Saturday, July 1, 2017

Freedom Run 5k – 6/24/17 – Oakboro, NC

Running along the trail and around the baseball field during the Freedom Run 5k in Oakboro NC, an old memory resonated from the back of my mind. I signed up the week of for this year's race, and the thought never dawned on me that I had run in Oakboro before this year. Yet, as I circled the lake and then looped around the baseball field, the memory came roaring back that I had done this same course years ago.

My time wasn't nearly as impressive this year – 19:04. While the heat and humidity has something do with it, my age and training had more do with it. Still, I was happy to grab the win. They gave a nice fire department plaque to the winners. A nice gesture given the race was organized by the local fire department members. Kudos to them. They did a great job with the race.

Maybe this is a sign that I am getting older, but I really like these small town races. In some ways, this takes me back to when I started running. The lines to the porta potties were short. Everyone was up for a conversation either before or after the race, and people hung out for the awards. And, if you wanted, the race director was readily available to talk about the race.

Don't get me wrong here. Big races have their own perks, but I often feel that with larger races, the runner gets lost in the shuffle. Runners are expected to show up, race, and leave as soon as possible afterward. The entire process is an organized procession of events planned to give an experience and get you on your way. May be the what I see missing from the larger races is the personal touch. They are much more business oriented. Having helped organize multiple races. I understand this part of the picture.

Of coarse each of us is driven by our own long list of needs and desires. What I am looking for in a race isn't likely to exactly match with the runners standing on either side of me at the starting line. As long as I am checking off most of the items on my list, this usually gives me plenty of reasons to return for another year.

The Cool Down Runner

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