Sunday, November 27, 2011

Aubrae Gunderson Memorial 5K - Race Report

The Aubrae Gunderson Memorial 5K race was on Saturday, November 26th at the reasonable time of 9am.  My wife Susan, our friend Jim, and I signed up for race the about two weeks ago.  Jim ran the race last year.  This was Susan's first 5K race race.  Her prior 5K races were mostly race walks.

Susan, Jim and I arrived at Heritage High School in Conyers at around 8:30am.  While Jim looked for a place to park, Susan and I left the car to find the registration table in the school common area.  We picked up our race packets and waited for Jim.  The t-shirts we selected were long-sleeve cotton.  They also had short-sleeve technical shirts for a few dollars more.  We all liked the cotton shirts though; so that's what we got.

Waiting for the race to start
The t-shirt artwork (front)
The t-shirt (back)
Race schwag bag
Race bib
The 1-mile run/walk started just before 9am.  After that race started the crowd of 5K participants headed toward the starting line.  I wished Susan and Jim luck before moving to the front of the crowd.  That's where I caught up with my friend Randy.  We seem to do a lot of the same races.  Randy had also run the race in 2010 so he gave me a few pointers about the course.  His brief description was correct, there were a few hills.
The portion of the course that turns off of Granade Road onto Lochinver Lane
Someone said "GO" and the race was on.  We ran up a slight hill out of the parking lot to a right turn onto Hwy 138.  I was surrounded by what had to be track or cross-country team members.  As my position in the race fell from 4th I tried to keep up my pace.  I passed the first mile marker at just over 6 minutes.  At that point I was sure that I wouldn't be getting a Master award this day.  Somewhere near the two mile marker I was passed by another runner that was clearly not in high school or of college age.  As I crested the last hill and turned back toward the school I tried to let the slight downhill slope drive my pace.  Soon I was back on school property and headed toward the football stadium. A quick partial loop on the track and I was in the finish line chute.  My time was 18:47.  I finished in 10th place overall and was the first Grand Master (over 50) finisher.

After completing my time card I headed back out onto the course to find Susan and Jim.  I ran into Randy on the way and gave him a High-5.  Jim was a little further back.  I gave Jim a few encouraging words and continued on.  Susan was just rounding the corner before the big hill when I caught up with her.  We ran and walked to the stadium where Jim was waiting at the finish line.  Susan's time was 42:05.  That's a PR for her.  The good thing is that she ran her race and didn't try to kill it or herself.  Jim usually goes home with an award and this race was no different.  His time was 34:25.

After the race we went back to the common area for the awards presentation and to watch the High Heel Hustle right after.  The race organizers also drew numbers for prizes.  None of us won anything but apparently the announcer, Dan Gunderson, really wants to go to Hooters.  Several people won gift certificates from Hooters and each time he commented that he could also partake in some wings.

Dan Gunderson addressing the crowd
The awards were trophies for the overall and masters and plaques for the rest.  I brought home my first trophy - ever!  I was very pleased with my performance considering I hadn't run at all since I completed Ironman Florida three weeks ago on November 5th.

Me and my trophy safe at home
My Grand Master trophy
Jim picked up another plaque to add to his vast collection.

Jim and Susan enjoying some refreshments
The indomitable Don McClellan also ran the race after loaning a camera to several volunteers who used them to help document the race.  After the race Don collects the cameras and posts the images online.

The awards presentation
Runners preps for the High Heel Hustle
Participants in the High Heel Hustle
The start of the HHH
Some of my general thoughts about the race were that it was well run and well supported.  I ran a 10K race in Edmond, Oklahoma called the Deer Creek Classic about two years ago.  That race compares well to the enthusiasm of the participants, volunteers, and sponsorship.  The Race for Riley 5K in Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia compares well but beats this race in sponsorship as it relates to schwag.  Kudos to all the organizers and participants.

Taking into account all the variables, I suppose it's possible that I could complete a race on a USATF certified course within the time required to be seeded for the 2012 Peachtree Road Race.  That would be cool!  The PRR 2010 seeded requirements are a 38:00 10K or 18:20 5K finish time.

Next weekend we'll be doing the Jingle Jog 5K in McDonough.

Thanks for reading.