Two years ago I was at Flying Feet Sports looking for new sneakers. I was on my way out with my new kicks when I ran into Missy Mulcahy. She asked if I was looking for a race and handed me a flyer for the Tie Dye 5K. She explained that the race was in memory of her late husband Mark who had passed away suddenly on December 1, 2013 from a heart attack. I was unable to run the race last year, but when the race came around again I was excited to make it my first 5k of the year.
The race benefits the American Heart Association. My family has a long history of heart problems so this is a charity that is near and dear to our hearts.
Location: York, PA (John Rudy Park)
Timing: They capture your bib and time at the finish
Course: Grass, trail
Size: Medium (about 125)
Pre-Race: I signed up using the Pretzel City registration. There is a BIG warning banner telling you not to refresh your browser while registering or you may be charged twice. (The warning is really big). Of course I mention this because I refreshed the site when it seemed to have stopped responding. Oops. To their credit I was contacted within a few hours by the race director via email inquiring if I had a second runner. I begged forgiveness and asked them to apply my second entry as a donation to the American Heart Association.
They have three options for registrations: no shirt, cotton shirt, moisture wicking shirt. I love having the different choices. I have seen more races making the shirt optional and I think it is a great idea. I went with the cotton shirt.
They also offered two packet pickups. The night before the race and the morning of the race. Once again, the more options the better. I went with race day pick up. For smaller races there is rarely a long line for packet pick up.
Race Day: I showed up at John Rudy Park about an hour before the race began. It was a warm sunny morning. It was a perfect day for a run in the park.
Everything was easy. There is plenty of parking at the park. Packet pickup is close to the parking area and it was a breeze. I had lots of time to stretch out in the shade before the race began.
Josh Leik provided live entertainment before, during and after the race, playing The Grateful Dead. It was a nice compliment to the tie dye theme of the race.
Before the race began, there was a prayer, some wonderfully inspiring words from Missy Mulcahy and then a fantastic performance of the Star Spangled Banner.
The Race: The Wednesday before the race I felt a stabbing pain in my calf while running a slow 4 miler. I spent the rest of the week treating my calf and hoping I would be good to go by Sunday. I think I knew in my heart it was too soon but I really wanted to run a race.
I started out fine. My pace was a little fast and I knew I would pay for it later in the race. Almost every course around the York area is hilly so if you don’t calculate that into your race plan you may find yourself struggling. I was excited to be running again so I just went out and figured I would adjust my pace later if necessary.
Later turned out to be the 1.3 mile mark when I once again felt a stabbing pain in my calf. I probably should have just walked to the finish line, but I have never been that smart and the race theme was “Run with Heart”. I knew I had to walk, jog or crawl to the finish line.
I settled on a jog/walk combo. A couple of volunteers asked if I was OK so I apparently I did not look very graceful. (Thanks to the volunteers for checking on me). It was ugly and it was painful but I kept chugging along. I passed a Beagle with his human and when I exclaimed “Beagle!” he gave me some signature Beagle baying. The owner said that was his way of offering encouragement. Having just lost my best Beagle friend, Denver, I took it as a sign.
I did finish (eventually). Hobbling across the finish line in 37:52. It was possibly my slowest 5k ever, but I was proud to at least finish on my feet.
The course was marked very well with volunteers and red heart balloons to show you the way.
Post Race: They had bagels , watermelon, assorted chips, granola, water. They held a raffle for a bunch of gift cards as well as a silent auction.
Goodies: I got my cotton T-shirt and a goodie bag with lost of coupons for local businesses such as Flying Feet Sports, White Rose Bar and Grill and Power Train Fitness.
Overall: You have to try this race next year. If you are in the area and you enjoy walking or running this is a GREAT race. You get the amenities of a big race with a smaller crowd. Inspiring atmosphere. It is worth every penny. Please come out next year and support this great cause and honor the memory of Mark Mulcahy.