April 5, 2014
The Child of the Sun 5k is another race I found while searching through races in nearby areas. This race is an evening race and it’s in Lakeland; about 20 minutes from my house. It is held during the Child of the Sun Music Festival. During the festival, there are a lot of local bands and musicians of varying styles and sounds. It’s a great time to enjoy some local music while relaxing in the park by the lake.
The 5k starts around 6:30 PM; the sun will be going down but it will likely still be hot. It’s a warm and humid day so I know it will be a hot run. I don’t run in shorts but I have some light weight capris that I wear. I also make sure I put on a little sunscreen to keep my shoulders, arms, and face from getting too much sun.
I get there early because I don’t know the parking situation and I need to get my packet and bib. I find parking in a nearby garage and I have to walk about a quarter mile or so to pickup my packet. Once I pickup my stuff, I’ll have to walk back to my car because I don’t have anywhere to put my stuff.
It is a hot night. I start sweating just walking back to my car. When I get back to the festival area, I still have about 30 minutes before the start of the race. I listen to the band and find an area where I can sit down, out of the sun, and stretch a little. I’m near where the race will begin and there are a lot of other runners starting to warm up and stretch.
The race announcer starts to talk and, even though he has a microphone, it’s difficult to hear him over the band. I get that we’re supposed to line up in the area where we’re all standing and that the course finish is over by the stage, but I don’t get much else.
He sounds the horn and we’re off. The sun is going down but it’s still right in my face for the first stretch. The walking path around the lake isn’t super wide; there is enough room for about 4 people to be side by side. Needless to say, it’s a little crowded until we make it to the far side of the lake where it opens up.
We head up a few stairs and then into the streets of Lakeland. At each mile, there will be a high school band playing for us. At the end of the race, we can vote on our favorite and that band will win a prize.
Lakeland is probably the hilliest city in Polk county and this race course must hit all the hills. I know I should do more hill training so I am cursing at myself (and these hills) while I’m power walking up them.
Each of the bands are great and the kids are playing and cheering for every runner that goes by. I personally LOVE this. I was in band in high school and I always enjoyed when we played local events (though I don’t recall ever playing for a race). Band was a lot of fun and I made a lot of great friends and memories because of it. I think seeing these kids makes me reminisce a little.
The last stretch of the race brings us back towards the festival. I run down a short hill and make a right and I’m back on the walkway around the lake. Folks are lined up along the path cheering for us and the main stage is up ahead with a band setting up. There is some music playing and the race announcer is bringing the runners in.
I finish in 37:22. Considering the heat and humidity; and those darn hills; I’m happy with this. This was a fun race. I really enjoyed running it despite my cursing of the hills. It was a well-organized race; there were plenty of snacks and drinks (water, Powerade, etc.) for the runners afterwards, and the crowd was fantastic. The race shirt was also pretty nice. I’ll definitely consider doing this one again.
Child of the Sun by the bucks:
Food: ~$11 (I ate dinner after the race)