The 2014 Daytona 5K Run and Fun Walk

The 2014 Daytona 5K Run and Fun Walk

I’ve wanted to do the Daytona 5K Run & Fun Walk since my first Daytona 500 in 2012.  That race was rained out, postponed and delayed due to the notorious jet dryer incident.  However, I distinctly remember standing on the asphalt on a dismal Sunday morning and making a promise that I must participate in that event.  In 2013 I was terribly ill and couldn’t make it.  Could you imagine the heartbreak and disappointment of missing out on this 5K after almost year of preparation?  I made a vow that 2014 wasn’t going to pass me by.  By hook or by crook I was going to be part of this.  As the time drew closer, I tried to get race ready, I really did but simply wasn’t running as much anymore.  So I signed up for the fun walk and at least get the experience without any extra pressure.  This turned out to be a fantastic decision because my sister was going to be there with me.

January 25, 2014 started out in a pretty awful way.  It was freezing cold with a light rain.  We arrived at Daytona International Speedway sometime around 5:30am to a surprisingly large crowd of cars and participants.  After taking a tram to the Sprint Fanzone, we separated because she was going to sign up and I had to collect my packet.  It took us a few minutes to get sorted and reunite at the Start/Finish line.  There’s something very thrilling, especially for a race fan to be on Pit Road under the lights at Daytona.  My sister isn’t a race fan but was very excited to be there with me.  Runners set out first followed by walkers.  The latter group was far more casual about the event.  I wouldn’t even call it a race because we weren’t timed.  People were stopping to take photos and I was sorely tempted to scale the high banks for a photo, but what goes up must come down and my chances of falling were more than good.  This was before the Rolex 24 and the last thing I wanted was to be hobbling around the speedway.

We walked briskly and stayed together, laughing and singing along.  I never ran outside during this kind of weather.  Until the skies started to brighten, I was seeing my breath.  This is a new experience for a Caribbean girl, who prefers to stay under covers on mornings like these.  My sister too, but it didn’t take long for her to understand why I wanted to do this.  It’s not because of the cold but the location.  The Daytona International Speedway is a spectacular place to run.  It’s huge but at the same time, you feel perfectly safe because it’s like having a massive personal running track…which you’re sharing with a few hundred people and thousands of campers.  The light of day was spreading as we crossed the finish line.  It was a lot of fun and since we didn’t care to stick around for the prize giving, we left after I showed her around a little bit.  After we sat down in the nearby IHOP for breakfast we realized what we had accomplished that morning.

This was our first race together, and it was at a place that I hold dear to my heart.  As I’ve said before, I don’t know why I love that place so much, and after having walked the oval – I think I love it even more.  Next year, I hope to go back again but to run instead of walk.  I’ve pre-registered for another 5K and started training.  Do I plan on winning or taking home a prize?  Nope.  Do I plan on doing my best and having a good time?  Absolutely but in the meantime, I’ve got to focus and not forget the goals.