Over 500 people participated in a special event a few weeks ago in downtown Detroit. It was the inaugural “Heart of Detroit” race to benefit the Tigers Foundation for Youth. In addition to supporting a good cause this was a unique event. It started in front of Comerica Park in Detroit and ran down Woodward Avenue toward the river. Then after a short out and back under Cobo it headed along the very nice, recently opened Riverfront. This is a great new stretch of boardwalk with views of the river and Windsor, a carousel, fountains and flowers. Then the course runs up and back on the Dequindre Cut and back along the Riverfront. After a loop around the outside of Comerica Park, the runners got the rare opportunity to enter the park through the right field ramp and run onto the field, along the warning track and finish at Home Plate. A very cool experience. As I entered the Park I couldn’t resist the urge to join every other runner as we raised our arms like we just hit a walk-off homer run to win the World Series. Quite a thrill.
As I pumped my arms to sprint past the few runners between me and home plate, I felt strong. Then after a nice finishers table of food and drink I learned the age division awards went five deep so I decided to wait. My time was more than two minutes off my season PR but on a very hot and humid day I thought the other men in my group may have struggled as well. As they read the names and times of my age group I kicked myself when learning I missed the fifth place medal by 0.8 seconds. That’s right, less than ONE SECOND too slow. I instantly thought about the three water stops I walked through to catch my breath and knew I could have easily cut 30 seconds off my time had I known.
It was a great course with a great finish and I also learned a lesson. To really be competitive in local races I need to push the entire race. There are too many serious runners to think I’ll place with a sub par performance. So, all in all a very good day.