Mike and I ran a 5K on Saturday at St. Thomas University. It was a race put on by the Young Alumni Association to raise money for scholarships for St. Thomas students. Now, Mike and I are neither young nor Alumni of St. Thomas, but Mike works with Abby, who happens to be young and an Alumni. She also happens to be one of the organizers of the race, so Mike and I signed up. This was the first year for the race, so that made it a little extra special for those volunteering and running.
The race had about 100 people sign up to run and another 20 or so to walk. Mike kept joking with Abby by telling her that she needed to have age groups for the race, preferably with an age group of 42 to 42 and a half. She may be young, but she wasn't born yesterday. There were no age groups, but they did have a free Sun Country airline ticket for the winning male and female.
Mike and I arrived in plenty of time to get our numbers, timing devices, and t-shirts. We milled around one of the student buildings to stay warm. It was a little colder than we had expected, so we walked out just right before the start.
I had already decided that I was going to take it easy for this race. I had just run my 20 miler on Thursday and my legs were still feeling less than energetic. I moved to the back of the pack and Mike moved up to the front. Being that there was only 100 people and that it was chipped timed at the beginning and end, it was a nice, relaxed start. I ran the first mile with two women who were talking triathlons, and we discovered that we were all interested in doing the same race in August. We separated after a little bit and I settled into 9:10ish miles. That was fast enough that I felt like I was giving it a good effort, but not so fast that I was struggling.
The race went down Summit Avenue, then turned left and went down along the river. About one and a half miles into the race, I saw the police car leading the lead runners back towards the start/finish. There was Mike, my husband! A young woman was leading the group, followed by a youngish man who looked like he wasn't going to make it much further, and then there was Mike! I was so excited to see him with the lead group.
Shortly after I saw him, he passed the other two runners and took the lead. There was another man behind him, a very fit 50ish runner who tried to keep up. Mike was able to hold him off and he won the race with a time of 20:46. Pretty nifty! He said it was very exciting to have a chance to lead a race and run behind the pace car. While he knows that his time wouldn't be fast enough to win a larger, more established 5K, it was still quite a thrill and was a PR for him. Here he is after the race, awaiting the grand prize:
This may have been a small race, but the organization and freebies were first rate. The race was chip timed at the beginning and end. The course was beautiful and very accurately marked every mile and kilometer. There were free St. Thomas bags and water bottle cozies for everyone, as well as Cliff bars and bananas. Of course, we can't forget about the t-shirt. All great stuff!
We will have to sign up for this race again next year. It's for a worthy cause, put on by a great group of young people, and of course Mike will have to defend his title. If word gets out about how nice this little race is, I'm guessing that it will attract some talented runners. Maybe we should try to keep it quiet...