The fastest recorded land animal on earth is the cheetah. Cheetahs have been known to reach anywhere between 68 and 75 mph in a given sprint. If you think that’s impressive, the fastest recorded member of the entire animal kingdom is the peregrine falcon. These falcons have been tracked at an astounding 242 mph when diving. The cheetah’s long legs combined with a flexible spine and loose shoulder joints allow it to cover up to 25 feet in one singular stride. While a cheetah would win in a foot race with a human, humans have set some remarkable running records as well.
Olympian Usain Bolt logged a record-setting 27 mph in the 100-meter sprint. A sprinter’s physical makeup determines just how fast they can sprint. The ratio of ‘fast-twitch muscles’ to ‘slow-twitch muscles’ determines a human’s footspeed. Most humans have an equal amount of each. The fastest sprinters have more fast-twitch muscles compared to slow-twitch muscles. While even the fastest sprinters pale in comparison to sprinters in the animal kingdom, humans have much more endurance than most animals. Some of the best runners excel at long-distance races. 5K races, half-marathons, and marathons are home to athletes of all kinds. If you’ve ever wanted to test your speed and endurance or see some of the fastest 5K runners in the United States, the Carlsbad 5000 is the ‘fastest 5K in the nation’.
Since 1986, the Carlsbad 5000 has lived up to its tagline. For over 35 years, the road race has accounted for some of the fastest 5K times in the record books. Sammy Kipketer, who has achieved multiple world records and national titles, finished the race in a record-setting 12:59.5. The legendary records that have been set are just a small part of why this particular 5K stands out from all the rest. It is home to amateurs and Olympians alike and is hosted in Carlsbad’s backyard. Back in 1986, Steve Scott put this iconic race on the map. As a record-holding middle-distance runner, Scott was instrumental in designing the course. He kicked off the inaugural race by setting a world record. In 2000, Sammy Kipketer emerged on the scene from Kenya and set the world record for the fastest road running 5K. His record lasted until 2020 and still holds the fastest recorded time for the race itself. In 2002, Deena Drossin paved the way with a women’s World Road Record of 14:54. Her success at the Carlsbad 5000 marked her as the first American to hold a 5K world record since 1986. In 2006, Mesert Defar shaved a few seconds off of Drossin’s pace and landed a winning time of 14:46.
This year’s race takes place on March 21st and 22nd. The two-day race weekend begins on Saturday with a full schedule of kids’ races spanning from diaper dashes to the Junior Carlsbad. The latter is a kids-only event that starts in Carlsbad Village and allows kids to take part in their own form of record-setting speed. On Sunday, the World’s Fastest 5K is open to runners of all skill levels. The course stretches along the coast, offering runners an iconic view of Carlsbad’s beaches. The 5K is followed by a Party by the Sea, featuring a Pizza Port beer garden, food trucks, and live entertainment. At noon, runners and fans can line up to see the Skechers Performance Elite Invitational where some of running’s most talented athletes will compete to set new world records. The winner of the invitational will take home an astounding $28,000 prize.
Early race kit pickup will be available starting on Friday, March 20th at Fleet Feet San Diego. Junior race festivities will begin bright and early at 8 a.m. on March 21st, and the races start at 9 a.m. Depending on age bracket, race times on Sunday start at 6:53 a.m. and are staggered until 10:36 a.m. The Elite Invitationals start promptly at 12:00 p.m. If you are a runner who can’t attend in person, for the first time ever the Carlsbad 5000 is hosting a Virtual Run. The Virtual Run allows you to complete the race on your own time, at your own pace. It includes a 5K training plan, printable race bib, race shirt, and finisher medal.
Whether you’re a fan, a runner, or somebody who likes to see history in the making, the Carlsbad 5000 is something that can’t be missed. Read more about registration, kit pickups, and where to view all of the fun here.