The First Sean May Memorial Run/Walk 2009: A Day at the Lake

When the idea for the Sean May Run was first brought to the attention of the Wellness Committee, we jumped on the bandwagon. What could be better? A five or fifteen kilometer walk or run would be great exercise for anyone participating. Even volunteering would be a great and healthy activity.

A day at Barr Lake is always pleasant. And to top it all off, the event was to raise money for two very worthy causes: The Access to Justice Committee and the Family of Sean May.

The event was scheduled for May 16, 2009. Having been an active participant in the Crabtree Challenge, I thought it was my duty to participate as a walker. Those who signed up could choose to run the 5K or walk it. The more ambitious could choose to run the 15K course. I, personally, chose to walk 5K. And of course, as a photographer, I took my camera along so that I could document the historic (first annual) event.

It turned out to be a windy rainy morning on the day of the race. One has to overcome weather sometimes. First thing that I noticed as I exited I-76 was that there were signs everywhere directing people to the courthouse parking lot where the sheriff’s department had set up shuttles to take people to the park. There was very little waiting, and while the vans were a little uncomfortable (and one definitely felt like a prisoner sitting in the van with the bars and cages) it was pleasant talking to other people in the van and getting to know them. I met two people who were there as volunteers, and a young woman who planned to run the 15K. She was quite nervous though, because she was told there were snakes in the park. I assured her that I had hiked or biked at Barr Lake nearly a dozen times without encountering any. That reassured her. (I heard later that some people had seen a snake on the 15K run, but I never knew if she was one of them.)

When we got to the park, there were volunteers everywhere to make things easier. There were volunteers for parking, volunteers for registering, volunteers for passing out water, volunteers to give directions, and even volunteers to help the volunteers. (By the way, the event planning committee asked me to say thanks to all that volunteered, and this seems like a good place to do so. Thanks, Volunteers.) There were also volunteers manning
water and first aid stations along the route.

Registration was very cold and windy, but mercifully fast thanks to all the good help. Once we got to the lake shore and were preparing for the events, we found that there was considerably less wind, and many people had to shed their coats and sweaters.

All the more serious athletes gathered to start the first race of the day, the 15K. Their route was to run completely around the entire lake. After they left we got ready for the 5K race. Among us there were old men and women, babies in carriages and everyone in between, even some judges and lawyers. Some of the babies may have been aspiring judges and lawyers, but I did not have a chance to interview them.

Our route was to walk 2½ K in one direction (the opposite direction the 15K people had gone) and then turn around and come back. I got caught up in photographing runners and fishermen along the lake, and ended up at the very back of the pack. That gave me the opportunity to see those in front as they headed toward the finish. One of those in front pushed a baby carriage. I wonder if they gave awards for first baby.

Then a little later, the fastest of the 15K runners began to come by. It was like having a front row seat for an Olympic event, and I took more pictures. Halfway through the race I passed a water stand and first aid station and turned the corner to return. A little way after that, I was passed by two little girls (about five years old). They ran past me like I was standing still. Boy did I feel old. Eventually, they tuckered out and I passed them again.

AboutAs I approached the finish, there were volunteers cheering everyone on as they passed the finish line, even if they were among the last in. That made me feel good. But I thought I ought to photograph someone getting that greeting, so while I was taking the picture, the little girls passed me again and so they beat me. I have to say in my defense though, that when they passed me the second time, they were in a wagon being pulled by their dad.

After the event, we were greeted by more volunteers holding swag bags as rewards. Lots of cool stuff in there, and I got enough free chap stick to last me a decade.

Then there were prize drawings and presentations. There were some great prizes and beautiful awards. I didn’t win any, but Magistrate Mole won twice. There’s something fishy about that. Also, the little girl who was drawing names of winners drew her mother’s name. There was something fishy about that too. But I guess I shouldn’t wonder
about the fishy stuff because fishing has always been good at Barr Lake.

Then there was a fun run for children. The kindergarten girls that beat me in the 5K participated, but as the course was a little longer than they expected, they ran out of gas half way through and barely crossed the finish line. I probably would have done the same thing. All who participated were given a cool cup.

Anyway, it was a great time. I’m glad it was the first annual event because now I can look forward to the second one. The event raised more $8,000 for the worthy causes. And nobody was bitten by snakes.

The committee that planned the event included Ellen Alires-Trujillo, Brian Bowen, Loren Brown, Norman Campbell, Melody Fuller, Alberto Garcia, Michelle Gaschler, Bernadette Gonzales, Colleen Kent, Janet Lee, Andrea Love, Simon Mole, Dianna Roybal, Natalie Schlidt, Kyla Stopperan, Melinda Taylor, Mariana Vielma, Jen Wascak, Dianne Van Voorhees, and Mark Warner. Thanks to all of your for all your hard work.
And thanks again to all the volunteers, who were too numerous to name, but without whom the event could not have taken place. Thanks to all for a job well done.

~David Dennis