RECAP: Gate River Run 15K

Course Map

Recap: Gate River Run 15K

Jacksonville, Florida

Saturday, March 7, 2020

The Gate River Run 15K was also USA Track & Field’s 15K National Championship. I finished 26th overall in the men’s race with a time of 49:30. It was a tough race and despite feeling sick, I fought hard and gained valuable experience in my first USATF-sanctioned event.

Heading to Hart Bridge, aka “the Green Monster”

Going into the race my goal was to run under 48 minutes for the 15K. I thought I could hold 16:00 5K pace if everything came together perfectly. I ran my first 5K in 16:05 and was feeling comfortable and in control.

The elite women’s race started 6 minutes before the men and it was fun to see the women go out in one big pack. The men also went out in one big pack and I decided to hold back early on. I didn’t want to press during the first 5K and I was surprised to see that no second pack formed. Running solo off the back of the first pack gave me an opportunity to find my own rhythm and I knew later on there would be people to catch.

I caught a few people during the second 5K and I split 32:30 at the 10K. I still felt relaxed and in control but I saw I was slowing down. I realized I needed to really press on the last 5K if I wanted to get anywhere close to my time goal. I focused on keeping my eyes up and trying to catch the next runner. I lost my stride for a second when I ran over a mini speed bump that I didn’t see in road. I collected myself and tried to push as hard as I could before mile 8 when I knew we would hit the on-ramp to the Hart Bridge. I wanted to hit the bridge with a lot of momentum and I hoped I could make it a swift and fast incline on my way to the downhill last mile.

Hart Bridge definitely rocked me. The incline and the wind slowly wore me down and I lost a lot of momentum. At one point I had to tell myself, “you CANNOT stop and walk on this bridge.” As someone who prides themselves on being a good hill runner, the experience was humbling. Despite my trouble on the uphill I collected myself at the top and finished the race strongly with a 5:06 last mile.

Hart Bridge in the background, doesn’t look too bad from here

After the race I collected my stuff and did an easy 10-minute cool down in the parking lot of the Jacksonville Jaguar’s stadium. I saw Gwen Jorgensen being interviewed after her race and I rode in the elevator with Marielle Hall back at the race hotel. Other than that it was your pretty typical road race. I met Jim, the elite athlete coordinator, on Sunday morning while riding the elevator back up to my room after doing an easy 40-minute run. Jim was really nice and invited me to come back again next year which I will definitely consider. I left a lot of time out there on the Hart Bridge and I would like to come back for vengeance.

This trip was pure business; this is as close as I got to the beach

You can view my training for this race here (updated monthly).

Also, you can follow me on Instagram @ohloru and please feel free to send me an email.

Finally, stay tuned for my next project. I am starting a podcast to talk with other competitive runners about their training and performance. Planning to release my first episode later this month.

Andy

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