Sugar-Coated Pony Kisses: Recap of the 5K Trail Run for Thorncroft

I am going to jump right into this post and pretend that I haven’t been MIA for 4 months…

There’s a white board hanging next to my treadmill filled with random notes and doodles about past races, workouts and goals. At the beginning of the summer I added “Hot 5K” to my Summer 2018 to-do list. (I prefer to avoid running in the heat at all costs so yes, this is an actual goal for me!) Last week I realized that this task remained un-checked so I found a local race to run at the end of August. And just my luck: the race fell on day 4 of (what has got to be) our last heatwave of the summer. A “feels like” temp of 87° at 6:30PM certainly met the white board’s threshold for a hot 5K!

5K Trail Run for Thorncroft

August 30, 2018 | Malvern, PA | 11th overall, 2nd F (results)

Thorncroft is a local nonprofit that specializes in therapeutic horseback riding for children and adults with mental, emotional and physical disabilities. The farm is 4.3 miles from my house (I run by it occasionally) and the inaugural 5K Trail Run raised funds for the care of the 30+ horses and ponies who call Thorncroft home.  The race was sponsored by local businesses including Chester County Running Store and Stable 12 Brewery, AND runners would be treated to a free beer at the finish. (So, in other words, I didn’t need much convincing to run this race!)

It was hot at the start. So hot that I wasn’t putting any pressure on myself to run particularly fast. I just wanted to complete a hot 5K and have fun doing so. I wore my trusty Arches Ultra hat and was thrilled to meet a woman who will be running an actual ultra in Moab next February at the start line. Small world! Before we could compare notes the race began and I was off, eager to run around Thorncroft’s 70 acre farm.

The first mile was mixed gravel and grass with a tiny, leap-able stream crossing. I didn’t feel as hot as I thought I would and was shocked to see a first split of 7:42. (Now that I see the elevation chart, I am less shocked.) The second mile felt harder, with lots of trudging around the perimeters of horse pastures in semi-rough grass.

Mile 3 had more of the same field terrain and I was just starting to get sick of it when the course turned back towards the finish.  As I paralleled Line Road I took a peek behind me and realized that there were no other runners in sight. Normally I wouldn’t let this affect my race, but by that point I was pretty hot and it was nice to be able to ease up slightly and not feel like I needed to race someone to the finish. I cruised back into Thorncroft’s driveway and passed under the finish banner in 24:41. Hot 5K complete!

My garmin had the course a bit short at 2.91 miles, but I don’t care. I had fun and got a scenic tour of Thorncroft’s horse pastures in the process.

The post-race set up was fantastic.  Finishing runners were funneled through the Thorncroft barn, where bottles of water waited in a wheelbarrow-turned-ice chest next to a pile of bananas and a box of pretzels.  The horses and ponies happily watched the hot and sweaty runners walk down the barn aisle and some even stuck their whiskery noses through the stall bars to say hello.  At the far end of the barn there was live music and, of course, the beer tent!

I checked the results online and saw that I had apparently placed 3rd female overall. Cool! I stuck around, watching the ponies and chatting with other runners (including the runner headed to Moab next February) as the sun set and the weather cooled off a bit. Finally it was time for awards and it turns out I placed SECOND overall, not third. Woohoo!

As I went up to accept my red second place horse ribbon the organizer said “The first place runner didn’t want her beer. Are you over 21? Do you want it?” Why yes, and YES! Before I knew it, a frosty 4-pack of Sugar-Coated Pony Kisses IPA was being thrust into my arms along with a $50 (!) gift card to Chester County Running Store, a horseshoe and a red ribbon. Sweet!!

The Thorncroft 5K was wonderfully organized for an inaugural event. A well-marked course, live music, food trucks, beer, horses, trails, chip timing… someone certainly knew how to make sure runners had a good time! I will definitely plan to return next year.


I can’t end this post without giving a quick shout out to my assistant, Piper, who is lounging on the couch next to me as I type this. She fell asleep a few paragraphs ago and is moving her paws while she dreams about something exciting. Ah, the life of a little GSP!

Miles since last post: 454.4
Days since last post: 119 (!)
2018 MILES: 926

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6 thoughts on “Sugar-Coated Pony Kisses: Recap of the 5K Trail Run for Thorncroft

    • Yes, they do seem like a really nice org. I was vaguely familiar with them from growing up in the area but it was really neat to take my time strolling through the barn and seeing all of the horses. Definitely seemed like a worthwhile cause! 🙂

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