Arctic 5K Recap (Ice, Sweat, and a Course PR!)

The Arctic 5K is a race I love to hate. Back in 2013, it was my first ever 5K. To be honest, I’m not sure why I ever ran a second one after that, because the elevation gain was crazy, it was freezing cold, I averaged a 15 minute mile the whole time, and I kind of wanted to die.

Fast forward to finishing my 4th Arctic in a row yesterday.

I love this year’s race logo! Source

Pretty much all you need to know about this race is that it’s hosted by Liberty University Student Activities, it’s always below freezing at the start (even though this week was nice and warm, the temperature plummeted Friday night) and the elevation profile looks like this:


So there I was at 8am, standing in the nice warm Student Center building with my friends wonder why exactly I signed up for this race for the 4th time.

I was still wondering as we lined up to start (for the record it was 30 degrees). Then we started and for the first half mile I found myself thinking, “Huh. This isn’t nearly as bad as I remember, maybe I made it out worse in my head. Maybe I’m just a lot stronger than I have been the last few times.”

Around the half mile mark is where you start to go up a mountain. And then you keep going up. I think we went up until almost the 2 mile mark. My thoughts were a lot different around then. “Okay, I lied this is hard. I’m not doing this next year, I don’t care if it’s my anniversary race. Nope. Nope. Ow.”

However, after the giant peak in the middle of the map there, it actually becomes enjoyable. Around this time I ran into my friend Susan and the last mile flew by as we chatted. I almost wiped out one time on a root, but I caught myself at the last second.

Susan and I crossed the line together (holding hands) at the exact same time! We clocked in at 36:54, a trail 5K time that I’m super proud of!

I thought I had come in close to that last year, but after searching for my results, I actually came in at 45:37, so I’ll take a 9 minute course PR.

I love Student Activities races for several reasons:

  • They’re pretty cheap. I don’t think I’ve ever paid more than $20 for one
  • They have great shirts! Everything is moisture wicking and super cute! (see below)
  • Domino’s Pizza is served at the finish.
  • The organization gets an A+.
The only thing I don’t like is the 10 year age groups. I’m not going to be able to place until I’m 30, since about 90% of the participants are college students. At least it’s something to look forward to in 7 years 😉
Races are more fun with friends!
Shirts from all 4 that I’ve done. Last year (the blue one) is still my favorite.