Friday, June 8, 2012

Yadkin County - Love Out Loud 5k - May 19, 2012

May 19th was a big day for the countdown:  while Chad had the tour bus vacationing in the mountains and running in Yancey County, I was able to make the quick jump over to Yadkin County and run in the Love Out Loud 5k sponsored by Peace Haven Baptist Church -- we knocked out both "Y" counties in one morning!  We got one-fiftieth of our goal in one day!

Peace Haven Baptist Church in Yadkinville has put on the Love Out Loud 5k for a couple of years as an outreach effort and as a fundraiser for needy families in their congregation.  This year, all the funds were being directed towards medical expenses for several families battling health concerns.  The race itself was held in the Town of Yadkinville Community Park, a really nice facility with an amphitheatre, picnic shelters, and two playgrounds.  It also had plenty of room to set up the packet pickup and registration areas, and a nice entrance that would serve as the finish approach for the race and headquarters for the Twin City Track Club from Winston-Salem, who would be providing the scoring and results services.

It was great weather for a race as I pulled into the park parking lot and picked up my race packet (good shirts).  There was a very enthusiastic and pleasant group of volunteers handling registration and food, and the turnout looked to be very impressive for a small-town race.  Yadkinville's Finest were out managing the race course and handling traffic at the very busy intersections leading to the park.  All in all, it was a very busy morning and a lot of volunteer work was going into putting on the race.  Some of the folks were wearing matching running outfits or tutus, and there was one fellow running in a face mask of a cat or something.

The organizers held an opening prayer thanking God for the beautiful weather and for the ability to get out and enjoy the morning, and then they ushered us out onto the road -- Tennessee Street, I was happy to note -- for the start.  One last pass from our motorcycle policeman, and then we were good to go!  The first quarter-mile or so was blissfully downhill, but then we made a right-hand turn at the bottom of the hill and we had to go uphill at least as far as we had gone downhill, if not more.  I guess Yadkin County still counts as foothills to the mountains, so I shouldn't have been surprised by the changes in elevation.  A few more turns and twists took us through some more quiet residential streets, with the occasional barking dog or resident out doing their Saturday yardwork.  We weaved our way past the Yadkinville Town Hall.  Many of the neighborhoods were filled with shade trees, so we got the benefit of the shade as the sun got higher in the sky.  Some additional volunteers manned the turns to direct runners the correct way, and others had set up a very enthusiastic and encouraging aid station.  But as the temperatures and the hills increased, I could tell it was going to take more than enthusiasm to get me through in a respectable pace this morning.

The last mile or so of the race was right down the main drag into and through Yadkinville.  We stayed on the sidewalk for this stretch, and a bit of a breeze came up, so the path alongside some shady landscaped trees and the headwind helped cool all the runners off.  We got back into town and volunteers and law enforcement stopped traffic as we crossed through the two big intersections on the race route.  Then we got a very nice, very appreciated downhill for about the last half-mile back to the community park.  We made one last crossing and then turned right at the entrance to the finish chute, crossing the finish line right at one of the bigger picnic shelters.

Peace Haven Baptist and their volunteers did a great job with the post-race celebration.  Chick-Fil-A and Domino's Pizza both had made food donations, so with those and the Gatorade, there was plenty of opportunity to get re-hydrated and fed.  Once all the race results had been compiled and were ready to announce, we moved to the amphitheatre were the organizers recognized all the beneficiaries of the race and then headed out some nice trophies and medals to the winners.  It was a great race -- almost $6,500 was raised -- and they did a great job with the organization.  Kudos the volunteers!  Next time I'm doing more hill training before this race!

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