The Big Bird 4k/10k has been going on for 35 years now. I remember in high school, the CC coaches would try to get us to sign up. Unfortunately, I never did. It’s a shame, because I would have been doing every year since.
This recap won’t cover any of my normal race logistics. Why? Because I didn’t race it. I thought this would be a great opportunity to spend the morning with Jack and get him to run. Back on Labor Day, we went to cheer my sister in the Hamtramck Golab-k. That day Jack saw kids close to his age running and he wanted part of it. He charged through the finisher’s chute and the volunteer gave him a water bottle. He thought it was the coolest thing ever. So fast-forward to November, I decided Jack would run his first race.
My plan was simple:
- Switch out from the 10k to the 4k.
- Race the first 3/4 with Jack in the stroller.
- Let Jack get out and finish the race on foot.
And that’s exactly how it played out. I even pinned the bib on him instead of me. He was glowing. The race starts and finishes at the Roseville Parks and Rec building. The building was open so runners could stay warm and use the bathrooms. Race-day registration, packet pick-up, post-race snacks and awards were all located in the gym. The packet includes a long-sleeve tech shirt and a pair of gloves. As part of your bib, you are entered into a raffle to win prizes. The prizes ranged from race swag to frozen turkeys. Everything was very well-organized. It’s as if they had 35 years to perfect it 😉
The 4k runners were called to the start line. We would start 5 minutes before the 10k runners. Jack and I lined up and off we went. The course starts off on some busy roads, so I’m glad Jack was in the stroller for those parts. The first half mile or so is on the shoulder of Gratiot with only traffic cones protecting us. But I will say the course was heavily patrolled by the Roseville Police Department, which was comforting. I have no idea what my pace was, but I felt like I was flying. My guess is I wasn’t going too fast, but somewhere around 9 min/mi.
There was decent crowd support along the route, considering the size of the event. Once we reached the last few blocks of the course, I pulled over and let Jack run free. I was trying to snap a few pictures while the stroller went wonky on me. That’s when “Slow” Joe Burns, Detroit chapter coordinator for Medals 4 Mettle, RD of Back to the Beach and all-around good guy, offered to take the stroller to the end of the block so I could run with Jack for a bit. By the end of the block, Jack got a handle on running straight-ish (he likes to zig-zag a lot).
With the finish line in sight Jack was getting a ton of attention as he made his way. There were some big cheers waiting for him at the end. We ended up finishing in 27:19. We may be listed as 8/8 in my age group, but I’m pretty sure he was the only 3-year-old to cross the finish on his feet.
We dropped off the stroller at the car and headed inside for our snacks and to see if we won a turkey. No such luck on the turkey, but we did win a nice drawstring gear bag. Jack enjoyed a blueberry bagel and a balloon sword that a man was making for all the kids. We didn’t stay in the gym long though because just outside was a playground that was screaming his name.
It’s too bad its the end of the season for small races like this. I guess Jack will have to wait until spring, when I sign him up for his first mile run.