It would be our third race in about 24 hours, but Linda and I agreed that the biggest nighttime race in South Carolina, on a course filled with 21,000 luminaries, sounded like fun and a nice way to celebrate our 30th anniversary (it’s the 21st actually) so we decided to head down that way. Mitchell Rippy had mentioned to me at the Summer Breeze 5k Saturday morning that he and Bubba Anthony were heading down to the Candlelight Run that night. I’m not sure if he said Columbia or I just processed the information wrong, but I was ready to set sail for Columbia. The race directors had a block of rooms reserved at Embassy Suites at a special rate for runners, and luckily we called ahead for reservations just before we left town. The reservations clerk informed us we were heading for Greenville instead, which was a nice surprise since it’s actually closer to us.
As we approached Greenville, a time and temperature sign along Interstate 85 rubbed in the fact that it was 95 degrees, but we figured it would cool off some in the two hours until race time. It did cool off a bit but was still probably about 85 degrees and muggy when the race started at 9 p.m., and as we crossed the starting line I was reminded that there’s a reason that many sane people don’t sign up for this type of thing. Nevertheless, there we were, heading up the first long hill with 2,000 other crazy people who paid money to run up some long hills on one of the hottest nights of the year. On the other hand, we also got to run down those same hills on the way back and the final mile was virtually all downhill. That was helpful, but I was so tired from going up the hill in the opposite direction I had a hard time running fast back down the hill. As you can see from the spikes on the graph from my Garmin, I reverted back to my old standby — the run-walk-run — and walked six times during the race.
I’d really rather prefer not walking at all during a 5k race, but when I feel like it will help me recover and possibly run better a little later in the race, it still works for me. Despite all of the walk breaks I still finished in 23:28, and Linda and I both got 3rd place in our age divisions, which we thought was a nice way to celebrate our 30th anniversary!
The post-race celebration was great, with plenty of food as well as music and lots of people dancing before the awards ceremony. The results of the race weren’t posted ahead of time so you had to wait around to see if you won an age group award. That’s no problem if you won, but if you didn’t win it’s kind of disappointing. I’m sure most people would prefer knowing ahead of time. The T-shirts were nice, but since we registered late we didn’t get one. No problem there, but the more thoughtful races (it happened at the Summer Breeze yesterday) give a discount of five bucks or so if they run out of T-shirts, but they didn’t do that here.
I didn’t get any good photos at this race but there were professional photographers at the race and photos as well as race results can be found through the Candlelight Run website and the Greenville Online site (see link below).