Photos are here:
Before The Start: My 42nd race of 2022 was the Uvalde Strong 5K held on Sep 28 in San Antonio at South Side Lions Park East in San Antonio. This event was a fundraiser for the victims and families of the tragic elementary school shooting In Uvalde, Texas. There were no awards of medals, as all proceeds went for the cause, but the Overall male and female finisher did get a free race entry to a future race, if I remember correctly. There was also a 1 mile walk or run, held right before the start of the 5K. Start time of 8 a.m. This event ended up getting over 300 registrations. The original course was to be 3 loops around the 1.1 mile trail by the lake, but with all those registrations, iaap, the company managing the race, thankfully changed it to an out-and-back course on the park trails, thinking of the safety of the participants. As it turned out, the 5k ended up with 195 finishers, which is still quite a few people that would have had to go around the narrow lake trail. I arrived onsite with about an hour to go to start time, found some fairly good parking close to the start-finish, and then wandered around chatting with friends and other participants and getting a few photos. This is also a dog friendly event, so the doggies were very happy to take treats from me – with the permission of their humans, of course. Before we started, we had a moment of silence for the victims and then a young person sang the National Anthem just beautifully. The 1-mile event then took place and then the 5K started after that, with a bit of a short delay, as we waited for all the 1-milers to get done. No big deal.
On The Course: We did a short route on part of the trail that goes around the park lake – about just under a half-mile – and then crossed over one of the park roads to get to a trail on the other side. This trail, if you stay on it long enough, eventually connects with Comanche Park, but we did not go that far, thank goodness. It was pretty warm – 81 degrees at start time – and humid, but this particular trail did have a lot of shade along the way. We crossed over a pedestrian bridge, then proceed up a winding incline – not too steep, but still a climb – and then the trail became flat for a while. We eventually came to a downhill, went under an overpass, then down another hill; after going around a bend, we had another short climb to the turn-round point that had a hydration stop with water and Gatorade. After doing the turn-round, we proceeded back the way we had come out, to get to the finish line. Although there were no age group awards, iaap kindly listed the results by age groups. I was really slow today – taking it easy after having done a 3.2 mile run/walk the day before this event and my outing including climbing Gorilla Hill, a fairly steep hill near the San Antonio Zoo So I goofed around on this one, stopping to take a few more photos; run with some friends, give some dogs a treat, and so forth. For this event I was 11th out of 13 people in my 60-69 age group, finishing with a chip time of 44:04, averaging 14:23 per mile. All good, and I met my two primary race goals: finish standing up and have no ambulance waiting specifically for me at the finish.
After My Finish: I got a bit dizzy right after I finished, but I think that was because I stupidly did not hydrate enough before the start – you’d think I’d know better by now,, lol, being a runner for 39 years – so first thing I did was go back to my car and sat in that with the a/c running as I sipped some Gatorade Zero I had brought with me. Felt better after that. Next it was off to get some post-run photos. My friend Ed came along with a handful of bananas and let me have one and that hit the spot too, very helpful. I also made sure to sip my bottle of water regularly as I went along; it really was humid out there. All kinds of things going on post-race; there was a group photo of finishers; volunteers were also cooking up sausage wraps; selling event shirts, and more, with all the proceeds going toward the cause. There were also some free post-race nutrition bars, and a few other goodies, and plenty of cold bottled water. I think they also had coffee too. Did not see any beer, but they might have had that too somewhere.
Epilogue: Very nice turnout for this event and, if I remember correctly over $5K was raised for the cause. Very sad that this tragic event even happened. My heart goes out to all the families of the victims. Our running/walking community really came together for this one. I don’t know if they will make this an annual memorial event but if so, I would do this one again and would recommend it. I think you can also do It virtually and/or simply just donate to the cause on the race website. Pretty nice quality race shirt with a very simple design that gets the message across, and chip timing bibs for the event too, so you can get your posted results. Nice park to run in, but if this event grows in the future, might have to be moved to a bigger park – like Comanche park, which has a whole lot more parking space, bigger pavilions, etc. I’m sure the organizers will figure it out. Good event for a good cause, well worth doing.