Winning my first 5k race, a race day to remember. Challenging course.

  Winning the Elizabethtown Mother's Day 5K

By Kai Holloway

Winning my first 5k race at 15 years old. Elizabeth town 5k race
Sprinting for the finish line. (Photo taken by my grandmother Lovey)

It was three o'clock, and my grandfather, whom we call Pop Pop, had signed up our whole family for the Mother's Day 5K race. My two little brothers, Zev (8) and Cove (12), my mom, dad, and I (15) were all going to be running.

It was 2:55 p.m. We all had our bibs and race shirts on. We were gathered around a big oak tree, stretching, and my grandmother, whom we call Lovey, took a pre-race photo.

Running the Elizabeth town Mother's day 5k, winning my first 5k
Pre race family photo

Soon afterward, all the runners were called over to the starting line to start the race at 3:00 p.m. The race director talked for a little while, and then said over his loudspeaker, "Now, let's take a moment of silence... for all the mothers out there." It was an interesting way to start a race.

I stood there about two rows in from the start line, my heart pounding with pre-race anxiety. Then the race director sounded an air horn, and we were off.

Running a 5k race in Elizabeth town Pennsylvania.
 Start of the Mother’s Day 5k race.

Mile 1

I started a timer on my watch, and passed under the giant blue inflatable starting line. I immediately took place right behind the lead pack.

We started down a downhill section. Everyone was off to a fast start. As we finished the downhill, I moved up into third place. I heard someone behind me say that we had just finished the first mile at a 6:30 pace.

Mile 2

I slowed down a little bit, because I knew to conserve energy for the gigantic hill that I knew was coming up. I took off my shirt because I was starting to get hot, and then we rounded a bend and saw the base of the hill.

A lady in front of me said, "Oh no." I started my way up the hill, taking the lead as the pack dispersed. It was very steep, and a lot of the good runners started walking. I made it up about half of the hill, and then walked for a couple of seconds to regain my breath to charge up to the top.

At the top of the hill, there was a crew of people cheering us on, and they had speakers blasting the Rocky theme song. One of the guys at the top said, "This kid is killing it, he's going to win!" I ran past the water stand, flexing my muscles.

I slowed to a jog, because I was exhausted from the hill. I took a quick glance behind me, and was excited to notice that I had gained a large lead.

Mile 3

I shouted, "Am I halfway?" to one of the aid station workers that was directing me, and he said, "You're more than halfway." I was planning to try and win my age group, but I never thought I could win the whole race.

I had regained strength after the hill, and was running at a steady pace right behind a police car with flashing lights that was guiding me along the course.

That's when I heard something behind me, and quickly glanced back. There was someone gaining on me!

There was quite a bit of distance between us, so I just kept my pace steady. Unfortunately, a couple of minutes later, as we started descending downhill, a skinny kid about my height came up alongside me.

I started speeding up, but he was going too fast, and quickly passed me. I felt a rush of adrenaline, as I realized we were nearing the finish.

I have always been good at saving energy for the final dash, and began flying downhill as I saw the blue finish line in the distance.


I felt like I was flying because my legs were moving so fast as I sprinted downhill. The kid who had passed me gasped, "No!" as I flew past. I heard a group of people with bells shout, "They're coming!" As I dug deep, and floored it towards the finish line. I knew no one was passing me, and flung my arms up into the air as I burst through the finish line. I heard the race director say, "Number 69 for the win!" In my excitement, I shouted, "Let's go!" and then walked over to my grandmother Lovey, who handed me a bottle of water.

Winning a 5k race, what it feels like to win a race.
Finishing strong!

I stretched out my legs a little, and then walked over and congratulated the second place person. A thirteen-year-old boy who gave me a run for my money.

It was my first time winning a legit all ages race, and I felt light on my feet with runner's high. Even a week later, I still feel the adrenaline and excitement when I think about the race.

I saw my younger brother cove coming down the hill, and ran with him as he finished 5th overall, and second in his age group. Time: 23:56

My dad came in soon after with a time of: 25:20 

Then Zevy came barreling past the finish line with a time of: 28:36, With my mom following close behind. 

My grandfather Pop Pop won his age group 60 and over.

Once everyone finished the race, I had eaten a granola bar, and orange slices. They called me up to the awards table, where I received a gift basket with a 50$ gift card to a burrito restaurant.

Winning a 5k as a teen runner.
Race Results!

It was probably the most hilly, and challenging race course I have ever run. so I blame that for the fact that I finished with a time of 22:11. Over two minutes slower than my PR. 

Since the Race I have been training harder than ever. running, and playing Pickleball daily. 

I have lots of races planned for this summer, so until then I’ll be focusing on training, and increasing my mileage. 


  1. Sounds like a great race and a wonderful experience! Congratulations.
    Since we last saw you, Marshall has become very dedicated to his running as well.
    We hope we can see you and your family again sometime :-)
    - Lisa Simpson


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