Thursday, July 24, 2014

#20 - 2014 Steps 4 Stellar, better with age

1st 100 yards
Studies show that running performance drops after a certain age. However, in this race, I found evidence that contradicts these findings.

Two years ago, at age 46, I ran my first race ever: the 2012 Steps 4 Stellar 5K. I had a blast. Runners registered quickly, signs marked every mile, and cheerful volunteers greeted us at the water station and post-race buffet. There was even a basketball tournament being held in the nearby courts, all adding to the energetic environment. I had a perfect and positive experience, just like this year.

Getting ready to start

I was proud to complete the 2012 competition, without stopping or walking, in 33:05 (minutes:seconds).  At the same time, I was envious of other runners whose times were better than mine.  The 2012 1st place female winner in the aged 50-59 group clocked in at 29 minutes.  

Then, it dawned on me, I'm not slow. I'm just too young.

Showing off our awards for winning in our
respective  age groups, here with
 Sofia and Bonnie (left and right respectively).
This year, at 48 years old, I finished in 28:04 and won 2nd place in my age group (40-49 years old).  Are we really slower when older?  

I met Sofia during the awarding ceremony of this year's race.  She placed first in her group (women aged 50-59) with a time of 25:13.  She started running 10 years ago at age 44, and has completed various distance races. Believing that age is inversely related to speed, I was surprised to find that Sofia accomplished her best 5K time last year at age 53, and not when she was much younger.   

Mark, our family friend, finished in 30:24, almost 4 minutes faster than his 2012 5K time. Shouldn't he be slower because he's now 2 years older?
Hooray for Mark!

Here are some interesting articles on age and performance:

I know I will peak at some point.  Do I mind? Not really, because right now, I'm simply focused on having fun and appreciative that I can even run at all.

More pictures

Group awards consisted of drinking glasses with the race logo on it.

Refreshing scenery throughout the course, this is the 1st mile.

Participants mingle before the race.
steps 4 stellar shirts
Steps 4 Stellar tech shirts 2012 (white) and 2014 (black). Shirts I actually wear when I run because they are comfortable.

Race Facts

Address: Allentown’s Cedar Beach Park, 2600 Parkway Blvd Allentown, PA

Course: relatively flat, mostly asphalt with about 1/10 mile grass

Date and Time: Saturday, July 12, 2014 at 9:00 am

Kids Fun Run: none

Parking: Free and plenty

Participants: 177; includes runners, walkers, dog walkers, stroller joggers, children

Post Race Nourishment: water, banana, bagels, sliced oranges

Price: $25 

Prizes: drinking glasses with race logo to top 3 men, and 3 women overall and each of the following groups:

  • 19-29
  • 30-39
  • 40-49
  • 50-59
  • 60+

Results: immediate; Online results were published Monday after the race

Restrooms: porta potties, and park restrooms

Shirt: Tech shirt

Timing: traditional

Water Stations: 1 station accessible about 3/4 mile going out and back


steps 4 stellar course map
Click map to see enlarge it.


    1. Great job on your second place finish! I think that if you keep at it, you will improve. I am faster than ever now. :)

    2. I appreciate that Sharon. Happy to know that you are faster. Saw your races at - thanks for sharing. Now I'm more hopeful that I can be faster. I definitely intend to keep running for as long as I can. Thank you for visiting my blog.

    3. I am 61 and I just PRed in a 5K. So I think you will get faster.

      1. Congratulations on your PR. I am hopeful I will be better. Thank you =)