Monday, September 23, 2019

2019 Kickoff to Kinnick 5K - the race that went virtual


There's a first time for everything, right?

On Saturday, September 21, I got to experience my first-ever canceled race. The funny thing is, many of us took it upon ourselves to run the race anyways. Runners are stubborn like that.

Now in its 6th year, the Scheels Kickoff to Kinnick 5K is quite a grand event. This race benefits the University of Iowa Dance Marathon (who have long done a lot of work with childhood cancer patients and their families). The race starts near the Iowa City Ronald McDonald house and ends nearby, on the field in Kinnick Stadium, right across the street from the Stead Family Children's Hospital.
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Ready in my University of Iowa black and gold
This was our third consecutive year participating. The hubby, myself, and Barb (the famous friend of mine who runs a lot of the miles with me and most of the same races) loaded the car and headed to Iowa City (an hour east of our hometown). As forecast, rain was coming down. It wasn't a heavy rain, but it was steady.

We arrived at the race site around 8:25, found a great parking spot and had plenty of time to use the nearby porta-potties. We learned the start time had been moved back to 9:15 (from the original 9:00) due to the rain.


We walked over to the staging area (around 9:00), and saw everyone was huddled under trees and tents, and no one was out in the street yet. A few minutes later, it was announced they were delaying the start time again (this time until 9:45) due to lightning. There was no lightning in our immediate area, but it had been reported nearby.

    

So we headed back to the car.

The rain continued, but was starting to let up around 9:30. We made another dash to the porta-potties, only to learn the race had been canceled. We were having difficulty access the Facebook page, due to the weather and the large number of people also attempting to do the same. I would venture to guess a further delay would pose a problem for the traffic control personnel...so canceling was the best  option at that point in time. We also learned that we could receive our finisher medals if we wished, so we walked back over to the staging area.

Since the medals were actually already at the finish line, in Kinnick Stadium, we had to wait for them to be delivered. While waiting in line, we were chatting with other runners.
I ran into Sara, a friend I've known through Instagram for awhile
Having run this before, we knew the course was basically a giant loop, and only had a short section (right after the start line) without sidewalks. So, it was decided we'd run the course on our own. We got our medals, handed them over to the hubby (who elected not to run, but would go park the car at a designated spot, near the finish line, and wait for us).

Ironically, as Barb and I walked over to the vacant start line, we noticed several other runners were doing the same. The street was clear, albeit for a few other runners (both ahead of us and behind). As luck would have it, by now the rain had stopped. The sky still looked dreary, but we didn't see any visible signs of lightning.

As much as I love this event, one thing I wish was different was the chaotic lineup at the start line. There are signs, indicating pace, but they're not enforced. There are numerous walkers, strollers, and lots of kids and groups of people walking side-by-side. All of this is great, but they're not instructed to line up towards the back. That said, none of that was an issue this year.

We started our watches, and off we went!

   

The usual cluster of runners was MIA as we made our way down that first hill. As we turned the corner (heading left), we immediately saw even more runners up ahead of us. A couple of blocks later, we rounded another corner by the baseball fields and turned left again, this time onto Morman Trek. We began making our way up the long, curved hill.

we were not alone in our quest to run the race
There still were occasional walkers, but being it wasn't an official race, it wasn't a big deal. In fact, it was nice seeing so many people out there, with their race bibs still pinned on, making their way through the course. Whether they were walking or running, it was a great thing!
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About halfway up the long hill, we passed the 1-mile mark.  A short ways later, just before the top of the hill, we were reminded what this race was all about.

  

Not much farther, we hung a left onto Melrose. We had another gradual climb ahead of us for a short while (maybe half a mile) before we passed the 2-mile mark. There even was a group of volunteers (I assume?) who were lined up along the sidewalk, cheering and clapping for those of running the course.
...and there goes the Mile-2 sign...
Although the route continued on for another 3/4 of a mile or so (and would then wind around a few curves before reaching Kinnick Stadium), Barb and I veered off course, and turned right, onto Sunset. A few blocks later, we made another turn and headed down the final street to our designated meeting spot (actually a townhouse in Iowa City, which had been our first home...but it now serves as a rental property).

When our Garmins reached the 3.1 mile mark, we stopped.
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5K - DONE!
We high-5'd each other, and walked the last couple of blocks to the townhouse complex (since we're the landlords, we knew we'd be assured of a parking spot).
always earned; never given
So, this wasn't a typical race, and certainly not the race I'd known the past two years. Still, it felt great to finish what we'd come to do. Unfortunately, we later learned that they had left Kinnick Stadium open, so those who wished could still see the field and experience all the excitement of seeing the Stead Family Children's Hospital...the one that all the spectators in the stands wave to during every home game.
The Stead Family Children's Hospital (pic from K2K5K 2017)
This is really a great family event. It's just unfortunate the weather didn't play nice this year. As mentioned, the race course is usually crowded with herds of people...runners, walkers (individuals and groups), and lots of kids (not all of which are supervised). It's really not a PR-friendly race, but that's not what this event is about anyways.

The swag is decent...this year we received long-sleeved Leslie Jordan hooded shirts. I love the heathered-grey color and the graphics look sharp.

The medals are nice, as well. As an Iowa alumnae, I love having the tiger hawk repping on there.
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The 2019 Scheels Kickoff to Kinnick 5K didn't play out quite as planned, but I'm happy for the experience. The weather on race day is always a gamble. After two delays, and the ultimate cancellation...thankfully, we were gifted a short reprieve to run the route after all. It also was nice to see so many other runners out on the race course, many of which were high-5'ing each other. Glass half full!

Have you ever had to endure a rain delay? Ever actually have a race cancelled, right as you were lining up for it? What would you do...take your medal and drive away, or run the race course (if it was safe to do so)?

***For more information on the Kickoff to Kinnick event, click HERE. If you're interested in learning more about the UofI Dance Marathon, click HERE.

I'm linking this with Kim and Zenaida for the Tuesday Topics Link-Up

**I'm also linking this with Debbie and Marc  for the Running Coaches' Corner
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25 comments:

  1. This is a great story and you earned those medals! Did you know that athletics stadiums have a lightning rule - I know what the one is for my local big stadium, even though I'll never be important enough to need to apply it!

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    1. Yes, I know of the lightning rule...ironically, the Iowa/ISU football game (arch rivals) a week ago had two lightning delays. The game started at 3:00 and didn't end until 9:00 or so because there was so much time "off the field." We weren't there, but tried watching it on the tv, and saw a lot of other games in between the Iowa/ISU broadcast LOL

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  2. I'm glad you were able to run virtually but it's still too bad they had to cancel. C'es la vie I guess. The only cancellation I can recall (other than the Chicago Marathon at mile 22 due to heat) was a Glo run that was to begin at 9pm. There were such wicked t'storms we cowered in a parking structure. There was so much lightning, we couldn't even walk over to get our medal.

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    1. We never actually saw any lightning, but it had been reported within 20 (or 30?) miles, so they had to delay the start time, then eventually cancel. It was a bummer, but it actually was fun running the route with so many other people. Yes, we runners know how to make do, right? ;-)

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  3. I don't know what I would do in similar circumstances. Thankfully, so far, I haven't had to find out. Any canceled races have been canceled enough ahead of time so I wasn't there (and that has only been local ones).

    But I know it can & does happen, and especially when you travel for it, it's a total bummer.

    Glad you were still able to get your race on! I no doubt would get hopelessly lost because I never remember a race route no matter how many times I run it.

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    1. Fortunately, we'd lived in the area for several years. Our townhouse was in the vicinity, so we'd driven and walked the streets many times near the race route. We knew where to go and what to do, so it was an easy solution ;-)

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  4. I love that you ran the race anyway! Assuming it was safe, I would have done the same, or worst case gone somewhere else to run, if I show up a run is going to happen. So far I've only had one rain delay at a race.

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    1. I was really surprised to see how many others ran the race, too. I did see (on social media) that a lot of others ran the 3.1 miles on their own, back at their homes, etc. I have had a few other races get delayed, but never canceled, so this was an interesting thing to add to my resume.'

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  5. We had a local 5K 10K that the same thing happened to last year. They kept delaying it and finally they got us off but we could only do the 5K distance. Since I needed 6 or more I elected to just head home and get my mileage at home. Mother nature sometimes just has her own plans.

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    1. I had forgotten about a 10K race that had to be shortened to a 5K due to an unexpected ice covering part of the course. Showing up ready for 10K, then having to run a 5K, was a major shift in strategy (and speed). The weather is such a deciding factor sometimes LOL

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  6. Mother N really needs to learn how to play nice, especially on the weekend! I am glad that you and so many others still decided to run the race. I really like the race swag that you received for the race.

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    1. I really can't complain (much) because I have been pretty lucky with most of my weekends (ahem...long runs). But this weekend was a doozy LOL

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  7. Well nothing like having the race course all to yourselves! Great job on persevering and getting it done on your own

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    1. Right? ;-) It really was a unique experience...just wish we'd known to run the entire race course into the football stadium. My hubby even brought a football that he'd planned to carry for the race (had he'd actually run it).

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  8. That's a bummer...kudos that you did it anyway...most will get too discouraged...

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    1. A lot of people did leave, but it was awesome to see that so many stayed and ran the route anyways ;-)

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  9. I think it's so cool that you and a bunch of other runners completed the race anyway. Good for you guys. And nice medal!!

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    1. The medal is HUGE...bigger than my hand LOL How could we not stay? We knew the route and the weather had (temporarily) cleared ;-)

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  10. Of course, I'm bummed for you that it wasn't "official" official, but none the less, good job getting out there and getting after it!

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    1. It was fun, and felt more like an easy-paced recreational run.

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  11. I love that your watch matched your running outfit. :-) How cool that many of you still decided to race it anyway. I mean, why not since you were there and the weather was better. I don't think I've had a race delay (honestly cannot remember) but I know a race hasn't been cancelled as I was lining up. The worst race I encountered on race day was in RnR Nashville. It rained the entire race and I chafed like CRAZY. Sorry it took me so long to read your post. Thanks for linking up!

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    1. I'm glad we stuck around and ran. Barb and I kind of looked at each other, when we heard of the cancellation, and instantly knew we weren't done (yet) for the day ;-)

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  12. What an amazing race! The medal is pretty cool too. Even if it wasn't "official", great job!! Still counts. ;)

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    1. As I"ve mentioned, this race really isn't about "racing" (at least from my perspective). It's all about supporting the cause (U of I Dance Marathon), and totally worth running the route, even if there's no official record of it ;-)

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  13. Love this - and love that you ran it anyway. We used to live in IC, too, so I was reminiscing while reading about your route (and thinking, "she just ran by my old Walgreens!" Ha!

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