We had a great reason for doing this. Rex is a four year old boy in our school district who is affected by Batten's Disease. It causes loss of motor function, seizures and a lot of other symptoms. There is no cure and the treatments are still developing. Raising money to improve Rex's quality of life and help his family afford the best possible care meant a lot to us. It also meant a lot to all of the runners and walkers that came out to support Rex! Donations from those who couldn't attend poured in as well. All together we raised $4,062! So thank you to all of our sponsors, runners, and volunteers. You made this race happen!
Signs for Rex donated by Carol Hill.
So what went into making it happen? Five months of planning, begging, brainstorming, designing, buying and scheduling. In the days leading up to the race our house began to look like an episode of hoarders. Shane and I had to pick up donations of chips, cookies, and donuts. Shane took the week before the race off work and spent his days picking up race shirts, bottled water, and communicating with volunteers. During the day before the race Shane and I loaded vehicles with tables, chairs, food and water, race bags, etc. We met with Pittsburgh Tent Rentals on Friday night and set up two large tents to cover the food and registration tables in case of rain (it did). We also put out the mile marker signs as well as signs cheering on our family and friends.
Our basement prior to the race.
Saturday morning we woke up bright and early and took everything down to the trailhead. With the help of an army of volunteers we laid out the race day registration area and check-in tables despite a constant drizzle. Fall decorations in the form of hay bales, corn stalks and mums were everywhere thanks to a wonderful volunteer named Carol. Our family and friends helped us hang signs thanking all of our (75!) sponsors and also door prize lists.
Three pages of door prizes
Rex's family made a poster to explain Batten's Disease and his battle
Next thing we knew the timing company was setting up and so was the band, AE Honick & The Soul Shakedown. The local bar provided electricity and I'm sure we provided them an early crowd! More than 70 people showed up for race day registration! We had our own race to get everyone registered and chipped before the actual 5k started at 9am sharp. Around 8:00am the rain stopped and the sun broke through the clouds. At 8:50 Shane made the announcement that everyone should walk down to the starting line. I made sure everyone lined up with faster people in the front and walkers in the rear. Then the timing company started us off with a horn!
Making signs for our family and friends
Shane and I both jumped in and ran too. Both of our girls, Shane's mother, my step father, Shane's sister, brother-in-law, niece, nephew, and a family friend all ran in the 5k wearing the Team Brunazzi shirt. I quickly realized we'd made a mistake when I reached our 1 mile sign and my Garmin read 0.90 miles instead. This was the only major glitch of the race. The course ended up being 1/10th of a mile short because of the misplaced mile sign. Besides that everything was going perfectly.
Start of the race
By the turn around I realized I was on PR pace. I was running with some of the guys I'm usually trailing. I was having a blast too. High-fiving kids, yelling encouragement to our friends and family, and chatting with those around me. I ran the whole race with a huge grin plastered on my face. It turns out Shane was having the exact same experience a couple minutes ahead of me. I ended up finishing in 24:58. I know the course was a little short but I'm claiming the PR anyway! Shane finished in 20:50 for a new PR as well.
My finish picture courtesy of JMeyers Photography
Shane finishing with style
After the race it was time to make sure door prizes were drawn, awards were arranged, food was available and everyone was having a good time. A quick count showed somewhere around 215 people registered! 180 of those people picked up timing chips while a few chose to walk part of the course or register but volunteer instead. It was an amazing turnout for a first year race! What could make it even more amazing?
How about an Olympian?!
We had some other very special guests that included Kristi Torba of the Pittsburgh Passion women's football team, Lulu the Clown, and Team Odyssey! The Big Beaver Big Dogs and Latrobe Area Pacer Society were also represented well.
Kristi Torba of the Pittsburgh Passion gave a medal to every kid as they finished.
The timing company did a great job of getting the results in our hands quickly. There were only a couple glitches where race-day registrants ended up being listed as the wrong gender but those were quickly corrected. Gemma and Ash helped me hand out the awards and a lot people were impressed with the custom medals. Gemma was proud because she helped to design the logo.
After the awards ceremony most of the runners started to wander off. Our courageous volunteers and amazing friends stuck around to help us clean up and load our cars. Thanks to their generous help we were able to completely clean up the start/finish area in under 2 hours. After that Shane walked the course again to take down the signs and markers and pick up trash while I unloaded our vehicles at home. By dinner time everything was back in its place and Shane and I were exhausted! We celebrated with dinner out and a movie before we crashed.
Once we got a good night's sleep we were able to fully appreciate the scope of what had happened. We'd actually pulled off a first year race without any huge mistakes and had double the number of runners we'd originally expected! We also managed to raise double the original goal for Rex and his family. We can never say thank you enough to everyone who came out and made this day so special for the Timko family! Our sponsors, family, friends, and the community made this the best race of the year. It's going to be really hard to top but we really hope we'll see you on September 21, 2013 to do it again!