This morning my running friend and I took a bit of a road trip to run a 5K race at a minor league ballpark. The registration fee was donated to a good cause – The Children’s Development Center in Williamsport. This organization provides different types of therapy and other services to children in need of various interventions.
When my friend sent me the email containing the information about the race, one of the points that really caught my eye was that the race finished inside the stadium! Now, I realize I am an adult, but I was really excited!
Growing up, I spent many a spring and summer watching my brother play baseball and playing Little League and softball myself as well. Ever since my brother started playing, I loved the game of baseball. There is something beautiful about it. Turning double plays, diving outfield catches, bases loaded two outs bottom of the ninth…there has always been something special about these things. So when I read that I would get a chance to run on a Minor League ball field, it brought back all kinds of memories.
The race began outside of BB&T Ballpark, and then went on a bike path and down a road a little ways. When we turned around, we ran back the same path. There was a Little League field that we ran past. Young players were just beginning to show up for pregame warm-ups. As we ran closer to the ballpark, it looked like a beautiful green gem nestled in park.
As I made the turn into the stadium and onto the baseball field, I was looking around and trying to just take everything in. The outfield fence towered over me as I ran beside it. I could picture a right fielder in a dead sprint, trying to catch a fly ball and avoid a collision with the wall at the same time. The scoreboard seemed to stretch toward the sky as I passed by. Just thinking that a future Hall of Famer could have played on the very field I was running on is pretty special.
We ran around the warning track from right field, around the entire outfield, finally crossing the finish line near third base. When sitting in the stands and watching a baseball game, the players make the field look small. However, when you are running around the warning track anticipating the finish of a race, the field feels huge!
I know that there are not going to be that many chances in my life to spend time on a professional baseball field. There were about 150 participants in the race today, but I especially wanted to treasure this opportunity for myself. There is this unexplainable peace about a deserted baseball field.
The race itself was a good one. I am not a huge fan of out-and-back courses, but I understand that sometimes, it is the only choice for the race planners. The majority of the race was flat, with the exception of two small hills. The time I finished with was one of the best times I’ve ever run. There was a light breeze blowing when we began the race at 9 a.m. but it stopped sometime in the first mile of the race. The sun got hotter as we ran, so the shade provided by part of the outfield wall felt wonderful!
My friend and I were some of the last runners to leave the stadium. It was such relaxing place to be! After the race, we made a trip to Starbucks. This is a race tradition for us…run a 5K and then go drink Starbucks!
So overall, this morning was very special and I hope to hold these memories near to my heart. Spending quality time with a good friend, getting exercise, and having the opportunity to run on a Minor League baseball field…priceless.