Local Race Recap: Melissa's Race 5K 2022

I ran this local charity race for brain cancer for the third time this April (previous runs were Melissa's Race 2019 and Melissa's Race 2021; I also participated virtually in 2020).

Melissa's Race is put on by Melissa Vosburg, Inc, a charity devoted to supporting brain cancer research through awareness education and fundraising. The race is accompanied by the Brews for Brains fundraising event, which follows the run in Sanford's Fort Mellon Park.

Training & Goals
Since January 1st I've been  working on coming back after a period of no running, managing knee pain, and working on losing some pandemic weight. My knees presented with some new pains the week leading up to race day, so I was mostly walking during the week before this race, with extra stretching and strength work. If my legs were up to it, I did plan to run using relatively new 75/75 intervals from the start and see what my time would be if I really did my best.

Race Day: April 23, 2022
Race day came and my knees felt okay. The new pains disappeared (old pains persisted though!) so I figured I'd do my best and hopefully come in under 40 minutes (ugh) on the familiar flat course. I checked my results from my previous Melissa's Race outings and both were over 40, so my goal ended up being to beat my Melissa's Race record of 40:43 from the 2019 run (I came in at 41:46 last year).

Parking is easy in Sanford and I found a great spot in the predawn darkness close to the race site. I got my packet and team shirt and headed to the restrooms to change. Races at Fort Mellon Park are great because there are real bathrooms on site -- no need to step into an icky portapotty.

I was in the second start wave, which began at 7:10AM. It was a very pleasant 64°F at the start with delightful 77% humidity, mostly clear skies, and a light breeze off the lake.

Mile 1: 12:29
I felt pretty good from the start. The field seemed to open up right away (the four different staggered starting waves really help with that) and I could keep my pace without getting in the way of others or having to weave too much around walking participants. This mile takes runners along Lake Monroe and swings around Fort Mellon Park.

Mile 2: 12:35
For this mile we turn back towards the Lake Monroe waterfront and pass the marina before turning back to run the streets of downtown Sanford. I felt good after warming up and was happy I could keep up with my run/walk intervals as planned.

Mile 3+: 12:36, 1:03
Much of this mile is a repeat of mile one, heading back down 1st Street to loop around Fort Mellon Park to the finish line on the lakefront. Before turning back to the park, the run down 1st Street is in full head-on sun, and that wasn't a lot of fun. I didn't feel hot, but it was hard to see and unpleasant to look up. It made the final shaded stretch down the lakefront feel great for a strong finish.

Recommendation
This is a well-organized local race for a very good cause. On course support was great with volunteers throughout, and the support after is very good as well with treats for runners and several local vendor booths with the usual freebies and giveaways. It was really nice to see this race back to full force after the return to in-person racing last year had an understandably smaller field. Recommended.

Chip time: 38:39
Placement details: 17/61 in Age Group, 306 overall out of 751 finishers
Race Amenities: Nice cotton logo t-shirt, finisher medal for all, drawstring backpack
Cost: $27.95

Branded photos (c) Almost There Photography

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