The Family That Runs Together

Two years ago, one of the area hospitals expanded their sleepy little 10K road race into a full blown Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K event. A huge undertaking, to bring such a big event to our mid-sized, in the middle of nowhere city. I ran the Half Marathon that year, amazed by the participant turn out and even more amazed by the city, the volunteers and residents that came out to make a wonderful race.

Back in 2009, just under 10,000 people participated in the Illinois Marathon Events. Then in 2010, the participants expanded to almost 15,000. This year, almost 19,000 people are registered for the Youth Fun Run, 5K, 10K (new this year), Marathon Relay (expanded this year), Half Marathon and Full Marathon. The 5K would be held on Friday evening instead of Saturday morning.

Because I "require" each of my kids to run a 5K race before issuing them a cell phone at the age of 12 (still too early, I think, but my daughter was one of the last in her class to get one), we decided to participate in this year's 5K event. (More on my requirement - I want my kids to work towards an athletic goal of some sorts. I was never athletic growing up and after I started running at the age of 25, I realized how empowering it is for one to be able to strap on a pair of shoes and hit the road. I want my kids to feel that empowerment or confidence with their fitness.)

So we all signed up for the 5K race. I mentioned this to my friend, Jill, who happens to be my neighbor and the mother of Brian's best friend. She decided to sign up her family, too. Then we learned Erica's friend, Jen, was signed up. Many of our friends and their families planned to run the event. Us and 5,000 other people. What fun!

Here we are, Friday night, heading towards the starting line and the pace groups forming behind the start.
Heading to the Start
I was a little worried about Brian - he didn't spend much time "training" for this run. He ran on the treadmill every now and then. He ran / walked a bit with Jill's boys. He ran / walked with me last weekend (more like sprinted for 20 seconds and then walk at a snails pace for 10 minutes - I was really concerned).

I projected at best, we would complete the 3.1 miles in 35 minutes. For me, this is a very leisurely pace, so I decided to run with my camera. I put the little 50mm lens on and tucked it into my sling bag. No problem, really!

Because I wanted to capture the build up to the starting horn
Running Trio

Pre-Race Goofiness

Slight of Hand

Fleet of Foot

I wasn't able to take pictures while running, because there were so many people and I was trying to keep track of Scott and Brian. Brian did great, keeping up with us at a good pace, only walking every now and then.

The best thing about all the races - the finish line is at the 50 yard line of University of Illinois' football field. How else would I ever get to run on that football field?

We all finished around 33 minutes, well within my projections. A great run by all!
Family Achievement


Next year? Scott and Erica are considering the 10K. I am announcing that I am going to run the full marathon. So there it is - my first step - a formal, public commitment.

Becky  – (May 1, 2011 at 2:54 PM)  

Go Shirley. I'm sure you will have no problem running a marathon!
Good for you for finding an activity your whole family will do. Sadly, I'm the hold out on the running in my family. Gymnastics ruined my knees years ago.

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