Yesterday – on a whim – I decided to run the “Run for Hope” Turkey Trot 5K. A local running store, Runner’s Choice, teamed up the Northshore Tri-Club to raise money for Run for Hope. Run for Hope honors Vince Lombardo, a nonsmoker and 18-year lung cancer survivor who succumbed to the disease in January 2004. Vince worked on the MD Anderson Steering Committee for 15 years, providing hope and encouragement to fellow cancer patients. Vince’s motto was “NEVER DEPRIVE SOMEONE OF HOPE, IT MAY BE ALL THEY HAVE”. The Lombardo family has sponsored this fun run for the past 8 years.
Since I had a 5-miler on the schedule (1 mile warm-up, 2×1600 @8:35 pace w/800 jogs, 1 mile cooldown), I thought…Why not head out there and see what this race is all about?! This is the 9th annual “Run for Hope” and the 2nd on Thanksgiving Day. This years race was in the Terrabella Village in Covington, La. The course started and ended in the heart of the unique village (housing development), but the interesting part of the course ran along the woods and around the lake. I was pleasantly surprised that half the course was a trail run!!! There was ample parking…directions to registration were very clear…and the set-up was simple: one table for race-day registration, one table for pre-registered runners, and one table for t-shirts. They also had a “memorial table” with the runner’s goodie bags, and then cookies, bananas, water, and coffee. I was in and out in under 5 minutes for race-day registration!
At 8:00 they started the 1 Mile Fun Run. It was fun to watch the handful of runners – even kids below the age of 5! – finish this race. Then they lined up all the 5K participants. At about 8:20, with a quick announcement, we were off!!!
The first mile was fast – winding the roads of the neighborhood, complete with outlining orange cones and a gentleman at about the 3/4 mile marker pointing us in the right direction. At about the 1.25-mile mark, we had looped around and briefly ran facing the oncoming runners. As we approached the 1.5 mile mark, a gentleman was yelling that half the lakefront faced the sun and it might get hot, so grab some water if we need it! Yes – they offered a water stop…a great lil’ touch!!! Then we were suddenly near a huge lake and wooded area! And the rest of the course was a trail run! We ran on a soft grass and dirt path literally on the bank of the large lake. I wish I had taken more pictures at the time…but I was booking it!!! I was on the heels of 1 girl the entire race…and there was 1 girl on my heels. The three of us ran the whole thing neck ‘n’ neck…it was so much fun! At about mile 2.5, the girl behind me started picking up speed and passed the two of us…then the girl in front of me starting sprinting! I thought…Why not?! I’ve run a hard race…let’s finish this!! We didn’t have far to finish once we got back on paved road – maybe a quarter of a mile (I didn’t look at my GPS) – but there was a great lil’ crowd at the finish, and the announcer was directing “Men on the left, Women on the right” so that we could get our numbered finishers tickets. We filled in our times, then dropped off the tickets in the center field where registration was held. Then I did a cool down jog and waited for the medal ceremony. (Notice my mad drawing skills with the blue lake – lol!)
So how did I do? Not too shabby!!! I actually placed 2nd overall in my age group! Timing wise – I, of course, started out too fast, but then settled into a steady pace for miles 2 & 3. Not a PR…but a GREAT finish for half the run being a trail run! And the medals were cute.
Mile 1: 8:10
Mile 2: 8:41
Mile 3: 8:51
5K Total: 26:11
My recommendation…if you are in the area next year, come out and enjoy this great family event celebrating Thanksgiving and supporting a fantastic charity.