United to Cure FOP (Provo, Utah) 5k 2014

by Daniel Johnston

After setting a huge PR (personal record) of 20:45 in my last 5k, I was super excited for my next race. After all, it only took me one week of training to drop my time by more than 5 minutes. Who knew what kind of time I could get in my next race three weeks later?

I chose to do the United to Cure FOP race that was held on the campus of BYU. FOP is a muscular disorder, and we got to see a number of people there who were effected by the disease. It’s always nice to do a charity run and know no matter how you do in the race, you’ve helped people by running it.

This time I wasn’t running it alone. I went with a few of my friends. One was just there for moral support, and three others were running the race with me.

Unfortunately, the race didn’t exactly go as planned. I believe it was college students from the school that were running the race, and a bunch of things got followed up. Most seriously was the police permit. They didn’t schedule it right and the race ended up being delayed by an hour!

This was bad news because we had gotten to the race at about 8:45 that morning to hang out and make sure we were all ready beforehand (they said it was starting at 10). The race ended up not starting until 11, so we had a lot of time on our hands! Luckily there were intramural sports going on, so we just watched some of those. They were so bad it was hilarious.

In a way it was good that the race was delayed, because at first there was a vicious wind. I mean, it was brutal! By the time 11 came rolling around, the wind was pretty much gone. When they did start it, there was nice announcer and they had people speak about the disease which was cool. There were about 300 people there or so. They also had a raffle. I didn’t know what it was for, but I entered it anyways, which later proved to be a good move.

The friend who was there for moral support tried to take a picture of us with my phone before the race started. He succeeded, but I had to grab my phone from him as the race was starting and had to start of Runkeeper really fast and didn’t set it up to alert me of my pace and distance throughout the race. That threw me off a little bit, but it wasn’t that big of a deal because I could still look at it.

I went out in front at the beginning, going fast. One of my friend’s was the speedy one I later did my first half marathon with (it was his first, too), and he followed close behind for about a mile before he had to slow down. Another of our friends tried to keep up with me, but gave up after only a few seconds.

There were some pretty fast people in the race, but a lot of them slowed down as the race went on. The race was a little hilly, but it wasn’t too bad.

Around the second mile of the race I started really picking up speed. I realized that I had been running at about seven minute mile pace. My lungs were kind of giving in, but I pushed past it anyways. I passed a lot of people. Many said, “Good job,” and one even said to catch up and pass more people ahead.

Unfortunately, though, the course was not very well run, as I said. In fact, the course markings were not clear. At about mile 2.5, a guy suddenly rushed ahead of me and ran up a set of stairs. I started following him, assuming that was the way the course went. Alas, it was not. The guy wasn’t in the race! All the people I had just passed went by, and then some.

That completely destroyed me. I realized what was happening and got down, but I had lost probably about thirty seconds. I had also lost most of my motivation. Although I continued my pace, I was definitely not going to be on a mission like I was before.

Eventually I came to the finish line. Despite my woes, I still got 11th place overall in the race with a time of 21:49. Probably I would’ve gotten around sixth place or something if I hadn’t gotten lost, maybe even higher!

A few minutes later my later half marathon friend came in, finishing in about 24:30. Not bad at all for his first 5k, especially since he hadn’t trained at all.

We had to wait a little while for our other friends. The next came in at 32 minutes. Although he was in good shape, he had back problems, so that was understandable. It seemed like forever until our final friend came. He had even more severe back issues, and he finished in 37 minutes.

We were hoping that there would be age group prizes, but alas there were only prizes to the top three males and females. I had entered us into that raffle earlier, though!

We stayed for the raffle on the off chance we might we something. And we did! We won a $25 gift certificate to Macy’s, which was pretty cool. We went there and bought a ton of ice cream and candy and had a great time.

Overall, it was a fun day and a good race. I hope that our running helped victims of FOP, and I’m glad me and my friends got to run the race. However, I wish the race would’ve been better organized and the course better marked. The delay helped us avoid the wind, though, so maybe it was for the best anyways. There were a lot of nice people here, so I’d recommend this race. Maybe message them before signing up, though, and ask them if they’re certain there won’t be any mishaps 🙂

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