I see London, I see France, I see hundreds of Buffalo runners in their underpants…And so the scene was set at the first upstate New York Undy 5000 5k Fun Run & Walk for colon cancer held at Delaware Park. The Undy 5000 is a national race held in various cities to raise money for, and awareness of, colon cancer. They also want to promote early screenings. A woman from Kenmore who lost her mom to the disease is the chairperson who brought the race to town. The race itself has been around since 2008, but this was the first year it was held in Buffalo, NY.
Because I have a herniated disc in my neck, I’m under Dr’s orders to not run, so it was walking only for me. Nevertheless, I decided to head to Buffalo to check it out. I left really early because I was worried about parking. According to the race’s Fb page, it was limited. Fortunately, I got there in plenty of time. You could park in the zoo’s parking lot. They gave you a voucher coin to get out, so parking was free. I parked, walked by the Buffalo (or were they bison?) at the zoo and got my bib. On the way, I walked by and thru a giant inflatable colon! Part of the goal of the race is to educate. You walk thru it and can see replicas of different types of colon diseases. Was this also part of the reason why I wanted to go to this race? Yes, yes it was. The more unusual the attraction, the more I want to be there.
After I got my bib (and boxers instead of a t-shirt, how cool!), I walked around the park a bit. Delaware Park is the same place I ran the Pace Race this past January. Sure, it was a bit chilly this morning (30s I’m guessing), but nowhere near the frigid chill mid winter. I like the park a lot, it’s a great place for a race. As I was walking, I saw people in all sorts of interesting undies and boxers – there were boxers with turtles on them, shamrocks and much more. It was a great people watching race. I also bumped into some people I knew from the Greater Rochester Track Club clinic/Rochester Speed Skaters. Glad they decided to make the trek. They opted for yellow smiley face boxers.
At 9:15, the race started. Since I was not running, I was able to take photos during the race. The course was on a paved path around the park. There were a lot of teams who raised money and were dressed in the same tshirts and shorts (or undies) as they ran the race. A few team names: Panty Prancers, Barb’s Beautiful Booties, Gastro Guys, Charlie’s Cheeksters, the Tush Pushers… Besides being creative and clever in their names and outfits, they raised some serious dough too. In one email I received prior to the event, some teams had raised thousands. My favorite team was the Colon Commandos. One guy was dressed entirely in red – he was the colon. Others were in their undies and had shields with a colon on the front. I can’t imagine running in that. I also loved “The Wedding Party” team- esp since I too, have dressed and run a race as a runaway bride. I spoke briefly to that lady and she is actually getting married in a few weeks. There was even a dog dressed in undies for the day!
After the race ended, you could grab snacks (all healthy stuff- fruit, granola bars, etc) and water. After the race was over, they then held a small “Survivors Ceremony”. A young man (in his 30s) spoke about his current battle with colon cancer. After that, they gathered survivors and people who had family members who had passed away from the disease. It was touching to hear the man’s story and how many people are impacted by this disease.
Overall, race organizers should be very proud. For a first year event, they rocked it. Over 850 people registered. I think they raised over $100,000. Very impressive. I wish I could have run this race. It’s been 3 weeks since I have been able to run and I miss it. I feel my fitness slipping away, even with the walking. I’ve gained a bunch of weight too (obviously). I’ll be blogging about that, running, chronic pain and injuries another time. It really can do a number on your mind & body.
That being said, I’ll be brief (yes, lame undies reference) with my list of pros and cons:
Pros: Great cause, great location. Loved getting boxers. They made a serious, difficult to talk about subject informative (giant colon, etc.) and upbeat.
Cons: The race did start a little late (about 15 minutes). This could be an issue if people were on a schedule and had to be somewhere. Also, the price is a bit high for a 5k (I do realize that it is a very good cause). These are both nit-picky criticisms. All and all, it was a very well run and fun event. Kudos to the organizers, runners, walkers, fundraisers and everyone involved!
Last but not least – as I said before, my running is on hiatus. I’m jealous of all you healthy runners out there. Don’t take it for granted. If there is a silver lining in being sidetracked, it has taught me to appreciate what feeling healthy and being able to move freely and without pain/weakness was like. Keep on running.
P.S. Less than 5 weeks til the Girls On the Run of Greater Rochester. I’m in press-getting mode, so watch for coverage and upcoming stories in the media (print and TV). If you want more info about the Undy 5000 in Buffalo, visit their Facebook page. Race results can be found here.