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Danny Merrell Survives the Mountains at Race for Success in Lufkin

Danny finishing
Danny Merrell finishes the 5K

The inaugural Race for Success to benefit Junior Achievement was held this past Sunday in Lufkin.  The event featured a half-marathon, 10K, and 5K races.  I had originally planned to run the 10k race, but due to some nasty knee issues that came up in October, I ended up giving the 5K a try.

Dannys medal
Dannys medal

Now, I know I have a long way to go, but overall, I was quite happy with the end result.  I finished the race without stopping, I ran 3.1 miles in just over 35 minutes, and I actually won 1st place in my age division. (please don’t ask how many other 40-49 year olds were running).  I think I would have finished in under 33 minutes if not for those mountains on the last mile.

Mountains in Lufkin? 

Yes, mountains.  When you haven’t trained in over two months, and you’re 49, and carrying over 225 pounds, and you’re into the last third of a 5K run, the hills of Fuller Springs become mountains…big ones…as in cloud piercing.  The oxygen was even thinning at the top of one of those mountains near Slack Elementary.

danny done
Gasping for air in the thin altitude

I will get better, however, good Lord willing and the knee don’t quit, I would love to run a 10K in under 60 minutes.  With that being said, I am just amazed at the endurance of the top finishers of the half marathon.  Eddy Rojo ran just over 13 miles in 1:15:22.  That’s a 5:44 per mile pace…for 13 miles!!

…Through mountains!

Congratulations to everybody who came out to run for a great cause.  A special thanks to the many students from Anderson Elementary who took on the course, as well.  And, of course, a special shout out to all the volunteers and sponsors that made this possible, especially with the last minute craziness of having to move the event due to Saturday’s nasty weather.

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