The Downtown 5K in Providence was selected as the 5K New England Championship within the 2018 road race Grand Prix, as it was in 2017. I was on the injured reserve and had a front row seat watching from the sidelines which no runner can appreciate. The “downtown” reference is appropriate as the race is surrounded by the tall buildings and in particular, start and finish is steps away from the Rhode Island State Capitol. The course is flat outside the opening 200m downhill and closing 200m uphill. I have some history at the race: last raced it in 2004, running 16:32, 88th place in what was the USATF National 5K Road Championship. It was the National Championship for a long time until title sponsor CVS backed out in 2017.
I arrived early with free and easy parking with Dennis Floyd (PR of 15:23 on this course in the early 2000’s) and Nakri Dao who was fresh off his Spartan Beast event the day before. I ran a warm up of 3 miles with the guys and settled into the start about 10 rows back.
I opened with a 5:31 opening mile. It did not feel out of place but I knew it was not sustainable. As the race got into a single file train away from downtown, I came through a mile 2 split of 5:47. I was on the struggle bus back to the finish line with a 6:00 mile. I managed to finish strong heading up the hill at mile 3 and get past a few guys. I got a time of 18:17.4 (chip) and 18:21.8 (gun) which placed me 143rd out of 1824 finishers. I was 14th in my age group. The CMS men did very well with the open team placing 4th, masters team coming in 1st, and the seniors finishing 2nd.