On race day several of the ambassadors gathered in the VIP area to chat, have some snacks and grab a photo or two. Before we knew it, the announcer was calling for the 10K race participants to enter the corrals. A few friends were racing or walking the 5K and a few others had gathered to cheer. There was lots of energy in the air even though the event had started many hours prior for the cyclists. The number of people participating in this event was incredibly impressive. An estimated 25,000 people had signed up to participate and funds raised towards heart and stroke research. We wandered towards the start along the highway on-ramp. We could see cyclists in the westbound lanes crossing the finish. The runners and walkers would be taking over the eastbound lanes. As we approached the overpass start area, we saw a drone filming the scene from above and huge heart balloons on the bridge. People we cheering and soon we were off!
After a kilometer or so I remembered that I was running on the raised highway, something that has never been done before! I couldn't help but stop and take photos along the way. I had had thoughts of trying for a PB time, but with such a unique race, I wanted to enjoy the scenery, people and vibe. Unfortunately at some point it seems that someone moved the 10K turn around sign but left a long line of pylons, so the runners didn't know where to turn and wound up adding a kilometer to their sight-seeing race. Upon our return west we saw a staff member frantically moving signs and pylons around. Hopefully if anyone had been going for a personal best they had passed prior to the mix up. We continued on and then met up with the huge crowds of walkers going the other way. A few more photo opportunities and then it was back down the incline to the finish! My friends were on the sidelines cheering loudly which gave me the boost I needed to sprint to the finish. One of my slowest races, but it was definitely one with a lot of impact.
We made our way through the long exit to Heart Park, medals, food, music and more photos. We relaxed here for awhile, meeting friends, eating, taking photos and enjoying the atmosphere. It was a great morning.
Thanks to all who supported me in raising funds for the race and to the Heart and Stroke foundation for having me as a race ambassador!