Sunday, December 25, 2016

CBF Winter Harvest 5K

On Christmas Eve my buddy Jim and I drove an hour down to Macon, Georgia for the Charity Benevolent Fund Winter Harvest Coat Drive 5K Run/Walk. The race was moved from a USATF certified course in Gray, Georgia to Macon's Amerson River Park along the Ocmulgee River. Even in the winter the park is beautiful and only about a mile off of I-75. The new location was good for us since we were driving down from Jonesboro. In addition to the location, the time had changed as well from 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Another plus for us.

O-Dark-30 Waiting for my ride

Jim and I at Amerson River Park

Cotton t-shirt art
We left Jonesboro at around 7:15 a.m. Jim was driving. Rumor has it that Jim drives like a bat out of hell. We would surely get there in plenty of time for me to register. Jim had pre-registered but I needed more time to do the other assorted tasks that any race requires. We found the required restrooms immediately. I stretched a little as we waited for the race to start.

The weather started out cloudy with the temperature in the low 50's when we arrived. It climbed into the mid-60's by the time the race was over and we were waiting for the awards presentation.

The course was all on the wide concrete walking path inside the park. Orange cones and directional signs were placed to direct the runners where to turn or go straight with one intersection changing from a right turn to a go straight after the first lap. It was a little confusing.


After the race many of the runners, including myself, realized that the course was slightly over the advertised 5K distance. Since everyone runs the same race it didn't matter to me.

Considering the date, Christmas Eve, we were probably lucky to have the 52 runner and walkers who participated. I chatted with a couple from Jacksonville, Florida, my hometown and another couple from Decatur, Georgia where Susan and I lived for a dozen years before Atlanta's traffic drove us south to Jonesboro and closer to my work.

The race started and this time I started my Garmin watch as planned. I wasn't so smart when I ran my last race in September, also with Jim. I wrote about that race, the Forest Park Autumn 5K Run/Walk at the end of my landscaping project blog. For the Winter Harvest 5K, I took off right behind a younger runner who I would later learn was an 18 year old kid named Brandon. Behind me was John, the runner from Decatur. John stayed behind me the whole race. Brandon was long gone after the first mile. As we came up on the 3 mile point I yelled back to John that we might have taken a wrong turn. I think we were both concerned. I was going as fast as I could and wasn't excited about adding any unneeded mileage. We continued on and eventually the trail led us back the start/finish line. Brandon was first, I was second, and John was 3rd overall. The first female finished after John.

John, Neil, and Brandon - 3rd, 2nd, and 1st (l-r)
Since the race day organization consisted of only one CBF volunteer and one or two park people on four-wheelers, the runners and their family and friends pitched in to help with timing and the awards presentation. The female runner in the red top and gray tights below was the fourth place finisher. I didn't get her name. She was busy trying to get us all our awards. Kudos!

1st Place Female runner and 4th overall in red
I pitched in by taking pictures. Here's a link to my on-line photo album.

Jim with his 1st Place Age-Group Medal

My 1st place Master Award
Overall it was a good little race that was enhanced by the nice park, great weather, and the spirit of the season.

Merry Christmas and Happy Near Year!

Thanks for reading.

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