Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,--Hebrews 12:1

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Hot but Great 2012 Ranch Run

"but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." -- Isaiah 40:31
Yesterday's Ranch Run may well have been the hottest race I've ever run. On the way to the race, the thermometer in the car was showing 1090. Just before the start, Soaring Wings Christian Home and Ranch director Andrew Watson announced the temperature was 1030 30 minutes earlier. The sun was still up and it was just plain hot for the 7 PM start.

I'm not sure exactly how many ran the race, but I'd estimate 125 or so. More than a hundred for sure. It wasn't a big race, but still a pretty good turnout for the temps and to be only the second year it's been run.

We brought about 20 kids from the Vilonia cross country team who ran. For many this was their first race. All of them finished and several had pretty impressive times, especially considering the weather. I am extremely proud of these kids. Their hard work all summer has really paid off.

Two other friends were there to compete for the first time as well. To get out in that kind of heat for your first race takes guts that very few have. I'm really proud of these two ladies for all they've accomplished these past several months as they've trained and improved.

The course was two loops around the main road on the Soaring Wings campus. The gravel road passed through open fields and heavy woods that offered runners pleasant shade about half the time. The course passed by the main buildings on the ranch, including the boys' and girls' homes.

The folks in charge were well-equipped to handle the heat with two water stops on the loop. Both were stocked with ample volunteers, water, and Gatorade. At one stop they even offered runners a wash rag soaked in ice water. I refused the rag on my first pass, but was glad to get it on the second round.

Official results aren't posted yet, but my Garmin said I finished with a 9:02 pace. Not my best in a 5K by far, but considering the conditions I'll take it.

At the finish line was a table stocked with water, Gatorade, watermelon, snacks, and Fun Pops. This was the first race I've ever seen offer the frozen flavored treats, and I have to say they may just be the best treats I've ever had after a hard run.

Soaring Wings uses this event to kick off their free 12-week training program for the upcoming Soaring Wings Half Marathon. Therefore, the t-shirt that came with entry in the Ranch Run is a high quality Brooks tech training shirt emblazoned with the Soaring Wings Half logo. Of course, you can still register for the October 27th Soaring Wings Half Marathon even if you didn't compete in the Ranch Run.

If you have never run this half, I highly recommend it. I ran it in 2010 for my second half marathon and absolutely loved it. If I hadn't been in Washington, DC last year for the Marine Corps Marathon, I'd have done it again. I registered for the 2012 SW Half months ago, and will more than likely run it every year from now on. It's a great course with fantastic crowd support and an awesome after party. If you're looking for a half to do this fall, check out the Soaring Wings Half Marathon.
"Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them." -- Matthew 7:20

All in all, a great race for a great cause. Even in the hottest part of summer, I'll do this one again. Praise God for places like Soaring Wings Christian Home and Ranch and the wonderful people who staff them and offer hope to children in need.



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