When the 2012 Penguin Pace began, one woman shot to the front of the women’s field so fast that the core of the Strider women’s racing team thought she would have won the race, but the trio of Robyn Humphrey, Caroline Bauer, and Pat Wilkerson worked together and slowly reeled in the frontrunner. After a mile and half, mostly downhill, they caught the leader on the backside of the hilly course through the Beaver Brook community and “crushed her.” “We think she was from Falls Road [rival running club],” Robyn said. Beating Falls Road didn’t settle the issue, however, as Robyn, Caroline and Pat together continued to “crank up that last hill.” With a last gasp of speed, Humphrey nosed ahead of her two rivals on the final slope on Elliot’s Oak and pulled away to win in 20:04. “I’ve never broken 20 minutes on this course,” Robyn noted, but she came really close this year.
In spite of running 10 miles the day before, Karsten Brown had little trouble dispatching the men’s field at the Penguin Pace. He took the lead after the first quarter mile and never looked back. He didn’t even wear his racing flats. When he got to the starting line, Karsten looked down and realized he was wearing his old, beat-up training shoes with 1500+ miles on them. “I don’t think they made a difference,” he said. He finished in 17:26.
The top three male and female finishers and all age group winners received as awards the signature Penguin Pace cap, which is ideal for winter running.
The very hilly course wound downhill through the Longfellow neighborhood of Columbia and then circled around Beaver Brook. A long steep uphill challenged runners in the last mile of the 3.1-mile race. It was a difficult course on which to set a personal record, but Amanda An managed to do just that with a time of 21:34. A former coach in the Striders Next Step program, Amanda also ran that 10 mile race the day before. “But that was the marathon program, not the 5k,” she noted.
A little light snow and wet roads didn’t stop 384 runners from finishing. A record field of 500 entered the race, which closed out for the second year in a row. The large turnout didn’t come for the hilly course, though, they came for the sumptuous post-race brunch catered by the Elkridge Furnace Inn (circa 1744), which provided croissants, scones, muffins, and fruit salad. And there was enough food left over that participants could take some home for their Superbowl parties.
Glenda Rodriguez made her debut as race director at the Penguin Pace 5k. The Striders wish to thank the Howard County Police for providing traffic control, and also the dozens of Strider volunteers on the course early on a dreary Sunday morning.
by Jim Carbary