Race photos are here:
BEFORE MY START: My 5th race of 2020 was the 7th Annual Freedom 5K on Jan 25th , supporting the Adult and Teen Challenge of Texas residential adult and teen drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers. Location was at O.P. Schnabel Park in San Antonio, Texas. There was a kid’s 1K at 8:30 a.m., a Toddlers Trot at 8:40 am, and the 5K starting at 9 a.m. I have not done all of this organization’s 5Ks, but this was my 5th time of doing this one. I live fairly close to the park, so with the late start I was able to sleep in a bit, arriving at the race locale with just under an hour to go. Had already picked up my packet the day before, so wandered around pre-start, chatting with friends and getting a few photos. This event is also dog-friendly, so handed out a few doggie treats too. Weather was okay too; around 48 – 50 degrees at start time, no wind, and overcast.
ON THE COURSE: I do quite a few training runs in O.P. Schnabel Park and have done several past races here too, so I am familiar with the usual 5K course in this park, done on the park’s off-road paved trails. Starting near the park pavilion, we went up a short incline, then went down a longer incline, and then down a short but steep hill to the park’s primary paved trails. Out to a turn-round point and then back the way we came – meaning that on the way back we had to go up the short steep hill, and then up the incline we had come down on; but once we made the final turn to go back to the finish, that part was all downhill. I ended up with a chip time of 36:30, putting me 2nd in my 60 – 69 males age group. And, now that I am older, I met my primary goals too – finish standing up and no ambulance specifically waiting for me. :p
After My Finish: Right after I finished, got a couple of photos of some people coming in after me. Then elaxed a bit post-race, enjoying some of the post-race goodies, and rehydrating and then wandered around getting some post-run photos of the happy finishers, supporters, sponsors, vendors, etc. Then, since I am in one of the older age groups, had to wait a bit to hear my name called and get my 2nd place medal. I jokingly told the Race Director, they really need to start the awards with we older people first since we are older and need to get home to take our nap. 😉 All good though and, wow, there sure were some speedy folks there. The overall male did the 5K in 17-something and the first lady was at 20-something. I think at 17-something, I was near the halfway turn-round point, lol.
EPILOGUE: This is a nicely done, well-organized event on a good course – although somewhat hilly in places, but the hills are not really that long or steep – nothing like the hills you would find at Helotes or Pearsall Park events. Very nice drawstring goodie bag, chock-full of stuff, and a very nicely designed quality race tee. Nice turn-out, with 269 finishers for the 5K. An event done for a very good cause and some of the ‘graduates’ of the rehabilitation centers told their stories, which was quite moving. I can’t relate personally to what these folks went through, but I can empathize as my problem in the past when I was very much younger and far away form home during my Air Force days was compulsive gambling. Thankfully, I had a great Commander and First Sergeant who recognized my problem and got me the help I needed, so I went through a program for that, and those two people probably saved my career. Any kind of addiction – except for an addiction to running, of course 😉 – can take a terrible toll on you, family, and friends. If you have never had this type of problem, I hope you never do. As noted, I have done this event before, and will most assuredly do it again in the future, and would recommend it to others. Also, MUCHO THANKS to everyone who made this event happen for we participants: all the sponsors, vendors, volunteers, park police officers out there for us, and anyone else I may not have mentioned here. And thanks, too, to the other patrons of the park – cyclists, other runners, and walkers not doing the event, but who were on the trails doing their own thing – for their patience with us as we ‘invaded your space” for a while.