What is a competitive 5K time?

I’m going to be running my first 5K this Saturday. I don’t really know what to expect.
I’ve been running a lot lately in the hopes of placing well, but I’d like to know what I’m up against.
My two questions are these:

What should my racing strategy be?

What kind of time do I have to run to place?

Strategy: have a good time and don’t hurt yourself

Time: under fifteen minutes, unless everybody else is slower

Depends on your gender,age,level of competition in the area. However,you really shouldn’t be thinking about placing in your first race,just run to finish. What has been your training over the last 3-4 months? Race strategy should be to run an even pace and have fun. If you have the potential to place there will be plenty of races in the future.

I’m male, 25 and have been training for the past 3 mo’s; at least indirectly.

A second ago I checked out a website and I think I have a good idea about my goal.

I can run it in 19 minutes and change on a good day. Based on the spread of winning times across different cities and states, it’s pretty wide open. I guess it depends on how many people turn out.

The first 14 overall “place”. I think it might be close if I can run well.

I’d still like strategy suggestions for actually running the race.

My experience when I was running in high school was:

The top male runners were running between 14 and 15 mins, with maybe one or two guys a bit faster than that.

But, that doesn’t matter much. Most runners never place. I ran for four years, never ran faster than 22 mins, and loved every (well, almost every) minute of it. One friend never broke 30 minutes.

Strategy–some races (ones with more participants) will line you up according to a certain speed, i.e. 7-minute mile, 6-minute mile, and so forth. Sometimes they base where they put you on what you say you run and sometimes it’s on your times from previous races so if it’s your first, you’ll be behind everybody who has a track record. But mostly, try to get close to the front and realize that you will be running in place for some moments at the start of the race. For me, there’s a tendency to move too fast once this initial bottleneck starts breaking up so in the middle of the race I have to slow down (and let people pass me (which I don’t like) and gather myself for the end. I really think it’s better to be steady and to pick up the pace at the end–which I do, but I’ve never been able to get up to the speed I wanted. Yet, somehow, whenever I’ve run in a race I’ve been somewhat sore the next day, even though I thought I was training full out. (But it’s always been fun. I love being able to run in the street!)