Thursday night, I had a major “first” in my running career.
Even after years in running, you can still have firsts. Sometimes a cool obscure distance comes along, like an 8K, 12K, 15K, or “Almost Nine Miler”. Or, you can run your first mud run, color run, glowstick run, obstacle run, all women’s run, or whatever the new running idea-of-the-moment is. Relays are another good option to change it up.
Instead of registering, paying $30, and toeing the start line at Catch the Leprechaun… I decided to participate as a *spectator and cheerleader*. Speaking of firsts, this is the first race review I’ve ever written for a race I did not actually run. Two “firsts” out of one race is pretty good!
Since I signed up to run the Summerville Shamrock Shuffle as a TrySports Ambassador and planned to run the Chucktown Triathletes Pop-Up 15K, I didn’t want to run the Catch the Leprechaun 5K. Three races in four days does not make for happy legs.
Best of all, this was a great race to spectate because our TrySports/MooreOnRunning.com Couch to 5K runners ran it as a “graduation” race.
Last Thursday, we did a test run on part of the course, and everyone did great. I remember 8 weeks ago when the Couch-to-5Kers showed up at run club and mostly walked. In 8 weeks, they went from almost all walking, to about half running half walking, to almost all running, and most of them ran the entire Catch the Leprechaun race!
It’s a testament to how effectively you can train with run-walk intervals, to Noah Moore’s awesome coaching, and everyone’s dedication to getting off the couch for three runs each week. Plus, many of them come to the TrySports group runs regularly now, so it’s neat for all of us to meet new running buddies.
Catch the Leprechaun is an annual evening race in Mt. Pleasant where participants can win regular age group and overall awards, but can also receive a special prize if their time “beats” a guy who runs the course dressed up as a leprechaun. The proceeds benefit Pattison’s Academy, which is a school that serves disabled children in the Charleston area.
The race started out with the leprechaun “cheating” by starting before the gun, pushing one of the children from Pattison’s. This was one of the first teary-eyed moments for me, I guess because of coaching cross country and track and having a special place in my heart for kids and those with disabilities. Plus, it’s neat that the leprechaun ran pushing the little girl, so she was in the lead of the race at one point- how awesome is that?
Djuanna, Noah, Eric, Samantha, Karen, and some other local runners spectated at different parts of the course cheering. We cheered for people by name when we knew names, and for the run clubbers, couch-to-5kers, and BGR (Black Girls Run) ladies.
Some ran their first 5K, some ran their fastest 5K. When spectating, we saw the determination, pain, doubt, perseverance, pride, joy, and happiness on everyone’s faces.
When you see those emotions, you know everyone is a runner, from the first place finisher who ran the course in less than 15 minutes (yikes!) to those who run a mile in 15 minutes (or more). The best part- seeing your friends PR, win age group awards, or run their first-ever race.
Everyone should spectate a race- it’s so inspiring! It may not be *your personal* PR, age group award, or race, but by being there to cheer at a race, you can share everyone’s victories .
Running is so much more than a time, car sticker, or race bib. It’s a physical and mental catharsis. That’s why I love this sport, why I train so hard and hope to inspire others to do the same.
Congratulations to everyone on a great race!