Cheerful volunteers manned each turn and intersection along the course, guiding and encouraging the runners and walkers as they passed. The 5k and 10k started together, and this year the 10k was part of Team Red Lizard’s Summer Series race schedule, so a large bunch of runners in red made up a good percentage of the crowd.
Although I am a member of the club, I opted to sacrifice my own series points and run my preferred 5k distance instead. I followed some of my faster teammates through town and along the paved rails-to-trails path to the turnaround, where I found myself leading the 5k. While I find running on paved paths a little mentally difficult due to the long views, I do like out-and-back courses because of the chance to exchange encouragement with your fellow runners.
While I no longer had the pack to pull me along, the cheers from passing runners gave me a needed boost on the way back through town, and although each mile was slower than the last, I still ended up with one of my faster 5k times of the year.
Running the 5k while the rest of the club was running the “official” Summer Series distance felt a little like a “blindside” on Survivor, as I was able to win the 5k while many faster runners were drawn to the 10k. Overall and age-group winners received pineapples, in keeping with this year’s Hawaiian theme.
This is the kind of race where the race directors recognize you and personally thank you for coming back each year. Three different people told me they were grateful to see me there again. That’s a better incentive to choose a race than any swag (not that there’s anything wrong with swag).
A kids run on the track, nice raffle prizes from local sponsors, and several vendors’ tents in the infield added to the great atmosphere. If you haven’t already experienced the Banks Linear Trail Brave Run, make sure to add it to the calendar for next year. The race directors will thank you (in person!)