Summer Smith Memorial 5K Race Recap


May 11, 2019 – 9:45 am

This was the fourth 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 the day before 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 windy.

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 three years as well. I remember it as NOT being flat. But I did win my AG and finished with a respectable 28:29, 27:26 and 27:24 times.

Photos from two years ago:

It was cool, sunny (in the high 40s – low 50s) with lots of wind.  I was still exhausted from my Florida vacation, woke up with a headache and really did not feel like running.

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 last year

Another local runner that I know, Karen, also led a team of runners. Her son, Sean, had also died of a drug overdose. I forgot to sign up to be on her team this year (so I just ran for her virtually).

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.

There were also many many raffle items  (most running-related but again I forgot to bring $$).

Before the race, there was a dedication ceremony followed by a balloon release.

31 balloons released for Summer

Then more balloons released for the others who also lost their lives due to drugs.  Probably not a dry eye in the crowd.

The ceremony was followed by music and a Zumba session.  I opted out and went inside.

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

I approached the start line and bumped into fellow Sole Sister (and STEM mentor), Judy and my running friend Tom.

in his standard “power pose”

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 pretty close to the front since there were many slower runners and walkers in this race.

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 DIY arm warmers for a bit but quickly pulled them down. The sun made it feel warmer than the actual temps. But the WIND!!! We seemed to be running INTO it most of the race.

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.  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 windy and I didn’t have the energy to push myself to a PR but I tried to save 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 chilly so I went inside to put on my long sleeve shirt and get some food.

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

Tom and I checked the results and we both got an award!!

Race Splits:

mile 1 – 8:55
mile 2 – 8:51
mile 3 – 8:46
.14 – 7:49

Garmin time = 27:39

All my laps were under 9 m/m.  I was pleased with that and I ran NEGATIVE splits!! It wasn’t a 5K PR and it was not even a course PR (last year I finished in 27:21.) But it was faster than last week which was on a FLAT course.

Champ liked my metal too

Could I have Pr’d?  Doubtful.  These legs are getting older. Tom says that I will not get faster unless I lift weights. (Not happening!!)

I must say that I have enjoyed my last two 5ks. I have won awards without doing any speed work. My calf feels FINE too.

And especially loved this race. I was happy to support this charity. Plus the race was so well-organized. The only negative was the the wind and how tired I was from my trip (and the day delay in getting home. 😦

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.

Tyler has WON this race 3 years in a row. His brother Zach died in 2015.

With a half marathon in a week, I had planned to run 7 more miles and then go to the Tulip Fest in the park with the girl I mentor and her two sons.  (May 14, 2018 was our 11 year anniversary.)

the kids are getting so big…I had a blast

But I decided to skip the extra miles and do my long run the next day. (Well, bad idea because it rained all day and I never got the run in 😦 )

Since today is Tuesday, I’m linking up with these ladies. Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner). Hope you do too!

I’m linking also up with Coaches Corner–Debbie and Marc.

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


12 thoughts on “Summer Smith Memorial 5K Race Recap

  1. Well, obviously you did just fine in your half without that long run (maybe the rest was even helpful).

    It is definitely a worthy cause, but since I’m already mentoring, at least this year, just not gonna happen.


    • This race wasn’t about mentoring. It was just a 5k. Some mentors were there.

      Yes. My half was pain free which was fine but not fast. That is ok when you choose other priorities.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great event for such a great cause. I am sure I would have been crying too when they spoke and released the balloons. Congrats on your award and your time. Great finish!

    Liked by 1 person

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