I love running races for causes that I truly believe in. Pet adoption is one of those. As most of you know, we adopted our dog, Guinness, from Peace Love and Dog Paws Rescue in Birmingham just a week after moving into our house. We’ve had him for just over 4 years and can’t imagine what life would be without him.
When I heard about the Paws in the Park 5k in Blue Ridge, I knew I wanted to run it, especially since all the registration fees went straight to the Humane Society of Blue Ridge. So I had my parents sign me up when they were in town one weekend and was ready to go!
Packet pick up was held at Terra Outfitters, a fairly new running store in Blue Ridge. If you’re ever in the area I highly recommend stopping by and checking them out. The owners are amazing and they have some great products. They also host weekly run and walk groups.
Saturday morning brought some cold temperatures to the mountains. Just about everyone was bundled up from head to toe. Knowing I would warm up soon after the run started, I went with my usual race attire – a tank and shorts, with some arm sleeves added for a little warmth.
The race started and I felt great! I hadn’t run outside since the Disneyland Half Marathon last month so I wasn’t entirely sure how I would feel or how I would do, but I had a really good race. The course was a loop/out and back (if that makes sense). My parents snapped some pictures of me along the course.
I finished 14 seconds away from a new PR…I was pretty pleased with myself!! After the race they had warm chili and cornbread and fried apple pies for the runners, as well as the usual bananas and water.
Here’s where things took an unfortunate turn -
When I picked my bib up the day before, I noticed that it had my incorrect age on it (35…I am 33). It wouldn’t have been an issue except that it bumped me into the next age group. I never go into any race thinking I’m going to place in my age group, but this time…I did…I place 3rd…in the wrong age group.
I accepted the award and stood on the podium, knowing I didn’t belong there…it should have gone to the next person, but I did not want to interrupt the awards ceremony to make the correction (which I know I should have done). I should not have posted a picture on Facebook saying that I managed a podium finish (which I did). I was unable to find the race director afterward, but I have reached out to her to make her aware of the mistake and have offered to mail the award back to them so that the rightful person can claim it.
I know there are a lot of cases of cheating that happen (people running with someone else’s bib, cutting courses short, etc), which I do not condone. This was a clerical error that was not realized until the night before the race. I am doing what I can to correct it and already have guilt for taking away the podium from the person who should have been there, but I cannot go back in time to change my actions. Sadly, what’s done is done and all I can do is move forward and be more careful (and make sure my parents know exactly how old I am if they sign me up for another race). So the lesson is to never assume anything – get things corrected before something like this happens. I’m sure I’ll get some negative comments about this, but I am being honest and putting it out there instead of hiding under a rock. I did not need anyone to tell me the right thing to do…I knew what it was and handled it as soon as I could.
Other than that, I really enjoyed the race and hope to be able to do it again next year.
Have you ever had something similar to this happen to you? How did you handle it?