2015 Damascus Freedom 5K Race Recap

March 27, 2016

Two posts in one day? Get outta here.  This was my second year (last year’s recap HERE) running the Damascus Freedom 5K, which was held the day after the Bird in Hand Half Marathon. Why run back to races? 


Image: Damascus Freedom 5K

It is a 9/11 remembrance run and the race proceeds benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, Fisher House, USO, Disabled American Veterans, and Hero Dogs. 

Packet Pickup

Like last year, packet pickup was held on Saturday at MMA & Sport in Damascus or beginning at 7:30am on race day.  Since Damascus is a good 40-50 minutes from DC, I choose same day pickup. 

This year they moved the pickup table down by the finish area (no big deal) – I also got another free toothbrush πŸ™‚ A little pre-race picture.

Race Goals (β€œA” least probable and β€œC” most probable)

Because I ran the Bird in Hand Half Marathon the day before, I had no ambitious goals.  I wanted to run this for fun and had some non time related goals in mind: 

  • A – Run up the last hill 
  • B – Maintain consistent splits 
  • C –  Do not go out too fast 

Damascus Freedom 5K

I dropped off my shirt in my car and put on my bib and running belt.  There were no changes to the course, it was an out and back along the trails of Damascus Regional Park.  The course is mostly paved with the exception for a little grassy stretch before Mile 2.  

Prior to the 5K we were treated to the kids run. It was fun to see the little ones run up a small hill and down.  Toeing the start line! So simple πŸ™‚

After a moment of silence we were off. This incline was a piece of cake.

Here are my splits with last year’s splits in parentheses: 

  • Mile 1: 10:49 (11:22) wow Jennifer….I promise I held back…I promise 
  • Mile 2: 11:24 (12:02) hmmm I think this is better than last year…ooh they cut the grassy portion 
  • Mile 3: 12:18  (12:49) that hill 

Well, I definitely did not meet any of my goals haha. I went out fast (there is a nice downhill), no consistent splits, and the last hill got the best of me – again!  

Next year I will try to run up the entire hill.  I did finish with a course PR 35:26 or 11:25 min/mile.  That was about a 1.5 minute from last year – although I wasn’t racing it then. 

After I crossed the finish line, I met the race director, Seth.  I had sent him my race recap the year before, so it was nice to put a face to the name.  We also received these nice medals – they were definitely snazzier than last year’s version.

I re-filled my hand held with water and went to the picnic area for the post race food.  I treated myself with some cold watermelon and oranges.

Perfect for a warm day.

There was pizza and hamburgers too – I resisted πŸ™‚

Of course I had to take a picture in the same spot as last year (thank you to the kind paramedics, again). 

Final Thoughts

  • If you signed up before June, the race entry is only $23 (an increase of $2 from 2014). 
  • There is an option for a technical shirt for an additional $5. 
  • The water stop was at the same location, between Miles 1 and 2. 
  • No mile markers – just study the map ahead of time. 
  • It was small race weekend! There were less than 200 participants. 
  • I wish I lived closer to this park, because I really liked the course + the trail was shaded. 
  • Such a nice downhill for the first mile – I tried to reign it in, I promise.  Next year, right πŸ˜‰
  • 5K finisher’s medal – nice for the short distance. 
  • Yummy post race spread.
  • Hill – I’m coming back to get you (which I said last year too haha).

As long as I am in town in 2016 – I will be back!

What is the smallest race you’ve ever run?

Do you usually run a race in honor of 9/11?

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    1. Congrats on the course PR! You may not have met any of your specific goals for the day, but finishing the race much faster than last year is a nice consolation prize πŸ™‚ You have to feel good knowing you conquered the hill so much faster than last year!
      Kristina recently posted…Exactly What I NeededMy Profile

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Thanks, Kristina. You are right.. and next year I’m going to get it!

    1. Cute medal …congrats on the course PR.

      I run a few races with a local run club that are pretty low key and have small numbers. I do like those races.

      You will get that hill next time ; )

      1. Run Jenny Run

        I hope I do! Progress each year is the goal πŸ™‚ Thank you!

    1. Congratulations on the course PR! Hills are killer in 5K races. Beautiful medal! I am blown away by that amazing spread of fruit and other post-race food. Sounds like this race is a fantastic value! I enjoy small races a lot. =)
      Emily @ Out and About recently posted…Friday FavoritesMy Profile

      1. Run Jenny Run

        It certainly had a nice community feel to it. Haha yes, all hills are killers in 5Ks πŸ™‚

    1. Congrats on a great race and course PR on a hilly course. I like the smaller races personally… sometimes it’s a nice community feeling, like how you actually meet the race director, volunteers, and if it’s for a cause, you might meet the person who receives the race proceeds and I like that. They are fun, although if I want to *race* and run fast, I do prefer at least 300-500 people for the 5K. And a 9-11 rememberance race is always a good idea.
      Amy Lauren recently posted…Weekly Rundown: March 21-27My Profile

      1. Run Jenny Run

        You captured all the positives of a small race. It also felt low key – which was nice.

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Thank you, Sun! Yes, I love how low key it was πŸ™‚

      1. Run Jenny Run

        I was pleasantly surprised with the progress. The string and chalk start/finish lines were fantastic touches πŸ™‚

      1. Run Jenny Run

        Thanks, Abby! Pleasantly surprised it happened πŸ™‚

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