Sunday, May 15, 2011

5k my way . . .

I really didn't want to run the Rocky Mount Fun Run for Charities.

I sent two emails to the race asking if they needed volunteer help, but I never got a reply.  Guess they really wanted quality help.  Can't blame them.

Rocky Mount doesn't have too many races, so all of us in the running community try to support every race put on.  This one is pretty neat . . . not as a run . . . but what the event does.  Essentially, the race serves are the fund raising hub for local charities . . . the event organizers get matching funds for all contributions made to a local charity.  So every charity in the area tries to get donors to make contributions through the event.  Very neat!

Another neat thing about this event is that each charity sets up a booth on race day to show what their organization is all about.  And lots of folks from the community come to be part of it all!

So as an event to benefit the community, there is none better!

But as a running event . . . well . . . let's just say it could be improved!  But that doesn't really matter that much.  The races themselves are not the real point of this event.  But still, the run itself could be so much better . . .

So instead of driving to Rocky Mount to volunteer, I drove there and signed up for the 5k.

I didn't plan to really run very hard . . . and I didn't.  I haven't done any speed work in months, so it made no sense to try and go all out.  I was just there to have fun and run a little harder than normal.

Before things got started had a chance to see a lot of Rocky Mount folks I don't get to see all that often anymore.  Lot's of fun.  Plus, the Rocky Mount Endurance Club (RMEC) was out in force!  Since I actually live an hour away, I don't often get to run with the group and see everyone so this is especially fun for me.  I finally found Connie (or rather she found me!) before she when to her volunteer spot on Falls Road.

Lots of confusion about the race start.  One person involved with running the race told us the 10k would start 5 minutes after the 5k start.  But surprise, surprise!  At the last minute (it seemed!) they decided to start both races together!  Actually a smart move considering the 5k walkers . . . but many 10k runners weren't ready!  Oh well . . . its a fun run!

Brent Brondyke and I started together.  Brent was doing the 10k and was also planning to take it easy as he has been having serious running issues.  Lot's of fun catching up with Brent!  We passed the first mile in 9:20.  Faster than I had thought!  I felt really comfortable . . . not like a normal 5k race!!  Saw Connie just after the 1 mile point.  The course headed into the park and at the split, Brent went his way and I went mine.  Soon after I saw Margaret Bentley and we hung together for awhile.  Just ahead we saw Eric Ghiloni and Margaret and I set our sights on catching up with him.  Eric was having some stitch issues but luckily they passed and the three of us ran together until about the 2 1/2 mile point.

At the top of the little hill I decided it was 'go time' for me.  I still didn't really push it, but I did pick it up.  By the time I got to the finish line I was definitely tired.  But the nice thing about a 5k is after 3 minutes and a drink of water I felt 100% recovered!

Henry Forrester and Brandon Miller pushing to the finish
So I headed back out the race course to cheer!  So many inspiring faces!  I can only imagine the stories that go with each of them.  Kids struggling, but so focused on finishing!  Folks intent of crossing the finish line in what is likely their very first 5k!  Proud parents running with their children!  And many, many more.  The smiles and determination on folks' faces is really what running is all about.

Ted Lord and his son about to finish the 5k

 I stayed for the awards ceremony where more of the race organization issues surfaced.  Two 5k runners were declared winners of the overall 10k race so the folks that were the age group winners missed the public announcement of their wins.  Too bad.  I'm sure they sorted this out later, but still 'a swing and miss' for the race.  One neat addition they did at the race this year . . . the overall winners (3 deep) got to award money ($50, $74 and $100) to the Rocky Mount charity of their choice!  What a cool idea!  Very nice tough!!

As great as this event is, I just can't figure out why they can't the the running part right.  I'm guessing that non-runners are the planners.  I'm sure they do get runner input, but this was their 3rd year.  Issues should be worked out by now!


  1. I totally agree, Frank! Here are my gripes:

    1) No starting mat for timing.
    2) It was distributed in print that the 10k starts at 8:00 and the 5k at 8:05, so yes this was a last minute change, announced over a megaphone which no one could hear!
    3) The race website was never updated with Event, Awards or Packet Pickup information. In fact, they all still say "to be determined".
    4) I'm told the 10k route should have started further back on the road, so our route was actually run short.

    All in all, it was fine... as you say, just a fun run anyway. But if they are putting on a RACE where timing is involved and we did have some super-fast cometitive folks participating, they should get this right. Maybe the 4th year will be the charm. :o)

    By the way, congrats on your Age Group award!

  2. Glad to see you are enjoying running for the sake of just running. Maybe Amber is correct and the 4th time will be the charm.


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Littleton, North Carolina
World's Slowest Runner . . . well, at least in contention for the honor. Just your average "below average" runner.