Photos are here:
Before The Start: My 46th 5K of 2022 was the Zero Prostate Cancer 5K held on September 18 at Mission County Park 1 in San Antonio. This event is held at various dates in a variety of cities in the US. With national headquarters in Washington, DC, this event raises funds for prostate cancer research with a goal to find a cure and eradicate prostate cancer altogether. The San Antonio event was an untimed run with no awards, except maybe for the overall winners. I am not sure if all the hosting cities were like that, but probably so, as this allowed all funding to go to the cause, without spending money on medals, awards, etc. There was also a Kids Run at the San Antonio event. Packet pickup started at 7 a.m., followed by an opening ceremony at 8 a.m, and then at 8:30 a.m, a celebration of all prostate cancer survivors – including me – at this event. I also served 24 years in the Air Force, so I was additionally celebrating on Sep 18 the 75th anniversary of the Air Force, when it was named a separate service in 1947. I encountered quite a few veterans at this event, several of them also Air Force. I arrived around 7:20 or so, got my packet – and all survivors also got a shirt – and then got a few photos before everything started up. Participants can get a bib to wear “in honor of” a prostate cancer survivor or in memory of someone. When I arrived, I was very touched to see that a few of my friends had put my name on their bib. On my honoree bib, I put the name of my survivor friend Bill “Doc” Byrd, former combat medic with the 82nd Airborne – jumping out of planes to treat people, crazy person that he is 😉. When I was diagnosed, after my wife, he was the first person I talked to about it, and he gave me so much good information about what he had experienced with treatment, side effects, and more, which was so helpful for me.
On The Course: For those of you in San Antonio who have done races at Mission Park, this was pretty much the usual 5K course. We started in the front parking lot of the park, went down a sidewalk, and then left onto Padre Drive. This took us down to Mission Parkway, where we made a left turn – and climbed a few up-and-down inclines – going out to a turn-round point under a bridge, and then back the way we had come out. It is a nicely laid-out course with lots of room for everyone to spread out. There is very little shade on this course, however, so with a 9 a.m. start, it was pretty warm out there. Thankfully, the had a good water stop on the course, in case anyone needed it. I started out with my friend Bill, and we were pretty much in the same proximity for most of the course, doing run/walk. Bill has way longer legs than I do, lol, so his walking pace is about my running pace, lol. Sometimes he was quite a bit ahead of me and other times I was ahead of him a bit. From Mile 2 to the finish, I was ready to be done – especially with having done another 5K the day before this one – so I cut my walk breaks for that part a little short and ran more. My finish time ended up being a slow 43:54 per my garmin, averaging 14:02 per mile, but Mile 3 was a negative split, so nice.
After My Finish: I stuck near the finish line area and got some photos of Bill and other friends coming in. After that, got some water – and my friends Terry and Ed who make PB sandwiches for their post-race “rejuvenation” had kindly made one for me too, how nice – so she gave me that and then I sat in the my car for about 10 minutes, a/c full blast, sipping my Zero Gatorade and eating that sandwich – hit the spot too! Ahhh, felt much cooled-down and refreshed after that. Back to the race area and got some more photos of volunteers, friends, other participants, and even a dog. Yes, dog friendly event. The park’s large pavilion had all kinds of vendors/sponsors with goodies, freebie handouts, and so forth, and a nice cross-wind was blowing in there, so felt pretty good. There was also a DJ there for us, and one of the race organizers and a volunteer were announcing some of the finish times of the faster folks. I wanted to get a photo of them, so I just walked right out onto the big stage, much to the amusement of several of my friends on the pavilion floor, lol; hey, I’m not shy – and the DJ and 2 presenters kindly accommodated me, lol. After that, just enjoyed relaxing post-run, chatting with friends, volunteers, sponsors, vendors, etc., and having some goodies – there were breakfast tacos, nutrition bars, and other items, and, of course, keeping my camera busy, until it was finally time to go.
Epilogue: Very well-organized event – although I would personally like to see an earlier start time; but the time may have something to do with what time the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Dept. allows the park gates to be open, so beyond the control of the organizers. Very good facility with plenty of room for everyone; two pavilions, actual indoor restroom facilities – beats portapotties, lol – and even a playground area for the kids. Very nice quality event shirt for the survivors, and a really nice event photo backdrop for photo ops. Local race management and running training program company iaapweb did their usual great job of course setup, etc. All the local race organizers and volunteers for this one were tremendous, very helpful and willing. DJ playing some nice tunes for us. Prior to the start, a young lady beautifully sang The National Anthem. I have regularly done this event many times and will continue to do so. I certainly would recommend it to others. Mucho thanks to all the people making this one happen for we participants; all the organizers, volunteers, sponsors; the local police officers at this event for our safety; our music-and-sound guy; and anyone else involved I may not have mentioned here. Thank you all!