This past Saturday marked the 40th anniversary of the nation's largest 15k, The Gate River Run. Nearly 20,000 participants were geared up and ready to set out on a challenging and invigorating 9.3-mile course. The race takes you on what is almost a tour of some of Jacksonville's most beautiful and iconic scenes as it meanders through San Marco, Downtown and of course the "green monster." From the excitement to the exhaustion and to the final accomplishment and pride, these are the nine thoughts of the Gate River Run, mile-by-mile.
1. Mentally preparing & filled with butterflies,
"In two hours it'll all be over..."
2. Evaluating your pace & trying not to think about distance
"One down...eight more to go....slow down now, I hope this pace isn't too fast..."
3. Picking a person to shadow & judging your 5k time
"This girl looks nice and fast, I'm gonna stick with her, you and me stranger, we're in this together"
4. Reaching the half way point and trying to enjoy San Marco
"Just look at all the nice dogs and houses here, don't think about the 5 miles left...oh my gosh a golden retriever!"
5. Struggling to find motivation & questioning your own sanity.
"I do this every year, why do I do this to myself? Why do people do this?!?"
6. Collecting high fives and "power boosts" in the neighborhoods
"Okay, which house is giving out Jello shots and where are the popsicles and oranges?"
7. Pep talk time for the brutal green monster
"Come on, where there's an uphill there's a downhill, NO stopping, I can do this!"
8. Finding the downhill stretch and starting to sprint to the finish.
"FINALLY, the flipping downhill section! The finish line better be close, I'm so done."