Updated: Mar 30
The Trick or Trot 5k is a flat and fast trail 5k, just waiting for PR's.
While on vacation in Florida I wanted to find a fun race that I could run in as we traveled up the coast. I looked at several races between a 5k and half marathon.
I decided to go with the Trick or Trot 5k because it was on trail and seemed fun. Plus, it was on a Saturday. Looking at the times for this race I saw that there were a couple of fast times in previous years, but the race seemed like a relatively small local 5k. Boy was I wrong!
This trail race is a very well-organized and well-attended 5k, put on by a local club called, Zoomers Southwest Florida Running & Triathlon Club. www.zoomersrun.com
There were dozens of people wearing their Zoomers shirts and attire. I was really impressed at not only how dedicated the locals are to this club, but also by the variety of runners of every pace, shape, age and size--it was awesome!
The race is located at the Ann Dever Park in Englewood, FL. The course is a single track, meandering trail that is shaped like a lollipop. It starts off on pavement for a very brief stretch, but soon dives onto the trail and feels like you are running through a humid paradise. After you hit the trail, you run a big loop and then head for the finish at the end of the loop.
The trail itself is made up of dirt, spongy foliage and thin branches. Before the race, I kept debating if I should where trail or road shoes, but I went with road shoes and I am very glad I did. It was not a technical trail by any means. We are talking about Florida trails, not mountains here. There is a cool bridge over a stream on the out-and-back along the way, which breaks up the course and provides some really beautiful scenery.
The temperature was mid-80's, but the trail is shaded with overstory trees for nearly the entire race, save the start, bridges and finish.
At the start of the race I saw a female runner who looked sponsored (not too sure on that, but she looked legit). So, I figured that I would try to hang with her if she was at the right pace. The start was a bit crowded, but it was nice to begin on the asphalt so that there was enough room for the crowd to thin out before hitting the single track trail.
When I hit the trail, the female runner I saw at the start was right behind me and right on pace. We ran like that for nearly the first two miles. At this point we came behind a woman who seemed pretty determined to stay in front of us, which made it hard to keep our pace without passing on a single track. After several attempts by both of us, the female runner that stuck with me found a gap and shot off ahead. That's where she kicked it into another gear.
It took me a bit longer, but not too much longer, to find another gap to pass the woman in front of me (awesome female runners at good pace in this race!).
I could still see the other female runner up ahead and I tried my hardest to stay on pace with her still. I was able to catch up to another male runner and charge ahead. He was really cool and tried to stick it out with me, but then encouraged me ahead.
About this time I was hitting the end of the loop, curving around and out of the overstory. I could see the finish ahead and hear my awesome family cheering me on! I clocked in at 19:15 and a 6:11 pace! I came through the finish 6th overall and 2nd place in my age group! I was stoked!
In retrospect, I wonder what my time could have been if I could had found a gap sooner to stick with that female runner that I was pacing with. I would really loved to have been under 19 minutes; and I was so close.
Beautiful and fast trail course
Perfect race for families
Great awards for winners with several divisions
Lots of food and drinks at finish
Really fun atmosphere
Humidity if you are not use to it
Single track course can make it hard to pass if needed
Only gun time with the timing
The awards were really awesome plates and porcelain-like medals that looked like Halloween pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies. Medals were only given to the top three overall by gender, masters and age group. No finisher medals were given.
They have a really fun costume contest for both kids and adults. There were dozens of people who dressed in costume for the race and participated in the contest.
They did prizes in an awesome way! They simply drew the winners by bib number all before race results were even posted. If your bib number is listed on the paper they posted, then you got to pick any prize off of the prize table, first come first serve. This way people didnt have to stick around for the awards (although most everyone did). I won a cool finisher medal rack.
AID STATIONS & FOOD
They have an aid station around mile 2. There is plenty of food and a variety of it at the end of the race, including pizza and beer. I guess they like to party early.
The food, awards, costumes and fun at the end of the race really showed why so many people from all walks of life join the Zoomers Running & Triathlon Club. I mean, a lot of people actually stayed until the very end. So many people knew each other and were from more areas other than just where the race was held. You could tell this area has a really great running community. All areas should have fun running clubs like this.
This race is only $25 and $10 for kids if you sign up early enough! You can register online up to the day of the race, but they have a strict cut-off date to register if you want a t-shirt. You can also register and get a discount if you opt out of a t-shirt and you can register the morning of the race. After the race is complete and all runners are through the finish, you can buy a shirt if you didn't get one due to late registration, first come first serve. Register here: https://runsignup.com/Race/FL/Englewood/TrickorTrot5KTrailRun#
The timing and the results were quick and easy. It is run by a local timing company called, Durti Runners, www.durtiming.com. However, the race is based on gun time. Your timing chip only reads at the finish line. This is kind of a bummer for those who may not be right at the front of the start line. I'm not sure if this is financial choice by the race organizers or if it is a limitation of the timing company. It could also just be the preference of the race organizers.
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