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Samantha's Harvest 5K

Samantha’s Harvest 5K 2023

The Samantha’s Harvest 5K is a fundraising event for Samantha’s Harvest, a 501(c)3 organization that works to raise awareness by providing funding for programs and organizations that directly enhance the lives of individuals with Down syndrome.

Samantha’s Harvest has been run about 11 years and remains a small community event with many local sponsors. The local running community supports Samantha’s Harvest with many local clubs sending small teams to support the work of Samantha and her family.

Running Samantha’s Harvest 5K 2023

This 5K is one of the Melrose Running Club’s 2023 Racing Series races. On Sunday morning five MRC runners showed up at Reading High School to give it a go.

Samantha's Harvest 5K, Christine Derse. Mike Dolan, Andy Nagelin Edward Miller, Judy Dolan

While the morning was still cool when we arrived, you could feel the heat on the breeze. We were happy that the race began at 8:30 while the temps were still reasonable. This was a taste of what is to come as we move into the summer months.

At about 8:25 someone sang The National Anthem and we all stood silently admiring our flag and the voice of the singer. As a group, the runners moved towards the starting area just across the street from Reading High.

It’s been a few years since I ran this 5K, but as we got into place I remembered the start and parts of the course.

Samantha yelled for runners to be on their mark and then her mother blasted an air horn, and we were off. Just a slight up hill, but I could feel it in my stiff hips.

For the first mile of the race I was paying close attention to my left knee, I forgot to bring my brace or even a compression sleeve. So I was a little nervous. My hips were also a little tight from doing hours of yard work on Saturday. I don’t recommend yard work as a warm up for a race!

There were only 60 runners at this race and I wasn’t sure how well it was marked or how well I remembered it, so I wanted to stay with other runners as much as possible.

It turns out that they had course marshals at all of the turns with big orange flags. While some runners passed me, I managed to pass several my self.

I didn’t feel too strong during the first mile but managed a 9:33 pace. But my knee was beginning to loosen up and I felt like I was hitting my stride.

On my Garmin race report, the course looks flat and only has 104 feet of elevation. But the hills were short and allowed me to pass a few people.

Lately I’ve been running on my fore foot going up hills. It requires more effort but allows me to maintain my pace or even accelerate. If I’m chasing someone, this move often works.

Mile two came in at 9:08 and mile three at 8:33! I was really surprised by that.

Finishing Samantha’s Harvest 5K 2023

The race is a big loop and the last half mile or so re-traces the beginning of the race. It was nice to know we were coming in to the finish!

Samantha's Harvest 5K, Reading High School

I tried to run the race as efficiently as possible and run strait through curving parts of the course. This strategy doesn’t always work, but for this race my watch consistently hit the mile mark after the course marker.

It’s more of a way to entertain myself. Many times I’ve run longer than the race distance doing this.

As we crossed Birch Meadow Drive I was worried that I wasn’t even going to hit 3 miles, or that they were going to have us run a loop on the track! Out in full sun on a black track, did not sound like fun to me!

They directed runners through the turns of the last few hundred yards and we did finish on the track. It was black and hot, but felt really great on my feet.

Ed Miller was the first of our group to finish at 24:22 in the 22nd position. I was 30th at 27:19 for a 9:04 pace.

Ed and I cheered as Mike Dolan approached the gate to the field. But the race director told him to turn right and he did, before the gate to the track. Mike quickly adjusted and ran down the track to finish at 30:19.

We all cheered as Judy Dolan came in at 35:26. She felt pretty good but was hoping to break 35 minutes. They haven’t posted the finish times, so I do not have Christine Derse’s finish time.

They had awards for the top age group finishers in 10-year brackets, but all of us are near the top of our age brackets. It was fun to see everyone go up and get their certificate and thank Samantha as she handed it to them and congratulated them.

Everyone had a good time and were enthusiastic about coming back next year and trying to get a few more friends to join us.

Without a t-shirt, registration was only $12. Many 5Ks are $35 or more now and not all are as well run as this 5K was.

Run well my Friends, Andy

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