Friday night I ran in the inaugural Running of the Rams 5K in Bartlett, TN. The event was a fundraiser for the technology fee of Oak Elementary School in Bartlett. Basically runners were helping the school buy computers for their students. The race was for a good cause, and I am working on a 5K for a similar reason for my wife’s school, so I was building some good relations and karma at the same time.
The race had 672 early registrants and 466 finishers, which is a great turnout for a first time event on the Friday night of BBQ Fest. The event as a whole cut costs wherever possible, opting for no chip timing and the free Road ID bibs rather than custom ones. The t-shirt design was very good and there were several local sponsors, so I am certain that the race netted the school the 40 computers that they were aiming for.
This race was a triumph for me since it is now my PR for a 5K race with an unofficial time of 27:07 and I actually placed third in my age group! This is the first time that I have had my name called at an event, and even though I know that it is the product of being close to the front of the pack, not a large group of runners in my age group, and the lack of chip timing, I will still take it! It felt good to have a PR after a spring of very slow running, and having my name called at an event is rewarding.
Course: B+: City streets starting and ending at the school. The roads were still open to the traffic, so staying in the marked off lanes was imperative. There were two hills on the course, and a decent amount of spectators. The start line was a cluster, and the pre-race announcements were inaudible.
Swag: B-: I like the shirt, and the bonus of getting a medal for placing in my age group. The food option after the race were great, and definitely had a huge appeal to the children running in the event (corn dogs and chicken nuggets).
Overall: B: This was a first time event, and prior to the start of the race, it felt like it. There were no problems on the course, and everyone was very friendly. Getting official times for the awards ceremony seemed to be tedious, and took 30 minutes longer than advertised. I imagine that the race organizers will consider this event a success, and will be at it again next spring.