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Jun 23 / Jane

NY Giants Run of Champions 5k 2013

Several weeks ago I received an Email telling me I was a winner; I had won race entry into the NYRR NY Giants Run of Champions 5k to be held at Giants Stadium in North Jersey. My friend Harmony had forwarded me the sweepstakes entry form from Duane Reade months ago, figuring I love running and we’re Giants fans, so why not run a race in Giants Stadium? Entry fees for the race were close to $60 though and the location over an hour from me, but I figured on the off-chance I win free entry, I’d run it. And surprisingly, I did win!

So I got up at 6am, made myself some breakfast and hopped on the turnpike to the stadium. I arrived fairly early, picked up my race bib and t-shirt, and as a provision of my winnings, a VIP bracelet and Team Toomer t-shirt. I knew there would be a competition between former Giants players Joe Morris and Amani Toomer during the race, but I didn’t realize it would be just the winners of the sweepstakes competing! For whatever reason I just thought everyone running would be assigned a team; yeah, not the case.

In line for the restroom before the race, I noticed every bib had a different color on the bottom boarder. I asked the girl next to me, apparently that’s how the corrals are designated… Smartie. I headed to the start shortly after, where winners were to meet for a photo, and realized the color on my bib corresponded with the first corral. Yes, with the 5minute milers! What?! Upon meeting with other winners, it appears we were all assigned the first corral as a competitive advantage, to keep us together and in the spot-light. Cool. But a little scary too.

Half a dozen winners showed up to meet our team’s namesake at the start (there were about twice as many on the list when I picked up my shirt); and more than half of them were on the other team. We all seemed to be running in about the same range 27-30min though so I was grateful for that. We were introduced, had a group photo taken, participated in a Jazzercise warm-up, then headed to the back of the corral for the start. In the corral, Joe Morris was talking and joking with us, while Amani Toomer seemed more business-minded, smiling for the cameras but not really listening, paying more attention to the other players on the podium (who were not running). Oh well.

With Joe Morris and Amani Toomer!!

With Joe Morris and Amani Toomer!!

But then we were off, running through the parking lot; past the State Fair and around the Timex Performance Center. My first mile was about 8:40, slower than I wanted to be, but still okay. It was hot out, I guess I haven’t mentioned that yet. It was REALLY hot out. I would say it was close to 85 at 9am when the horn blew. So I stopped for water (I’m terrible at drinking and running). The race headed back out past the State Fair on the other side, to mile 2, where I again stopped for water. Did I mention it was hot out? Then we ran up an exit ramp to one of the surrounding highways, and back down towards the stadium. We ran what felt like a full loop around the stadium, but looking at the map was only halfway, then into the stadium, for mile 3, then DOWN THE FIELD into the end zone for the finish. How cool is that?! TOUCHDOWN JANE! =)

The finish in the end zone (taken pre-race)

The finish in the end zone (taken pre-race)

The course was well-marked, spectated and provisioned. It was a little hilly for a parking lot and around the stadium was the only shade. But overall it was a good course, not too boring and a little challenging, with an awesome finish on the Giants home field. It was just hot out.

I think the heat contributed to my (somewhat crappy) time of 28:37. I was really hoping to be under 27min since I know I am capable of this, but it didn’t happen. I think it was a combination of the heat and not hydrating enough, also maybe a little over-excitement from being considered “VIP.” I was trying really hard to stay with two women from Team Morris, but they ended up 40 and 20seconds ahead of me, respectively. Funny part is, they were the two I thought I would beat. The two taller girls I was planning to run with fell behind me! Oops?

After the race I floated around, grabbed some yogurt, a bagel, banana; visited some vendor booths; and headed back into the stadium for the presentation of the top three male and female. Then with some other contest winners we entered the VIP lounge where they had hot breakfast, coffee and juice and more Giants players. I had some oatmeal and got some autographs (on my race bib, how cool is that?!). The last player I spoke with was Amani, he seemed distracted before the race and upon asking his time and how he felt he became very animated and told me how pleased he was with his time and how the course was better this year than last. It was a cool experience, talking to the players as runners.

The perks of being VIP

The perks of being VIP

There were children’s races going on when I left the VIP lounge. Then more vendors were opening up for a health fair that was taking place after the race. I collected free goodies and even participated in a Zumba dance. Then it was time to head home.

Running with the Giants in Giants Stadium was a very cool experience. The VIP lounge made it all worth the drive. I am incredibly grateful to have won such a neat prize!  What a fun, brag-worthy event.

A belly dancer from the health expo posing with 4 of the 5 NY Giants Superbowl trophies (the 5th is on display elsewhere right now)

A belly dancer from the health expo posing with 4 of the 5 NY Giants Superbowl trophies (the 5th is on display elsewhere right now)

 

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