This past weekend, I ran in the 3rd Annual Carol Marsh Kids 2 Camp 5k.
I’ve run the race each of the past 3 years, and last year I actually won the race, so I was technically “defending my title” this year.
This race is a fundraiser for the Neighborhood Ministries of First UMC here in Lakeland to help send kids to summer camp that couldn’t otherwise afford it. And since my wife is the director of Neighborhood Ministries, there is a pretty good chance I’ll keep running this race on an annual basis.
I had low expectations for myself going into the race, as I’m in way worse shape than I was last year, so I knew a PR was out of the question. Instead of worrying about my time, I was going to run more strategically, and really race the other runners in an attempt to win the race for the 2nd straight year.
At least until the race started.
I Never Had a Chance
The race for first this year was never close.
When the horn sounded to start the race, there was a flurry of activity near the front as a bunch of people just took off. I knew they’d fall back in due time, and in less than half of a mile I was already picking most of them off.
Then I looked ahead of me, and saw only two more runners. The problem is, one of them was already WAY ahead of me, so unless he completely self-destructed there was no way I’d ever catch him. The other runner was looking strong, but he wasn’t pulling away from me, so I figured I’d try to catch him and not even worry about winning the race this year.
My Mid-Race Issue
At about the 1 mile mark, I caught the guy that was in front of me. I was hoping he’d stick close by so we could push each other, but he started to fade shortly after I caught him.
From this point on, I never saw another runner in front of me. The high school kid that was in the lead was so far out in front of me that he’d already made some turns and I didn’t see him again until the finish.
Speaking of turns…
One of the things that I really like about this race is that it’s on a unique course here in town. Most of the 5ks that are run locally are run around Lake Hollingsworth, which makes sense because the path around the lake is about 2.8 miles which is obviously almost perfect for holding 5ks. The Carol Marsh race is not held around Lake Hollingsworth, which means that most people aren’t as familiar with the course we’d be running.
There were volunteers at almost every street corner to make sure runners didn’t make a wrong turn and to let cars know that there was a race going on.
Notice I said “almost” every corner.
Just before the 2 mile mark, I knew I was supposed to be making a turn to head back to the church pretty soon. The volunteers manning one of the street corners, when I asked if I was supposed to turn there, motioned me forward and said next street. So I looked ahead, and I saw the street blocked off and a person standing there not too far ahead.
I figured that had to be the street we were turning on.
And I blew right past the street we were supposed to turn on!
How is it that the one street we had to turn on was the one street that there wasn’t a volunteer at to help direct runner traffic! I obviously figured it out, cut across an empty lot, and was still in 2nd place by the time I got back on the course.
A Good Run for a Good Cause
As much as I hate 5ks, I don’t mind them as much when they are for a good cause.
Helping to support the kids at the church is enough to get me to lace em up for a short race, and missing the turn and running off course wasn’t a big deal.
Another cool thing about the Carol Marsh Kids to Camp 5k is the awards they they give out.
Every year, the kids from Neighborhood Ministries decorate the awards. The first year, the awards were dinner plates. Last year, they were coffee cups. This year, I got a one-of-a-kind bowl for winning my age group.
With a little luck, next year will be a silverware set and I’ll have a legit place setting!