A 5 mile local race that benefits the Pat Tillman Foundation, starts in front of the home of the San Jose Sharks and ends at a premier shopping center oozing with food, fashion, high-end cars and cocktails. That, my friends, is what we locals call The 408K.
One of my favorite races (read my recaps from 2012 & 2013), this year The 408K race date found itself wedged between the Princess Half Marathon I ran in Florida and the Disney Side @Home Celebration party I had scheduled for the night before the race. Therefore, unlike the last 2 years, this year I was in a hurry to get home post-expo and post-race. A bummer, but at the same time I live so close that I am fortunate to be able to squeeze a race into the same weekend I've planned a sleep over.
I woke up early Saturday morning to prepare for the party, then took an hour break to drive to Santana Row for bib pick-up and the expo. This year the packet pick-up location was moved to the courtyard in front of Starbucks. A great location - there's ample room and utilizing the Festival Stage area for the mariachi bands is a clever idea!
After I collected my bib and shirt, I walked over to the Cukui booth to thank these guys for designing this year's shirt and being involved in the race. Check their site out for great designs and art.
After the expo I went home. We had the party, we had a sleepover. I ate pizza and cupcakes. I may have had wine. I didn't sleep. Then on Sunday morning I woke up and ran...I mean walked...the 408k. It has been my goal to PR this race every year and unfortunately this year would not be that year. So with my quickest walking feet I set out to enjoy myself on this fun course.
The course took us through the beautiful Rose Garden neighborhood and we heard music from various Bay area radio stations and of course, the wonderful Mariachis during the final stretch of the race.
But this year something very special happened. While running through this lovely neighborhood, we all saw a Word War II veteran, dressed in full uniform, standing outside his house clapping for us. A 95-year old man, Mr. Joe Bell, stood in the cool mist cheering on a bunch strangers. In true San Jose style, runners one-by-one hopped on the sidewalk to shake his hand and thank him for his service. My eyes welled up as I saw the light in his eyes shine. I could tell he was so touched by all of us. You see, many people running this race have ties to the military, and they run this race because it benefits the Pat Tillman Foundation. Pat was an NFL player from San Jose that gave up his career to fight in Afghanistan, where he later died. The thank yous from the crowd were genuine as seen in the viral video below posted by Bell's neighbor and reporter Julia Prodis Sulek.
At the finish line our medals were handed to us by military personnel as well. I thanked these two wonderful people for their service.
I received my medal and headed back home to the morning portion of our slumber party. Then I went on to celebrate the Oscars in style: with my medal, my CEP Compression socks and my new, Cukui designed, 408K shirt. Serious Bay Area Red Carpet style!
Thanks to RepresentRunning for another great race! Thanks to the local runners of this race for showing respect and making national news for the right reasons! I'm proud to RunSJ!