Last night Brian and I joined about 2500 other Ravens fans in running the Back to Football 5K at M&T Bank Stadium.
The race kicked off right in front of the stadium so prior to the start, the place was hopping.
Runners were gathered in Johnny Unitas Plaza where past Ravens were signing autographs, promo booths were set up, the Lombardi trophy was hanging out and NFL Play60 games were available for kids.
About 30 minutes before start time, runners began lining up by approximate pace times and the kickoff festivities commenced. Jamal Lewis, Matt Stover, Kyle Richardson and Roger Goodell helped to keep the crowd entertained while the emcee counted down the time.
Promptly at 7:00 p.m., Matt Stover kicked off the race with just that – a kick off of the football.
(Look right over the start line and you can see the football sailing!)
The race course took us on local roads around the stadium and through surrounding parking lots before we headed down the service ramp and through the tunnel to the field.
Runners finished the race with a lap of the field (and a timed 40-yd dash!) before crossing the finish line.
Brian and I had one goal for the night and that was to get him a 5K PR. His current PR was 26:00 from his very first 5K back in 2011 and even though he wasn’t confident he could shave some time off – I knew he could do it! I set the goal time of 25:00 minutes but he was just aiming for 25:59!
When we started the race, I was letting Brian set the initial pace but knew we were going a little too fast for him to be able to keep it up. I tried to settle him in but I guess the excitement of kick off got to him and we passed mile 1 at 7:44.
Actually seeing the time on the clock made him realize he had to reel it in and settle down. I knew trying to talk him through the entire race wasn’t going to go well with him so I settled in a few seconds ahead of him and made frequent checks over my shoulder to make sure we was still tailing me. Mile 2 came and went at 16:02.
As soon as we hit the 2.5 mile mark, I slowed my pace and waited for Brian to catch up so I could push him through the last .5 mile of the race. I know what he is capable of with finishing strong so I started my encouragement with a distance I knew he would respond well to. We turned the corner of the stadium, climbed a small hill and then descended down the ramp to the service level. All the while with me yelling for him to turn it on.
And turn it on, he did! We stepped onto the field and the guy took off like a bat out of hell! I could barely keep up and as we rounded the final corner to cross the finish line!
Check out that time – he shaved 1:16 off of his previous PR time!! Not to mention with the amount of gas he had left in the tank at the finish, he was seriously holding out on me during the rest of the run as well!!
And the good news for me is that I felt beyond comfortable the entire race which makes me really excited for the 5Ks that I have coming up at the end of the month – maybe a sub-23 minute PR is in the cards for this fall!!
After the race we cheered on friends that were running as well before grabbing our free beers to celebrate.
(Jeremy and Shane are about to cross the finish in this picture!)
Overall the race was a lot of fun and very well put together! Packet pickup was a breeze on Tuesday and everything on race day ran smoothly. A great job by both the NFL and the Ravens and a race I would 100% run again! Being at M&T Bank Stadium last night with so many other Ravens fans has me so excited for tonight’s season opener against the Broncos! It’s football season!!!!!!