Yesterday, I had a chance to run my first 5K since the fall of 2000. It was the Windy25 Memorial 5K which started on the Strip in Las Vegas.
The race is an annual fundraiser for the Windy25 Memorial Fund. The mission of the fund is to support the families, friends and colleagues of fallen military personnel and is a tribute to the five members of the Windy25 crew who lost their lives on April 6, 2005 in Ghazni, Afghanistan. As a military member with almost 20 years on Active Duty, this is 100% the type of organization I like to give support to.
About the race - Sarah and I showed up at 7:30 AM to pick up our packets. We parked a couple of hotels away at the Aria and walked over the Cosmopolitan where the race was going to start. Packet pickup had a little bit of confusion when the staff realized that somebody else had accidentally picked up her race bib the previous day. Once they got that straightened out, we took our packets (the shirts were cotton but nicely printed) back to the car and hung out listening to the small marching band at the event while we waited for the race to start.
At 8:45, the runners were escorted to the start line which was on Las Vegas Boulevard right in front of the Cosmopolitan. The National Anthem was sung and shortly after that, we were off. About a 100 meters after leaving the start line, we turned West onto Harmon Ave. The course went up a small hill which was an overpass over I-15. Once we got to the other side of the highway, we went down a short hill and from that point to the the turnaround, the course was pretty flat. At about 3/4 of a mile, the course turned right onto Polaris Road for a short out-and-back before returning to Harmon and continuing West. Pretty soon, I was at the turnaround and checked my time: 12:20.
As I retraced the route, I ran into a hiccup with about half a mile to go. Instead of doing the normal thing that police do when supporting a race (stopping traffic), the LVPD officer stopped us runners to let cars go through the intersection. All I could do at that point was shake my head in frustration as the group of runners which were just ahead of me continued over I-15 while I stood there. Once I and the couple other runners who caught up with me were cleared cross the road, I took back off. As I turned the final corner to the finish line, I was treated to a group of cheering UNLV cheerleaders. A short sprint down the final straight stretch and I crossed the finish line in 25:43 which put me at 55 of 212 finishers.