GFGL Race Reviews: Catalina 5K

By: KRISTI ATKINSON

My very first race was on Catalina Island over spring break two years ago. I didn’t train very much for this 5K, but I had been in the middle of collegiate soccer training, which included a lot of cardio.

I didn’t come into the race with any expectations but a good family vacation. My mom and I were both running, while the rest of the family tagged along for a little island escape.

We arrived the night before and headed straight to a tropical hotel to collect my number, more race information and a little bit of sponsored goodies such as samples and a t-shirt. At the time, I hadn’t decided if I wanted to run the 5K or 10K, but I ended up sticking to the same race as my mom. The 10K and marathon runners received much more, but I’m not sure what.

The next morning, I woke up nervous and I didn’t know why. I played soccer every day and had been running and lifting every day for years. I did not like to lose.

Again, I didn’t know what to expect as it was my first race. When I arrived to the starting line, I noticed it was all families and people of all ages. I then realized this was going to be more fun than competitive like I would imagine a marathon.

My dad was wearing a University of Idaho hat (my school) and a man immediately recognized the gold, silver and black. What are the odds that we would meet Vandal Alum from small Moscow, Idaho, in Catalina? It helped me get rid of the pointless nerves.

Fast-forward to the actual 5K race, I immediately seeked the front of the pack to escape the annoying baby steps in the crowd of runners. I don’t know how many people were actually there though. The entire race was on asphalt, but they shut down the streets.

The race started at the water, went inland (and uphill) to the Wingley Botanical Gardens, and back to the water again. The weather wasn’t great, but it was still so beautiful.

As I started my way back down the hill, there were still many families making their way up the hill cheering for me letting me know I was in first or one of the firsts. Everyone was so supportive, cheering me on, and having so much fun.

I made my way to the finish line and basically walked across because I thought I lost my timing chip. I came in first place in my age group and my sweet tooth was so happy to see unhealthy food at the bottom (and healthy, but mainly unhealthy).

Overall, the race had a great environment with great people. It was definitely one I will return to one day.

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