Photos by OHventures
Starting at the corner of State Route 7 and State Route 224, the course proceeds in an eastern direction, ending at the intersection of State Route 224 and Applewood Boulevard. Even though it is only one mile, there are two giant hills that are part of the race (thankfully that means a lot of it is downhill). The first .4 of a mile is a gradual downhill. From .4 to .55 of a mile, the course goes uphill. From .55 to .8 of a mile, the course is downhill again. From .8 of a mile to the finish is flat. The scenery consists mostly of commercial storefronts, including the Southern Park Mall on the right. The course is run by two separate groups: non-competitive runners, and competitive runners.
My sister-in-law Regina (who recently ran the Hot Chocolate 5K with me) is a pro at finding races in the Youngstown-Warren area and is even better at convincing the entire family to jump on the bandwagon and get moving! In fact, this race had the most number of my family members participating in it that I can recall! Myself, Regina, my dad Mark and mom Kim (who both walked in the Glo Run Columbus), and even my 9-year-old niece (who ran in the Warren Kiwanis Turkey Trot alongside me) AND 3-year-old niece RAN in the race! What's more is that my 2-year-old nephew was pushed in a stroller the ENTIRE way by my sister-in-law. On top of that, before the race, she made red, white, and blue glitter tutus for the girls to wear during the run and parade. I really do not know how she does it all! I am very impressed.
Adding to the extensive list of family running, the one and only Kristen (AKA my "fitness friend" extraordinaire) joined me. Like me, Kristen lives in Columbus but is from Trumbull County and was visiting for the long holiday weekend. It was great we got to run together in a different part of the state!
There are only a few hundred people who ran in each race. Because we had the little ones, we all ran in the non-competitive heat. It was absolutely hilarious to watch my littlest niece run all bow-legged through the crowd in her tutu with her blonde ponytail bouncing around and her arms waving wildly about. After a good laugh running with her, Kristen and I decided to catch up to the older niece! She was WAY ahead, but was easy to spot because of the tutu. When we finally caught up, we decided to keep pace with her so we could enjoy the experience together (and, because, I really was in no shape to push myself that hard).
We crossed the finish line with an approximate time of ! I was very proud of my niece for running the entire way. We got some water and watched as my father came in a couple minutes later, followed closely by my sister-in-law with the little kids, and my mom. It was a great bonding experience and a nice alternative to hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill!
Because the course was not a loop, we had to WALK the entire mile back to our cars! But that didn't bother us at all, and in fact was one of the most fun aspects of the race. We even stopped to get a coffee and then found a spot halfway to watch the parade! it's been so long since I have been to a patriotic hometown parade like this! There was tons of candy throwing, marching bands, elected officials, antique cars, local businesses, first responders, and more marching by. It felt good to be doing good in the good ol' Mahoning Valley!