There was no snowstorm to foil this year’s Penguin Pace 5k, but there was just enough ice to make the race interesting. Winner Mark Buschman (17:21) had little trouble beating the men’s field, including Ultra-Runner of 2010 Karsten Brown, whom he dispatched after the first mile, but he did actually have to slow down a little to keep his footing. In the last mile, he was watching the outgoing runners coming toward him and missed a patch of ice on the right side of the road. “I slowed down a little,” Mark said. But he didn’t slow down enough for Karsten to catch him.
In the women’s race, Robyn Humphrey (20:37) really did slow down when the course turned right onto Hesperus from Longfellow, where a big patch of ice had not yet succumbed to the salt thrown on it. “Then it was mine, mine, mine,” she enthused about the remainder of the race. Robyn wasn’t racing the women, though, as much as the men, and confessed she was really trying to beat grandmaster John Chall. She didn’t, but John conferred his own slogan after taking third place among the 50-59 men: “It was slow down or fall down.”
The Great Snowstorm of ’10 dumped a foot of snow of the course last year, and the Penguin Pace was cancelled, but this year the course was snow-free and ice-free– except for a couple places. Course volunteers liberally salted these spots and warned approaching runners, so no one fell down or anything. The course was pretty hilly, too. Neither the ice nor the hills prevented at least one person from setting a personal 5k record. A new-runner of the year for 2010 from the Howard Country Striders for 2011, Donna Wecker not only set a personal record (21:19), she also finished second among the 40-49 women and she wasn’t wearing racing shoes, either!).
Paul Goldenberg served as the effective race director for the Penguin Pace 5k, which draws its inspiration and its name from the Runner’s World articles of John Bingham. The event raises funds for the Florence Bain Senior Center in Columbia, MD. Overall winners Buschman and Humphrey received gift certificates from Road Runner Sports, as well as the signature knit caps stating “I placed at Penguin Pace 2011.” Age group winners just received the caps. The Howard County Striders provided race management, results, and course volunteers for the race. Afterwards, runners and volunteers gathered at the Bain Center for a sumptuous brunch catered by the Elkridge Furnace Inn. 377 finished the race.