The Dani Ryan Holmes-Kirk 1st Annual 30th Birthday 5k Run-Walk Ramble

For years I have hated my birthday - whatever we did just never met my expectations or something always F-ed it up - so awhile back I decided not to celebrate anymore. The hatred started lifting in 2010 when my now wife proposed to me the night before my birthday...

But this year I could feel it going to be different ... I was turning the Big 3-0 and I wanted to make it special.

Especially since I have made so many amazing changes in my life in the last three years, I wanted to start this new decade in my life in a new, fun and fit way.

So back in May I made a decision to host my own 5k ... yup! I had the thought in my head that it would be wicked cool to host my own 5k,  somehow people confirmed the idea and The Dani Ryan Holmes-Kirk 1st Annual 30th Birthday Run-Walk Ramble was born.

Thanks to my friends at Racemenu - they helped me set up a private registration page that I could share with friends and family.

Once the idea was put out to my friends on Facebook, it was time to get to work.

I started working Social Media to get the logistics in order ...

My hometown of Somerville, MA has a Twitter account so I reached out to them to find out who I contacted to see if I needed any permits/cops for the race course I had set up ... thankfully they were quick to respond and let me know I was in the clear. Phew! Saving money right there!

Next I reached out to my favorite companies to see if they would be interested in donating a raffle prize to the post-race raffle. I was shocked by the openness of the companies - then I remembered I like these companies for a reason. ;)

Raffle sponsors included: Marathon SportsSlumbrew Brewing CompanySnuggbudsSparkly SoulVitalicious and Zensah.

Post-race brews were provided by Samuel Adams Brewing Company and post-race snacks were provided by Popchips.

Race bibs were provided by Go Sport ID.

I can't thank these sponsors enough for how AWESOME they made the race!!!

With all that in place, it was time to work on the Finisher's Medals. One of the main reasons I like a race is based on their race bling (aka race medals). So I know I needed something good for my birthday. Plus, it was helping draw in some virtual runners from all over the world as well.

I found the company Trophy Depot online and set to designing my own medal. I did the whole order online and it was simple and efficient. After placing my order for 55 race medals, I found that more and more people were interested in participating so I called the Customer Service number and the woman on the phone made adding 10 race medals to my order a breeze. I highly recommend this site.

Everyone in my family had jobs as well - the wife did in-race photography, my mom worked the Finish Line and my dad was in charge of the post-race BBQ. I could NOT have made this race happen without their support.

I wanted to have a charity aspect to this race. So I charged each participant - in person or virtual - a $15 fee with that money going to my yet-to-be-named 2013 Boston Marathon charity team. Each charity team for the 2013 Boston Marathon asks runners to raise $4-5k in exchange for a spot in the race - so this would be my first fundraising endeavor of the year.

Thankfully everyone jumped on board.

By Friday, September 14, morning we had all of the raffle prizes and sponsor products in hand - which meant it was time to start getting the necessities for the BBQ itself. Thankfully my mom had the day off from work so she got a lot done in advance and then the wife and I finished up the shopping on Saturday night after we got home from the Warrior Dash - including balloons. :)

But, it all came together, heading to bed Saturday night I felt in control.

On the day of the race/my 30th birthday, we woke up at 7am to start prepping for the race that was starting at 11am.

We enjoyed our Dunkin' Donuts Iced Coffee then headed out on foot to mark off the race course for the runners/walkers.

Thankfully we found cheap  yard decorations at iParty that we could use to keep the signs grounded. :)

That activity took up more time than I thought so as soon as we headed back participants had already started showing up.

We all quickly changed into our racing/working clothes and headed out to our tasks. Since it was really just friends and family attending, people that arrived early chipped in as well. :)

I headed out to the local train stop to pick up our friends traveling in on public transportation.

We got back and went straight into work mode to make sure everything was in the right place.

I wanted to make sure everyone could see the raffle prizes clearly as well as our Sam Adams Beer and Popchips.

Additionally, I needed a clear area for bib pick-up ... this had to feel like a real race as much as possible.

Next thing I knew it was 11am and it was time to kick off the run-walk.

I was psyched. There were 40 people - friends and family - standing in front of my wanting to participate in this 5k. For many of them it was their first race ever. For others, it was even the first time walking 3.1 miles. We had participants of all athletic abilities and all ages - we even had a stroller division. :) But overall, you could feel the love and excitement in the air and I was speechless.

I quickly thanked everyone, went over the course and had my friend George kick off the race.

And like that we were off.

For me, it was my fifth 5k in 5 days and I was shot ... that and my cold was coming in in full effect. Breathing was not going well. I was holding strong in third-fourth place for most of the race, but my friends are too kind and they let me finish 1st. I still think Sarah, Annie and Kim shoulda been 1-2-3. But I thank them for their generosity.

The wife caught some AWESOME in-race photos:

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When each person finished, I personally gave them their Finisher's Medal, which meant a lot to me. We also had water and orange slices available right away.

Once everyone completed the race, we hit the BBQ. My dad  and his assistant chef Nick put out a wonderful spread of chicken, burgers, hot dogs and sausages. It was spectacular ...

... and went to well with the Sam Adams. :)


Everyone enjoyed the BBQ for about 20-30 minutes before it was Raffle time!

People were vying for all of the raffle prizes so it was great to feed off that energy ... how could they not, the prizes were A-freakin-MAZING!!

Once the raffle prizes were done, it was time for me to relax and enjoy the company of my friends and family. While keeping tabs on my virtual runners results of course. :)

Overall, this day was MORE than I could've EVER imagined.

An idea that I thought was wicked farfetched became a reality ... and so many of my friends, family and Social Media crew jumped right on board.

So to everyone that was a part of this special day ... THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

Now it's time to start prepping for...

The Dani Ryan Holmes-Kirk 2nd Annual 30th Birthday Run-Walk Ramble!

Stay tuned!