The Parade 5000 is held every year on the Sunday of the Elkhart County Fair in Goshen, IN before the 4H Fair Parade. Race day forecast was partly sunny, chances of rain, and temps of 85 degrees.
Registration: registration fee is $25 and runners can only register online, with no race day registration. The Parade 5000 uses runsignup.com for registration. There is a cap of 500 runners, however this year they fell short of that number with about 340 registered runners. If you are not a part of the local running community, you may never see information about this race as it is not very well publicized.
Packet pick up: packet Pickup is held at the Fair Grounds under the courporate tents between 11:00AM and 12:30PM. You are given your race bib and shirt. No other freebies or anything, real simple.
Transport to the Start: the Parade 5000 is a point to point race, starting in downtown Goshen and finish by running one lap around the half mile horse track at the fair grounds. The race will bus you to the start or, you can do as a few of us do every year and run to the start. It’s about a 2.5 mile run to the start. If you plan to take the bus, be ready to get on early as the busses will make 2 round trips and their is no garuntee you will get on. This year they only had 2 busses taking runners to the start.
Course: as mentioned a minute ago, the Course is point to point, starting in down town and making your way to the fairgrounds. There is no interesting scenery along the Course but it is lined with people because the Fair Parade does start right behind the runners. The first 2 miles are on paved roads and the last mile is on a dirt road and dirt horse racing track. This year the surface of the last mile was firm. Other years, the dirt has been loose.
Post Race: upon crossing the finish line, you were handed a wet towel and bottle water to cool yourself off with. A local church was at the finishline pasting out cups of frozen fruit. Other than that, there is no other post race food. I am sure they are counting on runners to go purchase fair food (not sure how well an elephant ear or deep fried Oreo would taste after a hot 5k race). I did sludge on a $1 ice cream cone from the Dairy Bar.
In the same tent that you picked up your bib and shirt was where awards and door prizes were handed out. Door prizes were concert tickets for track seating, free oil changes, and a bunch of athletic wear of non-local college teams that I am guessing that the sponsor store could not sell. I did get to choose a door prize and picked up an Air Force quarter zip. By the time my number was called, it was either that or an LSU hat I would never wear.
Medals were given out to top 3 in each division in 5 year age divisions. Medals are cheap and generic. The ribbon on the medals were custom made. The medals were so cheap that mine fell off the ribbon twice within 5 minutes of getting it. I saw a teenager having the same issue, so it wasn’t just my medal.
Swag: shirts for this years race greatly improved. For the first time, race shirts were tech shirts and not cotton. Also the shirts were not that ugly. Green isn’t my favorite color but it’s not a bad shirt.
Overall: improvements that were made include race shirts and it seemed like handing out awards went a lot smoother and the director was making a point to get people out and about the fair as soon as possible. Improvements that I would suggest includes more post race food, and more busses to get runners to the start. I would add to have the race and parade earlier in the day, but I don’t ever see that happening.
This race has two types of runners, those who are serious and looking to place in division or run a good time, and those who rarely run but do so in a costume because they know friends or family will be watching. Not saying either is right or wrong, rather, it’s a race that anyone can run.
My Race: have I ever mentioned how much I hate the 5k race? At this point, I have no speed. I have focused so much on endurance that 5k racing just seems so much more difficult than it should be. I am at the point where I am happy if I run a 5k in under 19 minutes. That was my goal at the Parade 5000.
I took the start conservatively and ran the first mile in 6:01. While I felt it was a conservative start, my legs once again did not feel too good. My second mile was 6:11, starting to slip away from my 19 minute goal. The third mile is all on dirt roads and horse track, which typically slows you down. Add onto that, that it just seems so much hotter on the horse track. Third mile split was 6:27. It ducks not having any closing speed.