I don't mention it on this blog but I am a huge New Jersey High School Wrestling Fan. I wrestled in High School (not very good I might add). And then coached the sport for about 11 years after High School. After getting married and having children I stopped coaching but I never lost the love for the sport. So I follow it very closely. Why do I mention that?
Well the Run-4-Ricky race is held in the honor of Ricky Wilcox who was tragically killed in a one car accident days before he was to graduate High School. This year the race fell on the anniversary of his death. Ricky was a very talented wrestler for Buena HS here in South Jersey (one town over from where I live). So for the first 3 years of the race I was not in any physical condition to run the race and last year I just missed it (really not a very publicized race). But I made it a point to do the race this year.
But this is just not a race where you go run and eat a bagel and banana and go home. The race entry fee gets you admission to a full BBQ later in the day. So knowing this I figured the family would make a day out of it. So as I would sign up for the 5K I was going to sign the rest of the family up for the one mile walk. And I got to thinking I wonder if Caitlyn would like to run with me. So I asked and she said sure. Now let me just say before you wonder why only Caitlyn. Trust me I know my kids well enough to know that not only would Kelsey and Liam not do the run they were going to give Kim a hard time about doing the 1 mile walk (and they did).
My plan with Caitlyn was to start in the back of the pack and finish in the back of the pack. We would start running and walk when ever she asked to. I didn't have a time in mind for us to finish just looking to get her through it. It was race day pick up so we left with plenty of time. Got our packet, and stretched a little. Listened to the pre race announcements, they introduced the scholorship winners for the Ricky Wilcox Foundation and were sent to the start line.
We were in the back and off we went. Caitlyn was running hard from the start I had to tell her to slow down we are running our race not to worry about the people in front of us. She was doing great and about 1/2 mile into the race I would say we were with about 10 others that were just running slowly. Then I saw the photographer trying to get a good picture of Caitlyn, he took the shot and asked if he could have our info. So we stopped for about 30 seconds and gave the details of who we were, where we were from and why we were doing this race. He thanked us and off we went. I think there were still a couple of people behind at this point. Very uneventful for the next 1/2 mile we passed some people and saw a cop who gave Caitlyn a bottle of water and encouraging words. Mile 1 was done in just under 13 minutes. Mile 2 headed into the woods and had plenty of zig zag's. Mile 2 was a tough mile for Caitlyn and I would say we walked most of it. Too bad as this mile had plenty of shade and a slight breeze. We would start running pass this one lady and guy, then walk and they would pass us. Then we were passed by a man with a walker (that is not a joke - in the picture of Caitlyn and I you can see him in the blue shirt al the way on the right). Mile 2 was in the 16 minute range.
We came out of the woods and more race volunteers cheered for Caitlyn so she started running again. Then we walked a little again, then it clicked. She saw Kim, Liam, and Kelsey and she got her 2nd (maybe 5th) wind. They were cheering for her as were others that had long finished the race now and were just walking around. Then there was a stretch of no people so we walk a little but you could see the finish line about 1/2 mile away and Caitlyn started telling me about how she was going to raise her hands high in the air and jump when she gets to the finish line. We made the turn to the finish and with 50 yards to go, my little girl who I just spent 43 minutes getting her to this point just looked at me as to say you are not beating me and took off to the finish. I knew the whole time I was not going to cross the line before her but she was just going to make sure of that. She crossed to many cheers at the finish in 43:32. She did forget to jump at the finish line however.
Post race was as advertised. Incredible food and fun for everyone. And Caitlyn slept great that night.
If you really want, here is a video of the fine event. HERE (we are not in the video)
****Video and Pictures courtesy of The Daily Journal of Vineland NJ. And I use the word courtesy loosely since I didn't ask for permission.