Rock by the Sea 5k – September 2014.
So how did I compete in a 5k event on St. George Island, Florida? And what the heck is ‘Rock by the Sea’?
Rock by the Sea is a charity that brings together musicians and bands to play a few events each year with all of the proceeds going towards a select group of charities (see below). All of these events are 100% volunteer driven. I have a great friend who besides being a talented musician sits on the board of this charity and helps organise these events. As such, I flew down to Tallahassee and joined him on St. George Island and volunteered my time for this event, and in the process organised and raced in the 5k event. The charities assisted during this event were:
- Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children (Orlando, FL).
- Camp Sunshine (retreat for children with life threatening conditions)
St. George Island is a long and narrow strip of land just off the south coast of the Florida pan-handle. One third of the island is a dedicated nature reserve (large amounts of turtle nesting grounds), another third of the island is a gated community for very affluent people to enjoy their multi-million dollar homes (which I got to stay in!) and the middle third is a great vacation retreat with ample entertainment and white sandy beaches!
Onto the race! The 5k was held at 9am on Saturday morning. The race was setup as part of the overall entertainment event, you could get a discounted race entry as part of the purchase of a wrist band to the concerts. The weather couldn’t have been any better, clear and sunny with a nice cool ocean breeze!
As I had packed very light for my trip to Florida (only a carry-on, no checked baggage) I didn’t have my preferred shoes for this race. I ran in my Montrail sneakers, not by any means a running shoe! Given the nature of the event I knew this would be a very relaxed and laid back event, and so it proved to be. Everyone was in good spirits that morning, despite the preceding night’s concert going until 2am, the atmosphere was cordial and friendly, no land speed records would be broken today!
The course was magnificent, almost completely flat (like the entire island) and run on very nice freshly tarmacked roads within sight of the ocean! Although setting a personal best was never on the cards for me at this event, I was more than happy with my time of 22:42 all things considered (shoe availability, pre-race preparation or lack thereof)… most of all I was happy to help organise a nice relaxed 5k event for a wonderful charity, get people active, meet some great people, and answered about a dozen “what is running free” questions… now if only we had a Florida store! I would volunteer to manage that one! (Although I did inform them of the online store!)
If the Florida pan-handle is in your vacation plans, St. George Island is a must see!