2016 (left) and 2013.

WELLSBURG, W.Va. — In 2013, my mountain family embarked on an amazing adventure to the northern panhandle of West Virginia.

You can read the recap here.

This race was the same, except I was guiding Mountain Kid 3 through his first 5k.

The race, held July 2, was attended by members of Team Red, White and Blue and my family.

Team Red, White and Blue at the Wellsburg 5k.

Mountain Kid 3 is that crazy kid who makes you waiver back and forth between have another kid. Sometimes he’s totally awesome and other times, you’re trying to figure out who his real parents are. A 5k for anyone his age is challenging, but his enthusiasm for … well, everything … makes it look easy.

This year, the Wellsburg July 4th committee let a local church take over the race. There were quite a few patriotic themed outfits out there, including plenty of Team RWB shirts. And there was Frank, a RWB member who frequently attends races in full firefighter gear to pay tribute to fallen firefighters. I’ve only known him through Facebook, and this was my first race with him. He was quite a help later in the race.

Frank Sulzer in his full firefighter gear.

MK3’s goal was to stay with his friend, who is two years older than he is. They stayed together, running and walking, whatever kept them occupied. They stuck with each other until we got to the halfway point. Then our friend zoomed ahead, leaving us to go on our own.

MK3 did everything he could to keep going forward: Kiddie parcor, walking on the curb tightrope and even imagining ways to cheat (we apparently need a rocket or plane).

And lo and behold came our first knight in shining reflective gear, Frank.

Frank, our hero!

He talked to us about his recent adventures and kept MK3 focused on something other than the race. When you’re racing, thinking of other things helps keep your mind off pain, how long the race is, etc.

Frank noted how he was on pace to break his record, so he left us to get back to his quest. 

MK3’s thoughts started to dwell on the race. 

“I’m sooooo tired.”

“Can we go through this street to get home?”

“Where are we?”

And just when his thoughts began to turn to the worse, our other knight appeared, Mountain Papa.

He stayed with MK3 as I ran up in front of them for a while. Then it was time to chase mommy.

And chase me they did, until they passed me with about 20 feet to the finish line.

And it was good.

This is me running past the Wells cabin, built by the founders of Wellsburg. At this point, Mountain Papa and Mountain Kid 3 were chasing me to the finish.

The awards ceremony started about two hours after we finished. The trophies were nice and Frank got first place in his age group as a walker.
The trophies.

It was a good small town race. We had some fantastic company helping us get through it.

The wait was a little too long for the kids, but they stuck with it. It was a nice, flat course and there were lots of people out to cheer us on. 

Will we race there again. I hope so.