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2014 Strawberry Classic 5K

by Meghann on March 23, 2014

Whoops! I almost forgot I signed up for a 5K this weekend!


The Strawberry Classic is a 15K, 10k, and 5k organized by the Tampa Bay Runners. It’s a great local race – just minutes from my house! – that benefits the pediatric cancer society. I ran the 10K last year, and when I was looking to register again this year, I noticed there was a “pet friendly 5K.” I signed up for the 5K, excited that Maddie could run it with me. Unfortunately they later changed the “pet friendly 5K” to a “pet friendly 1 mile walk.” Boo. Maddie can’t catch a break!

I was so upset about the change that I debated not doing the race at all, which is why I think I forgot about it. Then I received the reminder email Friday afternoon and decided why not. I was planning to run 3-4 miles anyway, might as well get a medal and some strawberries out of it. Β (Yes, I could have done the mile walk with Maddie, but I was being selfish and still wanted to do the 5K. Sorry, Mads!)

The 5K had a late start (8:45 is late for a Florida race!), which definitely threw my morning race routine off. I still had to pick my packet up, so I set my alarm at 6:30, with the plan of leaving my house at 7:00am. I think I’m so used to race starts being so far away – and busy!- that I definitely overestimated how much time I needed. Β  It took no time at all to get to the race and park. I had my packet in hand by 7:15 and went back to my car to kill the hour and a half until I needed to be at the start line. I could have easily slept another 30 minutes. Darn.


That is a BRIGHT race shirt!

After catching up on Instagram and Facebook, I headed back to the race start about 40 minutes before go time and took advantage of the free 5 minute massages being offered.


One of the perks of a small race – no wait for a massage!

The “start line” was a line drawn with chalk on the road next to the school. Runners started gathering about 5-10 minutes before the start. There were about 350 5K and 150 10K runners all starting at the same time. The start was very casual, it seemed like most of the runners were neighbors and this was just another Saturday fun run for them.


The race director got on the bull horn with instructions for the race. The course was marked with spray painted arrows. 5Kers should follow the green arrows and 10Kers should follow the red arrows. Of course, no one could hear him so it turned into a game of telephone where one person would shout “5K green, 10K red” and instruct those behind them to pass it on.


The race started on time with an old fashioned air horn signaling “go.” I was near the front and tried my best not to be pulled with all of the runners starting fast. It’s so easy to get caught up in that mentality of “this pace feels great, I could totally do this” only to not feel so great a 1/2 mile later and struggling to run at all.

I had no goals for this race, just to go out and have fun. Despite my best efforts, I ran the first mile way too fast and gradually felt my pace drop as the race went on. I hate 5Ks, they burn! Why the heck was I running this, again? I’m not in shape for this.

When I felt it was hurting too much, I walked for a few seconds. The great thing about doing a no-pressure run, is I honestly didn’t care about my finish time and was a-okay with walking. I took a 10-15 second walking break every 1/2 mile and didn’t feel guilty about it at all.

Luckily the three miles went fast and before I knew it, I could see the turn for the finish line ahead. I kept pushing and finished giving it the last bit of power I had in my legs.


I grabbed the medal from the volunteer and did a couple of walking circles around the finish chute. Man, that hurt worst than it should have. I’m getting old.


They had a kiosk set-up to check on live results and I was pleased to see I placed second in my age group!


Again, I love small races. A 5 minute drive to the race, no issues with parking, plenty of room at the start, and placing in my age group – win, win!

Oh, and the food!

Dunkin Donuts


And all the strawberries you could eat!



They were practically begging runners to take strawberries home. You didn’t have to tell me twice.


Unfortunately I had to get to work, so I couldn’t stay for the age group award ceremony. Sigh.

All in all, a great way to spend a Saturday. If you’re in the Tampa area, I highly recommend the Strawberry Classic as a no-fuss, well run 5k, 10k, or 15k. πŸ™‚

What are your favorite local races?




1 Jen March 23, 2014 at 4:01 pm

Oh….Dunkin’ Donuts! We don’t have the chain here in California, so any chance to eat them has me blissfully shoveling them in my face.
I really do enjoy the smaller races, especially when they get support from local businesses.
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2 Rebecca@Running.Food.Baby. March 23, 2014 at 4:25 pm

Those strawberries look amazing! I would take all of them πŸ™‚

So I live in a suburb of Ottawa – so most of my races are all downtown/West end of Ottawa which can be a pain in the butt because of crowds/parking. I do have a couple of secret parking spots – including my big secret spot for all the big races that are held downtown, so it isn’t too bad, just a pain sometimes. We had one local race here in my suburb, for years the start line was no joke, 400m from my house. I could hear the music/announcements from my front door. It was great to just jog to the start, then jog back home to wait for the awards ceremony. However, the event organizers grew out of that location and we then had to go to another location 15 minutes away (technically I could ride my bike). But this year they went and cancelled the whole race, forever. So now, no super local races for me, despite having a wonderful riverside path and everything.
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3 Laura March 23, 2014 at 4:31 pm

We have the Krispy Kreme Challenge in Raleigh and it is an awesome race!
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4 Angie March 23, 2014 at 4:34 pm

I was so,sorry to miss this run! I’ve been sidelined by shin splints (aka personal HELL) and I am saving it up to do a run with my son in about 2 weeks! I hoping one of these days we will cross paths, as I am in the Tampa Bay Area too (Valrico,,to be exact).

Love reading your blog!

5 mary @ minutes per mile March 23, 2014 at 4:34 pm

strawberries post-race?! that’s amazing. i feel like half-cut, old bananas are all i see around DC — must start racing in florida for fresher post-race produce πŸ™‚
mary @ minutes per mile recently posted..2 miles, 2 falafels

6 Nikki March 23, 2014 at 4:46 pm

Any reason to take home strawberries is worth running for πŸ™‚ Even with walking breaks, that time is quite impressive πŸ™‚
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7 Emily @ The Swallow Flies March 23, 2014 at 5:20 pm

Those strawberries look AMAZING!

My favorite race in Des Moines is Dam to Dam. It used to be the country’s biggest 20k, but this year it switched to a half marathon. We start up at the dam on Saylorville Lake and run to downtown Des Moines. It’s a beautiful route, half through the country and half through various neighborhoods in the city. I can’t wait for this year’s race — May 31st!
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8 Becky @ Olives n Wine March 23, 2014 at 6:46 pm

So much fun! This is why I love small races too… and heck, if they’re giving away strawberries, I’ll fly down to Tampa next year for the race πŸ˜‰ Great job!
Becky @ Olives n Wine recently posted..Girl and the Goat, Froyo, and Sushi – A weekend of eats!

9 Sara @ LovingOnTheRun March 23, 2014 at 6:49 pm

Strawberries post race is an awesome idea! I love local races because they are much easier to get in and out of. Looking forward to another racing season soon πŸ™‚
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10 Emily March 23, 2014 at 7:26 pm

I need to get back to doing local races. There are so many in the SF Bay Area!
Great job!
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11 Caroline March 23, 2014 at 7:41 pm

Strawberries post-race sound so delicious! Add Dunkin Donuts and I would be sold! Congrats on 2nd place in your age group!
Caroline recently posted..Carmel Half Marathon Training Week 10 Recap

12 melissa @fitnessnycblog March 23, 2014 at 7:42 pm

Wow, that’s pretty impressive for a just for fun race! Great job.

13 Cheri @ Overactive Blogger March 23, 2014 at 7:50 pm

Omg I would die at those strawberries! Looks so good!
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14 Kristen @ Glitter and Dust March 23, 2014 at 7:55 pm

I am so jealous that you always get to run in the sunshine. Is it ever cloudy there? Looks like a super fun run and with donuts and strawberries at the finish, how could you go wrong? One of my favorite local races is the Dirty Half Marathon – a trail run that everyone comes out for.
Kristen @ Glitter and Dust recently posted..Ten Ways Triathlon Training Has Changed My Lifestyle

15 Jojo @ RunFastEatLots March 23, 2014 at 8:33 pm

That’s so cool that they were giving out boxes of strawberries! And the benefit of doing local, small races is that it’s easier to place in your age division πŸ˜€ Congrats on the 2nd place!
Jojo @ RunFastEatLots recently posted..Training Log 3/23 and First Club Ride of the Season

16 Erin March 23, 2014 at 9:48 pm

I ran the race as well (15K) and I stuck around and saw people running with their dogs during the 5K/10K races, so I think you would have been okay to bring the pooch. Just a small side note – the race supported the pediatric cancer foundation (not pancreatic, although that would be good to support as well).

17 Amanda Elizabeth March 23, 2014 at 11:07 pm

That is such a great 5k! I agree really well run!
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18 Martina @ snapshotsandwhatnots March 24, 2014 at 8:30 am

Woop congrats on placing that’s awesome. And ohh my dunkin doughnuts at the finish sounds like fantastic motivation to me πŸ™‚
Martina @ snapshotsandwhatnots recently posted..My top 10 tips for losing weight

19 Molly Rose March 24, 2014 at 9:04 am

HOW did I miss the donut munchkins!? So unfortunate! Anyway, still sad I didn’t get to see you! I ran the 5k also, and like you (and allll the 5ks I do) my first mile is a bolt out of the gate, and then I slow down the next two miles, ha! However I PR’d and am very happy about it! (I finished right behind you in our age group, holler!) Great job with your finish and hope to see you at another local race πŸ™‚
Molly Rose recently posted..Strawberry Classic 5k

20 Elizabeth {Positively Healthy} March 24, 2014 at 9:32 am

We have some great local races in my area as well and I love running them! Great job on your place and time!
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21 EB @ Running on E March 24, 2014 at 11:04 am

Fun! I love small races too. Sometimes the informalness is a nice change!
EB @ Running on E recently posted..Friday Four (because I’m too tired to come up with 5)

22 Lesley March 24, 2014 at 11:29 am

I want those strawberries, and now I’ve got DD on the brain.
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23 Natalie @ Free Range Human March 24, 2014 at 12:14 pm

Wow, those strawberries look incredible. Definitely worth the three miles!
Natalie @ Free Range Human recently posted..Family Fun Run

24 Ashley March 24, 2014 at 2:03 pm

Ummm strawberries and donuts?! YUM! Talk about a perfect post race combo!

25 Lisa @ runnermamablogger March 24, 2014 at 2:14 pm

How fun and how fast you ran that even with a little walking, crazy! Awesome score with the strawberries!
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26 Runner Girl Eats March 24, 2014 at 6:53 pm

I’m super impressed about your time and walking! I can’t run 24 min 5k let alone run/walk. congrats!
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27 Mel March 24, 2014 at 7:36 pm

I love the idea of a pet friendly 5k! I wish more races would consider going pet friendly. I also wish more races ended in strawberries and donuts… Congrats on your time!
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28 Christina March 25, 2014 at 9:09 am

Strawberries are the best post-race prize of all time. Congrats on the race and age placement!
Christina recently posted..Mrs. T’s Pierogies Chorizo Nachos

29 Danielle Hughes March 25, 2014 at 10:28 am

Ah poor Maddie. She woulda loved the walk. But well done on placing second! And walking off with a whole box of strawberries is a bonus.
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30 Jen@HealthyFoodandFamily March 25, 2014 at 12:56 pm

Mmmmm….strawberries! I want to face plant myself into all of them!

Congrats on a great race!!!
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31 Mikel March 30, 2014 at 9:57 pm

I think this is the same race that I ran once in like 8th grade – except back then it was a cross country route! It looked like a beautiful day! Congrats on placing πŸ™‚

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