14 August 2011


The coolest shirt design I've seen in a while.
What a surpise when I arrived at the location of the inaugural Run to Rescue 5K at Bob Jones High School in Madison, AL. While I originally signed up for this 5K to take another shot at the illusive sub 20 minute 5K finish, I had to quickly readjust that goal when we were introduced to the course.

I arrived at Bob Jones High School about 15 minutes prior to race start. Since I didn't know my way around, I parked a little ways from the actual race location. As I walked towards the croud of runners, I noticed that they were congregating on some type of football or soccer practice field rather than in the parking lot or on a sidewalk. I started noticing cones all over the field as well as the finish line arch.I began to wonder how this would be integrated into a road race. I didn't have to wonder for long as the race director or one of Bob Jones' coaches anounced the big surprise...we would actually be racing on the High School Cross Country course. I wasn't happy at first, realizing that a PR was definitely out of the question. And while I'd run lots of trail races, especially at the ultra distance, I'd never run on a cross country course nor did I have any clue what to expect aside from an offroad course. After my initial hesitance, I actually started to get excited. This was going to be something new and different.

When the start signal was given, everyone took off across the field, following the cone markers until we took a sharp left turn and entered the trail that was cleared for the course. The course was a mixture of wooden, shaded and grassy sections, winding its was across the back of the high school property. There was no elevation change to speak of, other than the occasional bump on the course. It was a lot of fun. As I ran along the winding course, I would see other runners ahead and behind without having to turn my had.

I had decided to try to keep my original target pace for as long as I could. Once I felt the need to slow down, I would adjust my pace slightly and just try to hold on. Not very different from my usual approach. To my surprise, I actually kept a very good pace. I ended up finishing the 5K distance in 20:38, good enough for 10th overall out of 160 or so finishers and 3rd in my age group of 40-49 male. This race made me think that I will break the 20 minute barrier the next time I toe the line for a 5K road race. Oh yeah, I I will definitely be back for this fun event again, next year. Not only is it great fun, it is a fundraiser for a very, very worthy cause, the Downtown Rescue Mission.

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