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Harvard Pilgrim Finish at the 50

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Last night was the Harvard Pilgrim Finish at the 50, a race that starts at Gillette Stadium and finishes right at the fifty yard line on the field. Gillette, the home to the New England Patriots, is located in Foxboro, Massachusetts and though when the Patriots take the field temperatures have the potential to be in the sub-freezing range, last night was anything but. Partaking in the 5k, starting at 5:30 PM, race time temperatures were above 90 degrees and running through parking lots and open roads for most of the race really allowed the sun to beat down on runners and walkers.

The race takes you through the grounds of Gillette Stadium and Patriot Place before runners make their way into the actual stadium. While in the stadium, runners run up the ramps that head from the lower field section of the stadium all the way up to the highest point of the stadium. Since the stadium seats 65,000, you can only imagine the uphill climbing that takes place while heading up the ramps. Once at the top of the stadium, you make a lap around the upper bowl before you head back down a different ramp and do a lap around a lower section of the stadium. After a brief exit out of the stadium, runners then make their way through the tunnel and onto the field for the final sprint toward the fifty yard line. While making your way toward the finish line you can watch yourself on the big screens at the end of each end zone as an announcer reads of the names of the finishers. Once finished, the key last night was to get to the water bottles immediately to make every effort possible to cool off and try to replenish all that was lost on the course due to the heat.

Even with the added challenge of the nearly unbearable heat coupled with the heavy crowds for this race, I finished the Finish at the 50 with a time of 25:05, good for 8:05/miles. But that wasn’t the best part…

Last night, my mom decided to tackle the 5k challenge and took part in the Finish at the 50 along with me and Mrs. Running Griffin. My mom has never competed in a 5k before and perhaps it was my constant talking about running and racing that made her want to run a 5k or maybe it was, as she noted, something to check off the bucket list. Pre-race, she had that “Why am I doing this look” that so many people have on their face before they run, whether it be their first 5k or a marathon that they have trained a long time for. Even I have been known to think on the drive to a big race, “We could just go out for breakfast and call it quits” but usually there is something that pushes us each to the starting line instead. And last night, my mom pushed herself to the starting line.

When I saw my mom come through the inflatable Patriots helmet and head onto the field and run toward the finish line, the heat of the evening went away for a moment and instead an immense sense of pride came into the picture. She had done it; her picture was on the jumbotron,  she had a medal (which she pledged to wear while walking around the mall for a while) and she can now call herself a 5k finisher. Running isn’t about coming in first, running isn’t about ego and running isn’t meant to be taken so seriously that you lose sight of what is important to you. Running is about crossing the finish line and achieving something that you didn’t think you could ever possibly do. For me,  running last night was about seeing my mom cross the finish line and I couldn’t be more proud of her and happy that we were able to share a race together!

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Categories: Uncategorized

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