For the second year in a row we participated in the Miami edition of the corporate 5K run, conveniently located within walking distance of our apartment. Downtown living at its best! We were joined in this adventure by more than 25,000 other participants.
As we discovered last year, it’s actually difficult to fit that many people on a race course and conditions get quite crowded, especially at the beginning. The race begins and ends at Bayfront Park, and the race announcers requested that people loaded in the starting corral make every effort to get over the starting line before the first runners hit the finish line a few hundred yards north!
Participants on my work team numbered between 50 and 60, which was great for us, but we were not exactly a dominant force.
According to the event website the largest teams (The University of Miami and Baptist Health System) had over 1,000 people participating, and the three big local cruise lines (Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian) each had around 500 entrants.
Luckily our team T-shirts were fluorescent yellow, so we made up for relatively small numbers with blinding brightness. One of the fun aspects of the race is seeing all the different company team shirts, especially those with creative puns. Our team shirts also made up for the absence of humor with their aggressively cheerful color. Neon solves a lot of deficiencies.
We loaded into the starting corral relatively early in hopes of avoiding the major congestion at the beginning of the race, but we only made it into the front 1/3 or so of the crowd. We trudged forward to the starting line about 2 minutes after the opening gun and then the fun started.
We are not fast runners. Actually, I am a terrible runner and Ken kindly hangs back with me. This means plenty of people want to pass us. Also, a surprising number of people participate in the corporate “run” by walking from the very first moment. So we also wanted to pass lots of people. As a result, the first mile or so feels like being a spawning salmon headed upstream.
All that weaving through traffic seems to be much harder than regular running, and very different from the cushy experience of running on a treadmill. Oh, and the treadmill is in an air conditioned gym while the streets of Miami are 80 degrees, even at 7 pm in April.
After getting to the end of mile 2, I had serious doubts about finishing, but managed to power through to the finish (3.1 miles) in a reasonable time. I think we improved our time from last year by about 2 minutes which I’m very satisfied with.
Trust me, there’s a reason there are no photos from the end of the race — it was not pretty. Happily, my company’s tent welcomed all finishers with cold beer which expedited our recovery. We’re already plotting how to better prepare for next year’s race!
Update: Just received my official results and learned I came in 7,188th place. Great?!? We’re obviously not it in for the glory.