Saturday, May 17, 2008

Race Day - Hudson Valley Youth Festival 5K

This race was created just for The Marathon Project participants - there were about 100 of us, overall. It is an interesting group - the majority of the kids are from urban Poughkeepsie and Beacon - mostly low-income, mostly minority, many of whom had never done anything athletic in their lives. The event was at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds, and we gathered near the 4-H area - the long enclosures with the goats, cows, horses, and sheep. I wonder how many of the kids there had never seen farm animals before. It seems that Dutchess County has as dramatic a divide between urban and rural as anyplace I've ever seen. Everyone was upbeat and supportive of each other. It was the kind of day where there was a pledge of allegiance, a lovely rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, and no cynicism or negativity anywhere in sight. The race went off at 9am, and wound through a quiet area of Rhinebeck I'd not seen before. The hills were rolling but manageable, the sun was bright but not too hot, and I felt as good as I have all spring. (I have definitely discovered that a real warmup - at least 10 minutes of jogging - is really good for me - somehow I get completely out of breath when I first start running, but after a few minutes I get into a good rhythm. ) I'd had a light week: I ran only about 1 mile on Tuesday (and walked an hour), ran 4 miles (in hot sun) on Wednesday, swam on Friday, so I was fresh. I finished in about 38 minutes - average for me this year - and wasn't even close to last - there were runners behind me as well as run/walkers and all-walkers.

Our group did well - one of our girls (by "our" I mean from the school we're working in - there are 4 in the program) was the first girl to cross the line, one was third, and all our kids finished early - we have a group of mostly experienced athletes. The next race is a big jump for this group - a 10K on June 7. I'm looking forward to it!


LBTEPA said...

What a good experience! Well done! I am so impressed about that program you are organising. What a difference you are making

Calyx Meredith said...

What a lovely day you describe. Sounds like a great group to be a part of. Yay for you and yay for your girls up there at the front of the pack!