We LUNGed Forward! All 5Ks!
We were happy when it wasn’t raining when we arrived at the site this morning… and then it started raining right when we got out of our cars. Thankfully, Gwen and Justin had procured a couple of pop-up tents for us to hang out under during the pre-race festivities.
There were a ton of sponsors there, and some food and beverages, but not many of us ventured out from under the tents to check out all of these things. We did make our way to the stage about 45 minutes prior to the race when they had any lung cancer survivors in attendance. Anyone who is living through this disease is a survivor. I think there were about 20 of them who braved the weather (including some thunder and lightning about 10 minutes prior to their time on stage). It was moving to see that there were a couple of other young ones present, but the best was hearing that there were a couple of LONG time survivors there! One lady (whom Gwen already knew) is an 18 year survivor, but one of the survivors that walked across the stage today was something like a 26 or 27-year survivor.
Next up was the “survivor walk” which apparently was also the one-mile walk. This is traditionally led by the survivors. Will wanted to race in this, and there were other members of the Gwen Strong team participating as well. As you may be able to imagine, it is a bit awkward to pass the survivors who are leading this walk, but Will managed anyway, and wound up taking first place. The rest of the Gwen Strong Team had no idea that finishers were approaching the finish line as it was raining and we were under the tent, therefore no one was at the line to greet him. Oops!
Anyway… the 5K got underway and we had a lovely time running the hills in North HILLS. And then it also rained some more. By the time some of us slower participants were finishing
coming up to a finish line that was uphill, mind you, the skies really opened up. And then, once the race was over, so was the rain. Thankfully, the temperature was in the low 70s, so we were not cold!
Sister Kristen and I ran most of the time – except for up those North Hills!! I got that first one… but ugh.
Next up was the kiddie dash. Brooks, Will, Lachlen, Kenlee, and Callie all participated and all ran the whole time!
Team Gwen Strong had a strong showing at the medal ceremony. Three of our runners placed in their age groups! And Gwen, being Gwen, finagled her way into a medal. She WAS the first female survivor to cross the finish line, after all… And they really should have a group for that…
Thanks to Gwen’s amazing support system and the graciousness of so many of you, her team came in third place in the fundraising team category. Gwen scored a nice prize for that! But truly, the Lung Cancer Initiative of NC is the winner – they raised over $150,000 – much of which goes toward lung cancer research!