Deseret News 5K Walk/Run: Pioneer Day event captures spirit of running

By Kate De Groote

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, July 24 2012 10:05 p.m. MDT

Participants wait for the start of the Deseret News 5k fun walk at the Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City on Monday, July 25, 2011.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

It was a cool day, much cooler than what you would expect for the 24th of July, but I wasn't complaining. It seemed that there were people from everywhere at the Energy Solutions Arena for the 7 a.m. beginning of the Deseret News Read Today 5k Walk/Run. I was excited for the race to start.

When it was time, we were all waiting in a big clump, pressed against each other. Ronald McDonald led everybody in counting down from 10 to 1. The officials pulled back the ribbon and we were off.

The majority of the racers went up a ramp, which led to a flight of stairs on the north side of the arena. We all mistakenly stumbled down the steps, almost tripping over each other.

The first part of the 5k course wasn't part of the Pioneer Day Parade route, so we had to keep stopping at crosswalks, which was unusual for me.

At one point, I thought to myself, "Why did I even do this?" I was exhausted and panting, but I had set a goal to make it to the next tree on the route and so I did.

Finally, we did reach the beginning of the parade streets and I kept running. It was fun to have everyone cheering us. My spirit was lifted by the crowd and I ran a little faster.

Loud, bumpy music was playing over loudspeakers and I used that like my mp3 player.

It started to rain as we neared the finish line at Liberty Park. It was so refreshing and speckled the fronts of our yellow 5K T-shirts.

We did make it to the finish line and I was amazed that I ran the whole way. I was very relieved and gladly accepted the participation medal, the apple slices and the congratulations.

I love running and think it is very rewarding. The spirit of running on the 24th was caught by an older man who was the last person to finish the Deseret News Marathon. He crossed the finish line (even though there was now no longer a finish line) 61/2 hours after the race started — a smile on his face, clutching his small granddaughter's hand, and cheering.

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