Spectating The Spooktacular Chase

For those that may be unfamiliar with my situation, I was diagnosed with a stress fracture in my foot in early September, effectively sidelining me for at least six weeks, including the Spooktacular Chase 10k, which I had signed up for after running the 5k last year.  For those not familiar with the Spooktacular Chase, it’s a Halloween themed race held in mid-October in Smyrna, Georgia that benefits Vision Rehabilitation Services.  VRS provides help to those who are blind or visually impaired to lead independent lives.  Their mascot is an owl named Seemore and he also wears glasses and is chased by the runners.  

Last year I ran the 5k, coming in with my then second best time, in my pink super girl/mom cape and I had an amazing time, especially enjoying a good stretch of downhills on a cool October morning.  I enjoyed this race so much, I signed up for immediately for the 2016 race 10k option before I had ever run a 10k, although I was signed up for a different one.  This year, I was even more bummed as the race got closer since I learned I would be missing out on a finisher medal as well.  Not only was I missing a chance to dress in costume, but I was also missing bling.  I did pick up my shirt at my favorite running store, West Stride, and found out there is life left in the shoes I was wearing when the stress fracture happened.  It really was just a freak thing.  

After having a pity party I decided I needed positivity, so my daughter and I were going to go cheer on the runners.  And we were going to dress up.  I wore my “run your ears off” shirt and the girl wore her Rey (from Star Wars) costume.  We had a time limit because of soccer, so we couldn’t watch people finish and being in the boot, the walking to the course needed to be limited.  First plan was to aim for Church Street Park, but the road was blocked nearby, so we parked at a church and walked to the course somewhere before the end of mile two for the 5k and mile five for the 10k.

This ended up being the first new perspective I experienced as a runner and that was the work police play in making races happen.  In the little over an hour I was there, the police officer was in charge of a blockade at the designated turn and he had to keep letting what I assume to be local residents out.  He then had to deal with fools who drove up and around his cruiser with the lights on parked across the middle of the road and then people angry that the road was blocked and they had to walk to Church Street Park.  Thank you, Smyrna Police Department for keeping the roads as safe as possible for runners and putting up with the bad eggs out there.  This runner has a new appreciation for the role of police in races.

What amazed me even more were the wheelchairs racers.  Talk about perspective.  I could at least walk, although in a hobbled form, but these people are still racing despite not being able to use their legs, if they even had legs.  Then the rest of the runners started coming through.  I knew early on I was seeing only 5k runners, but after a bit, I’m sure there was a mix of runners from both groups due to speed.  Another dose of perspective was the runners pushing a disabled person.  I am in awe of the stroller mom and dad runners, but to run a race pushing someone who is unable to run (not to mention is a lot heavier than the typical stroller occupant), it was inspiring to watch.  Best costume among these folks was the hot dog.  

I know the kiddo enjoyed seeing the costumes, as well as seeing Seemore go by.  Some of my favorites were the hot dog, Forrest Gump, Little Red Riding Hood & the wolf and Superman pushing Batgirl.  Once we got into the main pack, it was costumes and runners galore.  There were lots of “you’re doing awesome” and a few high fives for those who needed it.  According to the finish results, there were 654 total runners between the two distances and we cheered on every single one of them.  

While this was not my ideal way to spend the day, I was happy to have cheered on my fellow runners.  It definitely will add a new level to how I run future races.

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