Since running 26.2 miles wasn’t quite enough for myself and a handful of my fellow race ambassadors this past race weekend, we decided to tack on an extra 3.1 – at the runDONNA 5K!

The 5K has been a part of the DONNA weekend since its inaugural year, but this was the first year that a medal was involved – and as such, the registration numbers were way up with 1,545 finishers (compared to 808 last year). For just $30 (and race day registration available) I could not pass up the experience to run with friends and even get a little extra bling to take home as a souvenir!

The race start was at the Prime Osborn Convention Center, just 1/2 a mile away from the hotel we were staying at for the weekend (The Omni Jacksonville) so it was nice to roll out of bed and head over to the start area. I overestimated my preparation time (as usual) so I was still there pretty darn early, but took the time to meander around before meeting up with Elisabeth, Marcia and Linzie.

The race was chip timed, but there were no corrals – only self-seeding for two spaced start times: a loose “10 minutes or faster” pace group, and a second, “party” group, as the announcer called it. We opted for the party group, of course!

5kcourseAfter the first group left, we shuffled on over to the starting area and before we knew it, we were OFF! The air was nice and cool, and although it was overcast, the city looked bright and alive, with the river gleaming and birds flying. Gliding down the streets, our Ambassador Posse was guided on a running tour by Marcia, our hostess of the weekend!

Down Riverside Avenue, we “ran into” another ambassador, Reist, who was running with his brother and their kids. The kids were rocking, and all – kids and adults, were laughing, smiling and just having a blast out there. It really was a picture of pure joy out there!!

After a loop down and around to the River Walk, we got to pop up and over a ramp, and (swinging) pedestrian bridge before turning back onto Water Street and toward the finishing area, where crowds were cheering, and awesomeness awaited (in the form of Rita’s Italian Ice, and High-5’s from Jaxson DeVille and the Chick-Fil-A cows. We finished in a very comfortable 37:03 (11:58 pace) and could not have been happier with it!

rundonna5K2This was definitely an awesome way to start the race weekend, and I would recommend it to anyone – from serious runners to enthusiastic walkers, as a great way to not only support a great cause, but to participate in a fabulous community event.

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Do you run 5Ks when they’re offered as part of marathon events? What’s your favorite race distance?


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