Saturday, July 4, 2015

June Races

For June of 2015, I ran two 5K races. Both were evening races. Although I usually run after work, running a race at the end of the day was kind of strange. I was tired and just wanted to go sit and relax, but I had a race to run.

Paul Kearns
The first race was a fundraiser and memorial for a guy named Paul Kearns. I graduated high school with some of the Kearns family, but Paul was five years older than me and I didn't really know him.  He died from a battle with cancer at the age of 55 and was well known in the community.

The race was an out and back, flat course that I have run many times. Rain was predicted, but never showed which was good. The temperature was 82 degrees, but it felt hotter. 140 runners showed up to pay their respects to Paul Kearns. I started out the race fast, like I always do. By mile two, I was dying from the heat and humidity. Apparently, so was everyone else. I finished with a time of 25:36 which was good enough for 18th place overall and third place female. I have run this course much faster so I was kind of disappointed with my finish time. One thing that I am slowly learning is that every race will be different.  Weather, time of day, the number of runners, it makes every race different even if I've run the course 10 times before.

The cost of this race was $15 which usually means bananas and water. Being a fundraiser, I wasn't expecting much. I hadn't eaten dinner because I didn't want food in my stomach, so I was hungry.  When I walked up to the food table, I saw a hungry runner's dream spread. Pizza, subs, bananas, oranges, watermelon, bagels, popcorn, cookies, brownies, and water. And piles of it! There was so much food runners were encouraged to take food home. Many organizations had donated food for the event. The awards for this race were great. In addition to the usual age group awards, there were awards for the most courageous runner, first 5K, anyone who set a PR (not me), and the half way point runner (number 70).  A far as 5K races go, this one was excellent. I think Paul Kearns would have approved.

My second evening race was part of a strawberry festival in the town of Owego, NY. This race has gained in popularity over the years and attracts about 700 runners and walkers. This was my first time running this race as I usually don't like any race associated with a festival. Too many people and nowhere to park. The place I found to park turned out to be perfect because when I got out of my car, there was a $20 bill on the ground.

Like most races, this race featured a one-mile kid's run which took place before the 5K race.  There were over 100 kids in this race.  When it was time to line up for the 5K, I was surprised to see so many kids lined up with me. Some of these kids were little and unfortunately, at the front of the pack.

Part of the attraction of the strawberry festival is fireworks at sundown. The fireworks company was setting up in a park not far from the start line. Apparently they needed to test some of their fireworks. As the race director was explaining the course and rules of the race, a loud kaboom came from the park. Many runners thought this was the start of the race and suddenly we were all running. I found this slightly amusing. For the first mile, I was dodging kids who had no idea how to run. This was not amusing. They were zigging, zagging, stopping.  The rest of the race was better and it was actually a nice run through the streets of historic Owego. Toward the end of the race, there were groups of teenagers who were cutting through lawns and acting like idiots to get ahead of each other. For as large as this race was, there were very few road marshals. I did my best to ignore the cheaters. My finish time was 24:54. There were a lot of turns in this race and I lost time at the start trying to avoid all the zig-zagging children. This race was also huge - 816 finishers. I was running with other runners for the entire race. There was never a spot where it thinned out and I was on my own. Having no idea how I placed, I fought my way to where the results were posted. Most of the people were gathered around the sheets at the end. I was happy to find my name on sheet two which had me at 119 and third for my agree group. The age groups for this race were strange, 46-50. Being at the end of the age group, I was happy with third place. The two ladies who beat me where less than a minute ahead of me so I did good. I also got a finisher medal for this race which is always nice.

The after-race food was nothing special.  There were too many people milling about and pouring in for the fireworks so I left before the traffic got any worse and went out for a late dinner at a quiet restaurant on the day home.

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