Race photos are here:
BEFORE MY START: My 33rd race of 2021 was the Patriot Day 5k held on Sep 11 at Pleasanton River Park. This was my 2nd 5K of the day, after having done the Gruene 5K in the morning in Gruene, Texas. This event, in honor and memoriam was held on the 20th anniversary of 9/11/2011 in honor and memory and recognition of the victims of that day; survivors of that day who were present at the targeted sites; all First Responders then and now; and the family members of those both lost and involved at “ground zero.” The 5K start time was at 6:30 with a well-done commemorative ceremony done at 5 p.m. with various local dignitaries speaking on what this day meant to those of us who lived that day, only the 2nd time in US history that an unexpected ‘sneak attack’ of this magnitude occurred on US soil, the first being Pearl Harbor. Pretty much everyone in the US who lived during that time knew exactly where he/he was the news of this tragic day began to come in. As a couple of the speakers noted, we must never forget and hopefully generations after us will always remember this day too with some type of dignity and respect for all those involved. After the ceremony there was a placing of wreaths. At the conclusion of the ceremony packet pickup resumed. I had gotten my packet earlier and before the 5K began I got a few pre-start photos.
ON THE COURSE: Thanks to my good friend Woody and the Atascosa County Running Club folks who had previously invited me to Pleasanton to do a couple of events in the past, I was already familiar with the 5K course so knew exactly where I was going for a change, lol. This was a loop course, starting in the park. We went along a very nice trail alongside the river, then did a brief stint on one of the park roads. This road took us out of the park, where went up a short incline – not something you could really call a hill – and then proceeded on a route that looped us through a very nice neighborhood with wide streets and lots of room for everyone. The streets were open to traffic but no problem. All the drivers I encountered at any given moment were very polite and waited for the participants in their immediate vicinity to pass by before they continued driving. From what I have experienced whenever I’ve visited her, Pleasanton is a very polite and friendly little city. Our loop through this neighborhood took us back onto the town street we had started on. We turned back onto that, now went down that incline, and then made a left turn onto another park road. This road took us back to the finish line. This is an excellent course and just really tailor-made for anyone who might want to shoot for a 5K PR. Which was not me, lol. I did my usual 12-something minute miles, took photos on my required walk breaks (stupid arthritis!) and just enjoyed myself. Even got to treat a doggie along the way, with its human’s permission. Third out of five in my 65 – 69 age group, with a chip time of 39:42, averaging something like 12:47 per mile.
AFTER MY FINISH: My two race goals are always: Finish Standing Up and No Ambulance Waiting Specifically for Me at the Finish. Goals met, lol. Although, like a dummy, right after I finished, I stopped moving for a minute, forgetting to keep moving for a bit, and of course all the blood went right out of my head, making me dizzy for a second. After being a runner for 38 years, you’d think I’d know better, lol. There was no ambulance but thankfully there was a nice police officer right there who caught me by the arm so I did not fall and crack something, idiot that I am. Moved around for a few minutes, just relaxing and letting my pacemaker take my heart back to my ‘normal’ range and felt much better. Got a few photos of some others finishing and then went back to the park pavilion where all the action was. In between getting some food and drink and the awards ceremony, got a few after photos.
Epilogue: A very nicely done event, organized by Race Director Tony Garcia, the Pleasanton Express newspaper, and all the many volunteers involved, including a local Jr Army ROTC detachment, some members of the Atascosa County Running Club, and more. Chip-timing by iaap, a very good race management company based in San Antonio area. Post-race goodies included sausage-on-a-stick, lots of water, beer, and various other sundries. Even a DJ there, providing sound and tunes. 79 finishers, so not too bad for a first-time event, especially considering this was the 20th anniversary of 9-11, so in the morning there had been held multiple types of races in the San Antonio-Austin Corridor, so lots of people probably did those in the morning and may not have wanted to do a second event. So, as noted, all things considered, a pretty nice turnout. I would do this one again if it was held annually as a regular event, and I would recommend it to others. Actually, I did recommend it to a few.
MUCHO THANKS TO: The City of Pleasanton for the use of the venue; and to the city dignitaries that came out to speak at the ceremony; the Jr Army ROTC detachment for their involvement; Race Director Tony and all the race day volunteers out there for us; our sound guy; all the first responders – firefighters, police officers, EMT folks, etc – who were out there for the event, and especially to those officers who were out on the course for us to keep us safe; and, of course to any sponsors who helped in making this event happen; and to anyone else involved I may not have mentioned. Thank you all!