2021 Race 29 Churchill High X-Country 5K

Photos are here:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Wf2rEe1EgrDKKoZz6

BEFORE MY START:  My 29th race of 2021 was the Churchill Cross Country 5K, held on Aug 21 at McAllister Park.  When I originally saw the race title I thought it was an actual cross-country race so did not sign up since I can’t do actual cross-country events – kills my spinal arthritic back. My friend Albert let me know it was actually on paved roads and trails at McAllister Park and the title was because the race supports the X-country team.  Okay, then.  So I did race-day sign up, since McAllister Park is very close to where I live – about a 10 minute drive.  Arrived on-site around 7:15 a.m., got signed up and got a few pre-start photos.  Nice to see friends at this one, including Albert, Rick, Ian, and Ralph. 

ON THE COURSE:  Start time 8 a.m.  Weather: very humid and already in the 70s.  The start was a bit down from a youth baseball field in the park and the finish was just about right in front of the entrance gate to the youth baseball field. The course was a combination of paved trails in the park and one park road – so no cross-country at all. Living near the park I am familiar with all the trails in the park as I run here quite a bit.  I did my usual 8-minute run/2-minute walk thing and took a few photos during each of my walk breaks. For the majority of the course I was pretty much in proximity of my friend Ralph.  I think I pushed a bit too hard during that first mile and I paid for it the last mile, walking a bit more than I usually do.  With about ½ mile to go, Ralph surged ahead of me to get to the finish. I plodded behind, finishing at 40:46 chip time, averaging 13:07 per mile, and finishing 1st and 2nd and 3rd in my 65-69 age group since I was the only one in my age group, lol

AFTER MY FINISH: I had parked pretty close to the finish line area so went and sat in my car for a bit, with the a/c running, sipping my post-race rehydrate drink and felt much better.  Then it was back out to watch the awards and get a few after-photos of some of the participants and supporters.   Some of the participants are pretty darn speedy. The overall guy finished in 16:47, jeez, and the first lady finished in 21-something. I was not even to Mile 2 by 21 minutes, lol. Felt sorry for my friend Albert who did the course in a pretty good time – but forgot to put his race bib on, so had no official time.  He ran the course pretty well too.

Epilogue:  A smaller event with 72 total finishers, but very nicely done.  The course was well thought out and did give us a lot of shade along the way. It was also a pretty flat course, with just a couple of small inclines along the way, so a nice course to shoot for a PR; however,  all the trails are still open to other park patrons – cyclists, other runners, walkers, etc – so you do have to keep an eye out for other “traffic’ coming toward you or coming up behind you. Pretty nice quality race shirts and nicely done small age-group medals for those who placed. The only thing I would recommend changing – earlier start!  This is Texas summer in August and it gets warm really quick.  7 a.m. or 7:30 a.m. start would be nice, and it is light enough to see by that time.  All-in-all though, very nicely done.  I’d do this one again and would recommend it to others.

MUCHO THANKS TO:  All the Churchill High School staff, students, etc. who got this one going for us, and all the volunteers out there for us, cheering participants on.  Thanks also to all the sponsors who helped make this one happen, and to the Park Police officers that had a presence out there for us for our safety; and to Athlete Guild for timing, results, etc. and to anyone else involved that I may not have mentioned.  Thank you all!  

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