is the Urban Bourbon Marathon in Louisville, KY.  Use promo code BourbonRave2016 to save 10% on registration!

On November 5th, I will be running the Monumental Marathon in Indianapolis for the 4th consecutive year. 

For more race or product discounts, visit my Discount page.
Will you be running any of these events? Let me know and I will be looking for you out there.


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