What a day!
"Whew!!!!! Hot!!!!! but fun!!!" is what you would have heard from runners and spectators today down at the Belle Sherman 5k and Kids Fun Run in Ithaca, NY. I got down to the school about 45 minutes before start time to help out with the organization, meet people, and help the young runners get ready for the race. Race director Cindy informed me of the course and let me know how she envisioned the race happening.
As we got closer to race time I was able to work with some runners (ages ranging from 1st grade to middle school) in getting their muscles warmed up as well as their heart rates, although that was easy to do with the temperatures rising into the 80's! I also gave them some advice about getting mentally prepared, a very important part of racing, and of course to have fun!
Here are some of the race faces ready to go...watch out!
Once the race started the pack thinned out a bit and I hung toward the back encouraging youngsters to keep pumping their arms and trying to motivate them as well.
Everyone finished and some opted to go out for another loop. Regardless of how many quarter mile loops were run everyone got a homemade finisher's medal.
After the "Fun Run" it was time to get ready for the 5k start. I was so amazed at how many youngsters were running this race. Three miles is a long way and the scorching heat just added to the challenge. I have never been at a 5k race where the starting line was taken over by 4 and a 1/2 footers. I made my way to the start to give some words of advice of not starting out too fast and pacing smartly and to make sure everyone was stretched out and mentally ready. Then I had to get them pumped up by smacking high fives all the way down the row and told them to have fun and run strong!
In the end everyone found out a little bit more about themselves. Some adults and kids alike found that maybe they got a little out of shape over the winter and maybe this was some motivation to get back into it.
Of course there were some bloody knees from a fall, kids feeling sick from over running and the heat, and people not satisfied with their times but overall a great vibe from this event. Seeing people smile from this sense of accomplishment from physical activity is one of the reasons I got into this field and look forward to helping more students in the many races to come!