Photos are here:
Before The Start: My 50th race of 2022 was the City Manager’s 5K held on Oct 15, starting and finishing at the San Antonio Zoo. Very early start of 7:15 a.m., as we had to be off the Zoo Grounds by 9 a.m., so the Zoo could open for its regular weekend business hours. I picked up my race packet a couple of days prior to race date so get to sleep in a bit extra. I arrived at the Zoo around 6:45 a.m. My wife arrived shortly after, as she had signed up for the 5K walk. It’s very rare when she is with me at an event, so made for a nice outing. I took a few pre-race photos but as it was still dark, my old-time Canon push-button photography camera was a bit ‘iffy’ as it does not like the dark – me either, lol – so quality not always good for some of them. Even so, enjoyed being there. It was quite the turnout, as the course included starting in the Zoo and running a bit on the Zoo Grounds. This was a big turn-out. I don’t know how many actually registered for the event and did not show up, but for this one iaap, the company that did the course setup, timing, results, showed 1,257 finishers for this event.
On The Course: We started in the Zoo, pretty much in the same area where the Zoo Relay event is done. After the starting horn went off, we did a short route through part of the Zoo grounds, then exited a back gate to begin a loop through Brackenridge Park. This look took us over the old Iron Bridge near the baseball fields, then across the Zoo’s train railroad tracks. On this road, we did an out-and-back, then re-crossed the railroad tracks and made a left turn, heading toward the water-crossing area across from the Zoo Entrance. We turned left near the water crossing and did an out-and-back on this road. Once we got back to the water-crossing area we turned right, went back to the railroad tracks intersection and then turned left. This took us past a pavilion and restrooms on our right as we went back to the Iron Bridge, and then proceeded onto the cobblestones path that took us just down from the Zoo’s Main entrance. We turned right, went past the Zoo entrance and then entered a gate that was just down the road from the Animal Shelter. Back onto Zoo grounds, we went to the finish line, passing by the Zoo’s main entrance and then back into the Africa Live section before getting to the finish. Nicely thought out course, with lots of room for everyone. I never felt ‘crowded’ the whole time I was on this course. I was shooting for a 39-minute finish, but ended up with 41 minutes because just before the finish, this leopard was walking around in its cage, so I stopped to get a photo of it as it walked past the viewing plexiglass window. Very cool; it was worth the extra 2 minutes. I ended up 24th out of 51 in my age group, with a chip time of 41:14, averaging 13:15 per mile, with a negative split for Mile 3, nice. I felt good the whole way; my third event in a row now that I have run pretty strong, making me feel almost like I am getting back to pre-cancer old running self, and that I truly am winning my battle right now against my prostate cancer.
After My Finish: The Zoo folks threw us a very nice after-party in a really nice area near the flamingo pool, and there were also a few monkeys on exhibit there. Lots of happy finishers. I enjoyed chatting with friends and other participants and also had the rare pleasure of relaxing post-race with my wife who walked her 5K in under an hour – 49:31 chip time, so she was not far behind me. She is an active walker and walks about as fast as I run, lol. This was a very enjoyable event, which has grown quite a bit. I remember doing the City Manager 5K way back when, and it did not have nearly this turn out. We also started and finished near SAWS headquarters, and that route took us up Gorrilla Hill, lol. It sure has grown since then!
Epilogue: For as many participants as there were, this was really organized nicely and done well overall. The route is really nicely laid out and, since there are 2 course out-and-backs, gives you a nice chance to cheer on friends and family as you pass each other by, coming and going. Course volunteers were really great, appreciate them being out there. Nicely designed race shirt, very nice post-race relaxing area and, surprisingly, lots of parking available. I had no problem getting parked pretty quickly when I first arrived. I would definitely do this one again and recommend it to others. Much thanks to all those involved that made this one happen for we participants: iaap, the Zoo staff, the many many volunteers involved for us through the whole process from stuffing the packet pickup bags to being there for race day and more; all the police officers out there for our safety, the bike pacers for the speedy leaders; and, of course all the many sponsors supporting this event. I was hoping maybe I’d run in the Zoo’s Director to say hello, since he is a UTSA alum and I work for UTSA; he may have been there, but I never saw him; but thanks, Tim Morrow, for allowing us use of the Zoo for this. If I missed anyone, my apologies; thanks to all involved!