Sunday, November 6, 2011

Run to unite 5k: race report

This race actually happened BEFORE the monster dash half marathon.  It was a really unique race for a number of reasons.  First off, the race was organized by a Macalester student (a Somali student who graduated from Minneapolis South High School) with support from American Refugee Committee (an organization I feel a special connection to thanks to my inspiring good friend who enacts her passion for refugee rights everyday at ARC). Appropriately, the race was a 5k run/walk to raise money for hunger relief in Somalia.  Local organizations and high schools were involved so I saw many a familiar face at the start line on the windy Sunday October morning.

Joan and I decided to run a couple warm up miles over to the University of Minnesota flats on east river parkway.  The course was gorgeous; it covered trails and floating walkways along the river road that I had never run on before.  Judging from the relatively small number of racers (350 as compared to the thousands I am used to), Joan and I thought we may have a chance to compete to be the first female finishers. 
Running around a 7 min pace, we cruised through the woods.  The race totally brought me back to xc races at Macalester.  I was pushing it hard and I was trying to keep up with Joan.  This was total deja vu.  My major moment of near collapse occurred when we hit the first floating walkway.  Initially, I didn't realize that the walkway was floating!  So, I thought that I was FAINTING!  The feeling on the walkway felt remarkably similar to when I passed out riding my bike a number of years ago.  Fortunately, Joan said something like, "I feel like we are in Disney World!  These walkways are crazy..."  I felt immediate relief!

At the turn around, we discovered we were in third/fourth place for the women runners, only to follow another woman about our age and a ten year old girl.  We thought she was our same arch nemesis whom we encountered at a relay race earlier in the summer, but later I discovered that she was the 5th grade sister of one of my Washburn runners!  Hurray!  A new recruit!  We decided to hold our positions and not let another lady pass us.  Sorry ladies.  We crossed the finish line as third and fourth.  I was exhausted and proud; Joan could've run another mile. 

Overall, we had such a great time and I was thrilled to participate in such a cool fundraiser.  The energy of the race organizers and all the volunteers made the race extremely special; a reminder that the Twin Cities is a true hub for positive work and change.
Local high school students playing Postal Service on marimbas (or marimba like instruments).

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