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This morning found me back out at McAllister Park in San Antonio for the San Antonio Road Runners (SARR)  Monthly Fun Run. It’s a free running event held the first Saturday of every month put on by SARR consisting of four distances,(of which I ran three) :

  1. Children’s Run (about 100m)
  2. 1/2 Mile
  3. 1 Mile
  4. 3 Mile

The course is well marked in flour as you run, and the Road Runner’s have chosen a well shaded route, which is a HUGE plus on a Texas morning, and the location is quickly becoming one of my favored areas to run in San Antonio.

I arrived about 45 minutes early, (I allowed for traffic and other delays that didn’t happen) as the event coordinators were busy setting up. As I can’t just watch other people work, I asked if I could help, and was told there was nothing for me to do…oh well, I tried. I took a walk on a few of the wooded trails to get my heart going, and to kill some time.

Upon arriving back at the pavillion where the sign-in was held, more people started to gather. I signed in, grabbed a bib # and some safety pins, and dropped my shirt off in my trunk, as I had the fortune of parking Zooey right next to the course…

The first race was the kids race, and it was a lot of fun to see a bunch of little ones running down the road ALL OUT… cheers were plentiful and finisher’s medals were awarded to all the little ones that ran.

Next was the first (of three) that I would run in, the 1/2 mile. The course was a walk-out/run-back layout, with no shortcuts to the start available as the distance was very short. On the walk out, I was wearing my Vibram Trek Sports, but when I got to the start line, I decided to go completely barefoot. The road was clean and well kept, and it was not an overly crowded event. As good a time as any to go unshod! A brief safety briefing was given at the start and we were off. I don’t really have any highlights for this distance, as it was very short. I spent much of this run looking directly at the ground in front of me to plot my next footfall…

I learned a new lesson: Running in VFF’s gets a lot of looks and comments…. running BAREFOOT makes the comments (mostly of disbelief) much more commonplace… it was rare to pass anyone who didn’t make some kind of remark!

Many of the runners in the first event were also running the second as well, so after all the runners had finished, we all walked out (through the woods this time) to the 1 mile start. I chatted with some other runners beforehand, and convinced a woman who was on the fence to run by promising I would come back after I finished and run the rest of the distance with her…

Again we were given a course and safety briefing, and we lined up at the start. Again the horn went off and away we went. I ran this distance at a pretty good clip (08:40) for being completely barefoot. I feel like I could have gone a little faster, maybe a 7:45, but I didn’t want to kill myself and then try to recover and run the 5k distance… After I crossed the finish line, I turned around and went back for the woman I promised to finish it out with and ran her on in, being my usual encouraging self the whole way.

I decided to don my KSO’s for the 3 miler, as it had some rougher looking trails to run on. They were still paved, but there were a few areas that looked as if they have seen better days.

The three-mile course was a very pleasant and simple course that wound its way on paved trails through the woods. It was mostly shaded with about a 5 foot width (plenty of passing room) and very little shift in elevation, I will say this: It very much seemed like there was a very small uphill grade the whole way. It may be that, or it may be that I ran in two prior events, then cooled down, then ran again… but my calves were on fire by the second mile… I backed off a little for about a half mile to let them cool, and then took off to finish it out in 30:05.

The runners that came to this morning’s event were as varied a group as I had ever seen, from first timers to marathon veterans, young and old both… but they all had the running bug. I chatted with many of the other runners, my unshod feet and VFF’s making a huge splash.

I also yelled “AAAARRRROOOOOOOO” to a man wearing a Spartan Race  shirt…which he appreciated and returned… If you have done a Spartan Race, you know the pride I am talking of….if you haven’t done one yet, “you’ll know at the finish line”

In summation, I had a great time this morning, and still would have if the race was held for a nominal fee. BUT IT WAS FREE…so you’ll hear ABSOLUTELY no complaints from me…mostly because there was nothing to complain about….water and Gatorade were freely available, and bananas were brought by another group that was running… runners taking care of runners!

If you’re a runner in San Antonio, and you haven’t had a chance to make it out to a SARR event, you don’t know what you’re missing. The San Antonio Road Runners really know how to put on a FUN RUN!