The Illinois MBA 5K run opened to students and faculty in the College of Business approximately a month into the fall semester. There had been some hype about the run. People saying it would be fun and everyone was invited irrespective of their athletic experiences or prowess – runners, joggers, walkers and crawlers (LOL…there were little children too) were all welcomed. People who had no clue what a 5K race meant bragged about how they were going to win all the prizes, even those who had not worn gym clothes in umpteen years. Some even spent good time at the gym to improve their stamina in preparation for the event.
The day of the run came and we all gathered at the Arboretum, not far from the Japan House, which is beautiful by the way, everyone raring to go. Before the race however, everyone had to register and get a t-shirt, and possibly have some water for those who needed early hydration. Then we went to the starting point where the race course and guidelines were outlined to everyone. While waiting, people were having fun taking pictures and making videos.
The signal to start the race was given and the race began, well, for those who ran! Everyone obviously employed different strategies – some took off really fast while the others took the slow-and-steady approach. Then there were those who just walked from the beginning. In no time, the wheats were separated from the chaffs (I think I was somewhere in between). Many of those who took off early soon realised it was a 5K race and not a sprint, as those behind started overtaking them but it was a fun race anyway, not an actual competition.
Everyone was friendly, the race was fun, but to be honest, the course itself was not as friendly. It was convoluted and tough to navigate, with many twists and turns, nuts on the ground in some parts of the race course and a few slopes. All these culminated in making the race fun anyway but it also meant some completed the race after the first lap (there were two laps) and many walked for more than half the race. There was a major hill as part of the course, and if I recall clearly, I saw my spirit leaving my body by the time I ascended the hill in the second lap but thank goodness I was quick enough to recover it before it went too far.
One of the most interesting things about the race were the results. While many anticipated the “young and energetic” students would cart away the prizes, we were in for a wild shock. If my memory serves me right, faculty and the older folks went home with the prizes, the ones whom you would never suspect had it in them. Empty barrels really make the loudest noise.
All in all, it was a nice time to meet with friends, make new ones and converse with faculty. We had water, energy bars and drinks, and some bananas for refreshment after the race. There was more picture taking after the race. Besides the race winners who went home with medals, we were all given participation medals – whether you came 1st or 169th. It was fun all through.
Special thanks to the College of Business for this event and we look forward to the next one, even though I would never attend a 5K race again as a runner, maybe as a crawler. I am now sure it is not my calling, I would just stick to sprint races and other things I am good at.