"Smokestack" Set the Pace 5K

"Smokestack" Set the Pace 5K

"Smokestack" Set the Pace 5K

( 1 review )
100% of reviewers recommend this race
  • Camden,
    United States
  • January
  • 3 miles/5K
  • Road Race
  • Event Website


RICHMOND, Virginia, United States
7 10
"Great way to begin the new year! A fun, hilly, small small-town race."
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Race Management
Rebecca 's thoughts:

The Set the Pace 5K is sponsored by the Smokestack Grill and is part of the Go! Malawi race series to raise money for the nonprofit organization Go! Malawi. Registration is through runsignup.com, and at only $18, it was one of the least expensive races I've run. There was no t-shirt or other swag, but everyone who entered got a bunch of raffle tickets for prizes (such as gift cards to local businesses) to be drawn after the race.

The race was very small, with only 77 finishers, and Camden was pretty quiet on New Year's Day, so parking was easy. The course was very hilly, but the last mile or so was a gradual downhill, which was particularly sweet - enough of a downhill to make it easy, but not so much that it beats up your knees. Race management was very informal, which is what you'd expect from such a small, small-town race. There were no water stops but lots of course marshals to cheer and direct runners. I and the runner right ahead of me both took a wrong turn at the one place where there wasn't a course marshal, but the other runners quickly pointed it out to us, so it added less than minute to my time.

I unfortunately wasn't able to stick around for the post-race festivities and award ceremony, but the division place awards looked really cool and unique - instead of medals, the awards were small African carvings on a cord to wear around your neck.

The race was difficult for me because I didn't have time to warm up, I don't do well with uphill starts, and unplanned traveling had wreaked havoc on my sleep schedule and my usual pre-race nutrition. The first mile was rough and the second mile only slightly less so, but the last mile was good because I was warmed up and running downhill.

Although the race was small, it was extremely competitive. I was very impressed by the times of some of the older (i.e. my age) runners.

Note: Because this race didn't fit into the usual categories, I rated T-Shirts/SWAG, Aid Stations, and Expo Quality with 5 stars, even though the race did not provide these amenities, because otherwise the overall rating would be misleading. I don't expect such amenities at a small race with an $18 entry fee, and I think the race was well worth the $18.

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