It was a wonderful day this morning at the 2012 Bellin Run!
My wife and I arrived at the race on time and bumped into a friend and his children. It was nice to see a familiar face in the sea of humanity that filled the area. A total of 15,137 participants crossed the finish line this year. It wasn't a record but it was a lot of people! The announcer reported that this run is the fifth largest 10K road race in the US.
This year the run was organized into "corrals" based on anticipated pace. When I signed up, I projected an 11 minute mile pace, but that was before my knees decided to create a new obstacle. I was originally assigned to corral 4, but moved back to the last corral because I knew that I would be only walking. And that was fine, because I was still going to finish the event. (The naproxen that I took before leaving home and the braces on both knees helped.)
In the corral system, when the starter's gun sounds, all corrals begin to move forward to the starting line, and the timing chip that we wear records the moment we actually begin the race. It takes a LONG time for corrals to move through the start. So long in fact that about 1 minute before Tammy and I walked over the chip sensor, the winning runner crossed the finish line (with a time of 29:04.)
But at 8:30 we crossed the start line and officially started the run/walk. The path meanders up and down a main thoroughfare, with racers filling the road (two lanes in each direction) for miles. The weather was nearly ideal, with a start temp in the mid-70's and a humidity at about 33%. The sky was blue without a cloud, and the breeze was refreshing at about 10 mph. As we left the main street and turned into the residential part of the race the community was present, sitting along the path, cheering everyone toward the finish line. Many homeowners stood at the roadside, with their garden hoses spraying through the walking masses, providing a brief cool shower. Kids stood spraying walkers with their supersoakers. And music was everywhere. Local radio stations were broadcasting from different points of the course, and where their wasn't a radio station mobile unit, residents filled the gap with their own music. Also three man polka band played polka favorites (seriously, there are people that really get into that music!) and at another spot a gentleman was playing his banjo and singing a simple ditty to the tune "Camptown Races" (only one verse, endlessly repeated.)
Two related thoughts. I really wish that I had remembered to bring a camera (even just the one in my phone) with me. There were several points along the route that a picture showing nothing but walkers from curb to curb and the length of the road as it climbs a hill would have been incredible to post here. And I really, REALLY wish that I hadn't left my phone on the dashboard of my car in the hot sun, because now I need to buy a new one.
Tammy and I started the race at 8:30am and we finished it at 10:27am. From there, we walked to the car, picking up a food bag packed for the runners. The banana and granola bar we were given were among the tastiest food we have ever eaten. The bag also included a plain bagel and some pretzels. We opted to not eat those, because we went to Lox, Stock and Bagels for a great bagel. I had a spinach-Parmesan sour dough bagel with green olive cream cheese (full fat!) and coffee. Then we stopped at a greenhouse that was on the walk route and advertised two free plants to any participants. After the race, the place was full of customers getting their free plants--and many other plants, too. (Great marketing idea!)
This is what my result look like:
I have calories to spend and tonight we are attending a friend's wedding reception. I think I will have a drink or two, as well as some wedding cake!
Next year, Tammy and I will walk it again. Keep your schedule open for the date: June 8, 2013!