Photos are here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/rt4RAFj4D3Uxrdu39
Before The Start: My 26th 5K of 2023 was The Legendary Legionary 5K Bier Run, held on May 20th in New Braunfels, Texas. This event was an inaugural 5K put on by the Walton F. Hoffman Memorial American Legion Post 179, with the goal of raising funds so the post can better assist local area veterans. On race day, I woke up in San Antonio to thunder-and-lightning, so I was not sure if this one was going to be a go or not. I checked the race’s website and FB page, but did not see anything about cancelling, etc., so took a chance and just went for it. Mother Nature is so darn weird with Texas, lol. Pouring rain like crazy when I left San Antonio, but as soon as I got into New Braunfels, it just stopped, lol. There was cloud cover, and even a bit of sunshine too, go figure, with a temp of 73 degrees. I had picked up my packet the day before so when I arrived at the race location – The American Legion post – I started getting a few pre-start photos, starting with one of the volunteers who was assisting with parking. Unfortunately, with my great camera skill, I made him look like he was in Witness Protection, but did not notice until I got home, so my apologies to him. The Post is a very nicely arranged building with lots of history, some photos, names on the walls, some patriotic artwork, and so forth. Nice to have indoor restrooms too, although there were also port-a-potties in the start/finish area, which was on grounds below the main building. The Young Marines excellently did the Color Guard duties for The National Anthem, sung beautifully by a young lady.
On The Course – As for the weather…wow. Mother Nature gave us a nice break, it did not rain on us at all. As noted, the temp was 73 degrees, and we even had a bit of sunshine for a short while; a very short while, but it was there, lol. We started in a grassy area on the activity field below the Post’s main building and then went onto paved roads in the neighborhood where the Post is located. Since I cannot run non-stop anymore with this darn spinal arthritis, I did my usual 8-min-run/2-min-walk intervals and took photos during my walk breaks. This turned out to be one of the most-hilly 5Ks I have ever done. I think we maybe had two flat areas the whole time, lol. In this neighborhood, you just can’t avoid the hills, and I think our Race Director had us doing just about all of them, lol, as we worked up-and-down across the neighborhood. Some of these hills make the Helotes 5K course hills look like baby hills, lol. I was very grateful that I do hill training at least once a week, so I got up and down them fairly well. In spite of the hills, the neighborhood really is quite lovely, with lots of old houses, verandah-style porches on some, and some of the residents I chatted with along the way were all very nice people. At one point I was running with this younger guy and we passed a beautiful house along the way with a big verandah porch and a back screened in porch. I told him, wow, that house looks like the house in The Waltons. His response was “Who are the Waltons?” Dang, I feel old, lol. I ended up with a 38:17 chip time per the posted results – at this link – https://www.racetecresults.com/results.aspx?CId=127&RId=302 – good enough for 2nd in my 60 – 69 males age group; but even if I’d taken an hour, I’d still have been 2nd because there were only 2 in my age group, lol. I may have finished faster if I had kept doing my run/walk steadily, but whenever I saw someone walking a dog, I stopped to give the dog a treat. I did this at one house, and then started up again, and the dog followed me, lol, to get another treat, so I had to stop and take the dog back home to his human, and we had a laugh about it. He held onto the dog until I got out of sight. I think the chip timing might be off a bit, because my garmin had me finishing in 44 minutes flat, which I think is about right. I did do a nice negative split for Mile 3 though, running that mile nearly nonstop all the way.
After My Finish – Some really nice post-race goodies, including nutrition bars, various drinks (Gatorade, water, juice, etc) and you could go get an “adult beverage’ in the post bar, if you so desired, as well as some other foods and I think there were even breakfast tacos you could purchase from a local food truck. The sun actually did come out again for us for a while at the post-race activity and awards. Lots of photo ops too, with various backdrops, the historic American Legion Building, and more.
Epilogue: When I first arrived at the race site, I noticed for race day packet pickup, there were a lot more packets than there were participants at the event. We ended up with a total of 48 finishers, so this 5K felt more like a bunch of friends getting together to enjoy each other’s company and have a nice race outing too. The camaraderie at this one was GREAT so those folks who did not make it to the race really missed out; they were probably thinking, like I did at first, that the weather would be bad. Well, it was not, it actually turned out to be a bit humid, but overall pretty nice conditions for us; could have been a lot worse. Also, for slower back-of-the-pack runners like me, we were helping each other out along the way, since lots of times we were by ourselves, and sometimes – since I am directionally challenged, lol, even with signs, – we back-pack folks helped each other out by calling out the correct times to turn on the course, or go straight, and so forth. It actually turned out to be a pretty well-done and fun event. I would definitely do this one again and certainly would recommend it to others.
MUCHO thanks to all the people that made this one happen for us; all the American Legion folks; our Race Director and the many volunteers for packet pickups, course marshals, water stop folks, etc; al the police officers out there at the intersections and road crossings for our safety; all the sponsors, of course, could not have an event without them; and a nice thank you to all the doggies there – this is a dog friendly event – I loved meeting them all; Personal Best Events for the timing, results, etc.; the Young Marines; and that lady who beautifully sang The National Anthem; and anyone else involved I may not have mentioned here. Thank you all so much! See you next time! Hopefully with an even larger turnout.