The Little BIG Run 5K was my first race race of 2024, and it was such a great way to open the year! It was tricky finding a race that fit in with my schedule so this was smaller than I would normally choose, but ended up being so well organized. Isn’t it fun when a plan comes together?
About the Little Big Run 5K
This is a race that support Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida, which is absolutely a worthy cause. The event is in its 8th year, and in 2024, it was combined with National Mentoring Month. Love that. The race is held next to the Winston Family YMCA, on the river in Jacksonville and it’s hard to think of a prettier view.
Welcome to race morning!
The Little Big Run 5K only offered day of packet pickup. Runners and walkers were advised to arrive early for parking in the dirt lot adjacent to the Y and to pick up shirts and bibs starting at 8AM. There would be a welcome speech at 9AM, and then the 5K would begin, followed by the one mile.
Of course, I set out my kit the night before and grabbed my bib when check in opened. We also got a hooded, long sleeve, dri-fit t-shirt. I plan to use it as a rash guard at the beach.
The Race Venue
Of course, you know I was there early and had some time to take in the sights of downtown. It was a super foggy morning, and everything was so gorgeous.
I met up with some running buddies who I haven’t seen in ages, and we took some photos together.
The Start Line
The Little BIG 5K had less than 100 runners. First, we gathered on the sidewalk to listen to the welcome speech.
From there, the race director reviewed the “new” course. Since I’ve never run the race, I had no basis of comparison, but I did get a little nervous because it was already sunny and in the 70s, and we would be doing an out and back over the Shared Use Pedestrian bridge. Blah.
All the same, I got in line. I did not set my interval timer, and decided I was just going to push.
Things started strong. We ran from the start line, to the right along the river. When we reached the Riverside Arts Market, we headed past the stage, and then turned right to cut up the perimeter of the space. Law enforcement was out, helping runners cross the street to get to the ramp entrance of the SUP.
That entry ramp is steep, so I lowered my head and went for it. Once I made the switchback to the body of the bridge, I had to make some decisions. It was hot and humid. I knew I could still be fast with some walking, so I started manually counting: 30 beats running, 20 beats walking, as fast as I could. When I hit the summit, I ran all the way down. There was a water table that marked the turnaround, but I skipped the drink, thanked the volunteers and started the next ascent.
This side of the bridge is longer and less steep, but it’s still a workout. I employed the same strategy on this side, as it wasn’t getting any easier. Again, when I reached the top, I was clear to run all the way back down. I felt really great that no one was passing me (usually I play leapfrog with a handful of people). The police officers held traffic for me again, and I knew it was clear sailing all the way back to the finish line.
There were volunteers from Big Brothers Big Sisters lining the walkway, cheering, and that was such a nice touch. It really helped me run it in with a smile!
After we picked up our medals and water, there was a snack table with all kinds of yummy things.
And all the runners had wristbands, good for the two food trucks that stayed until noon. One truck was coffee with breakfast items, while the other had Latin specialties. This was such a nice touch.
Of course, the mile runners did their race, and there was an awards ceremony, too. The race also hosted a raffle with sports gear, a bag of Jacksonville things to do, and tickets to see the Lauren Daigle show. I didn’t win anything, but it was fun to watch all the same.
How Did I Do?
I never really share time, but I will tell you this. This race was not a PR, but it was the fastest I’ve done in quite a minute. Maybe since I broke my leg? All I know is that this makes me jump for joy!
I came in number 4 in my age group, which stinks… I would love to just get over that hump. But that didn’t keep me from cheering on all my friends who got AG awards.
Best of all? For the first time EVER, your girl had NEGATIVE SPLITS! What? Who am I?
All in all, this was a fabulous way to start the year. I felt strong and in control of the race. it was a huge confidence booster as well, considering how I’ve been dragging for the last few years. It’s going to be a great year!
Have you raced yet this year? Any big wins to share?
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