S.M.I.L.E. 5k

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Some of our friends are on vacation in Maui this week. Kinda wish I could skip school and go with them!

Back to reality on a Monday morning here. It seems a tropical storm is headed our way, so we’re in for an interesting week of weather. Fortunately it’s supposed to be sunny and in the 80s for Memorial Day weekend, so we’ll at least get some Maui weather for a few days.

Yesterday I ran a 5k in Virginia Beach for a nonprofit organization called S.M.I.L.E.(Samantha Makes It A Little Easier). My friend Rick from the Tidewater Striders asked me to come to the race, and I just can’t say no to a good cause. Samantha and Rick had the same form of cancer, but unfortunately she lost her battle. She was diagnosed with osteosarcoma after her sophomore year in high school, and went through several periods of remission before succumbing in January of 2009 during her sophomore year in college. S.M.I.L.E. aims to…

“Enhance the lives of children who have been impacted by a life threatening disease or its treatment through education, encouragement and empowerment.”

Before the race, Rick said that if I was in the lead someone was going to hand me a t-shirt with bib #1 pinned to it, in memory of Samantha. He wanted me to run across the finish line with it. So as the race went off, I had that in the back of my mind. I started off at a quick pace, and found myself behind only one other runner. After about a half mile, a high school boy came up on my shoulder and passed me. I was about five seconds behind the two guys at the mile mark, which I came through in 6:05 (I wanted to run a steady 6 min pace for this race).

I came through two miles in 11:45 (markers were off) and I noticed that the high school boy had taken off. I knew I probably wouldn’t be able to catch him, but I started to run down the other guy. With about a half mile to go, I passed him, although I encouraged him to stay with me to get a good time. As I sprinted toward the finish, a man handed me the shirt and I ran in with it. The clock said 18:40 (although my official time was 18:44) so I had met my goal. More importantly, I had the honor of running across the finish line with Samantha’s race shirt and bib number. Samantha’s sister was emotional when I handed it to her after the race, and that was a moment I will never forget.

So, what happened with the high school boy? He wasn’t registered! Can you believe it? That is the worst faux pas in the sport of running, to bandit a race. The race only cost 25 dollars, and it was for a good cause, so I have no idea what he was doing.

I’ll be back racing another 5k on Memorial Day, but this time it’s a cross country race. It should be fun, plus I’m looking forward to the day off from work. I wish all weekends were three day weekends!

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