Summer Smith Memorial 5k Race Recap


May 12, 2018 – 9:30 am

This was the third year for this 5K race which 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 due to the heat and humidity, it was more of a slog. Plus the forecast for today was cool and rainy.

However, 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 the past two years as well. I remember it as NOT being flat. But I did win my AG and finished with a respectable 28:29 and 27:26 times.

Photos from two years ago (on a sunny day):

It was cool and cloudy (in the 40s) with rain predicted.  I was still exhausted from my Florida vacation, woke up with a headache and really did not feel like running in the rain.

But as soon as I arrived, my mood lifted.

The race starts at a local high school so there are real bathrooms, easy parking, and ample room to hang out before and after the race.

I grabbed a needed cup of coffee and immediately bumped into some purple shirted runners. Many who were in Summer’s STEM group were there. It was pretty emotional. I still get teary-eyed when I think about her.

Sean’s Team

Another local runner that I know also led a team of runners. Her son, Sean, had also died of a drug overdose. I signed up to be on her team (though I forgot to wear a teal colored shirt).

long sleeved tech shirt this year

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. Many of us 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 asked me if I was going to PR?  I quickly replied “NO!”

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 long and short sleeved shirts because it was raining. My jacket isn’t breathable and I was a little warm so I unzipped it but my hands were freezing and so were my wet toes.

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. It was raining harder and harder and I didn’t have the energy to push myself to a PR but I knew I had to face Patrick so I saved some so I could sprint through the finish line, at least.

I crossed at 27:XX.  I was satisfied.

I wanted to wait to watch some of the other runners finish but I was soaked and went inside to take off my shirts and jacket, change into a dry shirt and get some food.

I may not look it but I was soaked and freezing

There was chocolate milk, fruit, bagels and donuts.  I was a happy camper.

I hung around because I was pretty sure that I got an age group award.

They decided to move the awards ceremony to the gym. I should have checked the results but I didn’t until they didn’t call my name. Then I checked and I should have come in second in my age group. I told Patrick and he was very apologetic and handed me my award.

Race Splits:

mile 1 – 8:34
mile 2 – 8:48
mile 3 – 8:50
.14 – 7:25

Garmin time = 27:21

amended results

All my laps were under 9 mm.  I was pleased with that (even it was positive splits)!!! It wasn’t a 5K PR but it was a course PR (a few seconds 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.  It was raining and I had a headache. yada yada.

I must say that I have enjoyed my last four 5ks. I have won awards, my times have been decent (27:xx) – all without any speed work.

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.

With a half marathon in a week, 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 a mall arcade and out to dinner with the girl I mentor and her two sons.  (May 14, 2018 was our 10 year anniversary.)

It’s Wednesday so I am joining up with Running on HappySuzlyfeCrazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs for the Coaches’ Corner linkup


Happy Running! What is your favorite charity to support for a race? Do race because of the cause?


18 thoughts on “Summer Smith Memorial 5k Race Recap

  1. what an amazing cause, Darlene! congrats on the run and another AG award. Can you imagine if you would have trained with some speedwork for a PR? Personally I just think you have a talent for it (meaning, you are built for this) and I’m kind of envious of that. I find it amazing how well you run these races!! I’m really sorry about Summer and I can imagine it was kind of an emotional atmosphere before the race.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great cause to run for! In October I will be running the Chicago Marathon with Team Ronald McDonald House Charities. I also ran the marathon with the team last year. Running for charity most certainly makes the race experience much more meaningful.


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