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Girls on the Run 5K Atlanta

November 15, 2009

Surprised with a second place age group finish (20-29)

Surprised with a second place age group finish (20-29)

Sunday, November 15, 2009.

The weather has been perfect this entire weekend, so I was glad that I had a race I could run on a Sunday.

I didn’t know exactly where this race was going to be, so I semi-followed the directions and parked as soon as I saw people walking around. I got out of my car and followed everyone for about a mile to the race site. It was a zoo. Completely crazy. This was a controlled craze, however. There were girls everywhere. It was completely appropriate, though because this was the Girls on the Run  5k. This organizations mission is to “educate and prepare girls for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living.” I was so happy to see so many young ladies out and about, ready to tackle a 5k. Incidentally, women and men of all ages are allowed to participate, but there were a lot more young ladies than you have see at any other race.

I arrived a little after 8 AM and went through the same day registration process. Their volunteers at the registration table were smiling and ready to help whomever arrived. The race didn’t begin until 9 AM, so I walked around their vendor area, stood in line at the port-o-potties, and tried to find some water to help pass the time. I never did find the water, however, so I got a little sample of a Fuze drink to wet my whistle.

They asked us to start lining up at about 8:45 and moved us to the starting line promptly at 9 AM, the gun went off about two minutes late (which is pretty, good). There was a little chaos at the start, which the race directors tried to handle, but people just weren’t listening to them. They asked the slower runners to move towards the back, which is a legitimate request, but no one reacted. There were a lot of little kids at the front and they blocked the path of a lot of people. It is hard to get mad, though, because they are just little kids, and they are doing something active, and I appreciate that.

It was less than a tenth of a mile that the crowds evened out and it was smooth sailing from there.

The course was pretty challenging. The first 1.5 miles was uphill, most of it was a slow-grade, but there were a few “real” hills, too. The second mile was down hill, but there was one significant hill in that last mile. The end was a downhill to a flat finish.

I like when there are lots of spectators cheering, it makes you feel good when people are clapping and shouting words of encouragement as you run by, and this race had quite a few people towards the finish line.

I struggled at some points during this race, especially the hills, but I was happy to finish in 23:25 and second place in my age group, which was 20-29 for this race. I am curious to see the final standings for everyone, because with a field of mostly women, it can be pretty challenging.

Men were also allowed to race in this event, and I would say that maybe 10% (or less) of those participating were men. I tried to get Sean out here to run this one, but he was out of town. It would have been perfect for him.

Also- some of the course monitors were men from the Georgia State University track team, and although I am sure their coach made them come out there, it was nice to see these guys out supporting the future of their sport, as they made their way through the course.

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