The first annual The Salmon Run 5K Road & Trail Race took place in Rollinsford, NH, on Saturday, September 14. This race was held to benefit the Friends of the Rollinsford Public Library, and since I live in Rollinsford and the race was being organized by friends, I decided to run this race even though it was not originally on my race calendar.

The race course is different than the typical 5K in the area in that it incorporates both roads and some light, easy trails. The race started in front of the American Legion and immediately began up a hill. This was followed quickly by two more hills within the first three-quarters of a mile. After these hills, the course flattens out for about a quarter of a mile. Then there is a quick up over a bridge that goes over the train tracks. This is followed by a little more running on the roads before turning into the woods on the edge of Scoutlands.

The first half of the trail is a wide access road with some light rocks and roots (all the roots had been painted orange to make sure that they were seen and to make the off-road experience more accessible to those who may have been intimidated by the word “trail”). About half way down the trail, it turns into a hard-packed gravel/dirt access road. In all, this accounted for about one mile of the race.

After coming off the trail, the course ends up in downtown Rollinsford. After going through the town, there’s a quick uphill and then it’s all downhill to the finish line.

Being familiar with the course and having run these roads and trails on a regular basis, I had a two-part strategy. I knew where the uphills were and where the downhills were, so I could plan accordingly. The other part of my strategy was that I was going to run easy since I was two weeks prior to running a marathon and didn’t want to risk any injuries or issues.

Well, the second part of my strategy didn’t seem to work out very well. As I was running, I was feeling good and I could see the front of the pack so the competitive side of me started to come out. I started to run harder, pass people and never looked back. I ended up passing a final runner with just under a mile to the finish line.

In the end, I didn’t push myself to a PR level, but I did run the race. I finished with a time of 22:07.43 and a pace of 7:08. This was enough to get me an overall sixth place finish and first in my age group.

For being a first-year race, the race was well organized and included a kids’ fun run with a monster mascot. This is definitely a race that I would run again. Check it out next year.