Saturday, 21 July 2012

Belle River Sunsplash 5K 2012

W.R.A.C.E. (Walkers and Runners Around the County of Essex) is an interesting organization. They organize 12 races a year, most with walking divisions. If you are a member, enter at least 6 of those races and volunteer at one, you can accrue points for an annual award. Something to think about for 2013?
Today's race was one in their series, and was held in conjunction with Belle River's Sunsplash festival. Our recent weather had been brutally hot and humid (one day up to 103F!), so I, for one, was quite worried about the weather for today's race. I do NOT do well in any kind of heat. The last two days, however, had been quite nice, so we really lucked out. It was about 72F for the race, but quite sunny ("Sunsplash", after all, right?). It was only about a 45-minute drive for me, which was great!
The race was extremely well-organised, with lots of parking at the high school where the start/finish would be. I had pre-registered, so went to that tent to pick up my number. You're not going to believe this, but I was #1! (Walkers were given single- and double-digits while the runners had numbers starting in the hundreds). This was so cool!

My bib number - auspicious?

One little tad (probably about 3 years old), pointed to me and said, "Look, Mommy - it's number 1!" I was famous :)
We all also received really nice Saucony tech shirts.
I had lots of time to warm up and do my drills, which I find to be so necessary the older I get. A couple of potty visits and I was ready to go. I used my new el-cheapo Schwinn 810 GPS watch (see blog entry) and found it to be extremely accurate, a nice change from my failing Forerunner 301. I also used my NB 730s, which I find to be great for 5Ks.
There was to be a kids' 1 km before us - they were sooo cute!
The field for the 5K was about 220 strong, but overwhelmingly runners; very few walkers. Off we went - first on the track, then off into the streets of town, including the main street where people were lining the street waiting for the Sunsplash parade. We had an instant cheering section, but I sure hope they didn't think we were the parade :) ! There were three water stations (two actually, but one we passed twice as we came back to form a loop), and I doused my head each time. This helps a lot! Lots and lots of volunteers, police and other marshalls helped make it a safe and enjoyable event.
On I toodled, until I pumped in the last gas in my tank at 2.8 miles, making for a 9:33 pace at that point. I came into the finish chute only to hear the announcer give my number, name and the fact that I was the first walker in!!!!

Gun time.
We were handed icy cold, wet facecloths (what a GREAT idea! Absolutely perfect for plunking on your head and neck after a hot walk), water, etc. Get the chip cut off your shoe and wander around to cooldown. It was then that I discovered that they would give prizes for the first-place walker. I had no idea! I went to the food table, where one could have as much watermelon, oranges, popsicles, Tim Horton's coffee and cookies, Gatorade and PIZZA as one wished! This was a class act!
The awards were announced and I received a great Saucony Trackster jacket, two pairs of Saucony socks and an enamelled and engraved medal.

I met many very nice and welcoming people, and will definitely be doing some more of their races in the future; maybe even join the club?  Very impressed!

....and, please everyone - thank the volunteers at these events. It can't be done without them and they are often overlooked by racers. WE LOVE YOU, VOLUNTEERS!


  1. Great! This sounds like a super organization. Walking divisions, I like that! You are getting faster and faster - must be the Wheaties! :)

  2. That is a beautiful medal and is worthy of your efforts. Congratulations.

  3. Thanks, guys! I really enjoyed this race!