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An 8K? What the heck is an 8K?


There are certain distances I can’t be bothered to give a darn about.

Not to name any names, 8K, but yeah, I’m looking at you.

The thing is, 8K, I’m not a boy, and secondly, I’m not a boy who ran cross country in college. So, apologies, but you hold no allure to me. No prestige or romanticized storyline. You are unglamorous and utterly mystifying.

Even worse, I’ll get an automatic PR simply for racing you. Maybe I’ll just cartwheel through the whole thing.

So, right. I don’t care about you, but I will race you anyway on Saturday, because you are the last race available to me in the fall.

What do we think I should be aiming for here? Sub-34? Sub-33? Submarine?

A five mile race. Wait, pardon me — a 4.97 mile race. Although this is Alaska, so let’s be real. Who knows how long you’ll actually be.

Basically you’re a 10K, but a little shorter. As opposed to a 12K, which is also basically a 10K, except that a 12K at least has the decency to give me 2000 additional meters of reason to gobble up tasty post-race treats.

8K, you perplex me.

Despite my hesitations, I do hope we can be friends on Saturday. I’ll attempt to be civil if you act in kind.

Sidenote: Have I mentioned how much I enjoy the racing scene here? I’m not being sarcastic. It’s fun to have 30 people in a race. It’s fun to tromp through the mud on a course without mile markers. It’s fun to have zero pressure to perform because there’s hardly anyone there, and there is absolutely zero hype. It’s fun to sort of be a bigger fish in a teeny tiny pond.

Racing dork that I am though, I can’t help but comb through past year’s results and note that the fields seemed to be much more competitive just a few years ago. Where did everybody go?

That’s the exciting part about it. You never know what random speedy talent might come out of the woodwork at races like these.

What has been your experience with the 8K or ~5 mile distance?

Are there any particular racing distances that you like more or less than others? Why?

23 Comments leave one →
  1. 11/03/2010 10:07

    I’m doing an 8K turkey trot this year and it’ll be an insta-PR for me too. I’ve never raced one.

    I did a five-miler earlier this summer and to my surprise, it felt a lot more like a 5K than a 10K to me. At least mentally. My splits were a lot closer to 5K time too. Maybe I just had a good race? Oh and that one was an insta-PR too!

    Tromping through the mud with 30 other crazy people sounds like a ton of fun! How cold is it up there now? Do you guys have snow yet?

    • 11/06/2010 17:20

      The snow’s been creeping down the mountains little by little every day, but no snow yet in town. Still just rain! It’s still pretty mild in southeast. In fact, it will probably get colder in New York/New England in the winter than it does here.

  2. 11/03/2010 10:12

    I’m considering an 8K Reindeer Romp next month. I would probably skip it, but it is within 15 minutes of my house and it starts at 1 PM. How could I sit that one out?

    I’ve never run an 8K before, so I have no idea how fast or slow I should be running, but I am motivated to do it nonetheless because I too checked out the results from last year and if the same field shows up, I could quite possibly take first female overall. Yes, last year’s field was that slow. I’m a small fish in a really small pond.

    Good luck at your 8K!

  3. 11/03/2010 10:28

    My last year of college xc they started making us do the 6K instead of 5K. Talk about a stupid distance! It’s like, 3.67 miles or something. Completely unrelateable.

  4. 11/03/2010 10:43

    i’ve never done an 8k before but i just say go balls to the walls. for real.

    i wish the races around here were that small! it sounds awesome. well i’m sure there are but i tend to pick the big ones. mostly because i know that there’ll be the competition to push me. with small races you never know. then again, that means you’ll likely win it. so good luck 🙂

  5. 11/03/2010 10:57

    haha I’ve never heard of an 8k! I have however run a 5 mile race and it was by far my FAVORITE distance (then again, I’ve never run a 10K so I don’t have much to base it off of). But if I were to imagine, I would say its like a 10K in that it’s a more challenging distance than a 5K, but its still short enough that you can still give it your all every mile
    Good luck!

  6. 11/03/2010 11:07

    8k seems to be a popular distance here in the Midwest, especially for Turkey Trots. No idea why. I prefer them to 5ks which just don’t seem worth the effort, but 10 and 15k are my favorite distances.

    Sounds like a fun race scene – go kick some Alaskan butt!

  7. 11/03/2010 11:23

    I like 8Ks, although they are indeed farther than 5Ks. Obvi. Run a little slower than 5K pace. That’s all I’ve got.

  8. 11/03/2010 16:16

    i’ve only d0ne 1 8k and i believe i was in the middle of spring allergies when i did so it wasn’t awesome. plus i wasn’t good at consistent training back then. anywho, you’ll be awesome cause lets be real, you flippin win every race up there!

  9. 11/03/2010 17:45

    I’ve never seen an 8K but it sounds good. Shorter than a 10K, I’ll take it!

  10. 11/03/2010 18:06

    “8K, you perplex me.”


  11. 11/03/2010 18:49

    I haven’t been doing races long enough to happen upon anything as exciting as an 8k. Just 5K, 10K and halfs for me. There are several 4 mile races around me in the summer, so maybe I’ll have to make it a goal to do one. Good luck with the 4.97! My advice? Just aim to “Run Fast, Kick Butt.” I know you will 🙂

  12. 11/03/2010 19:29

    That is a funny distance, though I think all non-standard ones are. I figure if McMillan lists it on his calculator, it must be real. 🙂 Have a great race!

  13. 11/04/2010 12:21

    8Ks are weird…i actually have never done one, though i have experience with it’s cousins in weirdness 6K (oh…its a 5K…ohhh wait just kidding, here’s another 1000 meters) and 12K (which i hated, 7.5 miles or whatever is way longer than 6.2) but it should be fun! hard to argue with an insta-PR 🙂

    i agree that no one really knows what an 8K is besides college boys. maybe there will be a bunch of them at the race?

  14. 11/04/2010 12:37

    Ugh, the only thing worse than 8k’s are 6k’s! I ran in college so my only thoughts on the 8k distance were “I’m glad I’m not a boy”.

    Hmm, about pacing…maybe halfway between your 5k and 10k pace?

  15. Murdoch permalink
    11/04/2010 13:10

    Having run in college the 8K seems like the only race I’m familiar with now. I always thought XC 5K’s were too quick and I get the feeling youll like them.

    I’m a huge 3K fan even though im no good at it. Intense and fast from the gun plus its almost always run indoors.

    • 11/06/2010 17:32

      I did like it better than the 5K. But I still wish it had been a 10K!

  16. 11/04/2010 16:38

    8k? That is so esoteric…I’m not surprised murdoch likes it.
    8k is almost as strange as 11.6 miles….there is a crazy little race nearby in CT that is 11.6 miles…but it makes sense to me….and it draws lots of folks year after year….
    I prefer prime numbers (3, 5, 13…) ..I did check to see if maybe 497 (8k =4.97 miles) was prime….but it isn’t…

    At the end of the week, if there is a race you run it.

  17. 11/04/2010 22:15

    I haven’t run many recently but I prefer it to 10k (it’s finished 10 minutes earlier). My advice would be to run it like a 10k and be glad that it’s over earlier! I was going to say “aim for 33 minutes”, but the times for that course look slow. In the old days we had a 5-mile race at Stromlo and I always wanted to break 30 minutes but never did, even though it was a fast course.

    I like 3k the most, for a couple of reasons: It’s about the shortest race that really requires distance-runner type endurance (one can’t run a good 3k purely off talent for speed). There was a time (a long time ago), when I had my heart set on breaking 10 minutes for 3k and trained long and hard to do it (even though such a time is no great shakes for a 30-something bloke) — running 9-something for 3000 was about as good as it gets (like running 2-something-something is a dream for many “ordinary” marathoners).

  18. 11/05/2010 06:51


    I’ve never done an 8k either, and I admit every time I hear about one, I try to do the math in my head and then give up after a second or two.

    Indy’s annual Drumstick Dash is 4.5 and I PRed on it last year. I prefer the 10ks and 15ks though; I don’t feel like I have to just haul ass the whole time. Start out at a reasonable pace, build momentum and then still have enough left to to go all-out at the end.

    have fun! Sounds like an awesome course. My trail runner friend says it doesn’t count if you’re shoes aren’t muddy after the run.

  19. 11/05/2010 10:44

    I’m shocked at how many people have apparently never run 8ks. I thought they were pretty common?

    That said, I think my PR is a 32:40 something, so you should aim for 31:40. ;p

    • 11/06/2010 17:35

      Shooooh. Looks like I fell a little short of your prediction, but man! Good call!

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