Name of race: Barnesville Pumpkin Festival 5K

Location: Barnesville, Ohio

When: Last weekend in September, during the Pumpkin Festival

Number of runners and walkers: 700 (at 2015 race)

Course: Asphalt on blocked off roads with about 20 feet of gravel at the end

Hills: Several. One at mile 1 that is steep and short; mile 2 has an uphill climb then downhill then another short, steep uphill. 

Race swag: Tech T-shirts (depending on availability), packet filled with information of other races and anti-chafing cream samples

Awards: Pumpkin adorned trophies or medals. Each age group has awards, but oafew go below third place (such as awards for fourth and fifth place). Top winners in some age groups also receive pumpkins.

Other activities: Kids run, door prizes and plenty of food. The brochure says, “If you go home hungry, it’s your fault.”

My take on the race:

  This is a hard race to write about.

I ran it with my son, who is 7. He and I were going to attempt to break the elusive sub-30 minute 5k. His last race was 30 minutes, 19 seconds.

He doubted he could do it. My husband doubted I could do it. But I think he was more concerned about something else. We’ll get to it later.

Barnesville is a beautiful village in the Ohio foothills. The race was not through the town itself, most of that was occupied by the Pumpkin Festival.

We did get to see the beautiful rolling hills and some great fall decor.

During the race, my goal is as to keep my zone talking. Because once he stopped, he would begin to think and panic.

I did/do it too when I run, especially if I have a set goal in mind.

The course was well marked with little pumpkins and volunteers pointing the way at every intersection. They even marked the miles and half miles. It was a mistake to point them out to my son, because his mind would stray from the Angry Birds conversation we were having. When his mind strayed, his breathing got panicked and I had to refocus him on enjoying the run.

As we neared the three mile mark, my son was ready to walk.

And we worked together to keep going. As we went down the home stretch, I tried to push him enough to finish strong. Maybe I pushed too much, as I finished two seconds before he did. We had no clue until we looked at the results.

Afterward was the kids’ races. They did races in age groups. Each kid received a medal and mini pumpkin from Batman. My 5k runner also did the kids’ race. He was a trooper.

  The race was good. We felt good. Then I was reminded of how beat my son,  I didn’t think of being in competition with my son. I just wanted him to finish strong when he was unsure of himself.

The race did give me something to think about.