Here’s what it was like to run in the Be The Match NYC 2018 run/walk.
Running can be just as much as a team effort as it is a solo adventure. Between joining running groups to run with friends or signing up for races with relays, running doesn’t have to be so lonely. In fact, one of the best ways to compete or run for fun in a 5k as a team. And even better is to do so with family.
This is exactly what my family and I did for Saturdays Be The Match 5k in NYC.
It was in many ways, the best race I’ve run in this year.
There is nothing more fulfilling to me then influencing others to be healthy and give a stab at this whole running thing. It warms my heart when others say I am an inspiration because really I am just a normal woman and mom who just so happens to really enjoy the sport.
My inspiration is my mother. I aspire to be like just like her as a human being, as a woman and as a mother. She is the strongest person I know with the biggest heart. Which is why finding out she has a rare form of T-cell blood cancer was the worse news we could be told. While there is no cure for my mom’s leukemia, she is a fighter and doing well. This is not a death sentence.
But the sad reality is that others aren’t so lucky. Which is why adding bone marrow donors to the bank for lifesaving transplants and other forms of treatment are so important for those who are battling the disease.
So when I came across the info for Be The Match’s run/walk, there was no way I could pass it up.
A Team Effort
I knew there was no doubt in my mind that I would run this race. But I thought it would be a great way to support my mom and let her know she has a whole team behind her. Plus it would be a great way to do something as a family, making memories and doing something healthy together. A win, win, win.
And everything about this event was a team effort. It was my older sister’s idea to fundraise for Be The Match 5k, and my younger sister helped us design team shirts. We all got the word out about the cause and with the help of our family and friends raised $1808, way more than our $1000 goal.
Be The Match run and walk took place on a beautiful Saturday on Roosevelt Island. It felt like we were on a private island, our own playground for the day with the city skyline in front of us. It was a gorgeous fall morning, the sun sparkling on the water that served as a barrier to Manhattan.
There were plenty of event volunteers directing participants where to go. There were ample bathrooms including real flushable ones that were clean. Participants were welcomed to all the bananas, granola bars, and water (and even sparkling seltzer) they wished.
The event started with an opening ceremony that highlighted donors and matches and included awards for top fundraisers. There was a background with photo props, places to fill out cards with reasons why the runner or walker was there and a DJ. There was a nice crowd that turned out for the event, and excitement soon filled the air.
Then it was go time.
Be The Match’s races started with the tot trot for the little ones. With capes on, the little ones lined up and ran a few yards to their finish line where smiling parents waited. It’s been a while since my little guy has done a “race,” so the crowd cheering took him by surprise. We ran hand and hand down the paved road towards my rooting family. At the end he did start to cry, but he looked so adorable and this stage mom couldn’t be more proud.
Be The Match: The Run
This was my first time running the event, but the organizers said that the course this year was different because of construction on the island. Instead, this was an out and back course where runners went 1.5 mile before looping on back. At that halfway point there was an aid station with water to hydrate for the way back.
The course was flat and fast, mostly on the paved street and alongside the river. Runners were instructed to stay to their right so that on the way back they didn’t collide with the walkers who started five minutes after the run began.
My goal was just to finish around 28 minutes since this was my last 5k PR. I really wanted to place first for my age group and be able to win an award for my team, but fell a few spots short of the goal. My entire team (and I) am proud of the hard work we put in, and still saw me as a winner in their eyes.
I ran the entire time side-by-side with my “brother,” who can run an impressive 7 and change minute mile and just graduated as FDNY EMT. We pushed each other the entire time, and I think he caught the race bug since when we were finished he said he would totally run another with me again. It felt good to have someone race alongside me, and we kept motivating each other the entire way. He gassed it to the end, finishing a few seconds in front of me.
And I crossed the finish line at 26:37, making it a new PR for me. I am so proud of this run and how my running as improved. Each race I am getting faster and stronger, and it didn’t feel like death pushing it to this pace. And speaking of pace, my average pace was 8:34! Never would I ever thought I would see an 8 here, and really owe it to my running coach who has made me a better runner this past year.
A Family Thing
Also running the 5k was my older sister’s friends, and my younger sister and her friend walked the 5k. My mom and great aunt signed up for the 1k (my great aunt walked around with my son), my mom deciding to run it that morning. I love that she showed an interest in running, and it’s so true that once a participant is there on race day, there is a certain energy and excitement that just makes you just want to give it your all. She was ready to roll and finished first for her age group.
Afterward, we let my toddler run around and collect sticks (which made him crack up) before hitting Dallas BBQs for post-race grub. We ate and drank every calorie we burned and it was so worth it.
Not only was Be The Match 5k a great event for obvious reasons, but it also became a family day that I will cherish. I was able to get my entire family excited to run or walk and allow them to enter my world and my passion. It felt good giving for others as a family unit and being a team for my mom. It was her day and seeing her smile made it worthwhile. I strongly recommend getting family and friends together for a good cause. Not only will it make you stronger as a runner, but it will also make a family stronger too.