I attended the third-annual Ryan’s High Five 5K Run/Walk on Sunday, November 11, 2018 to support my amazing friend during her first 5K walk! I have to be totally truthful here and say that I didn’t have very high expectations of this race. I’d never heard of it before, wasn’t concerned about aid stations or post-race food, and had no idea what the elevation of the course looked like. My only goal was to support my friend, go at a comfortable pace, and get in some great one-on-one time. She is the mom of the Mature Kindergartner’s (MK) BFF, so it was nice to chitchat along the way.
I set my alarm for 7:20 a.m. EST, threw on my clothes, got ready, and was at the door around 7:30 a.m. EST. She picked me up around 7:45 a.m. EST, and we drove about 15–20 minutes to the Magnolia Fire Company where the race began. I laud the fact that she’s early for everything, so we both have the same mindset there. We parked behind the Fire Company in the parking lot, which seemed incredibly small to me. We waited in the warmth of the car, since it was about 45 degrees and a bit windy. I wore three layers, my lined compression tights, a hat, and gloves.
There seemed to be a few others waiting in their cars too, and while I knew it was early, I was beginning to wonder how large this race was. It turns out there were only 70 participants total! There were 50 runners and 20 walkers. If I had been running this race, I could have gotten second in my age group, so I need to remember that for next year! The times that some of these runners threw down were amazing to me. The first-place male ran a 19:24, and he was older than me! Wowza!
I digress. As much as I talk about the numbers, they really don’t mean a ton to me. What really matters to me now is having an awesome time, not being injured, having a smile on my face, and having a great experience in terms of race support along the course, post-race food, and so on. This race definitely delivered in most of those respects!
We went into the Fire Company to pick up our bibs and shirts. I still find that some races give out cotton t-shirts, so I was pleasantly surprised when I was handed a tech t-shirt (albeit a bold mustard-yellow color). We stole back to the car for a bit before the race, and I watched as they put up the finish line arch.
Before the race they hosted a kids’ fun run (with finishers’ ribbons for all!), and I wished the MK were there. I knew it was on the colder side though, and she’s very iffy about kids’ runs these days for whatever reason.
The race started promptly enough after someone who was presumably a family member thanked everyone for attending, but it was odd that we had to walk from the finish line to the starting line. So we sort of all shuffled over there before the official start of the race. My friend and I positioned ourselves toward the back of the pack, made sure our fitness trackers were readied, and waited for the go.
We noted that it was interesting that we weren’t sure how Ryan passed or under what circumstances. We gleaned that he was in high school and on the football team, but that was about it. I would’ve liked to know more of the back story! I didn’t find anything on the race website either.
The walk itself was so much fun! The course was nearly all flat, and the scenery reminded me a lot of the Monster Mash (back roads, corn fields). We kept at what I thought was a comfortable pace to still chat and walk at the same time. (I can’t do this while running haha.) We finished under my friend’s goal time, and I’m so proud of her!
The post-race food was better than the Monster Mash (crazy, huh?!) and offered granola bars, bananas, and water. They also held age-group awards and raffle gift basket giveaways. I didn’t think to bring any cash with me, but next year I will for sure. They had different categories of gift baskets for girls, boys, restaurant gift cards, and so on.
The overall feel of the race was one of an intimate, close community. I really enjoyed the vibe and will definitely attend next year!