My 5k "race" Disaster... !!!!!: So, I could pop... - Couch to 5K

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My 5k "race" Disaster... !!!!!

primaballerina profile image

So, I could pop up here showing a photo of my finishers medal (very nice it is too) and telling you I did a Garmin timed run of 37:42 (and I'm waiting for my 'official' time)...

I could tell you how beauiful the weather was with the sun set reflecting of the mountains in the distance, and how 37:42 is a new personal best....

BUT, and it's a very big BUT... I was so far behind that at a certain point on the route there were no arrows on the road or people directing that I ended up taking an UNINTENTIONAL short cut and my run was only 4.27 km....

I'm gutted. I feel such a fraud.

I was doing so well at the begining - ignoring the fact that within 250m the whole field had passed me by - as I carried on regardless I was cheered on by locals who were watching from their gardens. I went downhills and up hills - ALL ON MY OWN.

There was no fun in a group, no older people like me who had just learnt to run (in fact the shock of the guy taking my registration when I told him I was doing the run not the walk should have told me something.

So, I think I will do the correct and full route again in a couple of weeks time and then post my real time for this 5k. And then I can wear my medal with pride.

(It was very hard, I did the first kms in 6:33/km followed by a 8:07/km - up a hill) - so for me it was quite a pace! Average was 8:50/km. My achilles is having words.

Poor me.


39 Replies
Rhedeg2019 profile image

Oh nooooo! That’s such a shame that you’ve come away feeling negative about it! I can’t believe there were no marshals or pacers at the back to help you 😪

Well done you though! I can understand why you feel cheated, but at least you now know for next time 😊

Oldgirlruns profile image

Oh PB what a shame! Your race sounds a bit like my usual parkrun where I get left far behind! . But you’re not a fraud - you know you can do it and we’ll look forward to seeing your bling when you want to show it to us! And I’m sure there’ll be another race where you’ll be up with the other runners!

Jogunlikely profile image

Not to worry hon. We think you are amazing, hardly your fault it was so badly signed.

So far I have come last in every "race" I've done. Who cares, we're out there doing it!


I’m in great company. Thanks xx

Granspeed profile image

Oh boo. What a shame. I feel your pain indeed. Can’t quite imagine a 5k, with a walk alternative, where a time under 40 minutes would put you so far behind as to lose the route. 😨 Whatever were the organisers thinking? Unless they’d posted a cut off of 30 minutes, how was one to know? And where were the route signs anyway? So sad for your disappointment. But I love your resolution to run the course later in your own way. 👏🏼 sounds like an excellent way to put today behind you and be able to enjoy that finisher’s medal. Well done. And three cheers for creative perseverance. 👍🎉

Good for you for doing the run in the first place. And boo to the organisers for their out-dated ideas about who runners are. You are a runner. Enough said!

Aww that’s a really good run and fantastic speed you should be very proud. Shame it wasn’t inclusive though

ArthurJG profile image

It is disappointing that you missed the turn but as has already been said it should have been better signed: they shouldn't just assume you'll be able to see the runner in front. As for being slower, as long as you're within the time limit (if any) for the race they should be able to manage. It may be worth contacting them about the signage because if no one tells then they won't know, but that's up to you. In the meantime enjoy what you did achieve.

Cakerunner profile image

Well primaballerina, I think, you did amazingly well actually, much better in fact, than the organisers of the event who failed spectacularly in my opinion, to accommodate anyone taking part! How in the world did they expect those walking to be finishing sub 40, and, for the sake of everyone safety wise, I feel they should have Marshall's on the course all the way until the last person has safely finished. What if you had tripped and hurt yourself? 😳 🏃‍♀️

Veganlynz profile image

My park run has Marshall’s that stay at the rear of the field so no one is ever left behind and no one comes last! Try a different one there are usually loads in your local area. Most importantly well done for doing it!!!

Hazel10 profile image

I did a few park runs and came in the last ten on all of them. It is sold as being a fun, all inclusive event - NOT a race, but it is a race. People with buggies ran past me - it is very disheartening. I have never managed a sub thirty 5k and I am ok with that, but i wont be park running again any time soon, it just stresses me out and i don’t need that, it’s counter productive. I am 48, thirteen and a half stone and I am trying. I do 5k and I enjoy it, headphones in, steady pace. That’s it. Really disappointing though because you aim for the park run after couch to five and it’s a slap in the face after graduating. Why is everything so competitive? Can’t stand it....

Ashcraig profile image
Ashcraig in reply to Hazel10

Oh that’s a shame. I’m fairly new to park run and I have to say I’ve had the opposite experience from you - thankfully. I find people to be in competition with themselves which is good. Even the really good runners encourage me when they are running past me ....on their way home!!!! I’m doing week 3 of C25K and I don’t think my ‘run’ is much faster than my fast walk but I feel so inspired and encouraged by the runners and volunteers that I’m staying with it. I’m encouraging my non runner friends to give it a go to. Maybe they are all different I’ve only ever been to the one park. Hey you are running how you like it - on your own with your earplugs in. Hope you continue to enjoy it into the new year. Well done. 😄

Hazel10 profile image
Hazel10Graduate in reply to Ashcraig

Think i got out of the wrong side of the bed - you are absolutely right, runners always encourage runners and it’s not their fault that i am slower than they are. Got on scales this morning, super hormonal so not a good time to post.... 🤣🤣

peaplodder profile image
peaplodder in reply to Hazel10

Hi Hazel10, I really feel I MUST comment. I graduated 5 years ago and like you I have NEVER run 5k in under 30 mins. This used to bother me 'a lot' and for a couple of years I was always chasing that sub 30 time. However over the years I have come round to accepting that not only will I probably never run 5k in under 30 mins but........sshhh...........I really don't get on well with continuous running at all. I have found that I am much happier sticking with 60:30 run/walk intervals and as such, that is what I do at parkrun....all the way round....every week. I have now completed 212 parkruns usually around the 37-38 minute mark and that is what is comfortable for me and makes me happy. The moral of this tale is to run how it suits YOU. Why is it a problem for you to be 'in the last ten' , why is it a problem to be overtaken by buggy runners ? Personally I don't care and I can assure you that nearly every park runner admires every other park runner, regardless of time. If you run 50.32 minutes one week and 50.31 the next it's a pb for YOU. PLEASE don't be disheartened, there's been a topic on the beyond C25k fb page about the pressure we put ourselves under post graduation and how unnecessary it is. Do what works for you, please keep running and if you're ever running at a parkrun near me I'll keep you company xxx

Bladerunner2049 profile image
Bladerunner2049Graduate in reply to Hazel10

I know some people who run the Winchester park run, and while I've never done it, they do try and make it as inclusive as possible.

I'm pretty sure PR post all the times you could see how many people normally finished around your usual 5k time at a particular PR.

Good luck and happy new year.

Mummycav profile image

Do you know what’s coming through on this post?? The absolute resolution to keep going...before you even set off you were made to feel incapable, pffffft to the marshalls thats what I couldn’t see anyone else, there were no marshalls to guide you, no arrows, nothing but instead of packing it all in you kept on going and it’s for that reason you should be proud of this run. To me it shows so much strength and determination to get to the finish with all these hurdles in front of you. I would wear your bling with pride irregardless of time or distance because this was such a gutsy run and one that you won’t show us the bling!!! Well done to you, massive kudos from me xxxxx

Wow! I have never run a park run here in France. Dont know if they exist? What a disheartening experience for you. Not nice to be left to run alone & not given directions. You are very brave and I agree with a previous comment to try a different park run at some point. Congratulations on finishing YOUR run that day.

Chris2801 profile image
Chris2801Graduate in reply to Distance

My local Parkrun (in Lytham, England) is fantastic, there’s always a tail walker so no one is last and everyone is really friendly. There are a lot of fast runners but also slow runners, Jeffers and walkers. Definitely worth finding one if you can x

Bladerunner2049 profile image
Bladerunner2049Graduate in reply to Distance

hello I don't believe the OP was taking part in a Park Run event. Unless I read that wrong.

First of all, hats off and huge respect to you!

Secondly, if I may suggest it, you should write to organisers and tell them about your experience. Then they will be in the position (and it will be their responsibility) to ensure such a thing never happens again!

The best of luck!

As you can see so many of us have had some or all of your experiences. So do not let it get you down - you did 4.27 km instead of doing nothing - that would have made you and your body fell better anyway? Your time even allowing for a complete 5 km would not have put you last at my parkrun - we have a tail walker and depending on volunteers but always marshals at key turns - anyway you will soon learn the route and just work on perfecting your own run and time.

Keep going and enjoy 😊

Sounds like a dreadful park run to me. I haven't done one yet, but if I do, I hope it's better organised and less elitist than the one you did.

Absolutely full marks for getting out there and doing it. I'd say you deserve that medal simply for perseverance among a group of jumped up little twerps.

See if you can find another one somewhere close, where you will feel much more welcome.

Huge cheer from me!! Well done


ArthurJG profile image
ArthurJGGraduate in reply to RunningMigster

It wasn’t a parkrun it was a race. You don’t get a medal at parkrun.

RunningMigster profile image
RunningMigsterGraduate in reply to ArthurJG

Still well deserved under the circumstances I think! :-)

I think that what you did was amazing. It took courage and determination. The fact that you didn’t give up and got a personal best! You really deserve that medal - more than all the others! Well done 👍🏻

linda9389 profile image

Aggghh, how frustrating for you! I notice the field of runners in the race I did on Boxing Day was faster than any events I've entered before. Possibly only speedy, hardcore runners make the effort during the festive period? That makes us winners for getting out there and running the race, right? I guess it's hard to find enough volunteers to marshal the course too. Such a shame it wasn't better marked out for you, but remember you are a winner!

runwithdog profile image

no disaster are out there doing it and giving it your best shot and that is all that matters !!

It is fantastic that you didn’t give up and that you will do another run. Good for you!!

Thanks for all the support guys. It will keep me going. And when i do the full route I’ll show u my bling!! Xx


Kirky1967 profile image

Sounds like you inadvertently joined a 5k elite race.. Probably all other runners completed in sub 20.. An organised park run is the way to go.. I often cheer people across the finish line after 1hr..then you have the tail walkers, no one gets left behind on their own.. No medal though..... Chin up and get back out there. 👍👍

Dave. 👍

Jamohanlall profile image

Awwww so sorry your first 5k was not a great experience for you. But regardless you did it up& down hills (my nemesis). You’re still a hero in my eyes. I haven’t signed up for a race yet. You keep on & I’ll catch up!

Are they even allowed to hold a race without a back marker ? I'd have said that's extremely bad practice. Well done you though for getting to the end though and if you've got a medal for a 'short' run blame them for their incompetent race set up and take it as a reward for your pb.

Looks like an amazing performance to me! Congratulations! At the end of the day you are doing it for yourself nobody else. I am usually the slowest runner in parks seeing 50-60yo people smashing it (iam 31). Can relate to that feeling but what's impressive is what you achieved! Well done!

I was in a 5k race, approaching the finish line, when a stampede of 10k racers started running towards us. They’d erroneously taken off along our finish stretch due to poor signage. The runners motivated by achievement and pride were annoyed as they’d trained and paid for 10k and only did 7k. Others saw it as a bonus that they didn’t have to run as far. Either way, they’d all done the hard miles before the event, just like you. Enjoy the medal, you still earned it.

Debston profile image

Oh, primaballerina! I shouldn't laugh but I love the idea of you taking an unintentional shortcut and getting a pb! Don't be mortified - it was an honest mistake and really, they should have had signs or marshals to make sure you couldn't veer off course. Well done!

Ferrygirl profile image

What the hell... you did it- yey!!!

Oh dear. Let's forget about the short cut, the course should have been marked better.

As for the race, a 5k race is a tough event, it's normally very quick. This isn't a park run. In fact it's partly why park run exists.

You should be very proud of yourself for even trying and your sector times look decent enough to me. Maybe take more time and investigate why type of race you next enter, there lots out there for all speeds if runners. Just Google 5k races near me.

Don't be discouraged, you won't have been the first person to get lost in a race, it's happened to me too.

Happy new year.

I did my first parkrun last Saturday at Walmer and deal seafront. I m 56 and only started running at the end Sept (c25k) did my first 5k on Christmas eve with a friend. Have to say all marshalls and helpers were brilliant. Supportive and welcoming. I was expecting a more mixed field though. I set off much too fast and ruined my ability to go round at a slow walkers on this event as far as I know. I got round the 5k in just over 45 mins. Considering I couldnt run for 3 minutes in Oct I am pleased with that. No disrespect at all to parkrun,but I m going back to the drawing board to improve speed before I join them again. Being so far behind the pack is just no fun!

EEPaul profile image
EEPaulGraduate in reply to Hectordog

Well done on completing C25k and trying parkrun. As a (now) 58-year-old, I hadn't run for 15 years when I started C25k in May and I graduated by doing one of my local parkruns just over two months later.

Being based in SE London, I am spoilt for choice, and find Southwark one of the ones with the greatest range of participants, from sub-20 minute runners who've lapped me before the end, to ones that I've lapped (including walkers). I have also volunteered as a marshal and watched, admired and applauded all participants.

Don't give up on parkrun. First, be the example to others that parkrun is for people of all abilities and fitness levels. Second, use it as part of your routine: most weeks, I run Tuesdays, Thursdays and a Saturday parkrun, and have watched my fitness and times improve month by month as a result. Third, if you can, try other parkruns - courses, running surfaces and numbers vary widely: I swap between courses running, say, 3 laps around a park, to others that are 'out-and-back', and the variety helps keep it interesting.

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