2023 Race 9, Aidan Alexander Memorial 5K

Photos are here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/ob5GxZphh4QD83Hb6

Before The Start:    My 9th 5K of 2023 was the Aiden Alexander Memorial 5K for Stillbirths and Infant Loss, held at Lady Bird Johnson Park on February 18th.  This event was started by the parents of Alexander, who sadly was born Feb 15,  without a heartbeat due to some complications.  The first year of this event in 2022 was held as a private family-and-friends affair. In 2023, Alexander’s parents opened the 5K to the public, with race proceeds benefiting stillbirth and infant loss organizations. When I found out the cause of this event and that it would be public, I immediately signed up to show support, since I could relate to the cause – my first wife and my 4-month old infant son were killed by a drunk driver. In a perfect world, no parent should ever have to go through this but, unfortunately we don’t live in a perfect world. All we can do for the parents is show support and understanding and, for those of us who have experienced a loss like this, empathy also, and support the event’s cause.  Race start time of 9 a.m., so I got to sleep in a bit, as I live fairly close to the park. On arrival I got my race packet and then got a few pre-start photos.  For a first-time event that was held on Saturday – a popular day for local area races, and there were quite a few this day in our region – it had a pretty nice turn-out, with 100 finishers.  The weather was fairly decent with some sunshine and temp of about 43, with a pretty strong wind making it feel a bit chillier.

On The CourseWe started in the traffic circle of the park, did a loop around that and then went onto the trailhead taking us down to the park’s paved trails.  We turned left onto the trails and followed the trail that took us out to the Los Patios area near Loop 410.  Once we got to the Loop 410 underpass, we made a turn-round at this point and went back to the finish the way we had come out.  The course is mainly flat, with just a couple of short inclines along the way.  With my ‘blazing pace’, lol, pretty much all the other runners left me in their dust and I was mostly alone for the majority of my outing. Some of the speedier walkers even caught up to me and passed me, lol.  I did not mind at all; I just settled in, did my usual run/walk thing, and got some photos of a few of the other participants when I encountered them.  With just a tad over a mile to go, I encountered another runner, and he and I ran together for the finish, having a nice chat along the way. I did run most of the last mile non-stop and managed to get a finish chip time of 39:54; first time in a quite while I’ve been under 40 minutes, so made me feel good that I am slowly but surely starting to come back a bit from the 15 months of prostate cancer that I went through in 2021 – 2022. Yay me, lol.

After My Finish: Did my usual post-race procedure of getting some water in me and ate a banana as I did a short cool-down walk.  After that, I got some post-race photos, chatted with friends and hopefully made some new friends, and enjoyed some of the post-race goodies, which included some really tasty pastries, and 4 different kinds of breakfast tacos. Race awards were given to the overall winners  and first in age group in each category, and some of them got a nice $50 Starbucks gift card. I was 2nd in my age group and was not even close to the finishing time of the first guy in my age group, lol.

Epilogue: This is a well put-on event, as all iRun Texas events are, with a very nice course, nice quality race shirt  and some pretty nice overall awards.  Besides the pastries and tacos, there were also some other things, like fruits, nutrition bars, etc. The organizers also provided a few of those space heaters – the ones that kind of look like an old-time Franklin stove – which was nice before-and-after with that wind putting a chill into the air. I also had the pleasure of chatting with Mr. and Mrs. Alexander, the event founders.  These are two of the nicest people one could ever hope to meet.  I really feel for them for what they are going through – I say, ARE, because those of us who have been through something like this know we never really get over it, we just learn to live with it a day at a time – and admire them greatly for their founding of this event and showing their big hearts in trying to help others from their own experiences. Mucho thanks to: the Alexander family for this event; iRun for the course setup, timing, results, etc; to all the many volunteers for packet pickup, water stop, and lots more; to the other runners, walkers, and cyclists in the park – which was still open to the public – for their patience aw we race participants invaded the park trails; to all the event sponsors; and to anyone else involved that I may not have mentioned here.  Thank you all and see you next year!  This one is definitely a keeper and I certainly would recommend it to others.  

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