Race Recap: The Strawberry Stampede 5k

Last week, due to my online commitment to get my bottom into gear, I did just that. I managed to do at least half an hour’s exercise every day except Saturday. I cycled, I ran and twice I did the Jillian Michael’s 30 day shred, which left me drenched in sweat and aching! I didn’t get to swim as it was pretty chilly here this week. It’s amazing how much even half an hour’s exercise makes a difference to your state of mind!!

Anyway. We spent Memorial Day weekend in San Luis Obispo county with the wonderful Marjolaine and her playboy! They live just outside LA, we live just outside SF so it was about halfway between. We’d driven through the area but never stopped there, so it was exciting to visit a new part of California. We rented a cute house in Atascadero.

On Sunday, we did a race, the Strawberry Stampede at Arroyo Grande, to the south of San Luis Obispo. The plan was for Marjolaine and me to race it and for my boys to run it together. The injured Playboy would take photos! I was hoping to PR or to finally go sub-25 – I wasn’t sure if either was a possibility. We were slightly late leaving the house and so arrived in Arroyo Grande slightly pressed for time. The Husband dropped us near the race staging area and dashed off to find parking – there was plenty of parking on the residential streets nearby.

The Strawberry Stampede is part of the Arroyo Grande Strawberry Festival. There’s a 10k and a 5k. It was a really lovely little event. Lots of community feel about it. For me, however, it was kind of a disaster at the start. The Dude and I went to use the loo and jogged slowly back across the grass to the start line where the Husband was waiting. And Muggins here twisted her ankle again on the grass. It hurt! So I couldn’t decide whether to run with the Dude and let the Husband race or to press on with my plan. I tested it out a bit –  I could feel the ache in my foot but it wasn’t awful. Okay, I’d race it.

With four minutes to go, the Husband headed over the nearby loos, leaving me and the Dude to line up together. We positioned ourselves just behind the fast people and in front of the strollers. We were chatting away casually, a few minutes to go and suddenly the gun went off and oops, we were running.

Okay then, it looked like I was going to run with the Dude.

After my last race with him, which was ‘frustrating’, I went into this one with a very different perspective. I was super encouraging and perky throughout. And he ran pretty well. There was a lot of ‘Run to that stop sign then walk to the silver car’ throughout the whole race but he was in a good mood and we were having a lot of fun.


At about a mile in, the Husband caught up with us. He said I could run on ahead and race but I felt it was just too far into the race, so we decided to run it together as a family. We’ve not done that before, so it was rather lovely actually. The course is an out-and-back. It winds through residential streets for a bit and then sets off past a big field. Very pretty. Not flat. The first runners headed back past us. The boys were flying. The first girl came through – she was about 8. (Seriously). Then Marjolaine flew past us. Girl is fast!

strawberry stampede
It was much prettier than it looks here
husband dude
My boys tearing up the course… (walk break)


We got to the turnaround point and continued our ‘run to the blue car, walk to the yellow sign’ pattern. The Dude was running well, we were having fun. And then, as we got back into Arroyo Grande, our little man heard the finish line commotion and set off at rocket speed, leaving me and the Husband looking like we weren’t trying.

The family that races together eats strawberries together
The family that races together eats strawberries together

At the finish line, there were strawberries for all finishers – genius idea! We caught up with Marjolaine who had come second woman overall with a time under 20 minutes (and behind the kid who turned out to be 10). They told us there would be about 40-45 minutes before the prize giving so we wandered into Arroyo Grande for coffee first. We got back in time for the awards ceremony only to find that they’d done that early as well so Marjolaine had missed out on her moment of glory and we had missed out on the joy of hearing someone try to pronounce her difficult French surname!

Marjolaine and her age-group-win medal..and the Dude with the solar powered hummingbird he talked his dad into buying him
Marjolaine and her age-group-win medal..and the Dude with the solar powered hummingbird he talked his dad into buying him

Apart from the ‘over-promptness’ with the starting gun and the prize giving, there was NOTHING not to like about this race. It’s a lovely event (very friendly) and the course is beautiful, if not easy!! It also measured a perfect 3.1 miles, which I appreciated enormously after the past few short courses I’ve run! It was only $30 which is a bargain these days. I would totally recommend doing this if you’re in the area next year!

Strawberries for finishers
Strawberries for finishers

My foot hurt for a day or so but is much better now! Back on the strength exercises again eh? Whilst I was a little disappointed not to race it and see how I fared, it was probably wise to take it easy, and being honest, I really enjoyed running it as a family. I count myself very lucky to have these boys to myself!

One Comment Add yours

  1. Grace says:

    Strawberries for finishers! That’s my jam. (Okay, I’ll run away now.)

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