Race Bling. Amenities. In-Race Entertainment. Snacks. T-shirt Design. Usually I pick a race and judge the success based solely on the above criteria. But there is ONE THING that above all of those ... ONE THING that can truly outshine all the glitz and glamour of the race bling. That ONE THING is...
You give me a truly compassionate, dedicated, honest and caring race director and I will run that race year in and year out.
Welcome to the Framingham Turkey Trot Classic 5k!
2012 marked the 18th annual Framingham Turkey Trot Classic and it was AWESOME.
Now, for perspective, I traveled a good 30-45 minutes (depending on traffic) to Framingham for the race. So yes there were plenty of Turkey Day races closer to my house, but I picked this one for the reason I mentioned above.
This race is put on by Tim Campion, a family friend of my uncle's, and he has done one amazing job.
The Turkey Trot began in the mid-90s with 60 runners and on Thursday he had over 1,000 people participating.
I remember the first few races as my dad used to participate back in the day and Thursday it was finally my time to run.
The alarm went off at 5:30am for the 8am race, which was a sacrifice we were willing to make. :P
We hit the road just after 6 since we had to get a parking spot and pick up our bibs as well.
We made great time and got to the race with plenty of time. Thankfully they had a hall for everyone to hang around inside instead of out in the chilly weather. :)
There was even a snack table (seen behind us), which had some munchkins on it ... mmm perfect pre-race fuel! Yes, I had two and they were DELISH!
We were able to run into my family - aunt, uncle & 3 cousins - before the run. It was great to see how excited they were to get out on the course too.
Before I knew it it was 7:45 and time to head to the Start Line.
As usual, I didn't bother looking at the course map ahead of time so I had no idea what to expect. But, I tried to put myself up nearer the front of the group, which was full of local high school and college runners and the Framingham Running Club. After seeing that crowd, I moved myself back a little further in the pack. :P
I waited for my Garmin Forerunner 110 to locate satellites and just hoped it would finish before the gun went off ... and it did with about 2 seconds to spare. :)
Then we were off...
My legs felt HEAVY and dead. This was my first race since the marathon and just my third run since the marathon so I really didn't know how the legs would hold up.
But, once we got pas the first mile they started to shake out a little.
It was great seeing the neighbors out in their driveways cheering on the runners and the high school cheerleaders out on the course.
But, I was MOST impressed when I saw Tim (the race director) sail by me - running the race. It's rare for me to see the person in charge of the run actually participating. But, it was AWESOME.
I have known Tim for years through my uncle, but had NO IDEA he was so fast. It looked effortless to him (I hate those people because I'm jealous of how easy it looks for them).
All the time Tim was running, he was smiling and waving to the volunteers along the course, giving special thanks to the photographers, cheering on other runners and showing his gratitude to the locals who were taking in the race.
As we worked our way through the hills of Framingham (when did Framingham get hills?), I noticed that my pace on my Garmin was hovering around the 7:15-7:30 range depending on whether I was on a hill or not. :P But, I thought just maybe I could get a PR.
I was so distracted by watching Tim run AND be race director that I hadn't once looked at my overall time for the run.
Just as we passed where I knew my dad had parked the car, I picked it up a notch and wanted to burst through the Finish Line.
I saw my dad just before the Finish Line cheering everyone on and being one awesome spectator.
I clicked my Garmin and stared in amazement ... 22:21 - an unofficial PR by 2 seconds.
I couldn't believe what I was seeing. But, I also didn't know which Finish Line I was supposed to stop the Garmin on so I just figured I stopped it early. I would just have to wait to check out the official results later in the day.
I found my dad and stood with him while we waited for the rest of our crew to finish and cheered on the rest of the runners.
Another awesome thing about Tim? As soon as he finished, he was right back in work mode: cheering on the racers, keeping the crowds back off the course/out of the runners way and giving out a ton of high-fives.
By the time we saw the rest of the crew finish, the results were already being posted along the wall of the hall, where people were warming back up.
I officially finished in 22:20.08 (7:12 min/mile pace) - a new SHINY PR ... I was 127th overall out of 1,029 and fourth out of 90 in my division! :) :)
Can you all believe that? Fourth in my division! Lil ol me!
Honestly the first thought was "DAMN No Award!" But then I reminded myself how far I have come and that when I started running I would NEVER have thought I would be fourth in any division.
Plus, my family is right there to take me down a peg when they think I am being ridiculous so they all had comments to make when I said the no award comment.
I just want to keep improving. That is my main goal with running. Because every run I do is another to be thankful for.
But, I digress.
I couldn't believe they already had tentative results up before we left the race. That was awesome.
The race is capped off by the awards ceremony then one impressive raffle.
So even though this race didn't have any race medals or big fancy bands along the way. It had the love, desire and compassion of one man, Tim Campion, that permeated throughout the entire race and all the participants.
THAT to be as a runner is more important than any of the other stuff.
But, the t-shirt was one sweet long-sleeved cotton tee that I will be honored to wear around.
So when you work on your racing schedule in 2013, be sure to check out some of those local races you just might find one gem like the Framingham Turkey Trot Classic!