The Salt Lake City Track Club's Annual Winter Series is a flat, fast and cold annual racing series that includes a 5k, 10k and 15k that won't break the bank!
This year marked the 41st anniversary of the annual SLC Winter Series. The series is held each year at the historic Great Saltair. The races are on a beautiful out-and-back course near the Great Salt Lake, which simply extends a bit further out as each race increases in distance. Each race is spread out every two weeks, starting with the 5k at the end of January and finishing with the 15k in mid-February.
The cost to register is only $55 for all three races. Plus you receive a shirt, timing chip, finisher medals and placement awards! How could you not sign up, right?
The series and the Salt Lake City Track Club are associated with the Road Runners Club of America and USATF. In addition, proceeds from the series support the Making Strides program, which "provides shoes, uniforms, and an introduction to running, to an underserved youth population at a local Boys and Girls Club." As one of the volunteers put it, "It provides many of these kids with their first pair of real running shoes."
Affordable (3 races for the price of 1)
Flat and fast course
Awesome awards and prizes
Fundraising for a great cause
It can be cold, windy and unpredictable weather (...buuut...its a winter series, so quit your whining, haha)
A couple of years ago our friends asked us if we wanted to sign up. After they told us how cheap is was to register, we couldn't refuse. I was thinking that this was our third year racing in it, but it was our second year. This year the weather was actually quite nice, with the sun out and no snow, but it was still between 20-30 degrees. So, still pretty cold.
I had overly ambitious expectations for the 5k. I still beat my time from last year, but I didn't quite hit the mark that I was shooting for and got 4th place in my age group (read 5K blog post here). The 10k was a much better story. I hit under the 40-minute mark and took 3rd place in my age group (read the 10k blog post here)!
The 15k felt as good as the 10k! I shot for a 6:30 pace or 60 minutes. I started off with a solid 6:22min mile,and then a 6:37, 6:33, and 6:33 on the proceeding miles. After the mile-4 mark there was a strong head wind for about a half of a mile. I pushed through it and thought, "That will be a great tailwind on the way back." That held true for about two seconds and mile 5 clocked in at 6:36. Little did I realize that there was a great tailwind on the way out, which translated into a fun headwind on the way back, resulting in a 6:47, 6:47 and 6:39.
Now, I wasn't so sure that I was going to make my goal. I couldn't figure out the math in my head either (great reason why some people use the "average pace" setting on their watch). Either way, I decided to crank it up a bit on the last mile and I was able to pull off a 6:30. Plus there were a couple of rabbits ahead of me that I wanted to catch, which helped me out. That felt great! But you have to remember that a 15k has that fun little dingle-berry at the end--just 0.3 left to go...uhg.
Fortunately, the headwind let up around this point and I felt like I had a lot in the tank, so I decided to book it! As I ran through the finishline I tried smiling instead of looking so intense...I just look like a goof, haha. I'll stick to my game face through the finish from here on out. After the race, I realized that I ran that final 0.3 at a 5:46 pace--ya baby! I ended up averaging 6:34min miles overall, with a time of 1:01:32. I also got 3rd place in my age group. I'm really happy with that.
Overall for the series, I also got 3rd place in my age group! Ironically, that is the exact same placement I got last year, even though this year I ran significantly faster. To give you perspective, my 15k this year was more than 5 minutes faster!
Also a HUGE congrats to our friend Alli for getting 3rd place overall female for the entire series!
I wish my wife could have ran the 15k. She sprained her foot a week before and decided to play it smart by sitting out on the 15k. After, she was bummed, because she would have placed 4th overall female for the series and 1st in her age group. Next time my love ;)
There are three different ways you can win awards at the winter Series: Individual, Series and Team.
Everyone who finishes all three races receives a finisher's medal. Each individual race also provides a placement medal for each age division, as well as Masters and other divisions.
Winner placement in the series works like a golf game--lowest score takes all. For each race, your place gives you an overall score and and age group score. So, if you get first place in your age group in each race, you would have 3 points at the end and be the series winner for your age group. I believe that if there is somehow a tie for points in a division or overall that they take the total time. For example if three people alternate getting 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, resulting in 6 points each, they then add the cumulative times of all three races together to determine the winners.
Those who place in the top three in their individual divisions for the series also receive a plaque. The overall series winners also get gift certificates to be used at a local running store, Wasatch Running Center.
The "Fittest Team Series Award" goes to the team that has the most accumulative team points at the end of the series. The idea is to get more people to join the race to help fundraise. So, the larger your team means the more possible points you can earn.
1 point for each team member that finishes the 5K
2 points for each team member that finishes the 10K
3 points for each team member that finishes the 15K
There are a ton of great prizes at the end of every race for this series. They give out a total of $6,000 in random drawing prizes (around $2,000 after each race) that anyone can win. Prizes range from headphones to water bottles to jewelry. The Grand Prize is a 12-person Ragnar Team (Value $1,700). Other awesome prizes include Jaybird Bluetooth Headphones ($129) and Topo Athletic Shoes ($130)!
ABOUT THE SALT LAKE TRACK CLUB
"The Salt Lake City Track Club is dedicated to promoting the welfare of the Salt Lake running community. Our mission is threefold: provide social running opportunities to runners of all distances, give back to the running community through donations and volunteerism, and organize several state-of-the-art road races every winter."
In other words, these are some real cool local cats promoting running in the community, putting on awesome races and supporting underprivileged youth. I dig that.
Join the club at: slctrackclub.org
ABOUT THE AVERAGE JOE RUNNER
Well, his real name is actually Dave...but "The Average Joe Runner" seemed like a catchy name for a blog. Born a sprinter, but converted to distance running in adulthood, Dave has run for more than 25 years. He is the father of four awesome kids and the husband to one amazingly talented, smart and fast-running wife.
The Average Joe Runner blog and website was born after Dave continued to get questions from friends and family alike for running tips and gear advice. However, this blog is also meant to hear from other Average Joe and Jane Runners out there. You can contribute to the blog by clicking Submit or Request. Follow The Average Joe Runner on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @TheAvgJoeRun. Read More.