We got a little break with the weather this year. It was overcast and breezy when my Dad and I arrived at the race at 7am. I was thankful for no sun and was hoping it would even rain. The forecast did call for a 30% chance of rain but it didn't rain. It was 75 degrees and 90% humidity but that is about the best you can hope for in July in Beaufort. We've had much worse in the past.
I walked around and talked with some friends before meeting Jamie and before I started my dynamic warm-up. Jamie drove from Greenville with our dogs, Justus and Bud. After my warm-up I headed off for an easy 1.5 miles or so run around 7:40-8:00 min pace. I was nervous. I get more nervous for this race than I do bigger races like marathons. I think that has a lot to do with wanting to win so badly I put a lot of pressure on myself. I kept telling myself to stay clam on the warm-up and later while waiting on the starting line.
I kept an eye on the leaders as we neared the 5K turn-around. I wanted to see who would turn and who, if anyone, would continue straight on the 10K course. Everyone but one runner ahead of me turned. When I hit the 5K turn-around I checked my watch and noted the 10K leader was about 40 seconds ahead of me. I didn't panic. I stayed on my planned pace thinking he would slow down and come to me. At mile two, the 10K leader was only 20 seconds or so ahead of me. I ran mile two in 6:08. I was gaining on the leader without picking up my own pace. I felt good as we ran down Lennoxville Road. The leader passed, Paul Kelly who was leading the 10K wheelchair race. I checked my watch again his lead was down to 15 seconds.
I kept gaining on the 10K leader as we neared the 3 mile mark. I had caught him and passed him shortly after three miles. I ran mile three in 6:05. He stayed close to me for about a quarter mile on Ann Street before I felt like I was pulling away from him. I felt good enough to pick up the pace but didn't see the need if I was pulling away while staying around 6:05 min/mile pace.
I composed myself and continued on, running mile four in 6:04. Shortly after mile four, I saw Jamie and my Dad. I asked them how far back, referring to second place, and Jamie estimated 15 seconds. After running to the end of Broad Street the course makes a left turn onto Moore Street and another left back onto Ann Street. I was still feeling good and gaining more confidence as I neared the five mile mark. I ran mile 5 in 6:09.
The 10K runners that are still going towards mile four get a chance to see the leaders after mile 5 on Ann Street between the intersections of Live Oak and Hill Street when runners meet going in opposite directions. I first saw Sonny's daughter, Kelley, and she cheered me on. I next saw my friend Eric Rowe and he was very excited to see me leading. He cheered the loudest as he shouted "Go Tyler" as I passed him. This was the latest I had led at Beaufort.
I made the right turn onto Hill Street and another right turn, the turn for home, and was back on Front Street with about 0.70 miles to go to the finish line. I felt confident this was finally going to be my year to win. I started thinking of how I could celebrate as I hit the finish line. I started smiling bigger and bigger as I passed the Old Post Office, about 400m to go.
Katherine and Heidi had a close race in the 5K. Katherine led the first 1.55 miles and more until Heidi caught and passed her. Katherine didn't give up and ran Heidi back down. They finished with the same time of 18:59 but Heidi was given 1st place female 5K. They both got their sub 19 goal and finished 1-2.
My friend Duane Novotni ran the mile and 10K double. He placed third overall in the mile in 5:55 and fifth overall in the 10K in 40:43. His wife, Michelle, ran the mile and 5K double; placing 2nd overall female in the mile and 2nd in her age group in the 5K.
Paul Kelly won the 10K wheelchair in 49:16.
I'm still very excited and happy I won Beaufort. This win was a long time coming. I asked people in the Crystal Coast Running Club facebook group to wear their neon green at this race and was glad to see that so many did. Sonny was known for wearing neon green when he ran. I plan on doing it again for the Twin Bridges 8K Road Race October 4, 2014. Sonny will never be forgotten and I plan to carry on his legacy and honor him as best as I can. Sonny will always be with me when I run.