Local Race Recap: 2023 MeStrong 5K

For over a decade, the MeStrong 5K in Deland, Florida, has been a popular small town race put on by a local cancer charity and fund-raising group. Last year's "Victory Lap" was intended by the original organizers to be the final event. By popular demand, the event was resurrected by sponsor Florda Cancer Specialists & Research Institute with logistics organized by a group of four Rotary clubs in West Volusia County.

The popular race goes through the streets of and around downtown Deland. The 3.1 mile course is lined with spectators, cheer zones, volunteers, and refreshment stations, including at least two mimosa stands. Local businesses and student organizations from Stetson University cheer the runners, along with live bands and other groups. In the past I have participated in the 2019 MeStrong 5K and the 2022 MeStrong 5K (as well as the 2021 virtual event).

Training & Goals
Arthur and I planned to walk this one together without any goal for time.

Race Day: February 4, 2023
We had picked up our packets the day before so all we had to do race morning was find a parking spot, which was easy when we arrived at the courthouse at around 7:15AM. We sat in the car for a while, watching the lot fill up. 

I hopped in for the group photo with my run club, and then Arthur and I watched the opening speeches close to the stage before making our way to the middle of the start area. I thought we should have moved farther back because we were walking, but from the middle of the pack we were among other walkers so it was fine. 

It took us a good 6 minutes to cross the start line, and I think I heard later that it took 18 minutes for the entire crowd of participants to officially start. It was about 52°F with partly cloudy skies and 82% humidity when we started.

Mile 1: 16:40

Mile 2: 15:59

Mile 3+: 15:03, 2:36

After the Race
MeStrong takes over downtown Deland with sponsor booths and food and drink vendors. A lot of shops and restaurants opened early for the runners. The after party is pretty legendary! Arthur and I looked at the booths and picked up some snacks and swag before heading out.

Recommendation
4000+ MeStrong participants are happy this extremely popular race will continue to raise money for local cancer patients. Excellent race organization. Fun on-course entertainment and great after party. Always recommended.

Chip time: 50:11
Placement details: I came in 81/243 in age group; 1725 out of 4112 finishers. Arthur finished 65/108 in his age group and one spot ahead of me at 1724th overall.
Race Amenities: Nice cotton race shirt, swag bag, fun course with lots of support
Cost: $77.06 for two bibs

MeStrong branded photos (c) Almost There Photography

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