I absolutely love races that support a good cause, so it felt great to be able to take part in the Steps to Safety 5k/10k on October 10. The race, presented by the Marion County Domestic Violence Council (MCDVC), aims to support all those affected by domestic violence with fifty percent of the proceeds going directly towards the Center for Hope and Safety and the other fifty percent going towards supporting future awareness events.
The morning of race day I admittedly was feeling a little under the weather, but luckily with a late race start (9:30am) I was able to rest a little extra in the comfort of my cozy bed. The weather forecast called for rain in the afternoon, and upon waking it did appear a bit overcast. During my drive though, there were breaks of sun in the clouds. I was optimistic that the rain would hold off. The race this year, as with last year, took place at the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training building. I had only ever done this race when it was held at Minto Brown, so I was quite curious about the new course.
The DPSST building was super easy to find, and there were even purple balloons tied out on the front gate. Parking was a breeze; lots of spaces to choose from, all within close walking distance of the actual building. Entering the building there were tables of friendly volunteers ready to assist those needing to register and those needing to pick up their bibs. Near the bathrooms there was also a bag check. With parking so close to the building I almost didn’t take advantage of bag check, but at the last-minute I thought, why not? Especially since there was no line. Actually there were no lines at any of the tables, which I firmly believe was due to how organized this race was.
The 10k racers started the day off at 9am. I thought about going out to spectate, but instead chose to stay inside the building and stretch. I would say half of the other 5k racers had the same idea, some even lounging about on the cushioned chairs and couch within the building. By about 9:15am I made my way outside to continue my stretching and at least take a glance at the race course. Right near the start line the Eclectic Edge van was pumping out music and the announcer was getting everyone pumped for the race. McGruff the crime fighting dog was even there at the start line, likely ready to ‘take a bite out of crime’ should it occur. No crimes were committed, thank goodness. From the start line it was difficult to actually see the course, and I was a little concerned I was going to get lost simply because I only half glanced at the course map. At the start however, there were some pretty serious looking runners, so I figured I’d probably end up behind them and would figure out where to go.
The Eclectic Edge announcer counted us down to the start and just like that we were off. I started at the front of the pack and I have to say, it felt like we were literally sprinting away from the start line. I think there were at least 8 of us that bolted out in this sprint like pace. It felt super fast and I kept it up for at least the first mile. I ended up clocking it at a 6:24 mile pace. I knew I couldn’t keep up this pace so my goal for the next mile was to reel in another 5k race participant who was probably 200 meters ahead of me.
During that mile I took time to observe my surroundings and the course, which was paved and pretty level throughout most of the course. There were a combination of straightaways and a few twists and turns, which made the course super fun. Right before mile 2, the 5k course makes a smaller loop within the bigger loop we had just completed. Prior to this loop I was a little worried because there were quite a few cones leading in different directions and I appeared to be catching up with 10k runners, but a nice volunteer pointed me in the right direction. At mile 2 my pace had slowed considerably to 6:49, but I still felt good and was even able to pass the racer I had been trying to catch up with. Nearing mile 3, I felt like I was running out of gas, but since I knew the end was near, I kept pumping my little legs. The finish line was the very same place we started from and it felt so good to finally cross the line. The announcer was calling out each finishers’ name, which is always a cool bonus.
All finishers received a sweet finishers medal and the top 3 female and male finishers of both the 10k and 5k received a water bottle etched with their finishing placement. Back inside the DPSST building there was a table full of delicious food; fruit, pastries, candy, granola bars, etc. which was a wonderful post race treat. Another table had a spread of prizes you could win during the raffle which took place shortly after the conclusion of each race. Everyone had a tag on the bottom of their bib that they could place into a basket which entered them into the raffle. So essentially, everyone had a chance to win something.
Overall, I have to say I loved this race and the new course as well. While running in a park is always great, it was nice to run out in the open on a mostly flat course. The weather could not have been better either as the sun made an appearance throughout the entire race. The entire atmosphere of the race was positive with lots of racers decked out in purple running clothes. It was just great to see everyone excited about raising awareness and providing support for such a wonderful cause. I think for myself, this race might need to become an annual tradition.
Full results can be viewed here.