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Aug 4 / Jane

Running with the Balloons 5k 2014

Alex and I made our 4th annual trek to Solberg Airport for the AM hot air balloon ascension at 6:45 am on the last Sunday in July.  We’d even recruited some geocaching friends to join us for the ascension and 5k this year, it being a summer favorite of ours.  Unfortunately, the weather called for thunder storms and it was announced about 7 am that the balloons would not go up due to the low cloud ceiling.  Bill arrived shortly thereafter, knowing there would be no ascension (I suppose we could have called the weatherman in the morning before leaving so early).  😉

We did an easy warm-up, then lined up at the front of the start together.  Each year they try to have a unique event to begin the race.  Last year they shot a woman from a canon; this year they had a troupe completing a complicated high dive into a large pop-up pool.  The last diver hit the water and we were off.  I didn’t have any time goal I wanted to hit this year, just wanted to run it faster than last year and I was aiming for a place in my age group.  I probably would have done a little better too if I hadn’t run a 6 mile trail run the morning before.  Oh well.

Bill slipped away once we exited the airport onto a gravel, horse-lined road.  Alex went after him.  I kept Alex in my sights but ran my own race.  Downhill, then back up, down and back up, right on a paved road… A little more down and up, then past the 2 mile water station and back into the airport.  We ran a grassy trail a back way to the runway.  Then past a giant Panda balloon and down the runway to the finish.  The runway is deceivingly long…  The finish banner seems so close, but then you’re still running!

I ran past the husbands of my geocaching runner friends, and finished just over 30 seconds behind Alex.  Alex ran a PR of 24:56, finally breaking the 25 minute mark (yay!) and I came in at 25:28.  We collected some goodies, juice, coconut water, Gatorade protein bars, then I watched Joanna and Wendy complete the 5k.   We congratulated each other, then went our separate ways.

Bill and Alex waiting for the awards.

Bill and Alex waiting for the awards.  Quick Check was the sponsor, can you tell?

I jogged around a bit to locate bags for our goodies, but not a lot of the vendors had opened yet.  It was still early and without the morning ascension, there were not a lot of people at the festival yet.  We meandered back into the awards tent and discovered all three of us, Alex, Bill and I had placed in our respective age groups!  Alex came in third, but was awarded 1st place since the other two in his AG won overall awards.  I also came in third (and was given third); Bill came in second in his AG.  So we had all three medals at the end.

We enjoyed another lively awards ceremony (the MC is just hilarious); then headed into the festival for goodies and a little cool down.  Although it was disappointing there was no balloon ascension, it is still one of my favorite 5ks of the year and I’m looking forward to next year already!




Lady, the Rav4 Pegasus Unicorn.

Lady, the Rav4 Pegasus Unicorn.

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  1. Awesome that y’all placed! And I love that unicorn photo bomb pic =)

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