Race for the Arts 5K Run/Walk – 1st Annual

54 degrees and cloudy,  a perfect day for the inaugural of the Race for The Arts 5K Run/Walk benefiting the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts and Community Center in Decatur, Georgia. The Center sponsors many events from stage plays, musical performances, dance and programs specifically directed towards youth and seniors.  I’ve attended several events there over the last few years and have always been pleased with the programming, facilities and event staff.
The Scene

I arrived at about 7:30 AM for an 8:00 AM start which was perfect for this race.   Upon arrival at the registration area, I was greeted by cheerful volunteers and a DJ who was rocking Justin Timberlake’s Suit and Tie.  Runners and walkers in the registration area mingled, met up with friends, and teammates and of danced to the music.  Shortly before the 8:00 AM start time race participants were rounded up to hear remarks from the Center’s Executive Director David Manuel and Dekalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson, whose district the Center resides in. After remarks we had  great warm-up leader by dancer/choreographer Stepp Stewart, who had great energy and got the crowd pumped up. Following the warm-up we queued up in the start chute, got the signal and hit the road.

The Course
The course was an out and back with some long hills.  From the parking lot, we made a right, proceeded downhill on Rainbow Dr with an immediate uphill and made a right onto Columbia Dr.  The course crossed over I-285, passed Exchange Park, with a turnaround (from my guess) near Springside Run.  The good and the bad about an out and back is that you know what to expect, which in this case was the long up and downhills.  The same ones we just ran, we had to run them again on the way back.  My team was spread out along the course and I ended up running with a lady in an orange shirt.  I didn’t get her name but she was a great pacer and helped me to likely my fastest 5K time ever.

The Finish and After Party
There were 3 individuals responsible for time and placement.  One running the clock and two determining the finishing place by race number.  All finishers received a shirt, assorted fruit and water and all the typical goodie bag stuff you get these races.  The Diabetes Association was one of the vendors on site and was conducting glucose testing, which is really cool.  Of course there was more partying and an award ceremony.
For an inaugural event the Race for the Arts was a success. The event was organized, started in a timely manner, the event volunteers were cheerful and helpful and the warm-up was probably one of the most fun I’ve ever done. It was announced that there would be another Race for the Arts in the fall and I’d definitely recommend it for those who want a bit of a challenge at a shorter distance.  In terms of improvements I only saw two things that could be tightened up: 1)the course – I saw two cars drive through as the race was taking place, which could be remedied with cones, additional officers and or volunteers and; 2) the finish – additional volunteers or one volunteer with a megaphone may be needed to direct people through the finish line chute, to make sure their placement and time is accurate.  With these small adjustments, this could be a top notch event in the area.

Until next time, see you on the trail.
For more information about the Center, please visit their website.