This race was a last-minute decision. My daughter has been running a little bit with Girls on the Run and seemed to be interested in running with me. Just last week we ran a mile together down the Rail Trail. She seemed strong and confident during that outing, so I thought maybe she might want to try a 5k with me. I found one that was close, involved horses, and was for a great charity. So we decided to go for it and run the Equiteam 5K for Autism.
Equiteam Support Services mission statement:
“EquiTeam Support Services is a nonprofit organization providing Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP)/Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) to residents of York County and surrounding areas that are seeking mental wellness as well as emotional and behavioral stability. EAP/EAL is a therapeutic approach using horses as a tool for growth and learning. Participants learn about themselves and others by participating in activities with the horses, and then processing (or discussing) feelings, behaviors, and patterns. EAP/EAL is a powerful and effective therapeutic approach that has an incredible impact on its participants.”
Location: Seven Valleys, PA
Timing: Chip Timing
Course: Trails, and pavement
Size: Small (about 100 people)
Pre-Race: I signed up online without any problems. They have a Facebook page that had some race information, but everything you needed to know was on the race sign up page.
Race Day: We were only 7 minutes away from the farm where the race was held. It was easy to find and there was plenty of parking for everyone. We arrived about 45 minutes before the race began, which gave us of plenty of time to pickup our packets and retreat to the car to stay warm on this chilly October morning. It was the first frost of the year so the grass was cold and wet. I have to admit I enjoyed sharing the pre-race time with my daughter. Fretting over bib placements, discussing pre-race bathroom time and stretching were a few areas where I got to share my limited running knowledge.
They held a kids race at 0800 before the combined start for the 5k/10k. The children ran around one of the horse rings and each child received a medal.
The Race: Kay and I found a spot at the back of the pack. Our goal was to finish and run as much of the race as we could. We started off across the wet grass until we hit some pavement. My daughter learned how wet, cold feet feel. She wasn’t a big fan. On the other hand, we passed a lot of horses, which she loved.
The race transitioned from the pavement to the Rail Trail. We stayed on the Rail Trail until we reached the Howard Tunnel which marked the water stop and the turn around point. The 10K proceeded straight down the trail. My daughter was a trooper. I tried to push her without being obnoxious. Every time I asked her to run she responded. We would pick out a landmark and run to it. Before we knew it, we could see the finish line. We kicked it in for the final 200 meters and she was able to beat me. We finished at a respectable 40:59. Not bad for our first run.
Post Race: We took some time to enjoy the snacks after the race. They had water, orange slices, pretzels, granola bars, crackers and fruit snacks. The usual stuff. They had a screen that showed the race results. Unbelievably I was the first place male for my age category. More importantly my girl was third in her age group! I have never been so proud. She beamed from ear to ear when they called her name. To make it an even more perfect day, we won one of the door prizes. I couldn’t have planned for a better first 5K experience for my daughter. Thank you so much Equiteam!
The Goodies: We got these awesome cotton shirts (my daughter loves the horse design), coupons for Chik-Fil-A and Ritas, our medals, and a skull full of candy with a gift card (door prize).
Overall: We had a great time. I couldn’t have asked for a better day with such amazing results. We would gladly run this next year to support this important charity. If you live in the York area this is a great location for a 5k/10k. Come on out and join us.