I almost didn’t go.
When I signed up for the Midnight Run, it was on the heels of a friend sending me a link to it on Facebook. I’d also seen the billboards. I never looked to see where it was being held. I simply pulled up the site and paid my $20 online.
So, when my husband heard where the race was taking place, he was a little wary and concerned. I’d be out alone, in the dark, in a part of town considered unsafe. I’d most likely have to walk a few blocks just to get to the starting line. I never thought of those issues when I registered, and I was second guessing my decision to run the 5K.
I decided I’d go and check it out. If I felt uncomfortable, I’d only be out $20, and even if I didn’t run that money would go to two charities the organization was sponsoring. I enjoy running with purpose. If I can, I almost always choose to run a race that will benefit someone or a group of people.
Turns out that one of the charities this event was sponsoring pertained to making the Omaha streets safe. The Abide Network is working on ending the “inner city” mentality by partnering with others to refurbish homes, and to create a community in north Omaha neighborhoods. Now, how could I not run for this cause, and in essence, wasn’t I about to commit the very act this charity works on abolishing?
The other charity this event sponsored was The Hope Center, working with at-risk youth helping to provide tangible visions for their future. Youth are empowered, and this helps them excel with their education.
I parked roughly two blocks away from the venue; there were many others like me who were getting out of their cars and heading over to pick up packets containing bibs. We were also handed glow sticks we could wear during the run. I walked back to my car and put on the shirt they’d provided us- an orange number. Easier to see us all in the dark I’d imagine. As I made my way back out to line up, an older gentleman walked next to me and asked me what we were all running for. He was scruffy and a little unkempt, carrying a grocery bag from some convenience store. I told him we were running in support of making Omaha a better place to live, and making the streets safer. He pursed his lips and nodded his head a bit and looked around, and then told me he appreciated all of us wanting to help. That was a really nice way to start the race.
The run was a little disorganized. There was no timer at the starting line, and some people ahead of me were confused and started to run before we were given the go-ahead. There were no porta potties for people like me who always need to go right before a race. There were no mile markers along the way, but it was still fantastic. Temperature was in the low 60’s and police had blocked off a path for us to run. We ran right through downtown Omaha. A few people walking around would stop and hoot and holler for all of us in orange. A group of runners decided to have fun with their outfits and glow sticks. They wore black and put a bunch of sticks together to create faces and other objects on their body. I’m not sure how they ran like that but it was creative and funny.
I had no clue where I was at mileage wise since there were no markers, and I decided not to care about it. I often go into a run telling myself I won’t worry about setting some PR or killing myself to go as fast as I can. I just want to run because it feels good, and to enjoy the ambiance. So, I was amazingly surprised as the finish line loomed up, and this time someone had moved a timer out by it and I crossed a little over 27 minutes. I knew I had a later start time with so many people ahead of me, but I wasn’t sure what my time was going to be.
After checking this morning, I came in at 26:44! An 8:38 pace! I’m no speedy runner, and most likely I never will be. Seems my body is built for endurance vs. speed, but this is the fastest time I’ve ever done a 5K in, giving me a PR!
It was a lot of fun. Although my husband says I can never partake in a midnight run ever again. He’s always supportive of my running, but we didn’t get to bed until close to 2am, and had to deal with a little boy calling to us around 7 this morning…