Most races I choose to run just because I love to run. However, the Pilgrim Pacer Half on November 20, 2016 was chosen for multiple reasons.
I wanted to do something special in memory of my mother, who passed away in November 2005. This race marked 11 years since we lost mom, and was ran two days after her birthday. To run in her memory I raised money on behalf of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and wore custom-made arm warmers during the race. As seen in the picture, one arm had piano keys in reference to my mom’s love for playing the piano. The other showed mom’s name, dates, and the name of the song she wanted played at her funeral.
The other reason to choose the Pilgrim Pacer was its inclusion in the Harvest Half Series. Along with the Pilgrim Pacer, I ran in the Kansas Half Marathon and Gobbler Grind in the previous two weeks. Finishing those three races within 16 days qualified me for joining Half Fanatics. As it turns out, it takes a Pilgrim to make a Fanatic! I was very happy to meet the criteria needed to join at the Uranus level, and I doubt I will ever try increasing my level.
As happy as I was to become a Fanatic and run in memory of mom, the race itself had some disappointments. I was still dealing with a stress fracture in my foot, but I did improve my time from the two weeks prior.
The course was an out and back run mostly on a wide walking path through the Shawnee Mission Park in Lenexa, KS. The course was wonderful, and shaded from the sun very well. The path was wide enough to get everyone spread out, though did make it a bit hard to pass people when there was runners in both directions.
The problem with this race came with the parking. The starting line had very little room to park, so most runners were needing to park a few miles away. Though there were buses to give everyone a ride, there didn’t seem to be enough. We arrived in plenty of time, but still waited in line about 30 minutes before we got a seat on a bus. The ride back wasn’t near as big an issue of course, but I thought this was the biggest downfall to the organization. There is a bowling alley just across the road, and I wonder if anyone would get in trouble for parking over there.