I’ve been a “Big Brother” with Big Brothers Big Sisters of WNC for over a year now and the experience has been a rewarding one for both myself and my little brother Jordan. Probably a big reason why we were matched together was because of our fondness of sports. To date we have participated in many activities involving some form of exercise, culminating with this past weekend’s 3rd Annual Run for Kid’s Sake 5k on the beautiful Warren Wilson Campus.
I signed us both up for this race as the proceeds directly benefit BBBS of WNC. Running together for a great cause and a chance to work up some sweat on a summer morning was too tempting to pass up. Jordan seemed excited about the race prior but race morning he was quieter than normal and probably a little nervous for his first ever 5k. Race morning provided us with nice weather and a great turnout of well over 100 other runners. I also saw several other “bigs” getting ready to run with their “littles”.
Jordan and I started off at a nice and controlled pace for the first mile, a perfect way to start a 5k race. Jordan seemed happy, determined and focused. After passing the first mile marker on the Warren Wilson Farm gravel road, we approached an aid station and the trail section of the course along the Swannanoa River. As I looked ahead I saw runners swatting at their legs and backside, immediately I knew what was happening or what was going to happen….bees.
As we got to this section I looked over at Jordan and yelled to run this next 50 feet very fast. I didn’t explain why as I knew that could cause a log jam of runners right over the bee’s nest. Well we both got stung in the ankle. However Jordan apparently had never been stung by a bee before as I found out shortly after when asking if he was allergic. He was a real trooper and fought through the initial pain and soon started running once again. Unfortunately I got stuck behind some other runners in a single file line on the narrow trail. Eventually I was able to get around everyone and catch back up to my swift moving friend just before mile 2 on the course.
I mentioned to Jordan as we ran together that the last mile was the toughest mile so he would be prepared. We made our way up the last hilly section and I could tell he was getting pretty tired. As I’ve done many times to myself inwardly at races, I told Jordan that we need to really finish strong. He gave me a funny look as if to say “what is wrong with this man?” Anyways he did pick up the pace and had a strong finishing kick. As we rounded the corner to the finish line, Jordan was greeted by several cheering family members who came out to watch him race. He finished 85th overall and he was 2nd in his age group with a great time of 37:29. Not bad at all for his first 5k! It was great to see all the smiles after the finish, especially all the “littles” who probably had just completed their first 5k.