Holy cow. It's the end of Zoo Run for 2010. Which means that it is Autumn. I wish my a/c knew that, because it was HOT out there tonight.
Most of you know that I love zoo run. It was created by Steve Smith some 30+ years ago - a simple concept: a bunch of runners meet in the park for a 2 mile race (speed work for some, the longest manageable distance they have made it for others). And you write your finish time down in the book afterward. No permit. No permission. No real plan, other than to run a 2 mile flour-marked course, finish, give out ribbons, and enjoy a frosty beverage with fellow runners - all for a buck, with remaining monies (after ribbon and gatorade expenses paid) donated to the zoo. It was the original flashmob - before texting and iphones and even being able to communicate from your car.
Well, tonight was the close of the zoo run season, and it featured some of my favorite parts. There were the folks in the park that randomly joined in, folks that I haven't seen in a long time, the 70+ year old runners still getting it done, the Kenyan (Solomon) 'taking it easy' at 11:00/2 miles to pace a very good high school runner, and many, many people with whom I really enjoy running and conversing.
Afterward, there were 3-deep ribbons (as always), thanks to all the volunteers (since that's all this is - a bunch of runners showing up to put on a bit of a race every week all Summer for other runners), a donation of over $1k to the zoo from the entry fees, and a big BBQ.
It always makes me a bit sad when zoo run ends - suddenly, I have no 'obligation' on Wednesday nights, and I miss seeing folks on a weekly basis. But, it will continue in its 30somethingish year next year - beginning in April.
Here are some pics from tonight, courtesy of R.U.N.