4th Annual Race for Taylor Recap

Hello everyone and Happy Tuesday!

This weekend, my friend Nadine and I travelled up to Florence/Hartsville for the 4th Annual Race for Taylor. The race honors the life and celebrate the birthday of Taylor Elmore, whose life was cut short at 17 when he was killed in an accident on I-26 on his way to visit the College of Charleston.

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I’ve done this race since its first year in 2010, when there was only a 5K and I happened to be extremely sick with severe anemia- Not “I can’t donate blood anemia”, but “I’m on the edge of a transfusion” anemia, mind you- and didn’t know it.

I never met Taylor, yet feel connected to him through his family, running, and now living in Charleston. I believe God brought Taylor’s family, this race, and Florence Track Club, where I coached with his mom,  into my life for a reason after I showed up that first year (You can read about it in this post from last year’s race). Before moving, I promised Belinda, Taylor’s mom, that I would come back to run it every year I could.

Plus, it’s fun to say you did a race every year, and there’s always hope that after 10 years, they have some sort of award category for the person who’s attended the most times.

I can dream, right?


Nadine and I got to Florence that afternoon and picked up our race packets, then hit Starfire for a delicious pre-race dinner of salads and homemade biscuits. The biscuits and bread at Starfire are the best ever, and Southern food is pretty infamous here in Charleston, but these definitely compare. Between the two of us, we ate 5 biscuits, and we were also joined by a couple of my friends who dropped in (Nick, Kelli, Buddy, and Buddy’s kids).

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After dinner, I gave Nadine the grand tour of Florence, then we headed over to my in-laws’ house to spend the night. It was fun seeing them as a part of our little road trip, and we’re thankful they let us stay with them overnight. We all had a great time watching Undercover Boss (obviously neither of us do much TV viewing), snacking, and laying around in our pajamas.

Plus, Clay’s parents loaded my car down with awesome things to bring back for the house. The trunk and backseat were super full and I know if Nadine hadn’t been with me the passenger seat would have been packed as well- fortunately Clay was home when I got home to help unload! Gotta love family!


The next morning, we got up, I ate my usual pre-race breakfast of coffee and oatmeal and Nadine ate her LaraBar, and we hit the road to Florence for the race.

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As far as running events go, Race for Taylor is the best one that Florence has to offer. The organizers, Carolina Running Company, are all runners themselves, so you can tell it is a race for runners, by runners.

The course is well marked through West Florence neighborhoods and run completely on the roads with two water stops and lots of effective volunteers. There’s also music, activities for children, and great awards and door prizes. Each year, the pirate themed race has gotten bigger, which says a lot about Taylor’s legacy and the race itself because people do it year after year or people hear about it and come out.

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We took off at 8 AM, an excellent start time for a May race, with a slight cool breeze (thank goodness!). You really couldn’t ask for better race weather. The 5K and 10K started together, I went out conservatively and noticed that when the 10K broke off, I was in a pretty good position. I got ahead of fellow run clubber, Kayce, and stayed with her for the first two miles, but the “lil rollers” (hills) in mile 3 got me! There are no hills in West Ashley, except speed humps in my neighborhood, and running the bridge doesn’t exactly have the same effect.

I trained super hard for 8 weeks for this race, doing speedwork each week, and those were tough workouts. I’m proud to say, I *never* felt like I was going to crash and burn. I felt uncomfortable in the sense that racing is uncomfortable, but I never once thought “I so wish this was over with”. In other words, this race wasn’t 6.2 miles on the pain train and I liked that.

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According to the results, I finished in 47:50, although I swear I saw 47:10 on the clock. Makes me wonder if I can average the two for my time, but either way, I broke my previous PR and placed 3rd female overall. The female (and overall) winner was former Olympian Zola Budd Pieterse– I guess a recreational runner just can’t compete with a 1984 Olympic Champion, but at least I saw her on one of the turn arounds…

Nadine finished her 5K in 36:03, a 3 minute PR from her first 5K at the Charleston Marathon Shrimp and Grits in January.

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After the race, we enjoyed some post-race treats. Race for Taylor always has great refreshments- Chic-Fil-A, Rita’s Italian Ice, tons of fruit, bagels, and granola bars… plus my personal favorite.

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Once the treats were consumed, lots of pictures were taken…

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Followed by awards and lots of hugs…

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Then post-race TCBY Treats frozen yogurt, and a 2-hour drive back to Charleston…


It’s always fun to “go home” to run races (I consider Florence my “running hometown”, even though I’m not originally from there, it’s where I started this whole shebang). Plus, with the shirts, refreshments, and constant photo opportunities, I feel like a celebrity being a part of the Fitness World Run Club.

Of course, this race is special to me for so many reasons. PRing in the 10K- which is *not* an easy distance to race, requiring speed and endurance, and a tough course- here is all that much more special. When training, I logged my Daily Mile training runs as “PRingForTaylor”, knowing that if race day magic truly exists, it exists here- surrounded by family, friends, and the amazing, supportive, growing running community that is Race for Taylor.

Happy 21st Birthday, Taylor!

I received a free race entry courtesy of Fitness World Run Club, who sponsored the race (Thanks FWRC and all the other sponsors!). However, I planned to run this race regardless, and all opinions are my own. Special thanks to Tyler at James Boyd Photography for the pictures.

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This entry was posted in 10Ks, Anemia, Fitness World Run Club, Florence Fun, Florence Track Club, Friends, Race Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to 4th Annual Race for Taylor Recap

  1. Awesome job… That biscuit looks divine! I think I need a 2nd breakfast this morning now!

  2. jeksca says:

    Nice job with the pr and great training! That pirate cupcake looks tastey. I do like it when races have decent post race food. Here in wisconsin you get brats and beer. I don’t exactly want that minutes after running a race! Although, the root beer after my marathon on Sunday did hit the spot!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Yeah, our races down in Charleston all have beer at the end. Well, almost all races. I think some people here run for the post-race beer (which, imo, isn’t a cool reason to run because you can get a better beer at a brewery). I can’t imagine drinking after a race though- I had to wait a little while before even eating the cupcake!

  3. What a wonderful cause this is, and it’s great that you do it each year! Although of course I am sorry for this person… you all are great for recognizing his life each year, Happy 21st birthday to him 🙂
    Nice job with the race too and WOOT for a PR! What a fantastic feeling that is, nothing quite like it if you ask me. Plus congrats for placing as well, so much good stuff going on in these here post m’dear! Umm yum for Rita’s after the race, I would have definitely been all over that!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Yep, it was mango flavored Italian Ice from Rita’s. I don’t usually go to Rita’s… I’m sure we have it down here, but I don’t know where. It was neat because it was super warm out.

      Thanks for the congrats Tessa, glad to hear from you again too!

  4. spectacuLAUR says:

    Seriously, why do you always run races with the BEST refreshments (aka cupcakes) lol. I swear you always get the good stuff! Most be a southern thing! 😉 I’m so proud of you for the PR and although you didn’t read the former Olympian (pretty much cheating a win), the hard work definitely paid off! And congratulations to your friend for her PR as well!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Yeah, the guy who won the 5K was a D1 runner at South Carolina. That’s why you can’t beat yourself up over placing or comparing to someone else, because you have no control over who will show up at a race- and placing in an age group or overall is more about who else is there rather than your training. I think all of us did rather well for not being Olympians, having jobs, families, kids, other obligations!!

  5. Brennan says:

    Hey! Congrats on the PR! Sounds like a really fab race. You are just getting speedier and speedier!

  6. Amazing time! Sad that I couldn’t run my race this weekend. Ah well. There’ll be other 10ks. Also that biscuit looks SO yummy!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I’m sorry you couldn’t run it either, but at least you listened to your body and didn’t chance it. The race will be held next year, I always try to think of it like that if I can’t do one… maybe you can run it next year.

  7. I’m so happy for your PR Amy. Those types of races make me thankful to be a runner. All the post race food looks great too. I’m glad to see all that speed work is really working out for you. That is an awesome race photo of you by the way.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks Hollie :). I am not doing speedwork for the rest of the month probably, but will start back soon. Just easy running for a little while. Like you I am taking a little break, I mentally need it. I have not run since Sunday but may run a little today, if not then definitely tomorrow with run club.

      I am thankful to be a runner, and you know I won’t ever beat Olympians but I’m glad I can do races like this for good causes and have a good time!

  8. GOOD JOB! Cool to see a former Olympian 🙂
    That seems like an amazing race to run, and a very good cause! The “after run” treats look DELISH 🙂

    -Mel

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Oh yeah- I love doing this race each year, the proceeds go to the track club I used to coach as well as scholarships. And they always have tons of candy and goodies post race!

  9. Has it really been three years since The Race for Taylor began? Time sure flies when you become an adult. I still remember your post back in 2010 about Taylor and the end of his short, short life. 😦

    That’s great that you’ve been participating in this race since then. Just out of curiosity, who takes the running photos of you? They look great!

    Yum. I love biscuits… especially with just a little tiny bit of butter and some brown gravy. Okay, now you made me hungry!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      The photos were taken by James Tyler Boyd photography. Tyler works at Fitness World Gyms and does these finish line photos for the run club but also for all runners, he does photography at the races the run club does.

      Well except the biscuits and a few pics that were just taken randomly, but all the professional ones are Tyler’s :).

      Time does fly as an adult, it seems like just yesterday I did this race for the first time. Hard to believe it’s in it’s 4th year. In fact, I’m now looking at doing the same race here I did last Summer when I moved down, lol.

  10. Great job on the PR. Super strong run. Sounds like an amazing event.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      It always is- the hills really got me this year though! Way different than the speed humps we have in neighborhoods here. I hope to go sub-45 on a flat course at some point to get a competition bib for CRBR… we will see, but this course was NOT the course for that.

  11. Curtis says:

    So glad you were able to come and run with us Amy. You are our Super Star!! I am always so glad you are a part of our run club! Keep up the great work and know you are loved by all! Awesome job Saturday too!!! BAM!!! You Rocked the Road!!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks Curtis- I really appreciate you reading and your comment :). I love coming back for races and running with you guys, thanks for making me feel welcome even 100 miles away!

      And everyone here thinks our little Florence/Darlington/Hartsville run club is pretty incredible, too :).

  12. Way to go on the PR, and that’s cool that you’ve been doing that race over and over. What a nice tradition you’ve started for yourself.

    And yup, my favorite would have to be that cupcake too!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks for commenting :). Yeah, I love doing this race each year. I didn’t start out thinking I’d do it every single year, but then I thought it would be cool to do, and of course it’s a great cause as well, a great way to go back and honor Taylor’s life and legacy.

  13. Congrats on the PR! It always feels good to break past previous records, a feeling of knowing the hard work paid off! Seems like a great race, I’ll have to look into it for next year!

    Need some hills? There are some pretty decent ones on the trails in Crowfield (where i run during the week), ugh my legs were burning!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Yeah, you should definitely do it next year. I will be doing it next year, obviously, lol. But I have some other Charleston friends who seem interested. It’s a little way to drive, but it is worth it. It’s a special race to me though, and I know some people aren’t into that and would rather do ones that are big “events” instead. It was definitely a lot harder course than the Summerville 10K where I saw you though!!

      Will definitely check out Crowfield :). It’s hard bc really the only hill option here in the bridge, but that’s different than hills in a neighborhood, you know?

  14. Kara says:

    You look so strong in that photo of you running. Congratulations on an awesome run! I think I remember you talking about this race last year (maybe?)…it’s so fun to do the same race each year and compare how you felt/your time, etc. Way to go!

    Oh, and I really want one of those biscuits 🙂

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Yup, I did it last year too (the 10K). I am definitely looking stronger and working on getting stronger this summer. I want to beast out some speedy times this Fall.

  15. Stephanie says:

    Congrats lady!!! That is awesome. I highly appreciate the cupcakes and the TCBY – oh how i love TCBY

  16. LilMysNinja says:

    Congrats on placing! I love races like theses. In 2011 I participated in Bayler’s Bash 5k in Bishopville. It is in honor of a little boy named Bayler who lost his fight against cancer. It wasn’t necessarily are very large race, and I didn’t do it with anyone because the people I was supposed to go with bailed. So I ended up driving up there myself and still enjoyed myself even though I didn’t know anybody. It benefits the Palmetto Children’s Hospital. Unfortunately I didn’t get to go in 2012 but I’d like to go back and do it again in the future.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I did that race the first year and loved it! I wanted to do it in 2011, but I had my wisdom teeth cut out a week before and didn’t think it would be smart to race. Loved it so much and Baylor’s family was super sweet- his mom actually loved my blog post about it, and I think about him every year when the College World Series comes along because he got to go the year Carolina won!

      Maybe we can both do it this year, I usually go home for Christmas and home is pretty close to Bishopville… 😉

      • LilMysNinja says:

        That would be awesome! I’m going to go back in your archives and look for the recap, cause I’d love to read it! I wasn’t necessarily blogging much about running back then so I don’t think I have a post about my experience.

      • Amy Lauren says:

        It’s on my race recap page :). The pictures are broken though, I should go back and fix those…

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