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Friday, October 12, 2012

Four Diamonds 5K

So my mom invited me to join her in a 5K run to benefit the Four Diamonds Fund, a charity near and dear to her heart, because she works in cancer research at Hershey Medical Center.  The race was held entirely on the grounds of HMC, and this would be her second "official" 5K (she had walked a few others in the past, but beginning this year, she's been running!).  I decided it would be fun to run along with her, for encouragement, support, pictures, entertainment, etc...

There was a decent turnout despite the threatening skies.  My initial estimate was about 500 runners and an equal number of walkers, but it turns out the head count was more like 700 total.

At the start line

The course immediately brought us past the main medical center building, including the flashy new Cancer Institute and Children's Hospital.

New additions to the hospital, near the half mile mark
Not long after that we swung in front of the ER, where it became apparent that this portion of the course was an out-and-back section since the lead runners were passing in the opposite direction already!

Lead runner and pace car, complete with a micro-sized Nittany Lion!

Petunias in front of the oldest section of the hospital, with sweet "UFO Style" architecture

No emergencies for us today!  Mom's chugging right along near mile 1.5
At around mile 2 we caught up with the walkers, who started a few minutes after the 5k'ers and were joining the running course for the final mile.  This section got a little tricky since the course was on a 6-8 foot wide paved walkway, rather than the road.

The horde of walkers around mile 2.5

The final half mile was a slight incline had diamond signs lining the course, each with an individual's name.  Mom pointed out that there are two different types: "In honor" and "In memory".  "In Honor" indicates the person is still fighting the illness; the other is self explanatory.  A heart-wrenching moment for me was at one of the "in memory" diamonds there was a family standing by in tears, thanking each participant as they passed.  Most races that I've done contribute to a charity of some sort (and that feels great), but this was the first time that contribution felt so real, and appreciated.

Diamonds near the finish
With about a quarter mile left, I sped up ahead to get a few shots of Mom crossing the finish line.  She made it in 36:49, a solid 265th place finish.  She didn't win any medals, but I know we were both very proud, especially considering her previous 5K time was around 50:00!

She made it!
The rain held off and we had a great time in the 50 degree temps that morning.  I even calculated that I "broke even" on my registration fee between the event t-shirt, swag bag items, and post race food/drink...not a requirement, but I like to feel that I'm getting my money's worth!  Yes...I know it's a fundraiser ;)

With my first fall race of 2012 in the books, it's time to look forward to the 4 remaining runs scheduled between now and Thanksgiving: 6K, 10K and two half marathons!  The partridge in a pear tree arrives a month later.

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