Who would have thought the temperature in upstate NY at 6 a.m. the morning of May 2 would be 66F? This lovely piece of news did not bode well for the race I was heading out to as soon as I ate and got dressed. Syracuse was promising to be a tough place to run today, even in the morning.
I have run four races prior to Sunday’s Mountain Goat Run. While these have all been well attended, they were nothing like yesterday. As we turned at one of the first corners, all that could be seen for several city blocks were runners filling the streets. I was truly impressed as the weather was hot and humid – normal for July but rather odd considering there had been snow flurries earlier in the week.
This particular run is so difficult the foundation that sponsors it also does six weeks of training runs on the hills in Syracuse. Those who have run it in the past will attest to the demands the course makes on those who run it. It is not easy but it is fulfilling when you finish.
The race was not without its high points for me – pun intended. I am still a novice runner. This is my third race that is longer than a 5K. I like to see the fashion – yes, there is fashion in the running world – and love the during the race runs with everyone that I pass or that passes me. This race did not disappoint.
There were women in running skirts. I have several of these but they are cotton and I would not wear them for running due to sweat. I also love my One More Mile running shorts. I wear them for every race and every training run.
There was at least one person running in some sort of barefoot alternative foot covering, such as the Vibram Five Fingers. I have read a lot about these from Matt at NoMeatAthlete.com and have talked with a couple of people who love them.
There was the mother who was running with her father. A young girl at one of the corners wore a lacrosse shirt. The mother asked how long she had been playing as she has a daughter who is 6 and mom wants her to try lacrosse. We talked, as we ran, about family meals and starting sports at early ages.
There was the man who was constantly being asked by the police at intersections and by the paramedics biking the course if he was okay. He was almost always holding his chest when I saw him. We passed each other many times and even ran together for a bit. He had a broken/cracked rib. Still, he ran on and finished the race.
There was the group of friends who work with my cousin. They are employees of a local school district and all ran together. No, they did not finish together but they started that way and a few of them wound up at a Mexican restaurant after the race for food. These people that I barely know waited at the end of the last block before the finish to cheer me on to the finish with my family.
There are the runners who didn’t finish. I saw a few being attended to by paramedics along the course. It is not that these people were unprepared. It is that the weather took a strange, summer-like turn suddenly, leaving all of us with little time to adapt and be ready for the heat and humidity.
There were the two men, running together – one with a knee brace on and the other a bit younger than the first. The younger one was not going to go ahead but was running the older, braced one’s pace.
There was the couple. It was her first race. He was running at her pace, despite continued urgings – yes, we paced each other many times – from her for him to go ahead and run. Not only was he running her pace, but when sweat was dripping down her leg into her socks and running shoes, he offered to wipe her leg with a towel he was carrying. They finished just ahead of me.
There were the two women in black. Yes, I said black. They ran together the entire race. I passed them. They passed me. I loved the color in their hair. One had purple highlights, the other real vibrant red hair.
There were the musicians who were out at various spots along the route. I believe all were out on their own, not set up by the race. They were great and greatly appreciated. I tried to clap as I ran by each performer or band.
There were the goats at mile two or so. I am still laughing at this as we are talking the middle of the city
There were the shirts hung across the road. Do I remember which street? Heck no! Did I look at them when I ran under them? Heck yes!
There were the chalk writings on the road. The best were the ones on Thornden Hill. They were fantastic and had me laughing up the last – at least in my mind – hill of the race.
I know that I will run this race again. I may not have finished in spectacular standard but I did finish and I loved the route. Yes, the hills were hard, even brutal in the heat and humidity. But the community spirit that showed through to those not from Syracuse was amazing.