Portland’s weekly Summer 5k race series kicked off this evening with temperatures about as great as you could ask for in any race and a nice tailwind for the first mile. Of course, that meant that there was a pretty stiff breeze in the last two miles but all in all the weather was quite nice.

Which is good, because the series is off to a record start! 312 runners have already been registered, 174 of whom ran this evening.

Dave Manz got off to an early lead, quickly putting a gap between him and the rest of the field. He ran on unchallenged to finish in 17:21, 48 seconds ahead of second place.

The women’s race was run in a similar fashion, with Lily Childress finishing 62 seconds ahead of her closest competitor.

Blaine MooreI was the second place finisher, spending the entire race running alone other than the 5 or 10 seconds that I ran with Dave as he passed me. I put in a good effort, going out in a fast 5:21 and then holding 6 minute pace for the rest of the race once I hit the wind. My body is definitely not used to running fast, so today is officially my return to weekly speed work.

I’ll need to mix in more than just 5 kilometer FCRs over the next few months, but at least I’ll have people to chase every week again. It’s going to be another great Summer.

The Weekly Back Cove 5k series is a weekly race put on by Maine Running Company and Portland Trails. Runners are given a single bib to wear for all 17 races, which take place at 6:00 pm on Wednesday nights from the parking lot on the Back Cove across from Hannafords.

Runners need to run a minimum of 6 races to score in the overall standings, which are based on the total time of their fastest 6 races out of the 17 available. The top male and female runners will win free shoes for a year courtesy of Mizuno, and there will be other prizes as well.

The race series is completely free of charge, although donations and all shirt sales go directly to Portland Trails.

For more information, you can visit the website at: http://backcove.runtowin.com

(More Info: Full ResultsComplete Runner’s ListPhotos)