Beginners and Beyond


Report and Photos: Police and Firefighters Memorial 5K/10K (Read 24 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.


    Short Version


    My 31st race of 2014.  Put on by Purnell Racing, the  Police and Firefighter Memorial 5K held on the morning of May 24, 2014, supports the Police Officer & Fire Fighters Memorial Fund.  In addition to the 5K, there was also a 10K.   Nice turn-out for this event, maybe about 400 folks or so.  I ended up with a time of 34:24 for the 5K, and was 3rd in my age group (60-65).   I thought it was funny that  I had nearly the same finish time as my friend, Bill, who won my age group, but who also runs around a 7-8 minute mile.   This result was because most of the folks on the course missed a turn somewhere and so they went 'long' (Bill ended up with nearly 4 miles instead of 3.1).  Me, being very familiar with the park since I only live a mile away, I just ran the course that RD John Purnell had told me the day before and I ended up with exactly 5K distance, one of the few who did, including the winner of the 5K, who set a course record for this race.  Most of the 10K folks also went long - except the winner and a few of the lead runners who were following the pace biker that rode the exact route.  Maybe next year more volunteers or really well-seen traffic cones with signs/arrows need to be on the course to make sure everyone makes the correct turns. In spite of 'long' for the majority of folks, most of the people I talked to post-race were in pretty good humor about it and just shrugged it off as 'one of those things' that sometimes happens at a race.  As one of my running buds told me, "What the heck,  it's for a good cause, and so I just put in a little more distance for the fallen."  Good attitude.


    Long Version With Photos


    Before The Start


    McAllister Park is the largest park in San Antonio and only about a mile from my house, so I got to sleep in a bit more for this race.  Apparently sleeping in makes me forgetful because I left the house without my bib number and had to go back and get it, so thankfully the race location was close, lol.  I checked the weather before I left the house again and wished I hadn't:  overcast and dark-clouded skies with rain threatening, 74 degrees, 89% humdity and a dew-point of 70, gaaack.  It was quite humid out there!  Finally got to the location with bib intact and got some pre-race photos.


    Police Blue Bear mascot


    Me with some other runners


    Some of the folks pre-race













    Color Guard for the pre-race ceremonies and National Anthem


    Prior to the National Anthem, this bagpiper played Amazing Grace, doing a great job.  The Chaplain gave us a prayer, and then the bugler played the saddest tune in the world to me - Taps - which brought back a lot of memories of some of my fallen past military comrades and departed veterans, including my Dad in Arlington National Cemetery, A WWII and Korean War vet.  Then a lady sang the National Anthem.  All of this was done just beautifully by each participating person...and then we headed to the start line.




    And we're off! The 5K was one loop, the 10K was two loops.  McCallister Park has paved park roads, paved off-road trails and natural off-road trails.  We started on one of the park roads, took a bit of a short natural -off-road trail, that led us to one of the paved trails and after that we were on paved trails until we headed back to the finish line on the park paved road we started on.     I made a mistake of starting off with one of my speedier running buddies and my first mile ended up at just a tad over 10 minutes - way too speedy for this slow old dog to start out - so I slowed down a bit after that. Having done many races in this park I thought I knew all the 5K routes, but this was definitely a different 5K route from the ones normally used in this park.  At times I could see a few folks ahead of me before they disappeared around curves in the trails.  At a few intervals I was alone for a few seconds for so. at one point I made a turn - and there was nobody there....I was all alone for a bit, lol.  I thought "Uh oh...either they changed the course on me or I'm the only one that knows where I'm going."  I just kept chugging on what I was told was the course and after another turn I was suddenly 'back with the pack"  - weird - which found out later most folks in had made a wrong turn and gone the 'long way round' to get to the point where I was now.  Just before I finished, another thing struck my funny bone:  as I made the final turn out of the wooded trails to go back to the finish line, the pacer bike came flying by me leading the winner of the 10K and I thought ' 5K time is slower than that guy's 10K time, lol."  So I chased in the 10K winner...and the 2nd place guy who passed me too...and the 3rd place guy... ...and I didn't even come close to staying with them, lol, they definitely toasted me, finishing way ahead of me.  Even so, it was fun watching these quite speedy folks finishing.


    Another thing i had to laugh at myself about.. this guy and gal who each carried a flag the whole way were a couple of the folks who accidentally went long...and they still managed to finish ahead of me.




    The guy in the red shirt is my speedy bud I started out with - who also went long and finished ahead of me.  I am heading to the 5K turn-around point here and he is already heading back to the finish...


    ...with one of the flag folks not far behind him...





    After The Finish


    Some of the post-race goodies offered...bagels and sausage wraps....


    And beer!


    Cookies and various flavored muffins


    And lots more sausages, grilled by these great folks


    And beer!


    "Happy Finishers" et al....









    5K winner















    Some of the medal winners






    Me and my speedy pal, Bill, at probably the only event where I will ever have nearly the same finish time as him, lol.




    McCallister Park is a very pretty park with lots of running options - paved, off-road, soccer fields, baseball field - and lots of restrooms, water fountains, picnic tables, pavilions, etc.  I am lucky to live close enough to be able to use this park a lot.  In spite of the 'on-course glitch" the majority of folks seemed to enjoy themselves and it was a good event for a good cause, honoring our fallen police officers and firefighters and assisting their families. We did get sprinkled on a bit during the race and after the race, but it wasn't really much at all and, given the humidity, was actually quite refreshing, at least to me anyway.  Thanks to all the sponsors and volunteers who were out there for us!  And most definite thanks, of course, to our police officers and firefighters for their service, and to our military active duty and veteran folks.


    After this I went home and 'rested up' because I went out at 8:30 PM that night and did a 2nd 5K for the day: The Get Up and Glow 5K - report and photos here:

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


      Nice report!



        Sounds like a fun race!  I would trust you to know the course over just about everyone in the race, but that's a shame for those who might have been running for time, placement, etc.  At one local race they marked off the side path with those little flat soccer practice plastic markers, which was really helpful.  Cheaper than cones, I'd imagine, to just close off a little piece of the trail.


          great pics as usual scotty...great cause as well!

          marathon pr - 3:16


            I checked the weather before I left the house again and wished I hadn't:  overcast and dark-clouded skies with rain threatening, 74 degrees, 89% humdity and a dew-point of 70, gaaack.


            I see Damaris has gotten to you as well. 


              Looks like a great place to run and a good cause.  I'm a bit sorry for those who ran long, especially on the 10k, but I'm glad that most didn't take it badly.  Maybe they should take a page out of the hash harriers' book and use flour to mark turns if they don't have enough volunteers to keep people on track.  Looks like they had a nice spread for all of you, and I am sure the beer was welcome on a warm and humid day.