So, it’s no secret that I run. It’s also no secret that I was the Peach Queen of the 2007 Wilbraham Peach Festival, a hokey little festival that my town had every year for something like 30 years, until the year after I graduated high school when not enough people volunteered. Totally lame, right??
Well, the scholarship pageant lives on! And to raise money for the scholarships, there is an annual 5-mile road race. It’s called the “Peach Sundae Road Race”, because afterward participants are treated to a complimentary peach sundae: vanilla ice cream (did I mention I’m from the hometown of Friendly’s?), peach pie filling, and whipped cream. No cherry, but nobody’s missing it. I ran it once before my Junior year of high school, which is also before I actually took a liking to running, because my dad ran a marathon that year and so I took up running solely for his sake. What a horrible idea. I hurt, it was humid, and I had to run into the woods to pee about a quarter mile from the finish. After I was done, I swore up and down that I’d never do it again.
But obviously I did, or else I wouldn’t be writing this post. I went home the night before, selling my ticket to Identity (www.idfestival.com) and turning down an epic day with Kari & co. in order to ensure that I was well rested. After all, this was my town, my scholarship – I had to run fast. Ya know, show em what a Peach Queen can do! So I spent all afternoon Sunday with an exacto knife and spray paint cutting out stencils to make a sweet shirt to run in. I’ve got the exacto knife calluses to prove it! It came out awesome though, with “WILL RUN FOR ICE CREAM” on the front, and the back like a jersey with “Peach Queen” for the name and the 0 a peach. Clever, right?? I thought so…
Anyway, I WON! 33:19, so a mile pace of 6:40; not too shabby. And yes, I did have the ice cream afterward, although it’s probably the last thing I can think of wanting to eat after a hot, sticky 5 miles. But hey, it was all part of the fun! Small local races generally are just that – fun. There’s no fancy timing, some guy with a stopwatch maybe, but there’s a real sense of camaraderie the whole way. I saw classmates from high school, teammates from my past, and old neighbors. Even running small local races in other towns where I don’t know anyone, I’ve found that there is something really special about them. Everyone is truly happy to be there, whether it’s for the love of running through little neighborhoods by kids playing on the swing set, or because it’s for a cause they passionately support; local races are always a good time. So get over the less-than-perfect organization and run one!