Do it For Duffy 5k, great fundraiser, poor race

We got up early Saturday morning and took Joseph over to the MSU campus to run in the Do It For Duffy 5k.  Race time was 8 AM and it was cold, about 32°F, and nice and windy! This was one of the few 5k’s he was in that I did not also run in. My ankle is still healing, so I could not have run it if I had wanted to. As it turned out, I had planned not to run it anyway, I was going to watch him finish for a change. He had been feeling pretty good the last couple of weeks, and had done an easy 5 mile or so run the afternoon before. Also, he has two weeks before his first meet, which will actually be a practice meet at Pearl High School, so we thought this would be a nice practice race.  As, I mentioned in an earlier post, the Do It For Duffy 5k was part of a fund raising effort to raise money for the family of a former MSU baseball player who had a spinal injury this past year.  I don’t know how many runners and walkers were present, but I would guess at least 200. And at $30 an entry, that was a nice way to start the day.  They had several other fund raising events throughout the day as well, so I am guessing they were able to make a nice contribution to the family to help alleviate medical costs, at least a little.  It was very nice to see so many student athletes come out and participate in the event to help a fellow student athlete.  Of course, it looked like most of the baseball team was there, although most of them walked. The MSU Cross Country team also showed up for the run, much to the chagrin of many of the other runners! I am ambivalent about having college runners run in local races. On the one hand, they are basically semi-professional runners, so when they show up, few if any, locals have a chance to win. But, on the other hand, most of those runners don’t actually have a realistic chance of winning the race anyway, so I don’t really understand why it bothers them. However, I also don’t see why the college runners do it, because they typically have little competition, usually just between themselves.  But, 5k’s make nice practice runs too. And in this case, they were helping out in a good cause. In general, for these local races, when college runners participate, I would like to see them not enter the race, but just run it for practice.  In fact, I have seen several of them do that on various occasions. The thing I like best about their running in local races is that is gives average runners a chance to see what you can do with some serious running. It gives high school runners motivation as well. And, the MSU runners are very nice and encouraging. Joseph and I talked to a couple of them at the race.  One of the boys, I believe his name was Nathan Lewis, a red shirt freshman, made a point of coming over and talking to Joseph and Ethan Musser after the race. That was very cool!

Anyway, as a fund raiser, I would have to say the race was a huge success! But, as a 5k run, it left a lot to be desired.  There are a few things that are important to the average person running a 5k. The course should be accurate; the course should be well marked; if you say you are having age group awards you should have them; you should have results posted online by the next day; and if you did not preregister and there are still shirts available, you should not also have to pay $15 for them (which would mean you paid $45 for a 5k race).  To begin with, the course was short, so everyone who ran probably had a PR. Not sure how short, but probably between 0.2 and 0.3 of a mile. As far as Joseph and I were concerned, this was the most annoying thing. He was wanting to run a 5k under 17 minutes while he is still 14 years old. He will only have a couple more chances to do that, because he won’t be able to run many 5k’s with track season about to start.  Some runners told me that they had a hard time with the directions, and may have went the wrong way. For the front runners, that was not a problem, since they followed the police car. There is nothing worse than wondering where you need to go in a race! Following the race, everybody hung around at tables for over an hour in the Palmerio Center. There were plenty of snacks and water that had been donated, which was very nice.  Some of these people had driven quite a ways to run the race.  At some point in time, the race organizers decided to only give out overall awards, rather than age group awards, as they publicized.  Unfortunately, they did not tell any of the runners that until they gave out the awards, so they were waiting around expectantly to see how they did. After about an hour, I went and asked somebody about it, and they told me they were not going to give out age group awards after all. This begs the question, why did it take an hour to figure out who won the 5k race and who won the 1 mile fun run/walk? As far as the 5k, we already knew which MSU Cross Country Team members won the male and female divisions.   And, with them not giving out age group awards, the fact that the MSU XC team ran the race, only added insult to injury. They said they should have times posted online in a week or so.   So, basically, nobody knew how they did in the race. Of course, this was a fund raiser. But, to be fair, about half or more of the races  that I have run in were also fund raisers for similar situations, and some of those were among the best and most organized races I have been in. Somebody mentioned that since it was a fund raiser, more awards would have cost more money.  This is not necessarily true, as the overall awards appeared to be donated gifts. Other donations could easily have been solicited.  And, either way, the awards are not important, people want to know how they did. But, for myself, the course being inaccurate was the was worst thing. I asked them about it, because the extra distance could easily have been added on. They said they first measured it at 3.3 miles, but somebody told them never to do a 5k longer than it should be, so they did it shorter? Go figure.  I do actually know how Joseph did. He was the first non-MSU XC runner to finish.  He was 7th overall with a time of 15:38, only 32 seconds behind the last male MSU runner, who finished 6th.  Ethan Musser, another SHS runner, was 11th with a time of about 17:25. I think Joseph enjoyed running with the MSU runners, and was able to hang with one of them until near the end, when Phillip got him on the long hill around Chadwick Lake.

So, there you go, my synopsis of the race.  This afternoon, back to the South Farm for a 7 mile run at 3 PM


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