Pump House Run Trail Race Review

Meditations in MotionDuring a recent visit with my sister and brother-in-law in Florida, my husband Bill and I thought it would be fun to incorporate a race into our trip.

A quick internet search turned up the Pump House Run, a trail race, in Apopka. Initially, I thought about signing up for the 5K, but Bill had other ideas. He suggested we do the eight-mile race, so that’s what we did.

Because the race began at 7:30 a.m., we set out in the dark for Magnolia Park in Apopka. Flashlight-waving volunteers directed us into the parking lot where we parked, then walked to the starting line. We picked up our bibs and T-shirts at the registration table. The T-shirts, nice gray cotton, were printed with the race logo.

Meditations in MotionWe were instructed to line up 10 minutes before the race start. The Star Spangled Banner was played, an enthusiastic volunteer led us in some pre-race warm-up exercises (optional) and the eight-milers were off, just after sunrise. The 5K race began 10 minutes later.

I had no idea what to expect from a trail race in Florida but I saw from an online map the trail followed the lake for four miles, to an abandoned pump house (hence the race name), where runners would turn around and run back to the starting location. Both races (the eight-mile and 5K) followed the same path; the shorter race turned around sooner.

At the beginning of the race, we ran on a paved bike path which sloped slightly downhill. While I enjoyed the downhill start, I knew that meant an uphill finish. We ran on the paved path for about a half mile, then transitioned onto a flat, unpaved trail.

Meditations in MotionThe surface of the trail was packed dirt, but it actually had the consistency of rough concrete. It was very easy to run on.

Before the race, I hoped to be able to finish the race in 1:15. I never look at my watch during a race, preferring to run by feel, but considering the surface we were running on, I thought my goal could be within reach. I settled into a pace I considered “comfortably hard“.

The lakeshore path’s scenery was pretty and I entertained myself watching Florida’s exotic flora and fauna. At one point there was an anhinga, a kingfisher, and a great blue heron all in one field of view. Even weeds growing among the grasses by the lake are pretty in Florida.

As we ran out the trail, the lake was on our left and woods or swamps on our right. At one point, I thought I heard voices to my left (in the lake).

That’s not possible,” I thought.

Then someone definitely to my left shouted some words of encouragement. I have a healthy startle response and jumped a foot into the air. Then I spotted some camouflage-clad duck hunters sitting in a blind in the lake.

I laughed, acknowledged their encouragement, and continued running, while they blew their duck calls after me.

On the way out, I passed the aid stations serving water and Gatorade at miles 1.5 and 3 without stopping. When I reached the aid station at the halfway turnaround point, I did slow to a walk and take a gulp of water.

Meditations in MotionI was still feeling good and now headed for the finish line.

On the way back, I began passing a few people, including one woman who I thought might have been in my age group.

It was not too warm, but I definitely began feeling the effects of the Florida sun as it climbed higher and higher. At the 6.5 mile aid station, I again slowed to a walk and grabbed a cup of water.

I was able to maintain my pace until I reached the paved path and hit the incline, which I knew signaled the finish line was just around the corner. I took one more brief walk break going up the hill, then saw mile marker number three for the 5K.

A man was coming up on my left, attempting to pass me, but I hate being passed in the final yards of a race, so I picked up the pace at the very end, crossing the line in 1:11, way under my goal pace.

I accepted my medal and a bottle of water from a volunteer and walked around the finish area to cool down.

Bill and I strolled over to check out the food offerings where I selected a cup of grapes to munch on, a nice post-race treat. There were other fruits, salty snacks like popcorn, chips, and pretzels, and hot dogs cooking on the grill.

I restrained myself from eating too much since we were meeting my sister and brother-in-law for breakfast after the race.

Meditations in MotionWe checked the posted results to discover both Bill and I both won our respective age groups. The award was a pretty ceramic trivet decorated with a picture of the pump house. There was no award ceremony, which I think is efficient; you could pick up your award from one of the volunteers at the award table.

If we are in the area at the time this race is run next year, I would definitely do it. There was a lot to like about this race including easy parking, helpful and enthusiastic volunteers, a pretty racecourse, plenty of aid stations, good post-race food, and nice T-shirts, medals, and awards.

There is a companion race at the end of February, a 30K that circles the entire lake. Maybe someday I will get the chance to run that one.


You can find the places I link up here.




  1. Congratulations to Bill and you for winning first in your age categories, Laurie! Another feather in both of your caps. Yes, with all the unique flora and fauna Florida has to offer, I’m sure the course was a delight to run.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Bill settled into the retirement phase of his life nicely – I am looking forward to retirement too Laurie. Today I was outside and it was snowing while I was shoveling. The sun came out and the snow on the driveway, sidewalks and street melted away – I would have definitely gone out to walk then as it was over the freezing mark, but I was at work. More snow tonight and colder unfortunately.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I can highly recommend retirement, Linda. Just think of all the adventures waiting for you at the parks you frequent! Your feathered and furry buddies will think they have died and gone to heaven! πŸ™‚ It’s colder here too, unfortunately. I am starting to get spring fever but I know it is too early.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I can hardly wait Laurie. I am lucky to have the time to go walking every morning during the week since I don’t start work until 11:00, but there are many mornings that I’d like to linger longer, or do a few more loops, especially on dry and clear days in Winter when waiting for it to get light in the a.m. cuts down on my walking time.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s easier to entertain myself in the summer, but even in the winter, there is plenty to do. I guess you have fewer walking days in the winter, but sometimes the running/walking is better if you can do it later in the day.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes indeed Laurie. I did not walk this morning as we had freezing rain last night – it was 35 degrees when I got up this morning, so the several inches of snow would be mushy, but I didn’t feel safe taking a chance on the concrete, so I skipped a walk – of course, I looked out the window with the cement clear as a bell this afternoon wishing I could go out. So definitely I’ll be getting more walks in Winter under my belt when retired.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I used to do the same thing when I ran outside in the early morning. We have barely had temperatures cold enough to freeze anything this winter but I hear it’s supposed to get cold this weekend.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, you have to watch it – I walked at the Park this morning and some frozen slush remained so I walked very little on the pathway because of it. We are getting a two-day Arctic Blast they say. That’s fine with me, just no more of the white stuff please.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Congrats on your double-win!! Well done. 1:11 is a great time!
    I’m amazed your race had a hill. When we were in South West Florida everything was flat as a pancake and I really missed some good hills. It’s tough finishing uphill!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. “Hill” may be an exaggeration. It was really more of a slight incline. Although, the town my sister lives in is called Howey in the Hills, and there are some definite hills there!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh that sound like a fun way to see Lake Apopka, but I would chose a much more leisurely stroll. My hubby was born and raised in the Apopka area, so we know that area quite well. We life about 70 miles north of there now. Congratulations on your race! Amazing! Thank you for visiting my blog. Hope to get better acquainted in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sounds like a fun race! I love running in Florida–the flora is so different from what we have here in the Midwest. I’ve signed up for a trail race in the Everglades in March–should be interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Congratulations to you + Bill!! I love that you combined a race with your visit to your sisβ€”what a way to be intentional with time. Inspiring.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love running races when I visit friends in Florida. This is the first year that I’m not.

    What an interesting race. I’m not one fur trails. But maybe someday. You are lucky that you have your hubby as company.

    We definitely think the same way when we race.

    Congrats on your award.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Congrats to you both! That’s pretty impressive since you came from a colder climate. I would’ve startled at encouragement coming from the lake, for sure! Kind of scary, when you think about it, men with guns while a race is going on . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I heard what sounded like gunshots earlier in the race, but I think as the racers passed, the hunters did not fire. They would have been aiming out over the lake, away from the path, but it was definitely something I thought about!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Sounds like a great event! The duck guys would have freaked me out, too! Congrats to you and the hubs on your AG victories πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great job winning your age groups in a longer distance! It sounds like my kind of “trail” race – nothing too crazy like single track, creek crossing, rock hopping… road runner at heart right here! Haha

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good question, Linda. I put my trophies, medals, etc. in a little-used guest bedroom. I either wear the T-shirts or donate them. When I taught school, I used to sometimes see my students wearing race T-shirts I had donated to the local thrift store! Thank you!


  10. You continue to rise in my admiration. From my and my husband’s perspective, a trip to hell would include arising in the dark to do all those things you did, followed by running. The only thing about this whole experience that would appeal to me, except for the grapes, is the name Apopka πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s