This race was by far my favorite race I’ve ever ran. I have never felt so inspired and moved in my life.
Saturday morning I was up bright and early at 5 am (ugh) for a 7 am race time. 20,000 people were expected at the event. Crazy. Luckily my mom (who is amazing and got up at 5 to go with me) and I got to the parking lot early and didn’t have to wait for a shuttle.
After checking in and picking up my number, my mom and I walked around to the different sponsor booths and picked up our fair share of free swag. The free stuff is secretly one of my favorite parts of racing, I can’t help myself.
The race started in front of Meredith University and looped through downtown Raleigh. The course covered several rolling hills, nothing crazy steep, but they felt pretty killer towards the end. Especially the last uphill stretch before the finish line. I was huffin and puffin up that baby.
The best part about the course was that the neighborhoods along the course had their houses decked out to support the cause. There was a house with balloon boobs and tree full of bras. I loved it. Every neighborhood needs a bra tree, just sayin. There was also lots of volunteers and spectators around every corner cheering us on and blasting music, so awesome for them to do that so early in the morning.
But the best part of the race was by far the people. The survivors, the amazing tributes to friends and family and celebration of life in general. I’ve never experienced anything like it. I felt so inspired and invigorated through the whole race because of it. Seeing 20,000 people come together for one cause is truly a moving experience. I even teared up several times, I’m a huge sap, but it would be hard not to find the whole thing very touching.
Oh and there was a man in a huge pink tutu. I would laugh but he was fast! I need to bust out one of my old ballet tutus at a race soon, that would be a sight.
And oh yeah, I PRed. Boom. My chip time was 30:41. That’s a 1:30 improvement over my last timed 5K! I didn’t hit my goal of a sub-30 5K but I’m happy with it regardless. I didn’t do any speed training (or much running in general) before this race, so hoping for a sub-30 was a little ambitious, but now I’m only 40 seconds away!
I would do this race again in a heartbeat. I can’t wait to do it again next year. It’s definitely a new favorite!