Race 4 The Fallen
The 1st annual Race 4 The Fallen was held this morning in Bay St. Louis, MS. The race was presented by the Police Benevolent Foundation. This foundation honors the members of the law enforcement community who risk their lives everyday to protect and serve the public. The proceeds from the race go directly to the foundation to assist the families of fallen officers.
I was recently named the chair of the Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run at the Mandeville Police Department. I took this opportunity to create a Mandeville Police running team not only to participate in the Torch Run but to also participate in other area races. The department was gracious enough to let me start recruiting, some would say harass, my co-workers to participate in the Race 4 The Fallen. We even got running shirts made. Thanks to Code 3 and Under Armour!
I was only able to recruit one co-worker for this race, but I have successfully signed up about 15 for the Torch Run. It is a start!
Of course I had to work a 12 hour shift up until 5:00am this morning but for those who know me this is nothing new. I always think it is a good idea when I sign up for the race, a bad idea about 2 hours before the race, then a good idea again once I get there.
The severe thunderstorms finally cleared up so my co-worker, Rachel, and I began to make our way to Bay St. Louis. Unfortunately the rain gave way to heavy fog but we made it. It was still dark when we arrived and just as foggy on the bay.
At the race site there were many officers from different agencies present volunteering their time to do traffic control and assist with the race. We saw quite a few law enforcement runners warming up for the race too. It was heartwarming to see all of these officers come together for a great cause.
Race start for the 5K was at 7:15am and the course was still covered in a heavy blanket of fog. The starting line was only a half mile from the rather grand Bay St. Louis Bridge but we could not see anything. After speeches from the race director and Police Benevolent Society president and an electric guitar cover of the Star Spangled Banner…we were off!
I was not sure how much of an ascent we would have to cover when we turned onto the bridge because it was disguised in the fog so I decided to play it safe for the start. I stayed around a 7:00 pace for the first half mile. I was in 5th place at this point still trying to squint through the fog and mist to try to see the upcoming bridge. We turned onto the bridge at about the .6 mile mark and I moved up to 3rd. We had a little bit of a climb but it leveled off at the 1 mile mark.
I slowed down to a 7:20 pace and was praying we would not be going over the high-rise portion of the bridge. Fortunately the turnaround finally came and I knew it was all downhill, literally and figuratively, from here. We left the bridge at mile 2 and turned back towards the finish line. I moved up to 2nd place.
Even though my pace dropped to around 7:40 a mile and the fatigue of being up for 18 hours was finally setting in, I managed to stay in 2nd. The last .1 miles finally came and I mustered up the energy I had left to sprint to the finish. I was 2nd female for a time of 23:38. Not my best time but I was proud of myself for picking up the pace and not getting passed at the end.
I grabbed some water and went back out to the course to cheer on Rachel. She finished 16th overall for 27:07.
A cool feature the race had was live timing. www.web.My-finish.com provided up to date results. We were able to see our times and the results of the law enforcement division. We were very excited with the results, but more on that later.
While we watched the half-marathoners begin to trickle in we took a walk around the post race festivities. 107.1 The Monkey provided the music for the event. The food included jambalaya, cookies, Domino’s pizza, Budweiser and Michelob Ultra beers, and cocktails from Malibu Rum.
The law enforcement division awards were announced at the 5K award ceremony. I won 1st law enforcement female and Rachel won 2nd law enforcement female! We were very excited and immediately called our co-workers back at the station to share the good news.
The race was fun but we also had to remember why we were running in the first place: fallen officers. My former co-worker, Rodney Thomas, of the New Orleans Police Department, was killed on 7-7-13. I will never forget working the night he died and hearing the whole thing unfold on the radio. His passing hit my co-workers and I really hard. The community really gathered around his family to help them during this tragic time.
Today the wife of a fallen St. John Parish deputy was at the race and completed her first half-marathon. It is wonderful that she was able to participate in this event and honor the memory of her husband. I remember that tragic day as well: 8/16/12. Two deputies, Brandon Nielsen and Jeremy Triche, were killed in the line of duty and two more deputies were shot.
When a police officer is killed it hurts all of us because we are forever united as brothers and sisters in blue. This is why organizations such as the Police Benevolent Foundation are important because it provides resources to the families of fallen police officers.
Next up I will be making my biathlon debut this Saturday in Woolmarket, MS. The event is a 5K run and an 11 mile bike. I will be borrowing a friend’s bike because, well, I don’t bike. If you have any tips for me please share. Hopefully I don’t fall off the bike and I am able to walk the next day. Fingers crossed. Until next time.