Saturday, February 15, 2014

2014 USA Masters 8 km Championships - Course Preview - by Dr. Dale Campbell

2010 Brea 8K Classic (left-to-right) John Gardiner (#402)  Dale Campbell (#602), Jon Megeff and unknown Brooks Runner. Dale Campbell finished first in his division, running 27:40, a 5:33 pace.

The Brea 8K Classic / 2014 USA Masters 8 km Championships course is not flat, but if you run the course the right way, you can indeed get a fast time. Here is a mile-by-mile description of the course.
Course elevation map. Click to enlarge.
Mile 1: The course starts on Birch Street. The first mile loops though the neighborhood just west of the starting area. You will find a couple of brief rolling hills that should not slow anyone down. The first mile marker is on the opposite side of Birch Street, near the starting line.

Mile 2: The second mile is pretty much a flat stretch that is totally on Birch Street. Use this mile to settle into a steady rhythm and shake off any nervous energy from the race start.

Mile 3: The third mile is the most challenging of the course. There are two hills during this stretch, with the second hill bringing you back to mile 3 marker. If you are a strong hill runner, this is the place to make your move and secure a position ahead of the sprinters.

Mile 4: The fourth mile is the fastest mile of the course, as you get to run downhill back to Birch Street. Mentally you should be prepared to take advantage of this stretch. Whatever time you lost in mile 3, this is your chance to make it up.

Mile 5: The last mile of the course is flat all the way to the finish. Keep your focus, and work on reeling in the next runner until the final sprint to the finish.

When you are lining up at the starting line with the best masters runners in the nation, avoid the temptation to go out too hard. Keep in mind the hills in the middle of the course. I have personally raced this course multiple times and talked to many others about the course as well. Those who accepted the challenge in the middle of the course, and took advantage of the downhill stretch in the fourth mile, will have run fast times. Good luck and enjoy the experience!