Race Report : Slavic Village Pierogi Dash 5K

This weekend I continued my new found joy of the run streak when I participated in the 2nd Annual Slavic Village Pierogi Dash 5K!

Last year I faced the sad reality my favorite race has undergone a name change. Previously known as the Morgana Run! It was one of the first events I ran in 2007. As the only one in my age group in 2007, I took first place. Over the years I also took 2nd or 3rd and I think another 1st? It was on this course I broke 30 minutes for a 5K and I always pushed myself to do my best. I still don’t know everything that changed, but with a name change came a new crowd. This race ballooned over night and while I am very happy for the organizers and the community, there’s a piece of me still wanting to hold onto the feeling this was a special event only a select few knew about and enjoyed.

If you go to the page for the event on HermesCleveland.com the results tab lists everything from 2007 to current, but the banner reads “2nd Annual”. This year also brought another change…a course change. Can an event with a new name and a new course really be linked to the previous results? I don’t know…

Moving on to the actual race….

I arrived on site around 8:30 for the 9:00 start. I quickly gathered my shirt and “goodie” bag and made my way to the bathroom. I won’t lie, I’m not crazy about the shirt design or color this year, but hey lots of people think they’re cute so they’re winning the hearts of someone. I did LOVE the color last year! A beautiful teal, this year they’re a golden yellow. Here they are in a picture I borrowed from their FB page.

As I mentioned above, I think the crowd grows larger and larger each year, apparently 650 runners & walkers participated and 1200 pierogies along with 60 lbs. of smokies were served! While getting ready for the event I ran into Kristen, Kelli, and John. After the race I also was able to catch up with Heidi. Kristen will be doing her first triathlon soon so I gave her the Women’s Triathlon insert from my Women’s Running magazine to help her prep.

Amazingly close to on time everyone began to wonder over to the starting line. This was the same, but I had no idea what to expect once the starting gun went off.

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We began to run down the road and before I knew it we were taking a right turn. I don’t think we even passed the gas station. At least I remember it as a gas station. The first year we ran people stood there staring at us in awe and asking what was happening. My friends and I laughed and answered “we’re running a race”. This is one of my favorite memories of running ever. Now, we don’t even pass by it.

The next mile was a series of neighborhood streets and taking various turns. I believe we went by a school. I clocked my first mile in 9:30 which was strange because I felt like I was running very slowly. I also felt like I was running through rain. Sometimes I’m slow and it wasn’t until talking to John later, I realized what I was feeling was humidity.

Not long after this I found myself entering the Morgana Trail and I will say this was a great change. Previously I believe less than half the race was on the trail (the race’s namesake). Now it was about 2/3 of the race, and this lead to slightly improved scenery. Instead of local houses, we were looking at trees and other “bike trail” sights.

I powered through the next two miles, but the 3.5 hours of Zumba, running and outsideness (yep, it’s a word) from Saturday were catching up to me. I ran mile 2 near 10:40, then gave up the idea of breaking 30 minutes, but still tried to do my best. I played leap frog with a few other runners and a nice lady would come up to me after the race and tell me I was her pacer. ( ;

My left foot began to hurt, but I know it was from tight muscles and tight shoe laces. The last portion of the race was downhill (or so it seemed) and I went as all out as I could at that point. I crossed the finish line just over 32 minutes. 32:08 per Garmin, 32:12 according to the race. Good enough to land me 16/35 for my age group and 241/436 over all. I was psyched to see I made it into the top 50% for my age! Woot woot!

It took me a long time to walk it out after this race. While it hurt, I knew I had given it my all and quite honestly a 10-ish minute pace is still something to be proud of in my book.

After the race I passed out samples of Aquaphor, meaning I made many new friends. And spent time with some of my other friends. I also played photo-shoot with the food people were enjoying, because let’s be real, you can’t have the “Pierogi Dash” and not serve pierogies!

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I’ll leave you with these final impressions. Change is inevitable. I change as a runner and races change too. I’ll always have my memories of Morgana and it will always be special for me, but there’s room for a new course, a new name, and a new shirt design too. So many events have fallen apart over the years, it is nice to see one thriving. If you’re in the area next June, think about marking it on your calendar as a “must do”. Besides, there’s a costume contest now, and how can you have a bad run when you have ladies like these wearing pierogi head bands!


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