As a runner that participates in races, we continually see Police Officers helping with traffic to keep us safe. Being a Police Officer is one of the most dangerous jobs you can have. It takes a selfless, caring, and extremely brave soul to put themselves in the constant line of unknown dangers. We citizens tend to take our safety for granted, and forget that something as simple as a traffic stop could be the last duty an officer performs. No matter the reason an officer doesn’t return home, it is quite possible there is a family that was waiting at home for that officer to return. Unfortunately, sometimes the worst imaginable things happen. It is for those times that we choose to honor the fallen that knowingly put their lives on the line for people they didn’t even know. The Officers Down 5k gives us an opportunity to repay a small portion of gratitude to those that gave the ultimate sacrifice.
The OD5k is a country-wide series of races that started in 2011 by T.J. Burke. It is meant to celebrate our officers and honor those that have fallen. This particular event in Wichita was organized by a local officer’s wife. To my knowledge, this was the first event ever organized by said wife and it showed.
The start/finish line was right by the bathroom, which were pretty busy as you could imagine. All of the registration, booths, and stage were a bit further away. Opening ceremonies were supposed to start at 7:45am, but didn’t get started until 8:05. That meant the race would get started about 10 minutes late.
The opening ceremonies included a few speeches before heading to the starting line. Once there some officers drove up to the starting location with lights and sirens, which was followed up by the National Anthem.
The Wichita OD5k was held at a popular city park, which has more than enough trails to supply 3.1 miles needed for this event. Thankfully there are a lot of trees in the park that kept us in shade for most of the run. Unfortunately the race started out on the narrow trail rather than the street. This created a lot of congestion for the runners at the start. Once everyone got spread out the trails were very nice. My only complaint on the trail would be the slight shortcut we took through the grass, which adds a little more risk of rolling an ankle. The course also seemed to be just a bit longer than it was supposed to be.
After the race was a simple lunch and a community day. We didn’t notice much going on other than a 100 yard dash for kids. We stayed until the age group awards were announced, which per usual did not include me.
It was an honor for us to run this event. This is a cause that is very personal for us, especially Meghan. We look forward to next year’s event.