Race Report: Run to Feed the Hungry

For the last 20 years in Sacramento when Thanksgiving morning comes around thousands of people make their way to the campus of CSU Sacramento for the annual Run to Feed the Hungry 5k/10k. This near 28,000 runners and walkers took part in the event, making it the largest attended Thanksgiving Day run in the country. Though the event allows for race morning registration and packet pick-up, for many this event starts months ahead of time. With the proceeds going to the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services, the community comes out for this great cause by creating fundraising teams. 
With the large number of participants Capital Road Race Management, the organizers of the event, set up 5 days of packet pick-up at the Sacramento REI location. I picked up our ( wife’s, son’s and my) shirts and race bibs on Monday. It was pretty quick to grab our stuff since most people still had work during the time I went into REI.
When Thanksgiving morning came about, I pinned my timed race bib to the front of my singlet and got the car packed up with my wife and son and we headed off to the start area just 10 minutes away from our house. However, for this event we gave ourselves an additional 30 minutes of travel time to allow for traffic and parking.
When we arrived to Sac State, the campus parking was already filling up pretty quickly for the 8:35AM 10k start time and the 9:00AM 5k start time. We found our parking and made our way across the campus following the thousands of people headed in the same direction. With 28,000 people I was surprised that the port-o-potties had short lines, this was due to the hundreds they had lined up. Another benefit of being a timed runner in this event is they break up the group with various colored bibs to allow for us to start at the front, this is done in both the 5k and 10k events. 
After heading to my start area for the 10k, I headed beyond the start mats and started my warm-up where I came across plenty of local area runners who I knew. This event also caps off the Buzz Oates Run Sac Race Series, which is a local series of runs that pits off the area runners against one another in a points system as well each local running club. 
Just before the start of the race, I saw one of my old high school friends Michelle (California International Marathon Race Director). While wishing her a Happy Thanksgiving, I also asked her what her goal time was. She said she was trying to run in the 39’s, I was shooting for a sub 40 this day so I decided to start with her. Her husband, Kevin (SRA Elite Runner), was pacing her for this race so she could PR. From the start I ran with them and just piggy backed off of her pace. I knew running with them would help keep me running smart during the race. 
Boom, we were off to the races. The course was is an all paved road as we run through the streets of East Sacramento and Mid Town. For the most part the street is pretty straight with the exception of a few turns through the neighborhoods. Along with the large number of participants, this event draws out a few more thousand of supporters along the course. 
Just before the 5k point, I saw one of my training partners and fellow Buffalo Chip teammates, Rich and his family. At this point in the race I was still keeping up with Keven and Michelle and crossed the 5k mat time running 6:18 / mi average (19:34). At this point, I was feeling good, and Michelle was running strong as well, she looked over at me and said “He have this”. Only now did I hear Kevin, mention she was going for a Personal Best in the 10k as well, when he mentioned it to another runner in the race. 
Once we hit the mile 4 and 5 markers on the road, I knew that this race was going to not only be a personal best for me, but I was going to do more than run a sub-40 in the 10k, I was going to challenge for a sub-39! With a couple of final turns through the neighborhood, we made our way towards the finish line where the 6-mile marker was facing me. With the final .2 to the finish, I gave it my final kick and crossed at a time of 38:41. A new personal best in the 10k, running 2+ minutes faster than my previous personal best which I ran at the same event in 2010. This race brings out some very fast runners, my time had me finish 39th overall and 9th in my age division. Michelle also crossed with a new personal best that morning in the 10k.
After crossing the finish line and giving some congratulatory fist bumps and high-fives, I started my cool-down. My cool-down would involve running back against the 5k runners and walkers where I would try to find my wife and son as planned. With my cool down completed, I waited off to the side along the course until I spotted my wife and son, and I walked the course again with them to the finish

We made our way across the finish line and now our Thanksgiving family feasting was ready to begin. We have made this event the last 4 years, it as a wonderful way to start the holiday as it brings out thousands of people to get outside as well as raise funds for the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services.

Did you partake in a Thanksgiving Run or Trot of some sort. Did you race it? Walk it? or Trot it?

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