The Mid-West Corporate cup relays are an annual event, where companies competed across a range of events – including 5k and 10K road races, a 5k competitive walk and various track and field events. Ford enters and team every year, and some members of the Ford Running Club help to make the event happen.
For the road races, it is a fun event and scoring is largely based on age group awards – the team with the most top age group placings wins – so it adds an extra level of competition within the race! The track events have some interesting requirements – such as an executive relay and rules in various relays about gender, cumulative age and individual age of team members – all in all it is a fun day with lots of people reliving their former track glory!
Personally, I have no former track glory! Growing up in England – we did not have organized sports like US schools – so my total track time during school consisted of the dreaded “sports day” where you were cajoled to participate in some event or other which you were neither trained nor coached for, in front of the entire school (luckily they were mostly working on their suntans in the stands instead of watching you slog around the track in your “P.E. knickers” – think bun huggers and thank goodness we didn’t have facebook or digital cameras in those olden times!) Yes – I am scarred – and yes it is a wonder that I EVER took up running as an adult! 😉
p.s. I know this sounds like some kind of melodramatic exaggeration so maybe some fellow country people can indeed confirm this sad tale!
p.p.s I spent most of my high school years at an all girls school, I can only imagination that the teenage humiliation of sports day was worse at a “normal” school.
Anyway – enough of therapy hour – back to the corporate cup relays! I have participated in the road races a couple of times before, they are early in the morning so you kind of miss the ‘track” part….this year feeling particularly brave (and having grown to enjoy by speed sessions at the track – in between the heckling from the local youth 😉 ) I offered to run a morning road race and then “whatever was needed” on the track……apparently I had clearly lost my mind! Fortunately, as part of the many rules – a participant is allowed to compete in a maximum of 4 events….
When the roster came out I was slated for the morning 5k, and a 400 and 1600 on the track – both as parts of a relay team. Hmmm…baton transfer…more terrible sports day memories come flooding back, and I am relieved that I am the lead leg on each so only have hand it off…not receive it….
So I ran the 5k. The start was a little eventful – since a guy burst out from behind me in the starting chute and nearly knocked me to the ground as we had barely crossed the line! After a little swearing, I regained my composure and made it to the first mile at 6:40. Woah. Crazy fast. I was trying to hang with a girl, who I was pretty sure was the first female – I had no idea how old she was….but I couldn’t catch her to ask! 😉 I knew I couldn’t sustain this pace the whole way, but I kept her in my sights through the second mile in 7 something….I was still just behind her, but I was starting to feel like I might puke. 5k’s are so short (relative to a marathon or half) the pace feels so fast, and my stomach starts to say “really, what do you think you are doing to us here?”. So the third mile was even slower. Somehow I was staying relatively close to this lead woman – I guess maybe she was going through the same thing! The course finished with a lap of the track – I went for a final kick – but there was nothing there! She pulled away a little – and finished 30 seconds in front of me…turns out she was in the next age group down. So all my chasing was largely irrelevant! Official time was 22:15.5. New PR and 1 point earned for Team Ford!
I had a little time before the first relay so I crammed some food in, and we took a team photo and then watched some of the high jump – crazy stuff! Before I knew it, it was time to warm up for the first relay. I was slated for the lead 400 leg, in a relay which was 400, 200, 200, 800 (with one female, all members over the age of 30 and one member over 35 or something complicated like that!) ….I was already thinking that 400m was pretty darn short, and usually when they appear on my training plan there is a number like x 16 next to them! Then I started to hear rumblings……”to make it competitive” and “give you someone to run against” you should see where the Chrysler girl lines up and line up with her, she will probably do the 200….no, thanks I said politely, I’m fine with running the 400 even if no one is around me. “it doesn’t matter if your 200 is slow, we can make it up”…. I repeated my polite thanks but no thanks a few times, before the penny dropped – the 200 is the shortest distance, so to minimize the overall team time – assuming all the guys on the team are faster at any distance, it makes sense to have the female run the shortest distance. So, there you have it. I was about to run a 200m leg and deal with double baton transfer! It is some small wonder that I didn’t spontaneously combust right there on the track – but to be honest there was no time to think about it.
We were lining up and before I knew it I had received said baton and was off! Fortunately, no one was recording splits – because I am PRETTTY sure it was the slowest 200m ever run on any track anywhere! The bonus was I got this great photo out of the deal!
First…maybe only ever…200m run! Check out those speedy UR Sportswear shorts 😉
As soon as the leg was over I jogged back across the infield – because my 1600m lead off was the very next race! Again no time to think. I was kind of excited about the 1600 – basically a mile – more in my zone…or so I thought. So, the gun went off and it was apparent that the 3 other girls (in this relay the 1600 was prescribed to be run by a female team member) had maybe done this before – and not in a 4 x 1600 @ 5k pace kind of way! So I just focused on my own pace – laying it all out there without dying a death before the final lap! I had big plans of starting my watch but completely forgot, especially with the whole baton complication! So I have no idea what I ran, but the lead runner apparently ran a 5 something and I was about half a lap behind I think…..irrelevant but fun!
So, that was that….overall the team came 2nd, with Chrysler winning. A fun day at the track and I guess I beat away some of those “sports day” scars! 😉