Things You Might See When you Run a 5k!

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Crazy things I saw at the Race this weekend!

I ran a 5k this weekend, and I realize I must be getting old. I am a teacher and thought I could tolerate a lot of stuff, but I have come to the conclusion that I might not have nearly the patients I use to have. First, the weather was not great. It had rained most of the night and was just sprinkling a little before the race. I got there early, because I wanted to make sure that I had plenty of time to warm up and just relax before the race. This is when the first thing happened that I really didn't mean to laugh at, but it just happened. I was sitting over by myself and I noticed that there was a large group of people with the same color shirt. I read the back of the shirt and it had, "Running for God," on the back. There must of been close to fifty of them in the group. This is where the story gets a little funny. I didn't think anything of it, until I saw a couple of them throwing some mean looks at the stereo system that had been set up. Apparently the race people didn't realize who their clientel was going to be at this race, because the stereo was blasting a rap song that had at least 10 explatives in it during the thirty seconds I was listening to it. After about a minute of the song, one of the race coordinators ran over to the cd player and changed the song. It was still pretty funny though.

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Next after stretching and getting warmed up, we were called over to the starting line. I was standing in about the fourth row when this guy walks up beside me. I can't help but hear some people laughing. I take a glance at the guy beside me, and it was hard to believe what I saw. This guy was dressed like a banana. I didn't know what to say. I just looked at him and nodded, which he returned. I didn't know that people dressed up in costumes for races. I then looked over beside him and saw a guy with a dinosaur hat on and what looked to be two basketball shooting sleeves on his arms. These guys were crazy. The wildest part is that the guy in the banana suit finished in the top three with a time of 20 mins and 12 seconds. I couldn't believe it. I might just have to start dressing up.

When the race started, it went up a hill for about fifty meters and the took a sharp left down another road. I was up near the front and couldn't believe that I saw three guys hiding behind a tree. When we came by, they jumped into the race. I had never seen people just jump in the race. It was kind of funny. The entry fee for the race was just fifteen dollars, but I guess that was a little much for these guys. It was just funny to see them jump in and check all around them to see if anyone saw them. They thought no one would notice that they don't have a racing number on I guess. They did finish the race though, and one of the guys was trying to eat the free food after it was over. A cop did escort him away from the race then, which was again funny to see. After the guy was escorted out, the guy standing beside me said, "I just can't stand rogue runners." I was caught off guard that this happens enough that they have a name for them.

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If you remember me saying above that the weather was not great and that it had rained the entire night leaving puddles all over the course. I am not one to try and jump over all the puddles, but I try my best to avoid them when I can. This race contained around four hundred people so it was crowded. After the first quater of a mile though, it had thinned out a lot. This is the point when my patients was tested to its fullest extent. This is something that may not bother so of you, but I had been training for this race and wanted to do the best I could. As I rounded the turn I came up on a group of guys who seemed to be hanging together. As I started to pass the group apparently one of them thought it was be awesome to jump in a huge mud puddle. It splashed all over the group and me. Then the other guys wanted to get the guy back for splashing them, so then the splashing of the muddle puddle contest had begun and I was accidentally in the middle of it. The good news was that since they were messing around it didn't take long to pass them all, but I was still pretty wet by the time I made it past them.

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Another nice thing about the race I ran in this weekend, is that they had what they called a, "Smile Mile." Any kid under the age of fourteen can sign up for only ten dollars. They got a t-shirt and would run in a race after the 5k. I talked my son into doing it, and he was pumped up about it all week. He has never ran in any kind of race before where you couldn't see the finish line. I tried talking to him before the race and was explaining to him that he might not be able to run at top speed through the whole thing. He nodded in agree, and I told him that I would run with him so he wouldn't get lost. Even though getting lost would of been very hard to do, it made my wife feel better that I was going to run with him. He took his mark at the starting line and when the gun went off he was in a dead sprint trying to pass everyone. It took me a full thirty seconds to catch up with him. That is when I noticed that he wasn't breathing very hard. I was trying to talk to him about slowing down because it was a long way. He said, "Dad I have to beat this guy in front of me." My son is eight years old, and I hate it for him but he got my competitiveness. Which is going to cause some problems for him later in life I am sure. I looked up and saw another kid who looked to be able the same age as my son leading the race about ten meters in front. I turned and looked behind us and saw a group of fourteen year old kids about thirty meters behind us. My son kept up this crazy pace for about another three mins. and didn't have any problems until we hit a hill. It was a pretty step hill. The kid in front increased his lead to about thirty meters, and just when I thought that my son my be running out of gas he looks behind him and then to me and says, "Dad, don't worry. I have to save just a little bit for when I see the finish line. I'm not going to lose second place." The fourteen year old had crept up to about fifteen meters when we rounded the turn and saw the finish line. I told my son to kick it in a take it home, which he did. I was blown away that he had run a seven minute and fifty-five second mile. The kid had never ran a mile before. The kid that won ran it in seven minutes and thirty-two seconds. I just could believe that the kids this young could run a mile that fast. With all the crazy things I saw this weekend this was by far the wildest. I was also very proud of him.

Do things like these happen to you at 5k races?

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Tony Flanigan profile image

Tony Flanigan 4 years ago from East London, South Africa

Just gotta love it all! Well done to your son - you may want to get some training tips from him! :) Seriously though, if he enjoyed it just half as much as it seems he did, you have a budding athlete to mentor, right in your home.

I run in the social pack, that's the crowd right at the end of the field, and there is always a load of joking and bantering down there, which makes it loads of fun to run.


guy6336 profile image

guy6336 4 years ago Author

Thanks for the kind comments. I may need to get some tips from my son. He did seem to really enjoy it. I am going to try and see if he has it in him to run the 5k distance.

In the social pack you see all kinds of people dressing up? I have never seen that before. It was funny, but the guy was really good. He kicked my but by around 2 minutes. It was a good time though. I will be running another race soon. I keep you updated on all the crazy stuff I see.


Tony Flanigan profile image

Tony Flanigan 4 years ago from East London, South Africa

:) We occasionally have cows running with us - a Cancer support group. I must pay more attention to not only the people, but what they're wearing as well. I do remember a couple in the Komga 15km who entered as walkers, and walked as clowns (I think). They were the first walkers I passed, at about 7km. I think they got a lift back to the start...

Regarding your son, and please appreciate that I don't know either you or your son. Encourage him to do a 5km, but let him think it is his idea. Possibly as a parent and a sport coach you have already thought of this.

To slot in another remark to your Hub - the Annual Surfers Marathon attracts a field of about 2 200 athletes, with about 400 walkers. Because the terrain is so tricky, the walkers start after the runners, and it has long been a problem with walkers starting with the runners, and running. The organizers are aware of this, and are trying to eliminate it, but it is not easy. These "rogues" have cost Teresa a win in the Ladies Walk.


guy6336 profile image

guy6336 4 years ago Author

Tony I totally agree with you about my son. I asked him yesterday what he thought of the race. He said he had a blast and couldn't wait to do it again. He also wanted to know when he could start running with me. (which made my day) To comment on your problem with the surfers marathon, I can definitely see how that can be a problem. Where does that race take place? It sounds like it would be great to run in.


Tony Flanigan profile image

Tony Flanigan 4 years ago from East London, South Africa

It's really nice that your son is so interested, I'm very pleased for you!

The Surfers Marathon is held in East London, South Africa each year in February, and it is a great race to run. Currently it is 17.6km, as the course was altered slightly for eco reasons 3 years ago. It was started 38 years ago, as the Surfers Marathon, but the name was also changed/modified recently to the Surfers Challenge. If you get a chance have a look at their website: surferschallenge.co.za

If for any reason you find yourself needing to come visit South Africa, make sure it's in February, and that you're in East London - it's a blast!


guy6336 profile image

guy6336 4 years ago Author

It sounds awesome. If I could afford the plane ticket there I would try it. I have never ran in a race that had that many people in it. I have been in a few that have had four or five hundred, but to have over 2,000. That would be wild.


Tony Flanigan profile image

Tony Flanigan 4 years ago from East London, South Africa

Average field size here (walkers and runners combined) is about 450. There are a few races that attract much bigger fields. I like the big races, because then there are more people behind me at the finish :)


guy6336 profile image

guy6336 4 years ago Author

I have never enter one bigger than 500. I would love to run in one that has a huge field. I am working on getting ready for a half marathon in the fall. It usually has around 800-1000 in it. I have never ran over the 10K distance, but I have plenty of time to get ready for it.


Tony Flanigan profile image

Tony Flanigan 4 years ago from East London, South Africa

As you say, you do have some time to get ready - best of luck in the meantime. Did a 15km this morning, will be writing a hub about it during the course of the day. I estimate there were about 800 participants in this morning's event.


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