MLB All-Star Charity 5K

BuschStadiumBy Matt Vortman
Major League Baseball held its first All-Star Charity 5K on Sunday, July 12, 2009 in St. Louis to coincide with the baseball All-Star game. The race was sponsored by Sports Authority and Nike with the proceeds benefiting the Prostate Cancer Foundation, Stand Up to Cancer, and the Susan G. Komen “Race for the Cure” Foundation.

I decided to run this race several months ago after first reading about it online. Being an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan and knowing that this may be my only chance to be see the festivities that coincide with the baseball all-start game, I wanted to make an effort to be in St. Louis for this race. However, I have been struggling with various injuries this summer and didn’t really have the fitness that I normally have this time of the year. I knew I probably wasn’t going to have my best time.

I got up about 4:00 on Sunday morning and got myself ready to drive to St. Louis. I wanted to be there early so I would have plenty of time to park, get to packet pick-up, and just walk around and take in the All-Star festivities. I arrived in St. Louis a little after 6:00, so I knew I would have plenty of time to warm up and stretch. The race did not start until 7:30, so I spent some time taking in the sites. St. Louis did an awesome job preparing for the big game as it was definitely buzzing downtown!

The race started on the west side of Busch Stadium, near the Stan Musial statue. Vince Coleman, Brooks Robinson, Rollie Fingers, and Lou Brock were among the baseball greats that were there. Olympic gold medalist, Shawn Johnson, was there to support the cause of cancer research. She actually ran the race as well. Interestingly, the leaders from all three cancer foundations were there and each gave a heartfelt thanks to all the runners and walkers for their support. Over 8,000 runners and walkers participated in the inaugural event.

route_5k

Lou Brock was the official starter for the race. It was VERY crowded on 8th and Spruce, and I was in line actually up past the steps near the stadium. Thankfully, the race was chip-timed, so I didn’t have to worry about getting to the starting line in a hurry. It took a couple of minutes for me to actually get to the starting line and when I did, I still couldn’t run. This was definitely going to be a “fun run”…or maybe a walk. I finally got to a full run about .3-.4of a mile into the race. I was able to maintain about an 8:30 minute/mile pace for the first mile, but as we headed up Olive and faced several hills, I slowed down to about 9 minute/mile pace. I definitely felt the loss of fitness on those hills, but kept my head down and ran as well as I could. The turnaround was on Locust, and I felt better knowing that we would be spending more time going downhill back towards the river and that the crowd had thinned. I finally got my second wind and as we headed towards the convention center, my pace was about 7:40 minutes/mile. The race ended at the Edwards Jones Dome and I finished with an overall time of 23:33. Vince Coleman and Brooks Robinson handed out finisher medals to all the participants and there were several stands to learn more about cancer research. I ran into a couple of good friends from high school and college, as well as a couple of co-workers who were there with their families.

All in all, The All-Star 5K was exactly what I expected. I knew I wasn’t going set any records in the race, but felt it would a unique experience. Major League Baseball and the City of St. Louis did an awesome job with this race. They had team mascots peppered throughout the course, plenty of water, and plenty of support. It was cool to see all the celebrities and the former baseball players that were there to support the cause. Zac Freudenburg from St. Louis, Missouri was the overall male winner with a time of 15:21. Vivian Wadeck from North Hollywood, California was the overall female winner with a time of 17:51. Hopefully, Major League Baseball will continue the charity 5K at future all-star games, it was a great experience and for me, it feels good to be back into the racing scene!

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