Virginia Beach and Spring Into Action 5K & Fun Run

Headed to Virginia Beach Sunday morn for a conference on Imported Fire Ants and other Invasive ants. Traveled all day, collected some ants along the way. Finally arrived Monday afternoon around 4 pm. After registering for the meeting, I got a chance to get in a run on the boardwalk along the beach! Awesome weather too. Windy, but about 65-70°. First, jogged a half mile, then ran the 3 mile boardwalk pretty fast against the wind, then ran back faster, then jogged for a half mile. Felt really good today. Had to dodge 500 bikers and skaters and runners and walkers, but it was pretty cool.

Tuesday, easy run today-50 minutes along the boardwalk and through town a bit. Beautiful. 80° at 4 pm when I ran. Lots of cool statuary along the boardwalk and between the hotels. The highlight was an enormous statue of King Neptune.




If I had chosen to run earlier in the day, the boardwalk was much less crowded. Of course, I was in Virginia for a conference on invasive ants, so I was sitting inside listening to talks about ants earlier in the day.

Virginia Beach Boardwalk

Virginia Beach Boardwalk



school of land fish

school of land fish

Did not get to run Wednesday because after we left the conference, it was all driving until midnight or so! Thanks to David Cross who was the one driving at night. The next day we got back to Starkville at about 2 PM after driving through what might have been the edge of a tornadic storm system in western Alabama. Crazy stuff! Needless to say, the weather was too bad to run that afternoon. I did get to do some pushups and stuff when I got home though, so not all was lost. I never eat like I should when traveling. Too much sugar and caffeine to add in the driving/staying awake deal. No exception this week. Probably take a week to recover!!

No run Friday either. Had to get some art ready for the West Point Art Walk coming up the next day, and following that I attended the reception for the artists involved.

Saturday, I was at the West Point Art Walk from 10 Am until 3 PM. I had artwork in the office of Gallaway, Chandler, McKinny and Insurance. The Art Walk was great! Met lots of cool folks and other artists. Read more about it on my art blog if you are interested:

After the Art Walk, there was a 5k race being held in downtown West Point at 5:30 PM called the Sally Kate Winters Family Services 5K (also called the Spring into Action 5k and fun run) . There was also a 1 mile fun run for kids at 5 PM.  This race was for a great cause, helping abused children and other kids in need. All proceeds from the race directly go to benefiting child abuse victims and prevention awareness programs offered from Sally Kate Winters Family Services, Emergency Children’s Shelter in West Point, MS. At some point in the day, Joseph showed up to check out the art. Since we were both there, we decided to run the 5K.

Tim Irvine, an awesome running joker from Meridian did the timing for the race, so we knew that would be done well. If you need his timing services, he has a page on Facebook that talks more about it at I highly recommend him.  Sometimes with these smaller races you never know how things will go with timing, routes, etc., but I have to say, this race was amazingly well done from A to B. The only thing that they could not control was the weather, which turned out great too, although it was very warm! Even the mile fun run was awesome. Lots of kids ran this, and many parents joined them to! As we milled about the start for the 5k, we met some nice folks. One of those was Dustin Ormond, who works at MSU. Judging by his racing flats, we figured he was going to be pretty decent. Several other people that we did not know looked very fit as well. There was a triathlon dude who graduated from Starkville High a few years back who was in awesome shape. He was running this race with a friend. We even met several runners who had already run the Amory Railroad Festival 5k earlier in the day! Met another fellow my age (48 years old), Wallace Sansing, from Maben, MS who did quite well today.

Anyway, the race started right on time and we took off through residential areas of West Point. A police car lead the way for a bit over two miles before we turned onto a walking path sidewalk deal, which lead to the finish chute. Every intersection was manned by police. Volunteers were along the way cheering us on. Even the folks at their homes were out in the yard cheering us on. Amazing. The race was actually harder than I thought. Of course, I thought it would be somewhat hard because I had done a lot of driving all week going to and from Virginia Beach, not sleeping much, eating the typical food and caffeinated cold drinks commonly associated with driving, and not enough water. Of course, today, I was standing all day for the Arts Walk. By mid afternoon I was wiped out. Joseph seemed to feel much the same way after spending much of his week staying up late working on his junior English Thesis project. We both felt dehydrated and worn out before the race even started. So, yeah, things were not optimal to begin with. The first two miles of the race were on the road in the sun. First mile was pretty easy, but the second mile was harder with wavy hills. At the first mile split Joseph was first, pretty fast, probably around 5:10, and Dustin Ormand was fairly close behind. I was about 5:29. We all dropped off on that next mile. I felt completely dehydrated and dry mouthed by about 1.5 miles. Joseph told me later he felt the same. Actually, Dustin also said he was felt dehydrated as well. I guess none of us were really ready to run today! Joseph said he was 10:43ish at the 2 mile. I was about a minute back by then. The last mile on the walking path would have been pretty easy, but an added difficulty factor was thrown in. Much of the sidewalk was super curvy and had trees growing out of the center in places that you had to run around. So, basically, you had to slow down and speed up continuously. But, that section was shady!! Anyway, Joseph won with a time of 17:10, Dustin was 18:22, and I was 18:35. We talked to Dustin later, and figured out that I had actually given him and his family a tour of our Entomology museum a while back. Cool. At 29 years old, he is getting back into running. Apparently he was quite fast in high school. He said his best high school time was 15:36! So, yeah. Nice.

Dustin Ormand

Dustin Ormand

Almost immediately after the race, Joseph and I were both interviewed by WCBI television. Of course, we were tired and not  coherent, but that’s cool. They aired that later in the evening. The WCBI writeup and video are available online at: Our last name was spelled wrong in the article. 

Top three girls were Jamie Murrell (23:12), Peyton Hunt (24:40), and Katherine Ernst (25:22). Don’t know any of these girls.

Jamie Murrell, 1st place female in the 5k

Jamie Murrell, 1st place female in the 5k

In lieu of trophies for awards, they gave out various gift certificates. Joseph got some kind of massage deal, which he gave away. I got a $50 gift certificate for a restaurant called the Ritz in downtown West Point. Even the age group awards were cool gift certificates. Not to be outdone, kids in the fun run received a variety of cool toys, sports equipment and gift certificates. Very cool!!

giving out fun run awards

giving out fun run awards

Anyway, this was a GREAT 5k. Started right on time, cost was reasonable-$25, the route was never in question, the route appeared to be fairly accurate, the timing was done well, awards were great, top three awards and age group awards were given, the volunteers were great, and the police did a wonderful job! And, they told me that all entry fees would go directly to the local charity. Nice work to the folks that did this race. They covered everything in my opinion.

Full results at:

But, wait, the day in West Point was not yet over. The sweet sounding bluegrass band Hanalena performed at a local school. As an artist in the Art Walk, I received free tickets to this, so we hung around and listened to some great music! The two main girls in the group, Hana and Caroline Melby, are from Starkville. Now, they are nationally known recording stars!  They, along with the other musicians in the band are great musicians. After the show, I bought their newest CD. Everybody signed it. Already listened to it twice!

Woke up Sunday morning to more rain!! So, we did a core/upper body workout to start the day. During a break in the rain, I planted some vegetables that I had going in my cold frame. Transferred them to my raised beds that I recently started. Later in the day at 3 pm, got in a nice 10.4 mile run with Joseph and Zack Marsh, who recently joined our Starkville Striders Facebook page. Zack is a crazy red-haired, red-bearded freshman joker at MSU. He ran in high school in Huntsville, AL. We all just ran together today and finished up in about 1:08. Zach actually needed a bit more, so he ran another mile and a half or so, although he said he was going to slow it down. Steve Shaffer also stopped by today. He has had a sore hip as of late, which he thinks may be a result of too much running on the crappy Starkville High track (painted concrete). If there was ever a track made that was likely to cause injury, its this one! But, you can’t hold Steve down. Can’t run? Walk, and so he did! Keep moving baby!!


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