Race report: Crim Festival of Races 10 Mile and 5K

The Crim Festival of Races was one of the weirdest and toughest races I’ve competed in, and yet, it went surprisingly well.

This is my sixth consecutive Crim 10 Mile, and this year I added the 5K combo option for good measure.

If you’re from Michigan and haven’t raced the Crim, you’re missing out. Flint does a fantastic job of hosting the races with more than 10,000 runners and walkers. It’s a true community event with a lot of support. Bands play along the course, spectators set up stereo systems and there’s always that guy who sings karaoke (Crocodile Rock this year). Even though the Crim is always one of the toughest races for me every year–heat, humidity and hills–I keep coming back.

The festivities start Friday night with the Michigan Mile on the University of Michigan-Flint’s campus. I watched Heather Kampf, queen of the road mile, take her second victory at the race. It’s always fun watching pros race.

I luckily stayed with my friend near downtown, so it was a 10-minute walk to get to the start line Saturday morning.

We hung out at The Flint Journal/MLive hub (I work for The Ann Arbor News/MLive), which is a convenient place for us to use the bathroom and stash our gear.

At 7:30, I headed down to the Riverfront Plaza to meet up with the Oiselle Volee runners and randomly found them hanging out with Christopher McDougall, the guy who wrote “Born to Run.” It was the spot to be, apparently, because I saw elites, including Michigan’s own Dathan Ritzenhein, warming up.

In the starting corral, I ran into some Saginaw friends and chatted before we headed off at 8 a.m.

The first three miles were fantastic. Probably too fantastic because I ran faster than I intended and at mile 3, my body suddenly felt much too hot. The Crim is always a warm race, but this morning it was overcast and fairly cool for an August morning. My legs took a vacation mid-race and left me with lead replacements. Maybe it was thanks to the 6-mile tempo I did two days before.

Miles 3 to 7 were ridiculously bad. My pace slowed and slowed, and my mind was not in a good place. I was dizzy and wanted to drop out. Running has taught me, thankfully, to ride it out. I kept putting one foot in front of the other and focused on just getting to the next mile marker. I told myself I didn’t have to run the 5K if I was feeling sick at the finish.

At mile 7, I somehow partially recovered and picked my pace back up. Mile 10 was as fast as my early miles and I shocked myself by running 1:21:47, which is much better than I expected in those middle miles and not too far off my best of 1:19.

A bottle of chocolate milk and an orange popsicle helped perk me up, and I left my medal and T-shirt at the hub. Running the 5K in just my sports bra was a good decision; I was much cooler.

My soaked shirt and hat after the Crim. (Photo | Jake May)
My soaked shirt and hat after the Crim. (Photo | Jake May)

Although I thought I’d just run the 5K, that never actually happens in reality. It’s a race. My first mile was 7:08. I slowed down from there, but finished 18th among women and 3rd in my age group. Not a bad day.

All in all, a good day. I’m proud of the way I pushed through and am relieved to have this race done for the year. The Crim always kicks off the fall season for me.

Aside from the glory of fall, it means marathon day is 10 weeks away!


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