Photos are here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/sKa9VqKrHiZMSrPq7
Before The Start: My 14th race of 2023 was the Helotes Beer Garden 5K held on March 25 in Old Towne, Helotes Texas. This even supports HOPE Hits Harder Cancer Foundation, which has a mission to improve the quality of life for children in the San Antonio area diagnosed with cancer. This is a very popular annual event which this year had 784 finishers. Start time of 8:30 a.m. Weather was very cooperative, fair weather with sunshine, very little wind, and a nice temp in the low 60s with low humidity at start time. I arrived on site about an hour before start time. My friend Albert had picked up my packet for me the day before, thank you Albert. There was a pretty nice crowd of people there already by the time I arrived. I chatted with friends, volunteers, other participants, supporters, vendors, etc., and got a few pre-start photos. Several participants for this one were in various costumes too, some of them quite humorous and imaginative.
On The Course: In the past for this one, the course usually takes us up a hill from the starting area, then a turn near the local church, then down a hill, and then into a neighborhood that has some humongous hills. However, for reasons I won’t go into detail on – too darn complicated, lol – this course was unavailable, so we pretty much stayed in the Old Towne area. We started in a large field just down from where the New Year’s Day La Cruda start is. From the start, we went onto the road, made a right turn and went up to the Old Towne traffic circle. We circled this and then went downhill past the start/finish area, and then climbed a fairly long uphill to a turn-round point near Chaparral restaurant. Back the way we had come out, this time going downhill; then a short uphill. Back at the traffic circle, we turned right onto the flat road of the course. This road took us to another turn-round. We then went back the way we had come out. Back at the traffic circle, we made a right turn and went a short ways to another turn-round. After this turn-round, back to the traffic circle and then back through Olde Towne, going for a second time on the route we had started on, climbing once more the hill that took us to the Chaparral turn-round. Back down the hill again, then up a short incline, and then back into the field we had started on, taking us to the finish line. Lots of out-and-backs and nice wide roads to accommodate everyone, from what I could see. I did my usual 8-min run/2 min walk thing and took photos during my walk breaks. Out of the 29 people in my 60-69 males age group, I finished 17th with a chip time of 41:18, and pretty much ran most of the last mile non-stop, woohoo! The overall winner did this course in 17 minutes and change, zowie!
After My Finish: First got some water from the C-Force water guy – love this water, nice electrolytes and nice taste too to help rehydrate After that, wandered around taking some post-race photos, chatting with others there, handed out a few treats to a couple of dogs there, and did sample a couple of the various brews – small cups only, since I was driving, so limited myself to two – and they were quite tasty. Besides the brewery folks, there were also sponsors with all kinds of various treats such as fajitas, and lots more.
Epilogue: Really nice weather for this one – and Mr. Wind graciously did not start picking up speed until after the finish – with what forecasters call ‘abundant sunshine’. For what the event planners had to work with, the course was really well-thought out to accommodate that many participants, and all those out-and-backs resulted in lots of encouraging comments and cheers as friends, family members, etc., passed by each other coming and going. Race packet included a really very nice quality tech tee. I do so many races over a year that sometimes I donate some of my race shirts – otherwise I’d have no drawer room left, lol – but this one is definitely a keeper. Great running/race “atmosphere” for this one and, as noted, mucho post-race goodies. No finisher medal – gosh, with that many participants, the cost for medals would probably be outrageous, so I get it; and besides, I’d rather see the funding go to the selected beneficiary nonprofit – especially this one as I am a survivor myself and it supports kids with cancer. My wish is one day no kid ever will have to experience that. Every kid should have the chance to just be a kid and grow up. Vendors and sponsors were all great, thanks to all of them. Thanks also to all the volunteers; race Director Lisa Soler/Soler Sports for getting this all together; the police officers on the course for our safety; and anyone else involved I may not have mentioned here. See you at the next 5K – which for me will be the day after this one, lol, Sunday, March 26, doing the Let’s Roll 5K at Morgan’s Wonderland, which benefits an organization that supports kids with disabilities; another personal cause for me, as I was a March of Dimes baby, born with a disability; and look at me now, running races…because of organizations like this. See you there, if you signed up for this one. If not, I am sure I’ll see at some race in the future. Good look to all of us!