Saturday was ABR’s annual Run for the Bears 5K. This year it was moved to Townsend and was a lot of fun. I tagged along this year to take pictures and document the proceedings. We started the morning off with the usual hullabaloo and registration. While I was photographing all the runners before the race, there were volunteers helping people register as well as hand out t-shirts. There was a pretty good turn out, especially since we moved the race this year. In the past, ABR has held the Run for the Bears 5K in Gatlinburg. But this year it was moved to help create a better brand continuity for ABR. They are headquartered there and their facilities are there. Now the participants have a new course on which they can run, and the image of ABR is better represented. Even though ABR has been doing the race for a while, it has a fresh, new energy that makes it feel like it was the first time.
One of the runners, Joe, was a friend of mine from high school. Actually, “friend” is stretching it; we swam against each other. But he is also a runner and is a sophomore at UT. After a brief walk down a hill to the greenway, the race began. There was a mom down at the finish line with me. She was waiting on her son, Matt, to finish. I found out that Matt and my little sister run together on the Knoxville track club. But he is about three years older. This was Matt’s first year running and he was really good. After a brief 18 minutes, Joe crossed the finish line at first place; and Matt finished second two minutes behind.
The participants trickled in for twenty more minutes or so and then the race part of the race was over. As we waited for the results to be tabulated in the computer, I took more pictures and caught up with Joe. He started a track club at UT this year and was excited to put the first trophy in their case. Jack Burgin, the ABR president, gave out the awards for first, second, and third for men and women. There was a little drama when he handed out the women’s third place trophy. Two girls turned around early in the race so their times were faster. We soon resolved the issue and the trophy was appropriately placed.
In the end, it was really cool to see how the whole race came together. I came into the program about mid-stream and had a little trouble visualizing what the event was like. I liked seeing that ABR has a community and is really using it to make a difference.