Setting A Reasonable First Ever 5K Race Goal

The other day I shared my concerns over my upcoming first-ever 5K race

It will be here soon – as it is just 12 days away.

Last night, I decided to drive the “road” part of the course again.  (It starts and ends in a park.  But, in between that, it’s down and back a street outside the park.)  I just drove down the road 1.6 miles and counted 5 hills on that stretch.  So, as it’s a turnaround route, we’re talking 10 hills on this race – not including the incline to get out of the park.  Yikes!

Today, I decided to look at the race results for the past 4 years (2007-2010) to see how many people ran this 5K challenge in total – and how many each year ran the course in more than 26 minutes and more than 30 minutes. Here’s that result:

Year Total >26 >30
2010 264 81.4% 58.0%
2009 206 80.6% 47.1%
2008 112 73.2% 53.6%
2007 174 70.1% 45.4%

So, ballpark, over this time, it seems as if half of those running this one need more than 30 minutes to finish the 3.1 miles.

Next, I looked at the all the men (like me) who ran this race since 2007 who were between the ages of 47 and 51 (since I will be 49 in eleven days) to determine their average result time.  There were 44 such runners and their average time was 29 minutes and 21 seconds.

When I run my personal 5Ks these days, my time is usually around 25.5 minutes.  However, my route is mostly flat ground.

Seeing that about-half who run this race (since 2007) need more than 30 minutes to finish, and, seeing that guys my age (since 2007) running this need close to 30 minutes to cover the course, I’m level-setting my goal for this one at 30 minutes.

Given this data and my brief running history – I just did C25K in the first quarter of this year after never running in my life – I think that’s a reasonable goal.

Add-on: Doing some more analysis, looking at a some guys who have run this race a few years in a row, who had consistent times, and who were around my age, I think another reasonable goal for me would be to finish within the top 65% of my gender.  So, that’s something else to shoot for in this one.

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