Summer Smith Memorial 5K Race Recap


May 13, 2017 – 9:30 am

This is the second year for this 5K race and is organized by the mother of one of the STEM runners who died of an overdose after completing her first 5k. This is her story –


I had just returned from 8 days in Florida where I did a lot of eating, drinking and sitting on the beach.  I did some running but not enough. Plus the forecast for today was cool and rainy.

But I just had to do this race. I knew that there would be many other runners and volunteers from the STEM program. I wanted to support this cause and I am fortunate to have known and run with Summer.



I did run this race last year. I remember it as NOT being flat. But I did win my AG and finished with a respectable 28:29 time.

Photos from last year (on a sunny day):

It wasn’t as cool as it had been while I was away on vacation but the rain started even earlier than predicted.  I was still exhausted from my Florida vacation and my weekend trip to NYC and I really did not feel like running in the rain.  But as soon as I arrived, my mood lifted.

 I arrived early, grabbed a needed cup of coffee and immediately bumped into those purple shirted runners. All the ones that were in Summer’s STEM group were there. It was pretty emotional. I still get teary-eyed when I think about her.

Another local runner that I know also led a team of runners. Her son had died recently of a drug overdose.

This race was one of the most organized races I’ve run. After you got your bib, you got a bag labelled with your name with a shirt and other swag. There were tables with representatives from relevant organizations (alcohol & drug abuse) also giving out freebies. And there were great raffle prizes – all running-related.

Before the race, there was a dedication ceremony followed by a balloon release. We all cried during Summer’s mom’s emotional tribute to her daughter.

The ceremony was followed by music and a Zumba session.  I opted out. It was raining even harder and I went inside to stay dry and warm.

I stayed inside out of the rain until it was time to proceed out to the road to start the race.

Here’s the course description:

Start/Finish of this out-and-back 5 km course is on West Dr on the south side of Guilderland High School. The course proceeds out West Dr to turn L onto School Rd, continues across the intersection with Depot Rd onto Meadowdale Rd, then bears L at Frederick Rd to Mile 1 on Meadowdale Rd and continues to the Turnaround point. The inbound route retraces the outbound route of the course to Mile 2 on Meadowdale Rd and Mile 3 on West Dr just after the turn off School Rd, and continues to the Finish.

I lined up with one of the STEM volunteers who said she ran at my pace. (Not true, she’s way faster.)  Patrick, my FRW training coach works for the timing company and announced to the crowd: “There’s Darlene and she’s going to PR today!”  Nice. I wasn’t planning to race it and now I sorta felt like I should. Grrrr.

So I just did the best I could.  Not PR fast but I wanted to finish with a respectable time.  With the chilly temps and no warm up, my legs felt like lead at the beginning.  It was also a slight uphill for the first mile.  I wore my windbreaker over my STEM tee shirt because it was raining. But my jacket isn’t breathable and I was pretty warm. The course levels out a bit and then when we turn left, there is a steeper hill (but not bad at all).  There was a lot of support along the course even in the rain.  Friends of the families who lost loved ones to drugs were holding signs in their memory.  I was glad that I was running to support this charity.

We turned around at the halfway point and continued on this country road back to the high school.  I just tried to maintain a consistent pace.  I didn’t have t he energy to push myself to a PR but I knew I had to face Patrick on Monday so I saved some so I could sprint through the finish line, at least.

I crossed around 27:26.  I was happy.  And of course, the first thing Patrick said was: “Did you PR?”  I responded: “No.  You jinxed me!”

I wanted to wait to watch some of the other runners finish but I was soaked and went inside to take off my jacket and get some food.

There was chocolate milk and donuts.  I was a happy camper.

I hung around because I was pretty sure that I got an age group award.  And I did – FIRST!!

They decided to move the awards ceremony to the gym.  Wise decision. Patrick handed me my award and added “She should have PR’d but she said that I jinxed her!”  Geez.

Race Splits:

mile 1 – 8:40
mile 2 – 8:54
mile 3 – 8:50
.14 – 8:05

My second 5k in a row with all laps under 9 mm.  It wasn’t a PR but it was a course PR.  I finished over one minute faster than last year.

Could I have Pr’d?  Perhaps if I were in the right frame of mind and pushed myself to run faster. (Should I feel like puking when I cross the line?? Um, I don’t.)

I must say that I have enjoyed my last two 5ks.

And especially this race. I was happy to support this charity. Plus the race was so well-organized. The only negative was the rain!

I am so humbled by these STEM women and others who have overcome adversity. And I am glad to be a part of their lives.

Now on to my next challenge.  13.1 miles!!!

With a half marathon next Sunday, I had planned to go run 7 more miles and then go to the Tulip Fest in the park. But the weather wouldn’t cooperate. It poured all day so instead I went to the movies and out to dinner with the girl I mentor and her sons.  (Today is our 9 year anniversary.)

Today is also Mother’s Day and I was tempted to race.  In fact, this is the FIRST Mother’s Day (except 2012) that I didn’t run a race.

I think I may just run some miles before heading my MIL’s.

I am also sharing in the support love by linking up with a Sunday Fitness and Food Linkup hosted by

Ilka from Ilka’s Blog and Angela from Marathons & Motivation

Happy Running! How was your weekend? Did you run or race? How did you celebrate Mother’s Day!!


2 thoughts on “Summer Smith Memorial 5K Race Recap

  1. There are some races that you just have to run, no matter what – and this race is definitely one of them. Love all of the support and awareness, addiction is a cruel beast. Congrats on your AG win!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.