This morning’s TKO Melanoma 5K was a ton of fun; well, except for while I was running which was hard work!  This second annual race was in memory of Theresa O’Conner, a loving wife and mom, who lost her battle with melanoma in 2012.  Running this race yearly and spreading the word about melanoma is very important to me since I found a melanoma on my leg in it’s earliest stage just over three years ago.

I stopped by packet pick-up early yesterday to avoid the lines and got in and out very quickly.  I got to meet the race director and fellow MRTT (Moms RUN This Town) runner, Suzanne, for the first time.  I’m hoping that now that the race is behind her, we can run together sometime!


Just like last year’s race, the swag was pretty good for a small race.  I love that tubes of sunscreen and sun protective lip moisturizer are part of the swag.  Obviously, I liked last year’s race a lot, and signed up early this year since I had bib number 29!


Before the race, I applied my sunscreen on my back liberally.  I use lotion on my face specifically designed for faces (noncomedogenic and won’t run in my eyes), and spray for my back, arms, legs, etc.  I feel that I get better coverage without missing spots with a spray.


Packet pick-up was also available on race morning, and for people traveling a distance to the race, that’s a huge plus.


We had seven moms from our MRTT chapter there, and we tried to all get together for pictures before the race.  Getting that many runners together before a race can be problematic when everyone needs to make pre-race potty trips, find other friends, etc.


Erin, Misty, Deb, and Kathy

And speaking of potty trips, the school was open so that we could use the restrooms before and after the race.  Without a doubt, having shelter available if needed and indoor restrooms is a major plus for a race.


As it got closer to race time, we added one more runner to our little band of moms.  Another MRTT runner, Danielle, was volunteering before the race and wasn’t able to join us for the picture.  And of course Suzanne, the race director, was so busy that she wasn’t able to make it over for the picture.


Beth, Deb, Misty, Erin, and Kathy

Before the race we found our friend Becky and got to hang out with her.


Just for fun I took a shoe selfie, because that’s what runners do!


And I had to get a picture of Erin’s amazing calf sleeves!


Runners were treated to four skydivers that landed right beside the starting line.  The skydivers are friends of Theresa’s husband Sean and donated their time for the event.  The O’Conner family also covered all costs of the airplane, so no funds from the runners’ registrations went toward the skydiving event.

One-by-one the skydivers landed their parachutes in that grassy spot right beside us.  It was really cool.



Just before warm-ups, short speeches were made by Theresa’s daughters Lexi and Lauren thanking us for honoring their mom by running in the race and helping raise money for melanoma research.  With proceeds from this year’s race they were able to donate $13,000 to the Melanoma Research Foundation.


Lauren, Skydiver, Lexi, and Sean

Next we were honored to hear Dr. Tim Turnham, Executive Director for the Melanoma Research Foundation speak.  He kept to his promise, and kept his speech to under three hours so we could get started with our race.


My friends and I had hoped to run a mile or so warm-up before the race, but we wanted to see the sky divers land and hear the speeches so instead we joined in on the group warm-ups just prior to race start.  Just before the gun, I snapped a picture of runners behind me setting their Garmins and running apps on their phones.


The race course had changed from last year, and very much for the better!  With only one street change at the start and end, we ran almost 1.5 miles on a relatively flat straight course to the turnaround.  Because I was racing today, I didn’t take any photos during the run, but I got some from the race photographer.  I am so appreciative that he let me use them in my recap.

Our group started out together, but because we all had goals and weren’t just running this race for fun, we ran our own races.  Bill caught up with me and we stayed together the last half of the race, and he helped keep me focused and pushed me toward the end.

This would have been a very easy race for me to have completely lost focus because I felt very dehydrated.  I drank plenty of water the day before and early the morning of the race, but I didn’t bring my water bottle out of the car, so I stopped drinking once I got to the race.  I would have loved to see a water stop at the turnaround point.  After the race, my fellow MRTT friends expressed the same thoughts and we even discussed sponsoring a water table next year (Suzanne, let’s talk)!

Sean greeted runners with a high five as they returned to the finish line.  The photographer just happened to snap a picture of my friend Erin running past Sean!

I loved that the race was stroller-friendly and Misty was able to push her daughters.  During the last mile of the race, I got passed by a man pushing a stroller.  It was awesome (insert sarcasm)!

As we crossed the finish line, TKO mentees and Daisies were handing out white carnations to all the moms for Mother’s Day.  Bill took one, and one of adult volunteers and I said at the exact same time, “Those are for moms!”


Melina and Mina

Bill and I finished in 24:55 (8:02 pace) with 7:41, 8:06, 8:16, and 7:12 splits.  My 5K goal for 2014 is to run a sub 24:00, and my goal for this race was to run a sub 25:00.  I was thrilled to meet my short-term goal, and I see a lot of tempo runs and intervals in my future as I chase my sub 24:00 5K goal.

After recovering and cheering in some of the other runners, we found our way to the food tent.  They had the typical assortment of bananas, granola bars, fruit bars, donuts, and water.


And of course the twins had to refuel after a hard race!


This is a very community and family oriented race.  Age groups medals were awarded starting at 1-10, 11-14, 15-18, 19-29, 30-39, etc.  Suzanne’s eight-year old son placed second in the Male 1-10 age group.  He also participated in the 1K fun run so he went home a double-champ!  He’s pictured here with his proud dad Brad.


Brad and Graham

Not only did our speedy MRTT friend Beth finish second in her age group, but her husband TJ won the race!  Their three-year old son ran his very first race ever, the 1K fun run, and he ran the entire time.  No walk breaks needed for this little rock star!


In addition to Beth placing second in her age group, I won my age group, and Kathy finished third woman overall!  It was a pretty good showing for our MRTT chapter!



This is a great community race that is well organized, has friendly and helpful volunteers, has a very fast course, and raises money for a very good cause.  It has become a staple of my spring racing schedule, and I hope to see you there next year!

  • Questions:
  • Have you ever been passed by a stroller? ~ I was also passed by Dick Hoyt pushing his son Rick at the 1998 Boston Marathon.
  • Have you ever tried skydiving?
  • Who raced this weekend?


As promised in This May, Please Learn From My Mistakes, look for these articles on Deb Runs during the month of May: