By Anne Larsen
We’ve all seen that classic road race picture with the runners lined up at the starting line, ready to spring into action, with their eyes and fingers on their watches ready to record every second of their upcoming race. Runners LOVE watches. They live, breathe, and sleep watches – and now two local runners are telling you to leave your watches, Garmins, and smartphones at home, and race without a timing device!
On April 13, leave your watches at home and lace up your sneakers. In a sport that is obsessed with time, the Tortoise and the Hare Prediction 5k is not about how fast you are……..”it’s about how fast you THINK you are!”
How does it work? Upon registering, each participant predicts (or guesses) their finishing time. The runner whose race day finishing time is closest to their predicted finishing time WINS!
This first annual race is a fundraiser for Marshall Middle School and includes the 5k run/walk, a free kids day fun run and raffle! Marshall students will be out in full-force volunteering and the cheer squad will be supporting participants along the route.
Sonja Ulrich is the Marshall Community Council (MCC) President and one of the masterminds behind the Tortoise and the Hare 5k. Sonja wanted to move away from some “traditional” school fundraisers (selling candy bars, magazines, etc.) and instead begin a tradition of an active community event. Organizing a community race allows parents, students and staff to get moving and be involved. Hosting the race at the school engages the neighborhood and community, reaching out so that everyone will feel invested in their school and students!
Sonja, along with her running mentor and friend Terra Perkins came up with the brilliant idea of having participants predict their finishing time. This method levels the playing field – maybe the speedy folks really do know their pace, but maybe the walkers know theirs better!
I meet with Sonja earlier at McLane Elementary School, which feeds into Marshall Middle School in the Olympia School District. Sonja is a mom with kids in elementary, middle and high school, so she knows the importance of staying involved through the middle school years. It is classically understood that middle school in general can be a tough time for kids and parents alike. Parental involvement in school seems to dissipate as the kids get older and don’t want you around, or the jobs you used to volunteer for in elementary school just aren’t available.
Understanding the importance of parental support and community involvement the MCC supports theater productions, the Marshall Community Garden, the Battle of the Books and many more worthy causes. Through their actions the MCC “strives to deepen students’ commitment to life-long values of kindness, acceptance and respect for others, responsibility, accountability, and a love of learning. “
Terra and Sonja first meet a few years back when Sonja’s co-worker talked her into training for the Run Like a Fool 5k. She showed up at Capital Lake and started her Couch to 5K program where Terra ran alongside and encouraged her along the way. Terra is a fabulous ambassador for running and encouraging new folks to run/walk and find success in achieving their goals. You can find Terra and the Pints Pavement Pounders on Thursday nights at the Pints Barn in Tumwater. It was Terra that led the P3 “off-season” runners, and she is a wealth of information for anyone new to running.
Join Sonja, Terra, and the Marshall Middle School community at 9am on Saturday, April 13. The free kids run starts at 10am around the Marshall Middle School track. Just do it already! You may have a hidden talent to “predict” times – and you would have never uncovered it until now.
To register for the Tortoise and the Hare Prediction 5k, visit this site.