It was great seeing friends that I have been keeping up with on Facebook.
The morning was cool and crisp, with fall air and blue skies. Couldn't have asked for better running weather.
As usual, the volunteers and race staff were busy getting everything set up and organized for the day ahead. These races couldn't happen without the organizational skills of the race staff and the help of all of those volunteers. Everyone works so hard at these races, but it is also fun at the same time. The energy alone will make you want to volunteer at an event! Try it sometime.
I was busy making my way through the crowd, taking pics of those who were getting ready to run their first Half Marathon/5k or trying to PR (personal record) this time. Runners were huddled up, trying to keep warm, while others were warming up with various methods of jumping, skipping or running.
Finally, it was time to start the race. I was able to find a ladder at the ranger station, and that gave me a chance to get above a little to get video of the runners. American Flags had been handed out to runners so they could wave them as they crossed the start line.
One of my favorite things to do is drive a golf cart, and I get to do that in this race.Once the runners were off, I set out on the golf cart to take photos of the water stations. The water stations are all along the course and the volunteers are usually a group or a company and I wanted to make sure they got their photos taken. I was in total denial that it was cold, and left my jacket in my car. That was a super chilly ride on the cart!! It was worth it because I got to see beautiful birds along the water, a couple of deer, alligator eyes and a gorgeous sunrise.
The water stations were making last minute preps for the runners that were heading their way, and their energy was contagious. Music, chatting, laughing, cheering were going on at every station.
|My Favorite Water Stop!! ZOOMERS!!
As I made my way to the very last water stop, I was able to cheer on the runners and chat with a few of them. I love seeing the determination and drive in their faces. I actually had a little help on the golf cart this year. A guy named Steve needed a ride and ended up staying with me the whole time. Was nice to have company and his girlfriend was running the race, so that was a fun surprise for her!
Now it's back to the finish line to get some photos of the after party and awards. Had a wild hog encounter on the way back...that was funny. By the time I figured out what the noise was, I saw a family of hogs running through the woods....AND FAST! I didn't know those little guys could run so fast. Then I heard screams and laughter when the hogs decided to cross the road in front of the runners. My guess is that they didn't want to miss out on the fun. They were to fast for me to get a photo of them.
Back at the finish line, there was cheering and lots of happy faces. The medals were HUGE! The 5k awards were just about done by the time I got there. Publix breakfast tent had a super long line. Must have been the smell of bacon that caused that.
There was also a bounce house, climbing wall and various vendors to keep everyone entertained. Not to mention a great band!
It was also Veterans Day and they were all called to the stage for a photo and each of them were given a small token of appreciation for their service.
As the day came to a close and all the awards were handed out, raffle prizes were awarded and runners along with their families were leaving, the race team was able to get a chance to take a breath before starting to pack it all up. I was able to get them all together for a photo op.
Congrats on a successful race day! I'll see you next year!!