This recap was submitted by Run Oregon reader Colleen Cleary. Feel free to Submit a Guest Post in the “Contact Us” tab if you are wanting to recap your experiences as well!
Sean’s Run From Autism 5K & 10K run/walk started in 2007 and was held this year on April 26 (during Autism Awareness month)with a total of 85 runners & walkers. Last year was to be the first year I would run the 10K but due to an injury I was unable to participate. I’ve been looking forward to running it since then. Although the weather was iffy as Oregon spring weather usually is, we were fortunate to have a dry spell for the race that morning.
This race starts and ends in Oaks Park Amusement Center with a simple route that follows along the water. Getting into the park and getting a parking spot was easy and I quickly got my bib and t-shirt as there was packet pick-up on the day of the race only. Then I was off to find my friend Kristi who had generously offered to run the 10K with me even though she had donated blood the day before! Kristi has run this race in the past so I’d asked her if there would be water on the course. She wasn’t able to verify if there was or wasn’t so I opted to bring water with me.
As we gathered at the starting area we had a quick pre-race briefing and then we were off. Kristi and I had both agreed we’d take it slow because of her generous blood donation the day before and I was tapering for a race to be held the next weekend.
We wound our way through the park then up to the trail that we’d follow for most of the race. We followed the runners in front of us as they curved to the right, headed out for and easy and short out and back and then followed the trail in the opposite direction. I quickly became thankful for the water I brought along as the clouds began to part and we were treated to the sunshine I can never get enough of, except when I’m running!
The miles passed easily and our conversation flowed as we enjoyed the scenery and relatively few other runners, walkers and cyclists on the path. I always enjoy running with Kristi as she has a great sense of humor and we never seem to run out of things to talk about. We passed friendly volunteers on the course and made a point of thanking them for helping out that morning. Checking our Garmin watches we figured we must be coming within a mile of the turnaround and Kristi pointed ahead to where it was the previous year. Yet, as we came upon that spot there was no turnaround and we continued on. Shortly after that we spotted the turnaround with an always welcome water station. We paused for a few moments to hydrate then headed back.
As we were heading for what we considered to be the home stretch we came upon a volunteer that cheerfully shouted, “Only 1 more mile to go!” Now I’ve run several races and I always love to hear when I’m closing in on the finish. However, something was different this time. As soon as we heard him tell us 1 mile to go we both looked at our watches and decided something was wrong as we had already run 6 miles. Kristi wisely slowed her pace down as she had been gearing up for .2 miles to go. We chatted about what might have happened. Maybe we weren’t supposed to go right for that first mile but didn’t everyone else go that way too? Nonetheless, we happily finished the last mile and decided we’d have an automatic PR since we’d never raced 7 miles before!
As we crossed the finish line people cheered for us and we got a couple of high fives. I love the sense of accomplishment and feeling of community after a race, no matter the distance or size of the crowd and this race was no different. We were immediately greeted by a vendor sampling their electrolyte product and I gratefully gulped some down. We then chatted with a couple of other runners and listened as finisher awards were announced. The announcer also informed us that this would be the last year
Sean’s Run would be held at Oaks Park. They are looking for a different venue as well as a different time of year. If you have any ideas or suggestions I would recommend contacting Kathleen Henley, Executive Director at ARRO Autism at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Overall, I enjoyed this small intimate race and appreciate the great work and support Autism Research and Resources of Oregon provides to our community. I look forward to hearing where and when I’ll be able to run this race next year.
For more info about ARRO go to www.seansrun.org