Four years ago I drove to Bishopville to run a race for a little boy I hadn’t ever met and I knew only one person that was going to be there who I didn’t even get to see that day. This year I decided to run it again because not only is it a flat course and dog friendly but it’s also for a great cause. Bayler is a boy who unfortunately lost his battle against neuroblastoma. For the past 6 years, they have held this race on Christmas Eve – Bayler’s birthday. This year he would have been 13 years old. The proceeds of this race benefits Bayler’s Prayers Endowment which go to Children’s Pediatric Cancer at Palmetto Health Richland.
Bishopville is only about an hour away and with the race beginning at 9 AM, we had plenty of time to get there and pick up our race packet. I had secretly been hoping for another 5k PR since Elijah and I had hit an official PR by one second just two weeks prior plus we’d had an unofficial PR time at the Turkey Trot sans his pit stop, of course. But that hope faded once I opened the door at 6:30 AM and the air hit me like a weight. Here it is Christmas Eve and I felt like I could cut the air with a knife. It was already in the 70s and so very humid. I immediately knew it was going to be tough on Elijah, who had been enjoying the nice cool weather we started having.
We arrived a little less than an hour out from start time and had front row parking right on the main road merely steps from the official start line. I immediately met up with Jamila Williams, an old friend from Sumter and also part of Team RWB. I saw another fellow Columbia RWB Eagle, Kerry Stubbs later that morning as she crossed the finish but didn’t get a chance to chat with her. Alex McDonald with the Columbia Running Club and Angel Manual with Palmetto Runners were also there. It was good seeing some familiar faces.
Elijah and I started up front and had a good speed for the 1st mile but that humidity sure was brutal and we started dropping pace a minute each for the 2nd and 3rd miles. (Splits: 8:49 / 9:49 / 10:39) I had hoped they’d have a water stop at least half way so I could give Elijah some water but considering this is December, it probably wasn’t planned for just a 5k because who plans on 70 degree weather for Christmas Eve? Wait…I had forgotten for a second where we are. Welcome to South Carolina winter weather where it’s cray-cray! I should have run with my Simply Hydration bottle. We did make a quick stop in a mud puddle so he could cool off for a second. That pit stop cost us a place or two in our age group I think. But they had some speedy people out there because after the first couple of turns, the front-runners were no where in my sights anymore. I can’t find the posted official results but I think I probably ranked somewhere in the top 10 in my female bracket…? If not the top 10, definitely somewhere in the top 20 females. If I remember the print out at the finish correctly.
***EDITED*** Here are the official results from the race. I actually finished #8 in my age bracket and #25 in the female bracket…still not too shabby!
And a special shout out to the race crew for providing an extra shirt for my little buddy Breckin so that I can share this special race with him too! 🙂
I didn’t place as I was hoping, I knew that wasn’t happening when I hit around mile 2 and was playing leap-frog with a few ladies. Not to mention that Jamila, who is my age, and her dog Sprinkles left us in their dust around the 2.5 mile mark. That was about the time we found a little mud puddle for Elijah. Angel and Alex both took home age group wins. There were a ton of kids out there and several placed. Elijah enjoyed the attention from the kids and Scout (another dog he met that morning) while we listened to the awards. I’m pretty certain this race is a must on my calendar again for next year. I don’t know why I had missed it the last few years. Maybe we’ll have more forgiving weather next year?? Fingers crossed but you never know with SC weather.