Charleston AFB Run the Runway 5k - New PR!!!

I know I just ran a marathon and I should be recovering so I can run another marathon (and a half) in two months, but this race was too cool to pass.

For the past two years the Charleston Air Force Base has had a 5k that was only open to base personnel.  There was a race open to the public years ago, but for whatever reason stopped.

So when I heard that this year's race was going to be open to civilians I had to sign up (plus, it was only $7.00)!

So what's the big draw?  Its the fact that part of the 5K course is on the runway (and its Veterans Day)!  How cool is that?

Really, how often do you get to go down on the tarmac of an airport (unless you fly out of Charleston and then its all the time - but that's different)...

I showed up this morning and had to go through the security gate and park at the base commissary.  From there, I boarded a bus and took a quick trip to the starting line (I mean short - like 2 minutes).

They had the gym open so everyone could stand inside and stay warm until the start.  It was nice to see a mix of military personnel, family members and civilians.  It was really cool, as a veteran, to be on a military base on Veterans Day.

I checked my bag (that's right, they even had a bag check) and headed to the starting line.

The start was awesome.  There was a parachute made into an arch for the runners to go under as they crossed the start.  The national anthem was played and then a few words were said by the Wing (could have been the Base) commander and then the race started.

I decided to start my Garmin, but not check my splits (I was really planning on taking it easy).  We ran under the parachute and then down a road heading to the runway.  After about half a mile I saw the first C17.  If you have never been close to one of these planes you have no idea how big they are.  They are huge!

As we entered the airfield, there was plenty of security around to make ensure we were going the right way (I later found out that all the military personnel lining the course were volunteering their off time for the race).

I was in complete awe as we passed between two C17's and then headed down the actual runway.  It was so freaking cool!  I could step on black marks made by the planes as they landed!

The runway was long (I mean longer then the bus trip to my car long).  But running down that strip was so fun I would do it again right now!  We made a turn at the two mile mark and headed back towards the gym. I had noticed that the wind was blowing from the side as I was running most of the course, but as soon as I  made the turn this crazy hard wind was right in my face.

After about another mile, I made one more turn and could see the finish line.  This was the first time I realized that I was about to set a new PR!

After I finished, I checked my time and was blown away.  I had finished in 22:59 (one second under 23 minutes is still "under 23 minutes")!!!

I sure have used a lot of exclamation marks in this post...

There was a really nice stage set up (with bleachers) for the awards ceremony.  The widow of Brigadier General Mikolajcik (who the race is in honor of) spoke about her husband, the race and about ALS (which her husband died of).  The awards were presented and a group of young kids who had run the race were recognized.

I knew the race would be well organized, but I was mostly impressed with the community spirt of this race.  I am so glad it's now open to the public and will absolutely be planning on running this race again! - (one more exclamation mark for good measure)

There is still time to make a donation to the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund!  Click on this link and make a contribution to on Veterans Day!


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