The Jeff Coombs Memorial Road Race, Walk and Family Day (Post-Race Wrap-Up)

The 14th Annual Jeff Coombs Memorial 5K, Walk and Family Day was held on Sunday, September 13, 2015. This was race #2 of my national tour. I was lucky enough to pick another incredible race for another great cause, for the second week in a row. This time, I crossed state lines, and drove up to the nice town of Abington, Massachusetts. It was about an hour drive for me to arrive at the race, which began (and ended) at Woodsdale Elementary School. The weather was overcast, and it was a little misty.
You could instantly feel that this was going to be a huge family event. Various booths were being set up, and some bouncy houses for the little kids were already in use. While walking around, and stretching out, I witnessed a pre-race race for some kids.

Pre race kids race Pre race kids race 2

In addition to a family atmosphere, there was also a very patriotic atmosphere. There were American flags all over the place, and several military personnel. And it was also a party as there was a DJ playing some tunes. Then the founder of the race, Christie Coombs, took the stage.

Christie Coombs

She welcomed us all, and introduced us to 5 year old Colin Van de Giesen, who would be performing the National Anthem. Colin’s father, Kyle, was killed in Iraq two weeks before he was born. Colin had received some patriotic cd’s. One day, Colin’s mother went to Colin’s room, and found him singing along with the cd as he was standing up and saluting. Colin’s sister, Amy, was the race starter for this day.

Here is Colin performing the National Anthem:

We then headed out to the street outside the school grounds, and began the race. There was a team of three men and three women, from The National Guard, who ran the race in uniform, with rucksacks.

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I was feeling pretty good. I was using the Runtastic app on my phone, but my phone died before I even reached the first mile. So I had no idea what my time was. Around the halfway point of the race, the road was a steady little incline. I wasn’t feeling too good about myself anymore. But, I kept pushing. I was glad that the weather was overcast. If it was sunny, it may have taken a toll on me. I grabbed a cup at the water station, and was only able to take a couple of sips from it. So, I proceeded to dump the rest of the water on my head. The kids, that were handing out the water, got a little laugh out of it.

Then I approached the finish line, and was able to give it a little kick in the end.

Finish line

I then went right to my car, and charged my phone a little, and headed back to the event. The kids were having fun:

Spongebob bouncy houses

There was also a face painting booth and a reptile booth:

Face Painting Reptile booth

Then I found my official time – 32:02! Last week’s race was 33:27. So, I knocked 1 minute and 25 seconds off my time.
However, this was a bittersweet moment. While looking at my time, I received a text saying that my grandmother, who was in a nursing home, was rushed to the hospital, sent to ICU, and it didn’t look like she was going to make it. So, I didn’t enjoy the rest of my time there. I did get to meet Christie in person, so that was really nice. As the awards ceremony was going on, I made a phone call to find out what was going on with my grandmother. Then I headed out.

My grandmother is still not doing good, and I’ve been going to work, and to the hospital just about every day since the race. At one point, she was given only a day or two to live. But, she is still hanging in there for now.

Overall, this race was a great experience. I would highly recommend it to anybody. Next year will be the 15th anniversary, so it will be a special time. As I mentioned in my previous article, The Jeff Coombs Memorial Foundation is a great cause. You can make a donation anytime, at the Jeff Coombs Memorial Foundation web site.

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