First off, there was no clock. No one kept time and no one cared. I was hoping for a chip in my shoe for an accurate reading, or better yet a surgically implanted time keeper in my forearm, but they couldn't even provide a simple analog wall clock. Secondly, many of the runners were in costume. There were men in tutus, women with crazy wigs, and Superman. Several people were pushing strollers along, and even more people walked the entire time. At each mile interval there was a chalk station where volunteers pelted chalk at you. most of it was crushed and in powder form, but every once in awhile you'd get a whole stick that stung like a bee when it encroached upon your sweaty flesh. They were the friendliest assaulters I've ever encountered. All of them were volunteers. I think the organizers went to their local Middle School and said "Who wants to throw chalk at people on Saturday?" It's any middle schooler's dream come true. At the chalk stations there was so much powder buildup under our feet that you felt like you were in a Chernobyl-esque-flour-plant-disaster aftermath. It was like the King Arthur Flour Plant was bombed by the Benjamin Moore corporation and the result was some very sticky and colorful chalk... everywhere.
One of the assaulters really had it would for me and squirted an entire dressing bottle of green chalk down my shirt. Direct hit. It took three showers to get all off, which means I looked like Kermit for the next week. In addition to the bizarre chalk obsession, the route of the race was downright strange. The race was held at RFK Stadium in DC, which I thought would be pretty awesome. However... the route left some to be desired. We ran around the fattest part of the parking lot, down an access road, then turned around and finished back in the parking lot where we started. The stadium was incidental to the parking lot. We never went into the stadium, or got any closer than a hidden access road that went under a sketchy bridge. Even at 10:00am there were drug dealers hanging out under there, asking us if we needed any 'street chalk.' I will say, however, that the wildlife was stunning. I saw at least two pigeons and a whole colony of ants. The ants were happy that their colony was finally getting some colored walls.
This was Caity's first 5k and I am very proud of her. She trained for it, then killed it. It's not easy running while people are throwing chalk in your eyes, but we somehow persevered. Caity's family was impressed that she ran that far in a situation where she wasn't being chased by a rabid dog.
There were times when I wasn't sure if we were doing a 'fun run' or if we were being covertly taught how to make homemade play-doh. I will say these races have quite the following though. This one had thousands of participants, some of them runners and some of them Halloween leftovers. All in all we were all glad we did it and we had a great time! Yay for fitness!