Photos are here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/rjt8CQBjG2D5BB3o6
Before The Start: My 62nd race of 2022 was the Morgan’s Wonderland Snowball 5K held on Saturday, Dec 17, at Morgan’s Wonderland Sports complex in San Antonio. There was a 5K, starting at 9 a.m. as well as a Kid’s Run and a 1-mile run or walk. Temperature was pretty chilly for we South Texans, with a temp of 38 degrees with a ‘feels like’ temp of 34. Thankfully, clear skies and no precipitation, and hardly any wind at all. The sun even came out for us after we started the course. I arrived at race site around 8:30 a.m. and got a few pre-start photos.
On The Course: The course was laid out by top- notch local race management company iRun Texas, my personal favorite running store; they have a few outlets in San Antonio area, including one that is very close to where I live, so I take advantage of that. The course was kind of a loop course, with us starting and finishing in front of the sports complex. We were directly across from Toyota Field, the home of San Antonio’s local professional soccer team. After we started we went to the Morgan’s Wonderland Park, doing a loop around the park’s man-made lake. We then exited the park and headed back the way we had come out. The next part of the course took us on an out-and-back near Hero’s Stadium a sports and event complex of the Northeast Independent School District (NEISD). We proceeded on the road around the stadium, did a short climb up a hill across from it to get to turn-round point; then went back the way we had come out. We then entered one of the stadium parking lots, did a route that took us past the stadium, then back onto the road. Once on the road, we went up to another road, made a right turn, and headed for the finish. For what iRun had to work with, it is a pretty well-thought out course, mostly flat, with just that one small climb to a turn-round point. All the out-and-back also allowed we participants to meet-and-great and encourage friends/participants as we passed by each other. There were also several ‘cheer groups’ in various types of costumes along the way, encouraging us on. I stopped several times to get photos of them – killing my finish time, lol, but it’s all good – and then ran the last mile in nonstop. I was 106 out of 179 finishers, with a chip time of 43:12, and 2nd in my 60-69 males age group. There were 4 in my age group.
After My Finish: Cool down walk, got some water, ate a banana, and then enjoyed chatting with friends and other participants – including my wife who walked the 5K, finishing in 49:02 chip time. She walks about as fast as I run, lol. I also got some post-race photos of the happy finishers, supporters, cheer teams, etc.
Epilogue: This is one of my ‘streak’ races; I have done the Snowball 5K ever since it first began, with the original start—and-finish in the Morgan’s Wonderland main park. Morgan’s wonderland, begun by Gordan Hartmann and his family, is named for his daughter. Mr. Hartmann discovered there were really no parks that accommodated disabled patrons, so he and his family set out to remedy that and did a great job of it too, deigning a park that includes rides, activities, and events that all full enjoyment for ALL patrons; thus the park became a park of “inclusion for all” and became model park, with many other states – and other countries too – following his lead, also designing parks like this. Today, facilities include Morgan’s Wonderland original park; Morgan’s Wonderland Camp; the sports complex; and a summer splash-pad park that accommodates all; how cool is that? Having been disabled myself a bit -and still am to some degree – I can relate somewhat to what some people deal with every day. I was a ‘March of Dimes’ baby born with a spinal birth defect (dislocated hips and curved spine from facet joint defect), resulting in spinal arthritis and degenerative disc disease flaring up when I was in my 50s. I was very lucky to be able to be as active as I am for the most part and even served a 24-year career in the Air Force. Thus, Mr. Hartmann’s cause is personal to me, and so this event has become a ‘keeper’ for me. It is a very well-done event with great participants, a nice venue, always lots of fun costumed people, and a pretty nice race route. Very nice quality race shirt, and a nicely designed finisher medal. I would definitely recommend this one to all. Mucho thanks to all the people that made this one happen for we participants; the Hartmann Foundation, the race sponsors, all the many volunteers, the police officers on the course for our safety, iRun Texas for course setup, results, etc; all those great cheer teams that made us all smile; our two MCs who did a great job; and the Bubble Guy, who gave us ‘snow’ for the event, lol. If I missed anyone, my apologies. Thank you all so much! See you next year!