Matt's Mission 5K race is one in the 9 races in the Shoreline Road Race Series sponsored by soundRUNNER. Which was the main reason I signed up. I was a little iffy about driving for two hours (round trip) for a 30 minute race, it started just not making sense to me.
I read a little about Matt's Mission and how it came to be. A High School student killed in a car accident, he was driving too fast. Gulp. Yeah, lead foot here does need to slow down... Reading about Matt and what the fund does was heart warming.
There were just over 900 runners and walkers. Also the sky seemed to be threatening rain, we were all assured Matt wouldn't let that happen! It sprinkled a bit little bit with a little bit of wind before the race. The course was a big loop, with some nice up hills and corresponding down hills, ending with running about 3/4 the way around the North Branford HS track. I ran among a couple of mother runners pushing their jogging strollers, bravo ladies, a woman who made an unfortunate underwear choice, stripes showed through her light gray tights, one mother constantly nagging her son to hurry up and catch up, yikes, I'd of probably started crying, and then there was this kid, all in orange, from orange shoes to an orange baseball cap. He would run like hell then walk for a bit run like hell then walk for a bit. I'd always encourage him a bit when he was catching his breath. As we were on the home stretch, before entering the HS Track another runner also started encouraging him. He'd go a little to fast then slow down and catch up to us. At the final stretch, just about 1/2 around the track, he was passing me again and I yelled "GO KID GO!" He flew. He really flew. I was smiling ear to ear. Love the passion and energy of kids.
After finishing, with a respectable 28:56 (27th out of 139 in my age group). I wandered around the 'in field' is that what is it called? I can't remember I haven't been on a HS track in, well a VERY long time. Anyhoodles, on the in field, I found the kid in orange. His mom was sitting on the ground and he was telling her all about his race. I went over and congratulated him on a great race! He smiled, his mom looked proud. I said, he really flew through the end. She asked him how fast he ran, he said, he wasn't sure but he was sure it wasn't under 30 minutes. I assured him he finished in something like 28:40 he was really flying, he was absolutely unconcerned about the seconds "I finished in 28 minutes!?!?" His mom asked him what he finished in last year, he said it was something around 32 minutes, he thought. (His actual was 28:52 - although he may have been the kid at 28:39 I wasn't really paying attention to everyone passing me over the finish line). His mom looked so proud of him and she asked me to take a picture of them? Absolutely! They had big grins!
And mom took 6 minutes off her time from last year!!
This made the whole drive worth it, truly this is what these community 5Ks are about, family. I have no idea where naggy mom and her son finished. I blocked them out keeping an eye peeled for the orange kid.
A cousin posted this as his Facebook status today:
"TODAY IS THE OLDEST YOU'VE EVER BEEN, YET THE YOUNGEST YOU'LL EVER BE SO - ENJOY THIS DAY WHILE IT LASTS."
A little googling around didn't produce anyone to credit with this quote. So Annon.. gets the credit. Thinking about the kid in orange versus the kid with the naggy mom, I'm glad I didn't have a naggy mom to suck the fun out of things. I'm happy that Matt's mom has found peace with her sons unfortunate death. A charity in his name, Matt's Mission, where she is able to keep his memory alive and carry out one of Matt's wishes --> to help people. Bravo!!