Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Joys of a (Very) Local Race: For Kids' Sake 5K/10K race

It had been a long time since my awful first 10K (see previous entry), so it was time to put my big girl sneakers on and try the distance again. Everything that went awry the first time went right this time, and I had a great time. Thus are the joys of a very local race. This race was sponsored by a local organization, For Kids' Sake, that raises money for orphans in Bangladesh. They have done various fundraisers over the years, but this was their first race. Here are my observations from today:

1) It's great to be able to run, walk or bike to a race.
This race was headquartered in Turley Park, which I regularly pass on runs or just on walks to the grocery store. I rode over on my bike. It was raining heavily this morning, so the race organizers pushed back the original 9 am start time until the showers relented.
2) What a difference a route makes.
This route was in my neighborhood--I knew the streets well, having run them many times before. In fact, the best gift this 10K gave me was this route, which I will continue to use. It is not a hilly route, but I knew exactly where the road would have a little bit of incline/decline.
3)For a first-time race, this was pretty sweet.
Lots of volunteers on the course (which was a little confusing, seeing that there were two races going on, each with slightly different routes), water stations (just water though, no Gatorade), pre-race yoga, pre and post-race massages, raffles for prizes, and treats for the runners (cookies and trail mix). They had a fun run for the kids--I love seeing young boys and girls run up to get their awards after fun runs).
4) Love the little victories.
I won my age group, got a PR, and finished in under 57 minutes (56:??--I didn't get the seconds exactly when I came through the finish chute) [update: 55:54 for the race]. At a local race, it's fun to hang around after for the award ceremony. I had a suspicion I had either come in first or second in my age group. I got one of those ribbons like the kind you get in third grade for winning the class spelling bee. I don't care--it's going in my running memorabilia book just the same.
5)Charity races rule.
I don't usually look to see whether a race I'm doing is for charity or not. But when one of the race organizers told today's crowd what a difference our entry fees and pledges would make in the lives of orphans in Bangladesh, I felt a surge of community pride and was happy to have just been a small part of it.

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