Beginners and Beyond


Report and Photos: Monarch Academy Snowball 5K (Read 30 times)

Barking Mad To Run


    I am Scott aka Scottydog, runner since 1983, cancer survivor, retired Air Force, employee of University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), friend of dogs, fun-runner, and all-around goofball.  In 2003 I had spinal arthritis flare up and ever since then I’ve done the run/walk method since it hurts my back too much now to run continuously with no walk breaks.  I’m on what I call my “2F Plan” which stands for Fun and Finish.  At events that I now do for fun I carry my camera, chase “Great Legs” to help motivate my slow old man self to keep moving forward, and take pictures before, during, and after the race. Sometimes I even get a nice post-race sweaty hug from one of the Great Legs ladies.   I then do a pictorial race report of my events.  I also carry dog biscuits with me to treat any dogs I may meet at a run, hence my nickname “Scottydog.” Here is yet another of my Race Reports With Photos, and my thanks to all the people I interacted with for their graciousness and good humor in letting me take photos of them.





    My 5th race of 2014.  Held on January  18 at Morgan's Wonderland - - , a park designed for use by persons with disabilities/special needs. I love this park!  I was disabled when I was young and I sure wish they'd had a park like this around back then.  The park concept was created by Gordon Hartman and named for his daughter, Morgan, a special needs young lady herself, an amazing young lady with a lot of heart.    A well known philanthropist in the community, Mr. Hartman supports many worthy causes and is also the owner of the major league soccer team in San Antonio, The Scorpions, whose stadium is right across from Morgan's Wonderland.  This race supported Monarch Academy - - which is located at Morgan's Wonderland, and provides students with special needs students a unique learning environment to help them reach their maximum potential.   This year was the inaugural race and there was quite a nice turn-out for a first-time race.  Even with my photo stops along the way, I manged to finish in 32:35, good enough for 3rd place in my age group. Very nice, as this is my last month in this age group (55-59), as I turn 60 on February 10th.   Besides the 5K, there was also a 1K walk/run, with accessibility for the disabled.




    My "mate" Gail accompanied me for moral support and to say hello to Angel, the Race Director, whom Gail knew through Wells Fargo, for which my work works, and "Wells", as it is called,  was a sponsor of this event.


    Your host for this report..c'est moi!  With my lovely mate, Gail.


    Before The Race


    Gail and I arrived with about 40 minutes to start time and I began wandering around taking some pre-start photos.


    Gail with my best running bud, George.  70+ years old and still gong strong...and still a faster runner than me, lol.


    Race Director Angel, one of the nicest ladies you'd ever want to meet



    Gail and Race Director Angel


    When you come into Morgan's Wonderland front entrance, you are greeted by this sculpture


    Pirate Ship play area by the man-made park lake


    A view of the lake and  part of the sidewalk trail we participants went on for the start and finish portions of the race.


    Toyota Field, the home of the major league soccer team The Scorpions, right across from Morgan's Wonderland. Toyota is the 'naming rights" sponsor of the team. Toyota has a large manufacturing facility in San Antonio that makes Toyota Tundra trucks.


    Park Stadium area, location of pre-and-post-race events


    Pre-start participants, supporters, etc..




    These ladies are showing the race shirt all participants got














    Two more of my running buddies, Gene and wife Loyce




    On The Course


    We started in Morgan's Wonderland park, did a loop around the park lake, exited the park, then did a loop around the nearby youth soccer fields - also sponsored by Toyota and all the fields are named after different brands of Toyota vehicles - exited that area and headed for Hero's Stadium - a stadium that is part of the Northeast Independent School District and the site of high school football games and many other community activities - did a small loop in front of that, and then headed back for Morgan's Wonderland, finishing up by going back around the lake trail we'd first come out on.   A very nicely designed, well laid out course.


    Going around the youth soccer fields






    Two floaters!


    Heading toward Heroes Stadium





    In front (or is it behind?) Hero's Stadium


    Two of the many great volunteers out there for us


    After that, I ran non-stop for the last 1.2 miles in. As the finish line came in sight, there was one small young man in front of me. I called out to him 'I'm catching you, buddy!  Don't let me do it, I'm an old man, I know you can beat me!"  And he sure did, lol.  I chased him all the way to the finish, with him finishing ahead of me by a good 30 seconds.  He had on a yellow bib, so I think he was doing the 1K, which was one loop around the lake..but even little youngster!


    And here is that young man, with his Dad...and apparently the sun bothered my speedy finisher's eyes...


    So I made sure to get



    After The Race


    Well, there is no snow in San Antonio, but we did have snowballs - donut holes with powdered sugar on them, provided by sponsor Krispy Kreme. They were VERY popular and gone by the time I got to the goodies table, darn the luck.  But they had lots of other goodies too, and I enjoyed some of those while I wandered around taking post-race photos of the "Happy Finishers", etc...
























    My speedy friends got first-place medals in their age groups



    Nice trophy for one of the overall winners


    And the reason we were all out there...some of the Monarch Academy kids, with our race MC, who did a great job


    Before Gail and I headed for home, she relaxed for a few minutes on this unique Butterfly Bench







    This is one of the best and most fun events I've ever done.  For a 1st-time event, the organizers did GREAT!  I've run several events in the past at Morgan's Wonderland and the course for today's 5K was the best laid out, most well-designed of any of them I've done.  I've also done several inaugural events over the years and most of them have 'glitches' - which is understandable, that's 'growing pains" for the race, as it goes on for the first time - but from what I saw this event went off perfectly.  Nice quality cotton t-shirts, tasty pre-race and post-race goodies, a really good race venue - I LOVE running at Morgan's Wonderland when we runners actually get to run inside the park instead of just only on the surrounding park roads - lots of really friendly participants and, of course, a really good race cause.  For you local racers who chose to do one of the other races in our area on this day, you sure missed out.  This one is definitely a keeper to put on your race calendar in the future and I sure hope it grows more popular with our local runners and walkers in the future.

    "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." Theodore Roosevelt


      Great job, Scotty!   That Morgan's Wonderland Park looks AMAZING!   I'll bet the kids LOVE it!   Thanks for sharing and for all the fabulous pics!   Have a wonderful day!

      But The Smile That I Sent Out Returned With You.

        Way to go, Scotty.  What a great pic of Gail on the butterfly bench.


          A great location and excellent cause. How were you disabled when you were a kid, Scotty?



          "It's not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves."

          ~ Sir Edmund Hillary


            Looks like a really nice race on a good course.  Thanks for sharing.


              Congratulations on race 5 of the year (that's unbelievable!  The year just started) and on 3rd in your AG.  You rock, Scotty!  Congratulations also to your friends and their AG wins.  This sounds like such a neat, unique park.  The butterfly theme is soooo cute, and that bench is the best.


              "We do not become the people who this world needs simply by turning our backs on anyone we don’t like, trust, or deem healthy enough to be in our presence. "  ---- Shasta Nelson

              Barking Mad To Run

                A great location and excellent cause. How were you disabled when you were a kid, Scotty?


                March of Dimes baby, born with a birth defect. Born with dislocated hips and a spine problem.  Went through the March of Dimes system and remember as a youngster me and my mom collecting for the March of Dimes, filling those old cards they used to have, with slots in them for the dimes.  I even have an extra vertebrae, lol.  I recall when I had an MRI done on my spine, the orthopedic doctor, after looking at the results, told me  if I ever had to have back surgery to make sure to tell the surgeon that so he/she would count correctly and not do surgery on the wrong place. I was told all my life by doctors that because of that birth defect there was a high possibility that after I got older I would probably get some spinal arthritis when I got to my 40s or 50s and sure enough this is what eventually happened.  I used to kind of 'slouch' in my seat at school growing up and my teachers would always tell me "Sit up straight!"  I finally had to get a note from my doc saying I COULDN'T sit up completely straight, lol

                "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." Theodore Roosevelt


                  Way to go, Scotty.  What a great pic of Gail on the butterfly bench.




                  And I also love the picture of little cutie you raced to the finish line. 


                  Congratulations, Scotty! I'm glad that you enjoyed this race. 

                  PRs: Boston Marathon, 3:27, April 15th 2013

                          Cornwall Half-Marathon, 1:35, April 27th 2013

                  18 marathons, 18 BQs since 2010


                    #5 already? And we are just barely half way through the month! Congrats.