I had a great time this past weekend in Springfield, Missouri at the Bass Pro Outdoor Fitness Festival!
I arrived in town on Thursday afternoon and local runner and business owner Danny Correll picked me up at the airport. We went out for a bite to eat and then he took me for a drive along the marathon course that I would be running on Sunday.
We went out that evening to a great little Italian restaurant called Nona's in downtown Springfield.
Friday started off early with a trip to the local NBC TV station for asn inteview, where I was on their early morning news program and talked a little about my struggles with accidents and addictions and got to talk briefly about the Dick Beardsley Foundation.
After that I did a radio talk show with announcer Ned Reynolds talking about the race coming up and about some of my past running days. Ned, a marathoner himself, really did a great interview! Then I met with Pam from News-Leader.com. Pam does the video for the newspaper website. She really got a chance to visit with me and got some great clips from my talk at the Park View High School.
Friday afternoon I had the honor of speaking to 1400 kids at Parkview High School in Springfield, the kids were absolutely awesome and gave me their utmost attention!
I spent the rest of the afternoon at the New Balance booth (they were one of the major sponsors, and the local NB rep Bob Brown made my whole trip possible, just a great guy!) signing cards, race numbers, selling books, and just talking to folks running in the races.
That evening I had the opportunity to attend the banquet for the Team in Training Alumni get together and also gave a short talk, I had a wonderful time.Saturday was spent at the expo which was held at the Bass Pro Shop, the National Headquarters are there in Springfield and it's a gorgeous store, I'm like a kid in a candy store when I'm there!
There was a 5 and 10K run and afterwards I helped with the awards ceremony.
In the afternoon, myself, along with running legend Frank Shorter and Olympian Jason Pyrah helped out with the kids mile run. It was great fun and the kids really had a good time!
That evening, myself, Frank, and Jason each gave a short talk at the pasta dinner which was free to all the folks in the marathon and half marathon, they had 800 guests enjoying some good homemade pasta!
Sunday was a wonderful day for running the half and full marathon. It was about 45 degrees at the start under sunny skies and light winds.
I ran the marathon and was hoping to run in the 2:40's and was feeling pretty good on the hilly course through about 15 miles. The balls of my feet, at that point, got so sore it felt like I was running on a bed of nails!
There were quite a few sharp turns that we had to make on a bike trail we were running on and perhaps that's why my feet hurt so much....I just can't take those turns like I could back in my younger days!
I was fortunate to finish 4th place overall and win the Masters title in 2:54:14I was a little disapointed in my time, but also very pleased I didn't bail out with my feet hurting like they were. I have to admit though, the thought crossed my mind several times!
It was a great fun weekend and hopefully I will get the opportunity to go back again to a super fun event!
A big thanks goes out to all the folks at Bass Pro Shops, New Balance, and my wonderful host for the weekend, Danny Correll and his family!