Junior League of Little Rock Downtown Dash 5K Recap

Hi, friends! Today I’m recapping another race I recently ran here in Little Rock. If you read this post when I recapped the Little Rock Marathon 10K then you know my first ever 10K was last year’s JLLR Downtown Dash. I wanted to sign up for the Downtown Dash this year because I have grown a lot in the last year and just kind of wanted to celebrate my personal and fitness growth by running the same course. My bestie, Evelyn, said she wanted to run the 5K so I signed up to do that with her this time around!

The race was on Saturday, April 7 and started at the Junior League building in downtown Little Rock. I’ve heard different people describe they’re favorite running weather and because I still find running to be super challenging I don’t think I have a “favorite” weather for running. All that to say…the morning of this race the weather was no one’s favorite. The temps were in the 30s and the wind was blowing pretty hard. I wore a fleece lined jacket and a base layer underneath and I was still so cold. I met Evelyn in a parking lot beforehand and when we realized how cold we were, we started looking for any extra clothes in our cars. She found a scarf for me and gloves for her, PTL. I had brought my headphones and my phone since I prefer to listen to music when running but Ev didn’t bring her headphones. We decided we would just run without headphones and play music out loud to get us through.

Because of the weather and all of us freezing, the pre race atmosphere was pretty flat. I was just thinking the sooner we got started the sooner we would finish and then we could EAT! haha I’m forever motivated by food over here. We took off and then about a half mile in my hands were so cold they started burning.  They hurt and I was switching my phone back and forth from hand to hand because I couldn’t hardly grip it. Evelyn took off one of her gloves and gave it to me and I swear this was the kindest act I have received in 2018. It made a huge difference and I finally got some feeling back in my hand. At mile 2 we started to have some precipitation. A little rain drizzle, followed by sleet. In April in Arkansas! At mile 2 we had come too far to quit because of the weather, so we kept on. We ran the whole 3.2 and finished together! It was a cool experience crossing the finish line with a friend.  Evelyn and I are longtime besties and we’ve talked about running a 5K together for years. For a long time we were living in different cities and just have never made it happen til now. This was her first “competitive” 5K! She has done fun runs in the past with her nephews but this was her first full 3.2 miles with a finish line and I was super proud of her for finishing even though the running conditions were less than ideal.

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The race is a fundraiser for Junior League of Little Rock and they do a lot of great work within our community. I know people who are members and I know the hard work they put into they’re membership. Despite the cold weather, the race experience was far inferior to my experience in the Downtown Dash last year. I’m really not sure why, if people didn’t show up for their volunteer posts or if they just didn’t care but it was disappointing, especially when the race was over. Like I said, this was Evelyn’s first full 5K and medals for the race were just thrown on a table and bunched in rubber bands by race- 5K and 10K. No one was there handing them out we just had to awkwardly go find them and I gave Ev hers and she gave me mine. We finished but we certainly didn’t win the race and several others that finished ahead of us had to do the same, I’m assuming.
When we finished we didn’t know where to go to get our stats and no one offered to help. We just wondered around the building ’til we saw another runner getting his info at a tent and followed his lead. There was fruit available at the finish but it was all brown, even before the race and rain started it was brown sitting out there.

We paid $25 to sign up for the race and I’m happy to support a good cause. I’m still glad Evelyn and I ran the race together because 3.2 is something to be proud of and running with a friend made it more special. I feel certain that the weather is what derailed the atmosphere, but I am grateful to the volunteers who held posters and cheered us on through our route and passed out water. It’s amazing how encouraging seeing someone cheer you on can be. My experience with the Downtown Dash was better last year, and after 2 rounds, I think I will choose to support the Junior League in a different way going forward. A big thanks to Ev for running with me, sharing her glove, and getting me to brunch after! Thanks for reading today, y’all!

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