What color is your race?
David Yon, Saturday,
Saturday morning’s Run for Sickle Cell 5K was held under brilliant blue skies and probably the coolest temperatures for a race, so far, this summer. Add in whatever strange atmospheric vibes fast approaching Hurricane Irma was creating and you could imagine that fall had arrived.
Perhaps it was the storm, perhaps it was the new partnership between GWTC and the Sickle Cell Foundation, maybe it was those fall like temperatures, or maybe it was the DJ blasting out tunes. Whatever, there were more smiles and laughter at this race than any I have been a part of in a good while. Maybe it was the fast course? A group of men formed an uplifting tunnel of support just before the finish line and made sure every finisher felt like a winner. You may remember these guys from the marathon, where they have been the best cheer squad two years in a row.
Katie Sherron and Tristen Cravello battled almost the entire race for the top finishing spot. I was doing my best to help as a volunteer and had the pleasure of watching them at a couple of turns. Cravello built a decent lead early, but Sherron hung on and then began to reel him in. And when they ran by the group of women guarding the corner of Tanner Dr. (Bragg Dr.) and Wheatley Road with just over one tenth of a mile to go, Katie had the lead. Tristen was not finished though. The FSU student is new to Tallahassee racing, but he moved past Sherron down the final stretch and found the finish line before anyone else could do so. His winning time was 17:38, while Sherron finished in 17:43 – the fastest time she has run since Sir Barrett arrived a little over a year ago. Speaking of Sir Barrett, he teamed up with Dad, Zach DeVeau, to crush his previous stroller PR with an 18:09 finish time. Grandma, Christine DeVeau) also finished the race. She and her husband live in Sarasota and decided to ride out Irma in Tallahassee with son, Zach, and daughter-in-law Katie.
Paul Guyas, Jeff Rollins and Velma Stevens served as the race directing team. Paul was so confident they had things under control, he chose to run the 5K and he finished in 18:09. His two daughters, Sade Guyas and Kaari Guyas, finished first and second females in the mile. Mom, Martha, was at the race too, taking second in her age group in the 5K. Gavin Brown, 8 years old, took top spot in the mile.
The number of finishers was not what we might have hoped for, but I suspect Irma had a lot to do with that. Last year Hurricane Hermine rolled through town the week before the race. That is not really the reputation we want for this race. No, I like talking about the only 5K that offers 3 water stops on the course and one, with a lot of food, at the finish. The races and the walk all started on time this year, the course was flat and fast, and the volunteers were some of the most enthusiastic I have seen. The awards were presented promptly. I hope this partnership will grow and make a difference in the lives of those who suffer from sickle cell. It is a disease we need to get rid of.
Anyway, I color this race green. Green is for “go” and “grow.” And I hope (and will work) to help make that happen.