Saturday, April 7, 2012

4 the Park 4-Mile Race Report

Houston's wonderful Memorial Park was devastated by the prolonged drought of 2011.  In the wake of this tragedy Houstonians have stepped-up to support Memorial Park Conservancy's efforts to replant trees and make numerous other Memorial Park improvements.  Consequently, a record turn-out of nearly 3,000 runners ran a well organized four mile race today to raise funds for this worthy cause.

I was initially tempted not to run, but with encouragement from other Texas Independence Relay DOGs runners (the twelve of us collectively had just run 203 miles the prior weekend) I'm glad that I did!

Within the race registration packet was a live tree sapling.  Taking my cue I arrived a bit early to have my moment with nature by planting the sapling in a location which I hope provides it a great growth opportunity.

After chatting with some friends the race began uneventfully, though with the to-be-expected level of frustration caused by far too slow walkers obliviously lining-up at the start line and casually walking shoulder-to-shoulder with their equally clueless slow friends.  This created a frustrating blockade to faster runners hoping for an unobstructed path.  I hope that future Four the Park race organizers announce on the loudspeakers in the fifteen minutes preceding the race's start that slower runners should move back from the start line area.  While such announcements can easily be ignored, at minimum they would serve to alert slower race participants not to walk abreast at the beginning of the race when the congestion is at its worst.

The weather was a bit warm (temperatures in the upper 70's with moderate humidity and a strong sun), but cooler than it could have been been, so I have no complaints.  The volunteers providing fluids and announcing the elapsed time at the half-way point did a great job. 

Afterward, studying my race details the effects of the heat can be clearly seen by my mile splits: 6:42, 6:55, 7:10 then 7:17.  Given the frequent instructions from my Kenyan Way Coach Sean Wade to negative split in each and every race and training run I blame nobody but myself for not properly adjusting my early miles' pace for the warm weather conditions.  Nevertheless, I was happy to finish 6th in my age group, and was delighted that several of my friends had done even better.

The race was fun, as was seeing my friends.  Also, I was glad to have supported a fantastic cause.


  1. Hopefully you can run it again in 10 years time and have a shady spot under your tree to do some stretching. In spite of the positive splits you ran a good time. Very difficult to run negative splits in hot conditions! Is Sean still racing? He had a rough run with injuries a year or two back.

  2. Glad you noted the efforts of the many volunteers, who have done an excellent job of helping the park.

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