July 18, 2010
Blueberry Chase 5K
$1700ish dollars was raised for our team's track! In some ways, I am disappointed that we didn't even get CLOSE to meeting our goals. But, and this is a big one- I am soooooo proud of all the support people have given our team. I am also so grateful of how much support my friends have given ME! Those previous two sentences sound extremely cliche, but I promise, I am so just...amazed by people and their generosity of time and money. Not only that, but the emotional support my friends have given me over the past two years has been phenomenal- more than words.
Onto the race. Let me back up and say that Coach D resigned back in June. He is being deployed this year, so will be missing a lot of school. So, I was completely on my own for planning and organizing this whole deal. I knew the basics that needed to be done, it was just a matter of organizing it all. Here's the lowdown.
First, I got the word out about the race. Audra helped me by designing a flier. I also set up a FB page and posting on local running websites to advertise for the race. I went on the local radio, too, and talked about the race and what we needed the money for. I was actually really nervous about that, but the men were really nice, joked around a lot, and made me feel comfortable about it.
Next, I had to order the teeshirts. I wanted to use a hometown company b/c I feel it is important to support locally owned businesses. Sadly, the cost was $3((??!!!) more per shirt than if I went w/ an internet business. So, I did what I had to do. Next, I mailed and delivered 320 letters asking businesses for sponsorship. Not too much luck there. I have a lot of thoughts about this, but I want to keep the message of this post positive, so... another time, maybe.
I was able to borrow the clock from the Pensacola Runners Association, and used cones from the school for course marking, etc. I had the Rescue Squad block intersections, and had hose blowing at one. Runners/walkers told me afterwards that they liked the opportunity to get wet. I used arrow signs on the course, and had the high school kids stand at all the turns, making sure the runners knew where to go.
My friend, Mandy, taught art in the summer program w/ me and she was in charge of awards. We bought wooden picture frames and plaques. She had the kids paint them and color on paper to make the awards shown below. The overall frames were WAY larger than the age group awards.
Onto race day. I had my principal do the sound system w/ music. The YMCA helped me do registration and we had some refreshments, too. A friend of mine shot off the starting gun, so it had everything the major races have, minus timing chips. I was running crazy at the last minute, making sure EVERYONE was in place. MY biggest worry was that someone would go off course, even though I had it VERY well marked w/ signs and humans. So, I drove the course and made SURE the high schoolers knew what to do. Also, I got a policeman to lead the race in the police car. A pleasant surprise Saturday morning was that a high school from Navarre, FL brought a group of runners to race. Also, a local celebrity from Jay, FL came and won for the overall men- 17:05! Top female was in the 23s, someone also from FL.
My blunders- I had a little girls' party on Thursday night to stuff packets. At that time, I noticed that after all the packets were full, we didn't have that many shirts left. I didn't count them, but just a small feeling. So, on raceday, unless they had preregistered, many runners didn't get the size they wanted. Funny, when I got home yesterday, there was a big box of MORE shirts- size small and mediums. LOL, apparently, the company had shipped in two boxes, but one box was late.
Only ONE person complained, and that was about the way I organized the awards. I did 10 year age groups. I know, I know, this is NOT how it is usually done. The thing is- there were not THAT many runners (67), and... those awards were time consuming to make. This man was actually kind of rude, came up to me right afterwards saying, "apparently I haven't done many races..." I just apologized, thanked him for his input, and smiled. Other than that- NO COMPLAINTS on the course, food, or anything, really...
In summary, I just feel really relieved to have pulled it off. I am proud of this community for making it happen, too. I know my monetary goals were not met, but in every other way, I think the race was a big success. Yesterday was a nice day for me. For a lot of months, I have felt like people have been staring, talking, and judging me about my has-been relationship, etc. Yesterday was one of the first days that I felt like people were finally letting me move past it. I am no longer the girl that had XYZ happen to her. I am just a runner, track coach, teacher, and yesterday, the race director. ME- I am finally just ME again, removed from all the nasty stuff, and am able to show my face without feeling ashamed and awkward.
For those of you that donated- I can not thank you enough. Please know that with your support, I promise to try to make good things happen. We aren't there yet w/ the track repairs, but I will continue to do my best, fighting the good fight!