On Mother’s Day weekend, Clay and I visited both sets of parents. Since we were already nearby, I ran the 5th Annual Run for Brighter Days in Florence. I used to live in Florence, I have family there, and my company is based there, so when I’m in town, I usually jump into a race.
Run for Brighter Days was one of the last local races I ran in Florence before moving away in 2012, and I was excited to run again for a few reasons.
Run for Brighter Days is held in memory of Lynn Brown-Bulloch’s son, Jonathan. All proceeds benefit teens with depression, which is a great cause and creates dialogue about depression and suicide. May is mental health month, and people need to discuss these issues.
When Jonathan passed away, his family donated his organs. A local friend from Mt. Pleasant, Lorcan Lucey, received Jonathan’s lungs. Lorcan is a runner, and Jonathan’s lungs power him in every run and race, including this one.
When I was in college, one of my cousins who struggled with mental health issues committed suicide. Although I wasn’t extremely close to Norman, his daughter Jill and I were super close growing up, and our family was shocked by his death. Runners could participate in memory of someone, so I ran in memory of Norman and in honor of Jill and Lorcan. I also wore my RUN4P headband and MooreOnRunning shirt in memory of Peyton Moore. Peyton’s organs were donated when he passed away, and Peyton loved trail running, so any runs for organ donation make me think of him.
Clay and I drove up to visit his parents on Friday afternoon, where we had Japanese food for dinner then relaxed a bit, and I got up early on Saturday morning to make the 25 minute drive to the race. It was a scenic drive through the country, which beat Charleston traffic.
I got to the race early, picked up my packet, then met up with a big group of Charleston friends who traveled down to run in honor of Lorcan. I knew they were coming and was excited to see everyone. We also had a lot of dogs on our team!
The race was delayed a bit since people were still arriving and picking up packets at 8 AM, but it was a cool morning and everyone just chilled out and socialized before the start. The start was pretty abrupt and a steep downhill on gravel- yikes! Tyler and Larsyn’s dogs got away and when Larsyn got them, she realized they wanted to RUN the race instead of JOG the race like she’d originally planned (Larsyn and dogs placed in the 5K).
I just tried to stay upright on the gravel downhill, which didn’t last very long and the roads evened out. From looking around at the bib colors at the start, I knew which people were in the 10K race and which were in the 5K. In the first mile, I passed one lady who I knew was running the 10K, but saw another lady ahead of me running the race. I wasn’t sure if I could chase her down or not.
The course was on a trail that was mostly dirt road with a few gravel/rough spots, it was closed to traffic, and very well managed by volunteers. I never had any questions of where to go.
I kept Jonathan and his family, Norman, Jill, Lorcan, and Peyton on my mind during the race. This sport is hard. Training, running, and racing are tough on the body and the mind, but it’s only a fraction of how hard it is to lose a loved one due to suicide, or to be a parent who loses a child and is faced with a decision to donate organs.
At Mile 3, the 5Kers split off and the 10Kers kept running for a second loop of the 5K course (plus a slight detour to add the extra .1). The original course was damaging due to flooding, which meant we didn’t have the usual hill at Mile 4. None of us 10Kers complained about that.
The lady ahead of me was about a minute ahead of me and not slowing down. I knew the course from the first loop, so just focused on running strong. Running on a trail and just 36 hours after Race the Landing #1, I knew I wouldn’t PR but I wanted a strong time and a good workout. At around Mile 5, I started passing the 5K walkers.
I turned off at the finish and saw Lorcan and his dog ahead of me, as they did the 5K. I knew the organizers wanted to get some shots of him finishing since he is an organ donation recipient, so I quickly got ahead of them so I could get out of the way.
I ran through the chute to finish in 46:02 and second place female overall.
I was admittedly a little crushed by the 2 seconds, but I also logged the course as 6.33 miles. This was probably because of the detour, but I’d almost rather have a long course than a hill. I ran by feel and didn’t pay much attention to my Garmin (typical for me in a race lately), so after the race I checked my Garmin splits: 7:30, 7:11, 7:10, 7:18, 7:17, 7:11, and 7:17.
After the race, I talked to the winner and we went on a 2-mile cooldown run. She is moving to Florence from Michigan for work and was in town for the weekend looking at homes when she saw the race and decided to jump in. We had a nice run discussing Florence, gyms, and triathlons. After cooling down, I had some fruit and really delicious Cottile Farms strawberries. Those strawberries were so much better than what you buy in a store, and the organizers also had flowers and other plants for sale after the race.
For placing second female overall, I received a medal. As always, awards are only about who shows up- or in my case, who doesn’t show up since I’m not that fast. I was still proud to receive it and proud of a strong race on tired legs.
This race was for a great cause, and it was fun sharing it with so many friends. Once everyone headed back to Charleston, I went home and celebrated the rest of mother’s day weekend with my in-laws and then with my parents the next day. I’m really glad I got to do the Run for Brighter Days as a part of the holiday weekend.
Race Name: Run for Brighter Days 5K/10K
Location: Florence, SC
Date and Time: May 7, 2016, 8 AM
Entry fee: $25-35
Course: Packed dirt roads with a few trail/gravel sections, mostly flat
Swag: Cinch sack backpack, water bottle
Post-race Food: Arby’s sandwiches, bananas, strawberries, water
Weather: 59 degrees, 7 mph W wind, 63% humidity.