As a newbie runner, haven’t been traveling to races. There are plenty here in the Central Ohio area to choose from, and let’s be honest, my schedule is crazy enough as it is without adding in travel plans. However, since the Patriot 7K was being held in Hubby’s hometown, it seemed like a perfectly reasonable excuse to go visit the in-laws.
It was an evening race, so there was down time before the start. A lot of down time.
The Patriot 7K was started in 2009, with the primary focus on honoring the local military, firefighter, police, veterans, as well as having a moment of silence in remembrance of 09/11. They started off with a nice ceremony, including a 21 gun salute (I love those) and the national anthem played by the members of the high school band. It was a very small race, only a little over 100 people, mostly locals who all knew one another. I stayed in the back.
As I started running, I thought about what my goals for this race were, which were two-fold:
#1- Finish in under 1 hour.
#2- Run the entire time.
Goal number 2 was actually the more important one.
So off I went with the pack, desperately trying to remember to run my race, not everyone else’s. There was a nice stretch during the first mile and a half that was on a local bike path. It was nice and shaded (although the weather was great, not too hot, not too cool), and already I had stretches that I was running by myself.
I seem to struggle the most early on, my legs hurt, it’s hard to breathe, and I just don’t feel like I can keep running the whole time. This time it was a little easier to get over myself, when I started thinking about all the people that died 10 years ago in the Twin Towers. I can remember where I was, and what I was doing that day. I will not ever forget the details of that day, even though I did not suffer any personal damage that day. I do not personally know anyone that died that day, and I only know a few people that responded to the need and went to do whatever they could to help. Every time I felt weak, felt like I couldn’t go any further, I thought about those people. The ones who are gone who no longer have the opportunity to run. The ones that are still here that have to go on day after day without the ones they love the most. The ones who answered the call and were away from their loved ones so that they could lend help after such a devastating event.
If they could carry on, so could I. And so I did.
It was a nice race, and though the intentions of the race organizers are good ones, their race management left a little to be desired. On our way to the bike place we went through one of the
few major intersections in town. Coming out of the bike path, we crossed the same intersection to head into the residential area which we followed to the stadium. I should have known something was up when we were specifically told to stick to the sidewalks. As I came to the intersection for the second time, there were no police officers (which had been there earlier), no volunteers, nothing. Just a red light, and a few cars that were nice enough to let the slow runners go ahead and run through. At they were until I got there. There was enough of a gap between me and the runner in front of me that a couple of cars went ahead and went through the intersection. As I started to go through, the light changed, and the next car in line felt that I was taking too long and honked at me. I turned enough to flash my race bib at them (and resisted the urge to flash a couple other things at them, honestly, it’s a small town, like you don’t know there’s a race happening) and kept running. I was nearly at the 2 mile marker, had managed to keep running, and wasn’t going to be stopped by something as trivial as traffic.
Strike number 2 came when I came to the first water station (of which there were two), and the two guys there were in the process of moving the table. Good thing I brought my own Powerade. But I kept carrying on. The second water station was still on the other side of the road, so I had to run out into the middle of the road to meet them, and they almost didn’t give me any since I had my own bottle. Sheesh.
The finish in the stadium was kind of neat, would have been more impressive if this event was a little bigger of a deal. Really, the only people there were runners and their friends and families, and a group of high school kids serving as cheerleaders. I do have to give credit to the high schoolers, they did focus their attention on cheering me on at the finish line like it was their job. Which I’m pretty sure it was, but whatever. It was still cool, and made me feel good.
What made me feel even better was achieving not one but both of my goals!
Overall, it was a race for all the right reasons, but they need to work on their race management. Leaving runners and walkers at the mercy of the traffic lights is not really acceptable. If you want all level of people out there, you have to support the whole field, not just the fast people. It was a decent experience, I met the goals that I wanted (which is really all that mattered anyway), but I probably will not return to this race next year.
Eh, you can’t win them all…