Fast Running Blog

General Category => Featured Races => Topic started by: Sasha Pachev on April 25, 2009, 09:29:06 pm

Title: Fast Running Blog 5 Miler
Post by: Sasha Pachev on April 25, 2009, 09:29:06 pm
Date: May 09, 2009
Time: 08:00 AM
Location: About 350 N Geneva Road in Provo, Utah. GPS coordinates: 40.238234,-111.69565.
Directions: Take I-15 to Provo, exit 265 (Center Street), go west to Geneva Road,  turn right, go about a quarter mile, make a left into the parking lot as soon as you cross the Provo River Bridge. Google Maps Directions (,-111.69565).

Registration: . Registration only online. We strongly encourage you to pre-register. If you come on the day of the race we will give you a bib. However, we will ask you to go online ASAP after you finish the race, post-register, and enter the bib you've run with. This will guarantee that your time will appear in the race results.

Our Cause: In the spirit of the problems our country is facing today  - for frugality and against obesity. In that spirit, this is the most economical race in the state. There is no entry fee.

Course: Starts and finishes at the Provo River Bridge on Geneva Road. The race course is flat out and back along the Provo River Trail. We will run to the end of the Provo River Trail by the Utah Lake and back.
 Course Map with Elevation Profile (

Benefits: This is a simple race. We have no food, no raffle, no trophies, and no band, but we do have the essentials - an accurate race course, good competition, and timing. Additionally, Sasha Pachev, two-time Top of Utah Marathon champion, and Jeff McClellan , the winner of this year's Provo City Half-Marathon, will be at the race to answer questions about training.

Prizes: Prize money for men and women:

1st place $50, 2nd pace $30, 3rd place $20

Prize money will be rewarded only if the performance standards are met. 27:30 or faster for men, 32:30 for women. No age division awards. However, we will subtract 1:10 from the time of the masters (40+) for the purpose of awarding prize money. So the young bucks would have to run scared.

Very Important: If you think you are too slow for the race stop thinking that right now, and sign up immediately no matter how slow you are, even if 12:00 per mile is all you can do, or even slower. Racing faster people helps you get faster, do not be afraid to do it.

Payment: Free. You may donate to Fast Running Blog if you so desire.

Title: Re: Fast Running Blog 5 Miler
Post by: maryannsc on April 25, 2009, 11:08:36 pm
This is AWESOME!!  I'm excited to come!  What a nice service to offer the community!

Title: Re: Fast Running Blog 5 Miler
Post by: Maurine Lee on April 26, 2009, 09:36:07 am
Thanks for hosting this, Sasha!  It is a great concept.

Title: Re: Fast Running Blog 5 Miler
Post by: jeff on April 26, 2009, 12:05:30 pm
Wonderful idea.  Maybe a model for other communities as well!

Title: Re: Fast Running Blog 5 Miler
Post by: Seth Wold on April 27, 2009, 12:23:10 pm
Who is footing the bill for prizes?
What benefits do they recieve? 
Does putting on free races encourage a better atmosphere for developing and strengthening the running community if Utah Valley?
Who do you think the majority of the winnings will go to?
Will there be course safety/ police support?
Does it require any permits from the city?
I was just wondering about this.  I don't understand the real intentions behind this idea.  But I hope that it is to help the running community, not just a few members of the community.

Title: Re: Fast Running Blog 5 Miler
Post by: maryannsc on April 27, 2009, 01:11:17 pm
Seth, I'm sure you'll get a reply shortly from Sasha, since he is authorized to make the final reply.  But my guess is that the money generated by this website as well as from Sasha's own pocket is footing the bill.  By putting on these fun runs, it brings publicity to the blog, which in turn helps the blog to grow, generating more income as well as giving them an opportunity to trade their widely-used advertising for benefits from other businesses, which funds the time Sasha puts into creating and maintaining the blog as well as their racing team.  But I can't say that it has any money motive.  It may be solely a service and/or a hobby.  But even if it is partially money-motivated, this money will be put into the blog and their racing team, as I've said, which benefits the whole running community.  The blog especially is very helpful to many runners because it helps them to log their running as well as encourage each other in their running pursuits.  Since the blog is free to the community, it is a great service.

This free race definitely will strengthen people like me for instance, part of the running community, because I may get a cash prize.  In turn, I can use that money to make more flyers and otherwise fund my next fun run I'm putting on, which will benefit many more runners in UV.

The winnings will go to the top 6 local elites, as do most cash prizes in other races.  Those who don't normally win cash prizes probably won't win one, but they will still come if they go to races just to run with lots of people that will push them as well as to be social.  The only difference is, they get a free bib and can buy refreshments of their own choice rather than paying someone else to provide them.

The course is very safe because it has no traffic since it's on the river trail.  There is no need for police support.

Free races and very small ones don't require permits.  I've already asked the Parks and they said it's not worth their time if there aren't many people.

I think they want to first help those who are trying to become national elites, which in turn helps the rest of the running community.  The local elites provide competition to push each other to faster times, as well as pull everyone else behind them.  They also provide inspiration for everyone else as well as share their tips to those who are less experienced or knowledgeable about running so that others can follow in their footsteps.  They are like pioneers, blazing trails for others.  These leaders get others excited about running and get them out the door training and racing.  You are one of these people, and you are one of the people who will be strengthened by running it, hopefully, and will then be able to fund your own running better and thus be able help others, as you have done for me.

Thanks Seth for all your free expert advice to many of us and I hope to see you at the race!

Title: Re: Fast Running Blog 5 Miler
Post by: Sasha Pachev on April 27, 2009, 02:31:07 pm
Fast Running Blog is footing the bill. We can afford $200 + pocket change to promote the idea of running fast, being fit, and not going into debt to do it. The course requires no police support. I do not expect a whole lot more than 50 people in the first race - my understanding is that I do not need permits for that. If Provo City tells me different, we'll deal with it. If it is only $100 per race, we can still handle that with no entry fees.

The idea is to have a race. We have a lot of parties around races, but not a whole lot of events where the party aspect is not being put ahead of racing. I thought for a difference we could once have a pure race. True competition is fostered when there is a low barrier to entry. For a poor college student an entry fee of any amount can serve as a barrier to entry. So I figured I'd remove it for as long as I can afford it. Part of my intent is also to demonstrate that most of the expenses in road "races" are party-related, that it does not cost that much to have a true race even when it has cash prizes. I realize that stirs the pot in some circles, and that is intentional. I like to stir the pot, it is good for it to be stirred, or else the food gets stuck to the walls.

If the race ever grows to 500 people or more, we might have another source of revenue from sponsors. If that ever takes place the cash prizes will be increased. We might also be able to take the course somewhere else to generate more publicity. But for now I want to know how many people will come to run a competitive bare bones race for free, and I am willing to pay $200 + pocket change to find out.

Seth, click on the link above and sign up. Tell your friends. Let's have a race.

Title: Re: Fast Running Blog 5 Miler
Post by: Sasha Pachev on April 27, 2009, 04:45:17 pm
Regarding the benefits to the community. Here at Fast Running Blog we primarily benefit the community by teaching a man to fish. This approach has resulted in numerous running breakthroughs which incidentally have been happen primarily among rank and file. Just go to the Race Reports page and read the Boston stories. Most of those runners could not run a Boston Qualifier before they joined the Blog, and many have publicly acknowledged that it was the Blog's help that got them to Boston. When a runner asks for advice on the forum I personally make sure that no such request is ignored and that adequate advice is given regardless of the level. We have seen greater family involvement with spouses and children starting to run, the families developing a culture that values work and adopting a healthier life style. Even those some have inferred from our name that the site caters to the elite, the fruits of our work testify that we mean what we say on the front page that this site is really for everybody who wants to be a better runner.

The race promotes not only our name, but also our core values. We believe in hard work. We believe in excellence. We believe in honoring and nurturing the gifts that God gave us. We do not believe in gimmicks, short cuts, and other forms of fluff that generate revenue but fail to produce excellence. 

At most six people will receive cash. However everyone will have a chance to push himself to the limit, find out where he stands, and learn what he needs to do to improve.  I hope this is enough of a benefit to the community. I have a suspicion that a good portion of the community may not want that benefit, they'd rather jog, eat, have a raffle, and then say to their friends that beat them by an hour that it is not fair. If so, then let those few who come learn how to beat their friends by an hour.

Title: Re: Fast Running Blog 5 Miler
Post by: James Moore on April 27, 2009, 11:01:08 pm
Sasha what goes into putting something like this on? I mean I could map out a 5-10K course going along the Jordan River trail. I could also put up some prize money for it. Hmm...

Title: Re: Fast Running Blog 5 Miler
Post by: Josse on April 28, 2009, 09:32:15 am
I like this idea but I don't see the harm in charging 5 bucks to cover your costs of doing this.  That is still promoting frugality, it is a lot of work and time away from your family to do this.  Kind of like Maryann's races, but this one starts earlier and that works better for me.   I personally don't see this getting very big, unless you decide to do a different coarse once in a while.  But maybe I am wrong :)  Hope this works out for you Sasha.

Title: Re: Fast Running Blog 5 Miler
Post by: Sasha Pachev on April 28, 2009, 10:33:18 am

Not a whole lot if you are willing to keep it simple. You do need a registration and a timing system, though. Probably not a big deal, you can do things manually if you have only 20 people, but at around 50 it is nice to have some sort of automation. I would strongly encourage you to pursue the idea. We need more simple races.

The problem is that everybody thinks they  need to put on a huge show to have a race, and then people begin to expect a huge show as well. Or maybe the other way around, chicken and egg problem. At least here in Utah. I've read about a racing series in London on Maria's blog where you pay something like $1 for the entry fee, and just run the race. I thought it would be a good idea to have something like this in Provo.

Title: Re: Fast Running Blog 5 Miler
Post by: Marion McClellan on April 28, 2009, 11:11:02 am
Yes- this is our idea with the Red Hot Pink Chicks 1/2 down Provo canyon.  We all love to run together, train together and race together.  It's fun and gets to be expensive.  This running community we have is really a cool thing and why shouldn't our races be too.  I am all for more races like this.
How are you going to do the timing.  That is the one thing I can't quite figure out how to do for our 1/2.
Oh BTW- the RHPC 1/2 is for BOYS too :)

Title: Re: Fast Running Blog 5 Miler
Post by: Dallen on April 28, 2009, 03:09:16 pm
I like this idea. I would much rather do a free accurately measured 5 miler than another poorly organized 3.02 mile 5K. Make it free and that's even better. After a couple free races gather publicity I'm sure charging a minimal fee ($3-$5) to cover the expenses would not significantly lower the turnout.

Title: Re: Fast Running Blog 5 Miler
Post by: Marion McClellan on April 28, 2009, 03:59:02 pm
There was an article in RunnersWorld last month about these type of "Green" races, they were calling them.

Title: Re: Fast Running Blog 5 Miler
Post by: Sasha Pachev on April 28, 2009, 04:29:25 pm
I am going to use my Palm pilot + a bar-code scanner at the race. Possibly a laptop instead depending on the type of scanner I am able to find. Then use my own set of hacks to load the results. This is another reason I am able to do the race free.

Title: Re: Fast Running Blog 5 Miler
Post by: Marion McClellan on April 28, 2009, 04:37:44 pm
Any ideas for the technically under developed?

Title: Re: Fast Running Blog 5 Miler
Post by: adam on April 28, 2009, 05:18:30 pm
One course over and over can get a little boring, especially an out and back course or a one big loop course.

Some of these smaller cheaper races like Sasha mentioned in Europe are usually multiple loop courses which allow for greater spectator and runner interaction. If turnout is low, you can still keep your competition in view or a goal in view. If turnout is high, you have more spectator support and it makes for a fun race. That's one thing that's not so fun with the out and back courses. A fast runner with no competition ends up tempo'ing the run solo because they know by the first mile (or half mile in some cases) that no one will catch them, and if they are in good enough shape, they can relax the rest of the way and pocket the money every week. Put the same runner on a multiple loop course and he can still interact with the other runners on the course (passing them, trying to catch them, etc).  Have a couple of fast runners that day, and everyone can watch them roll (spectators and slower runners). So you end up getting a little more for your money. Usually these courses are in a park, or on forest roads where the starting point can be shifted to completely change the direction and type of course (ie, left side trail is a 2k loop with hills, right side trail is a 3k loop with gravel/road mix).

8 1ks, 4 2ks, 2 4ks, or something like that. 8 1ks sounds a little dizzying...

That being said, Sasha's out and back course is pretty flat can be quick. First half out is slight downhill, the other half back is a little uphill. Can't get lost unless you decide to go swim in the river or go hop into a farm. The turnaround at 2.5 miles is a gate, which might cause a little congestion though if there are a lot of people grouped together...

Title: Re: Fast Running Blog 5 Miler
Post by: Steve P on May 01, 2009, 10:31:11 am
Cool idea. And that's going above and beyond to offer prize money. I used to dream about doing something like this, but you are making it a reality. This type of thing is needed, in my opinion, to counteract the trend toward commercialization of races. I don't have a problem with paying to run a good race, but it's also nice to have this...people getting together to have a foot race.

For a future race, you might also consider doing it at a park and making it a cross-country race (similar to what high schoolers do). I went to high school in Provo and can give you ideas for courses if you want. Or even a track meet (e.g. 5000 meters on the track).

Title: Re: Fast Running Blog 5 Miler
Post by: Burt McCumber on May 01, 2009, 12:37:04 pm
I would much rather do a free accurately measured 5 miler than another poorly organized 3.02 mile 5K.
Oh, man Dallen, that was so funny.  We've all been there.

Title: Re: Fast Running Blog 5 Miler
Post by: Christi on May 02, 2009, 09:09:39 am
What a great race! Wish I wasn't so far away so I could do it.  You guys have FUN!! Thanks Sasha for putting this together

Title: Re: Fast Running Blog 5 Miler
Post by: Cory Birt on May 08, 2009, 06:01:06 am
I applaud this concept and your efforts, Sasha.  I'm in Houston or else I'd be running with you Saturday. 
There are a couple similar events here in my area which I really enjoy and many of the locals do too.

First, there's the Run The Woodlands 5K which is held the second and fourth Saturday of each month.  The entry fee is $1.  The course is a certified 5K loop.  There are no bibs but results are timed.  Numbered popsicle sticks are handed out at the finish to record the order.  There is usually an amateur photographer on the course snapping shots which get posted on the web ... free.  The event gets anywhere from 25 - 100 runners.  It has a real grass roots feel.  I like to use it as a fitness test at various points during a training cycle.  Here's the site (  A local running store, Luke's Locker, sponsors but there's really no commercial aspect.  They just supply the electronic timing equipment and usually bring a few items of stale inventory to award in a very low-key drawing following the race.

The other local event which draws quite well is the Tour de Bayou, which is a five-race series of various distances between 3 - 6 miles.  The races are on consecutive weeks on a weeknight evening.  Entry is free.  The event moves around to various city parks.  The courses aren't certified and usually involved cross country style racing.  Standings for the series are kept and the event has become very competitive.  The site for this event  - (

Your race on Saturday and similar "true" running events are what it's all about.  Again, I applaud your efforts and wish you great success.

Title: Re: Fast Running Blog 5 Miler
Post by: Paul Petersen on May 08, 2009, 08:21:36 am
Sasha - if your race in Provo goes well, perhaps consider starting similar FRB races in other areas and other states. This would be one way for the FRB to have nation-wide relevance and impact on local running scenes everywhere, not just central Utah. Of course it would have to be grass-roots, led by the people for people, with different "race directors" for each city. But if people are really onboard with it, you should get all the help you need, and it could spread out.

But for now, starting local is the way to go, and slowly grow from that starting point. Best of luck in the endeavor.

Title: Re: Fast Running Blog 5 Miler
Post by: Sasha Pachev on May 09, 2009, 02:45:01 pm
Race results are available at

Thanks to everyone who ran and/or helped. The race went fairly smoothly with a couple of minor non-fatal glitches. Nobody got lost on the course. We even had a clock at the finish thanks to Colonel-Lieutenant Ted Leblow and BYU ROTC. Everybody's time got recorded with my hack of a timing system - a $99 wireless barcode scanner talking Bluetooth to an internet tablet to get the finish order, two Palms, master and backup, to time + some black magic, the whole project was a lot of fun .  Josse's stepfather took some pictures, so we might be even getting the pictures as well. In the next couple of weeks I will code up the certificate of completion feature in the registration system, so runners will be able to print their own certificates of completion possibly with a picture (if I get that ambitious), and frame it however they please.

Jeff McClellan, Mary Ann Shauerhamer, and Melanie Burnham qualified for money awards and received their checks immediately after the race. Congratulations to Melanie on losing her amateur status. I qualified as well, but I just get to keep the money. Steve Cuttitta and Julie Crossley ran good races and were close. The standards were not as easy as they might appear. That course looks flat in the profile and on visual inspection, but it does have something to it that makes it relatively slow. So to be close to the money standard is an honor, takes solid training.

We have a unique distinction for a non-collegiate race. 21% of our runners broke 30:00. So it took a very solid performance to finish in that low of a percentile. I hope it is not going to be a deterrent for some people future races. If it is, though, let it so be.

Next race is planned for July 11th. Same course. Details and the registration form will be posted shortly.

Regarding where this whole thing is going to go. I want to perfect a system to put together a simple but decent race that can afford no more than minimal entry fees (<$5), and then spread that system across the country. If we succeed we might start seeing 200 people or more a year under 2:20 again.

Title: Re: Fast Running Blog 5 Miler
Post by: Adam R Wende on May 09, 2009, 08:30:16 pm
Paul, I think a grass roots effort like in Fight Club would be great.
Sasha, Looks good. I like the idea and was bummed that I couldn't swing it today. I hope that more people (including myself) can make it to the July 11th race.