A nice course, a nice cause and a nice community made the Fairview 5k a winner in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday morning.
More than 150 runners gathered under cloudy skies for a tiny community event with a big heart. The cause was the American Cancer Society — the Fairview Swim and Tennis Club’s fundraiser paid homage to Betty Seay and Chrissy Chadwick, two women who played a big role in the club’s programs before breast cancer took them too soon.
There is no better way to celebrate life than a race that is also a party, and this race did the trick. My wife Julie and I were spending a getaway weekend in Charlottesville, and I somehow stumbled on to this 5k. It only cost $25 bucks, the t-shirt was great and the prizes were top-shelf (including something for just about everybody who showed up!) What’s not to like?
The race was very informal. No timing chips, but no need. The field wasn’t that big and the course was wide and simple. I had run 13 on Thursday, so I was not bothered by the rolling hills. I wasn’t there for a PR — I took one look at the course and figured it was a day for hill training!
Many of the runners were actually swimmers in sneakers, but that was no problem. It was great to see so many young people giving running a go. Everybody muscled through and had a great time doing it.
Katie Merrill, 24, is a seasoned runner who was competing in her first Fairview 5k. Katie, like me, was using the race as a speed workout – she’s running a Richmond half in November and then Boston in April.
“After looking at their Facebook page, it seemed like it had been going on for a long time, which is usually the mark of a solid event,” she said of the 17th annual event. “Also, I found out that the race benefitted the American Cancer Society, and being an oncology nurse here at UVA hospital, I was excited to contribute to a cause that hits close to home.”
Katie said she went to the race alone and knew no one at the event. “But the community was so friendly and welcoming, by the time I left I was thinking ‘huh, I could totally raise a family here.’”
The community involvement was everywhere, from the volunteers passing out water to the $1,200 in prizes donated by local businesses.
And Ragged Mountain Running made out on the deal from me. Katie and I both won our age groups – and $10 certificates from Ragged Mountain. Saturday afternoon I went straight to their store, grabbed a pair of discontinued running shoes on sale, cashed in my certificate and – bam! – was thrilled with my cut-rate Asics. Hey, I was happy and I’m sure Ragged Mountain ended getting a return on their investment. Everybody wins at the Fairview 5k!