Friday, March 14, 2008

Inspiration Run

Today was the 26.2 Miles of Inspiration Run. This run was started last year by one of our good friends and Cruiser Jackie. The purpose of the run was to run and or bike to all the schools in the city of Cabot. Jackie started this last year as a whim for her 35th birthday and decided that the kids needed some inspiration to get off the couch and get active. This led to the Summer Track Nights where we would host a small track run for the kids once a week during the summer. Jackie was feature in Runners World Magazine last fall about this.

Annette was sick yesterday and stayed home from work hoping to be able to do the run today but when she woke up she felt worse. She was so upset as she really wanted to do this run. She was able to make it out to several of the schools to cheer us on which was great and allowed her to at least see everyone and feel the excitement.

This year the route consisted of 11 schools. It was 12 originally but for some strange reason Ward Elementary dropped out. From Ward to the last school would be right at 26.2 miles. Jackie did start at Ward anyway though there wasn't any kids for her to talk to. I was with a large group that met up with her at the 38/319 intersection.

This was at the beginning of our run. It was very humid and foggy at that time. You can see the excitement of some of the girls.

The first school we ran to was Middle School North. As we run into the parking lots, all the little kids would be lined up along the curve with their hands out for us to slap. Let me tell you, it was awesome. If you ever want to feel like a rock star you have to do this run or organize one in your area. Once at the school, Jackie would make a short speech about getting active and leading a healthy lifestyle. They even had bags of fat to show the kids. Another cool thing about the run, the mayor of Cabot followed us the whole way and we had a police escort with 3-4 police cars at times. Throughout the day we probably had 15-20 runners and 3-7 bikers with us not counting support.

Some of the group running down S. First Street

After the Middle School it was on to the High School track where we did one lap around the track and a few high school kids participated. Next it was on to West Side. Then to Central Elementary. After Central we did Middle School South, Jr High South then South Side Elementary. The distance between schools was 1-3 miles. From there we went to the new Stagecoach Elementary, then to Eastside. It seemed the more we ran the better the cheering at the schools got. Eastside even had big signs made up for us.

Some of the runners and the kids at Eastside Elementary

We also had a lot of news coverage. Channel 11 had their camera man get in the trunk of their car and they put a mic on Jackie so they could interview her as she ran. Channel 4 and 7 was there too along with numerous photographers from newspapers. You never knew where a camera would be.

After Eastside it was on to Northside. Then we had the dreaded last leg of the run. Another 5+ miles to Magness Creek. This route took us across the freeway in downtown Cabot, right on Willie Ray, and then left on to Mountain Springs Road on to Hwy 5. Well, the name of the road says it all. Lots of hills. This proved to be the hardest part of our run for most everyone

Jackie speaks to the kids at Northside Elementary

We had a great support crew also with Coach Dennis in one van and Jackie's husband Phil in another. When we would stop at the school, everyone would get water or food so we stayed fed and hydrated. I kidded Dennis about his van being all messed up from all of our food and stuff but he said he was used to it as he used to train elite runners for Nike.

After tackling one of the big hills on Wille Ray and running some on Mtn Springs, I decided that I really didn't have to do as many miles as this route was and it probably wasn't too smart for me too, so I rode the van for 2 miles. We had several others that rode some and I bailed out at Hwy 5 so I could climb the final big hill with the group into the finish. I was already at 20 miles then.

Everyone had pretty much slowed down at this point and the police cautioned us to stay together on Hwy 5 as it is very busy. We did and made it over that last hill. From there it was all downhill to the school. As we rounded the last curve the kids were lined up on the side of the road cheering us on. It is hard to describe the feeling. There was even more kids lined up on the school grounds. All you could see were kids lined up cheering us in. I know how rock stars feel now. Thats what it was like. Since Magness was our last stop, they had food & drinks waiting on us in celebration of our run. Poor Jackie, Coach O talked her into standing on one of the picnic tables to talk to the kids. She told her, "I just ran a marathon, I don't know if I can get up there!" But she did. With the greetings those kids gave us at each school, we could have ran all day. It was an awesome day and an awesome experience.

Jackie speaks to the kids at Magness Creek, our final stop.

Final tally for me, 22 miles! I have no idea what the pace was. We stopped so many times and sometimes I would stop my garmin and sometimes I wouldn't. I do know that the runs between schools were pretty fast. I saw a lot of my 1 mile splits just over 10:00 which for marathon distance is pretty fast for me. The good thing is my legs feel great. My feet are a little sore. Nothing else hurts. We will see how it is tomorrow. Nashville look out. I'm almost ready for you now!!


Cheryl said...

Very Nice!

Susan said...

I watched the video. That is EXCELLENT!!! What a wonderful thing to do.