Back to my determination, I had this vision in my mind of a road race held right in Winslow. Nothing of the sort has been attempted for a very, very long time. I held the idea in my secret place for quite awhile and when we actually set foot on the soil I told Kimmy about my grand idea.
I wanted to organize a road race in Winslow. I thought of it as an opportunity to show Winslow what I can do in the community. The City just dropped a ton of money on landscaping, lighting, and walking paths earlier in the year. I wanted to utilize those newly landscaped areas to their full effect on the race course. I also knew that the Standin' on the Corner Festival would be held in September. While the festival is well planned and brings much business to Winslow, it is nothing more than music and beer. This community was well overdue for adding a family friendly event to the festival weekend.
race logo designed by my one and only
So, way back in July, Kimmy and I began our master planning of the race. We met with the City of Winslow and started working on all the finer points like, race bibs and water stations. Both of us were very diligent. We both tried to do something for the race everyday. I always knew what my assignment was and how I needed to get it done. That's just how it is when both you and your sister are way too meticulous and organized.
2 weeks before the race the Police Department called to tell us that the race was a no go. They hated that our course when right through downtown, the festival venue, and crossed major intersections all during the Stadin' on the Corner festival. We met with the Chief of Police and laid out all the major reasons why we would be safe and why this race needed to go forward. The Chief gave his consent after that meeting. Not only that, he came on board with much more than we had hoped. A police escort in the front of the race and a fire truck escort in the rear of the race.
Fast forward to race morning. As Jason, Kimmy, and I were out at 5 am setting up tables and Gatorade jugs for water stations, I was excited and nervous all at the same time. What if no one showed up? or is someone got hurt? or if the course was a bust ? etc. . .
By 7:30 there was a sizeable crowd at The Corner. (For non-Winslow residents, The Corner as in Standin on a Corner in Winslow, Arizona) The Chief of Police showed up to direct traffic and I'm pretty sure there were over 100 people standing around as The Eagles played on the speaker and racers were warming up. The Chief grabbed me 5 minutes before the race start and said, "Look at these people! You need to get a picture of this for the paper!" Until then, I hadn't realized just what we had accomplished. He was right, there were so many people and everyone was amazingly happy and friendly.
I gathered everyone on the starting line and made some thank yous, directions, and tips for all the participants over the loud speaker. I don't think I could have been more happy than when they all raced off after the whistle blew. It was so cool to see so many familiar faces, wearing the T-shirt, and putting trust in my sister and I to organize a fun running event.
All in all, we had 80 runners/walkers compete in either the 10K or 2mile event. The event more than exceeded my expectations. The vision I had in my mind, way back in New Zealand, was just how it really happened.
Afterwards I told Jason that days like today remind me of why I love Winslow, Arizona. I don't care about the wind or the poverty or the lack of entertainment. This little town has got it.