Fast Cat 5K and 10K

Forest Frenzy Winter Triathlon

This year was the seventh annual running of the Fast Cat 5K and 10K at Plainfield North High School in Plainfield, IL.  Proceeds from Fast Cat go directly to support the track and field program at PNHS.  The Fast Cat consists of a kid’s mile, 5K and 10K.

Communication for the Fast Cat is extremely limited; although I received a number of emails as a past participant to sign up for the race, once I did sign up, I never received any information regarding race day. The information was all online but none was sent to participants.

Packet Pickup was held at the Naperville Road Runner’s store on two evenings and was also available at the race. This year’s race shirt, which came in both a men’s and women’s cut, is a bright neon orange, perfect for being seen while out on runs this summer.

As it has been many years, the weather this year was not ideal; that’s the risk of an end of March race! While we were waiting in the gym for the race to start, the winds were ramping up and the rain was coming down.  I seriously considered switching to the 5K or just leaving, but I didn’t. A lot of the 10K was run straight into a 25 mph headwind, and made a typically fast, flat course very challenging.

This is a small old school race with a mass start (no timing mat at the start) and the 10K is twice around the 5K course on roads and paved paths.  This is a very flat course that runs by cornfields, a neighborhood or two and a nice pond.  There was one well-manned water stop, passed twice on the 10K.  Additionally, there were Plainfield H.S. track team members at each turn providing encouragement.

The 10K is not a particularly “back of the pack” friendly race; the focus of this race is on the fastest runners and by the time the last folks are crossing the finish line, almost everyone has disappeared into the gym.   My overall pace was 11:27 and I was one of the last four people finished.  There was one person at the finish line clapping and no one manning the timing equipment, so that was a little disappointing.

Given that the Fast Cat is put on by a track and field program, they should understand that the reason people run these events it to get an official time and compete against other runners.  Yet, for the second year in a row the timing system failed.  This year the failure meant that no one, except the top three runners in each race got an official time.   Surprisingly, no one wrote down bib numbers in the order in which runners finished.  This has to be fixed for the 2019 races. Because no times were recorded, age group awards were given out on the honor system.  Only two of us women were in the 60 – 99 years category, I came in second.

With all that said, I like this race.  I like that it is small and friendly, that raffle prizes are awarded to a lot of people and that bagels, bananas, doughnuts, and water are plentiful enough for everybody.  There were so many bananas that I was given a bag full to take home and I made multiple loaves of banana bread!

The top male and female in the 10K were Omar Paramo at 35:48 and Sarah Conley at 44:50, respectively.


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