If there is anywhere that needs a little peace, it's probably Youngstown. I know, that's not a good thing for a Ohio-supporter to say, but we all know that Youngstown has a reputation. Plus, I am from near there, kinda, and so I have earned the right to say such things, kinda.
In all honesty, the Youngstown metropolitan area is making a noticeable comeback, thanks in part to the Rust Belt Revival movement. Because of a lot of hard work by committed members of the community, the Yo is turning out to be not such a bad place after all. In fact, I often head over that way to visit the Butler Art Institute, eat at the Youngstown Crab Company, and now to run in the Youngstown Peace Race!
However, the Youngstown Peace Race is nothing new. In fact, this year was the 39th annual race, having started during the Vietnam days in 1975 by a local runner named Jack Cessna. He and the other founders the race were looking to bring together athletes from all over the world, uniting peacefully through some friendly competition. The slogan remains: "They come from all over the world. They come for the competition. They come to celebrate peace."
The Peace Race offers a 400 yard children's fun run, a 2 mile race, and a 10K (the main event). My entire family opted to run the 2K race. This was because we had my 2-year-old nephew and 4-year-old niece being pushed in strollers by my mom and aunt, as well as my 10-year-old niece and father running (and they are not quite seasoned enough for a 10K). My sister-in-law and brother and I decided to do the 2 mile run instead of the 10K so that we would all be running the same event.
The start and finish line were located at Federal Plaza in Downtown Youngstown. We got to the very front of the pack and zipped ahead at the sound of the gun. We headed Northeast on Wick Avenue, turning left onto Commerce Street, continuing west until reaching Front Street, where we turned left. The course swooped around to Champion Street, where we turned left. When we reached Commerce Street again, we turned left, circling around back to Federal Street to the finish line.
This event ZOOMED by, so much so that I did not get the chance to soak in much of the scenery on the short course.and I set a new personal record of 14:38 for my 2 mile run! I kept a pretty nice pace the whole way and even SPRINTED the entire span of Federal Street at the conclusion of the course. This wiped me out pretty good. I was huffing and puffing and hurting, but I was also smiling from ear to ear! I never thought I would get under 15 minutes for a 2 mile run! It is difficult to find a pace like that when you are used to having a much slower pace during longer races so that you do not wuss out at the end. My time put me at 50th overall, and 6th in my age group, but that's quite all right by me (plus I am on the much older end of the 20-29 age group!).
My brother was not far behind me, and my sister-in-law was a couple minutes behind us, placing 2nd in her age group, getting a nifty medal! We were able to enjoy the sounds of live music, the tastes of Dunkin Donuts, and the sights of runners from as far away as Kenya! Rain threatened us on race day, but the skies opened wide and awarded us yet another dry race! We had complimentary Rust Belt Brewing drinks at the new Youngstown restaurant Warehouse 50, and gave a big toast to PEACE.