So on Sunday I was not running, I was watching others run and had a great time. Neale was running the Boilermaker run in Utica NY, a 15K race and I was standing on the side lines cheering the runners on. We did not know there was a 5K event but I embraced my job as official photographer and got to the finish line at 7am. There was already a crowd to watch the 5k runners and it was not long before they showed up. It's interesting watching people run, you see people running with ease and other struggling but they all have a story, a reason for running and a joy of running that is infectious. I saw young kids and seniors all running together, mothers and sons, brothers, team mates and friends. Some wore costumes and almost all wore a smile, it was fun.
Then came the wheelchair athletes, zooming by at great speed, some in custom chairs and a few in regular wheelchairs, that must have been a tough 15K race with all the hills on the course. Finally the elite 15K runner came by. They are a sight to be seen, so graceful and elegant, I feel like an elephant when I run and they look like a gazelle. By this time it was quite hot and the runners where feeling it as they neared the finish line. Some struggled by and some sprinted to the finish, determined to get a PB at all costs. The crowd was there to cheer these athletes on, looking for their loved one or friend in the crowd, ready to cheer extra loud for them. I was watching for Neale, camera in hand and managed to spot his bright orange hat as he turned the last corner, a big smile on his face. He finished with a good time and felt good, a successful run for him.
After the run the party started, the run is sponsored by a local brewery and the beer flowed like water. There was food, beer and music and 14000 happy runners and their families all ready to have a good time. Ottawa really needs to have a run like this, it was such a good time. We are looking forward to going back next year and this time I will be ready to run the 15K and earn my finishers pin and beer...lots of beer.
"Watching the world's best compete fires you up to achieve your own feats of greatness. When it comes to running, participation and spectating go hand in hand."