2014 3.2 Run In Remembrance

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

On Saturday, Michelle and I participated in the 3.2 Run In Remembrance held, on the Virginia Tech campus, to remember and celebrate the lives of 32 Hokies that were tragically taken from us on April 16th, 2007.  Although Michelle had participated in the run twice before, Saturday was the first time I elected to participate in the run.  I'm not sure why...or how(?) I missed participating in the run in years previous but after signing up and then not running last year because of a friends wedding, I made certain to put it on our calendar this year.  When Michelle and I discussed the run last week before Umstead 100, I told her I may have to walk it but that I was going to do it!  Fortunately I managed not to ever really be sore this week recovering from Umstead 100 and as a result was able to go out and #HaveFun running with Michelle.

On Friday, after a busy day with the middle schoolers, Michelle and I drove to campus together and headed over to packet pickup at War Memorial Hall.  I foolishly only took one photo, which came out funky as some guy walked in my panoramic shot:

I digress.  The packet pickup was silly efficient! Appropriate for an engineering school huh? Each participant was given a QR code that was scanned using an iOS device (not too sure here because it looked like iPod touch with a larger scanner handheld attachment on the back that they have/had at Apple stores) that when scanned notified the volunteer whether to distribute a ticket for the free t-shirt.  All told, we spent about 3 minutes actually inside of War Memorial and about 10 walking to and from each way.  There were banners to sign and write on as well as "bibs" to write your reason for running.  After packet t-shirt pickup, we ran a few errands in Downtown and while we waited, grabbed a sweet tea lemonade at Starbucks, perfect to cool down!  While sitting there, I noted that in to months to the day, we will be husband and wife!
One awesome thing about the Run In Remembrance is that it does not start at a silly early time.  The RecSports department at Virginia Tech has decided to keep the race casual, meaning that it doesn't actually start until 9AM, with the large group photo taken around 8:45.  This was super nice because I was able to get up and lounge around, have breakfast and a cup of coffee, and then run to the start of the run.  I met Michelle at the start and we headed over to where people were assembling to take the VT photo on the Drillfield.  This is a good time to mention that I decided to bring the GoPro with me to film the run and in my distracted state trying to get a neat shot of everyone forming the VT, I lost sight of Michelle into a sea of maroon and orange.   Fortunately once the crowd dispersed, I able to find her and after only a brief reprimanding...continue my filming duties.  However, I was much more conscious to always keep and eye on her.  Whoopsie!

The photo above was taken from a helicopter above the Drillfield.  I thought it was pretty awesome how quickly they posted the photo because by 11:52 the photo was on the Virginia Tech Facebook page and I had tweeted it out!

Michelle and I at the run start.

After the photo was taken, we headed over to where the run was set to begin in front of War Memorial Hall.  We would then follow the Drillfield clockwise down toward the Duck Pond and then hang a right on West Campus Drive before veering onto Duck Pond Drive.

This year marked the first year they did not release balloons, which was good and simultaneously disappointing.  I understand the reasoning but they do make biodegradable balloons now and the sight of thousands of maroon and orange balloons lifting up is pretty awesome (at least the pictures I've seen anyway).

At the start, there was a sea of maroon and orange, the two best school colors in my opinion.  Over 8000 runners were signed up to run and I'm sure even more decided to run the day of, which is possible because there is not a timing system or fee to enter the run.  Nope.  The run is entirely free!  

The view at the bottom of the Drillfield near the Duck Pond.  To say that the weather was picturesque is a massive understatement.  The trees are just beginning to bloom and they made for gorgeous pictures along the run route.

Lots of participants were breaking the first rule of any running event, wearing the event t-shirt during the run, but because this run and not a race I think we can let them slide on this one.  I'll chalk it up to showing Hokie Pride!

Looking back down West Campus Drive.  On the left in this photo, is the newly renovated Davidson Hall that resembles a periodic table of elements when looked at in a profile view from the left.

It was here that there was a bit of a bottleneck as we condensed from three lanes of road to two.  It was funny to watch some of the runners jump over the guardrail only to realize that they were later trapped at the edge of the Duck Pond.

The view of the route along Duck Pond Drive.

Eventually, we made a left onto the first of three "hills" on the course, which you see in the video below where I get a shot of the cadets caring the massive telephone pole(?) The hill leads up to The Grove, which serves as the university president's residence.  It has an awesome view of the Duck Pond and campus!

At the top of The Grove:  You can see here that lots of folks walked the hill (which was perfectly fine) but you can also see the cadets beasting it up the hill with said telephone pole.  

At the bottom of hill leading down from The Grove, we made a right back onto West Campus Drive, now going the opposite way away from the Drillfield and after the second small "hill" on the course enjoyed a flat section heading toward Washington Street passing by Litton-Reaves Hall and a few dorms, as well as McComas Hall, one of the two gyms on campus and home of VT RecSports.

One of the coolest parts of the run, aside from the overwhelming emotions that are unavoidable, is the opportunity to run through the tunnel entering Lane Stadium!  Almost equally as cool is the opportunity to run down the home sideline on Worsham Field.  I did mistakenly place about two inches of my foot on the grass and was quickly ushered off and told to move along.  I suppose Tech does spend MILLIONS on that grass.

After exiting Lane Stadium, the route cuts back behind the East Stands up the final hill of the course into Stadium Woods,  a 11-acre of old-growth forest home to numerous 250-350 year-old white oaks.  A quick right onto Washington Street followed by an immediate left onto Kent Street led to the long sustained downhill seen below.

As we passed by War Memorial Court, commonly known as "the Pylons" and War Memorial Chapel, we entered the finishing straight lined by spectators and runners waiting for friends and family to finish the run.

After crossing the finish line, we headed over to meet our friend Julie and her friend Kelly, whom we had run into out along the run and talked for awhile before finding water and pizza!  Domino's at 10AM?  Yes Please!

I spent most all of the afternoon editing video I had taken during the run to produce the video below. I'm extremely proud of how it came out and feel like I learned a lot about what shots work and which don't as well as how to avoid reduce shaky camera issues.  Make sure to watch the video in HD and feel free PLEASE comment on, thumbs up, and share the video.

I even learned how to get video onto Instagram that is not on your phone, which requires a bit of...finagling...but created a pretty neat little teaser/trailer for the video.  

All-in-all it was an amazing and fun run and a great way to start off our weekend!  I'm disappointed that I haven't participated before but it'll be on our calendar for the foreseeable future.  Ideas were tossed out for making the run a real 32 for 32, which would require us starting super early but doing the last 3.2 with everyone else.

Thanks to RecSports for an amazing event and to all the volunteers who were out there ensuring the run went out without a hitch today!


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