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IOA Corporate 5k

Posted Apr 22 2013 9:15am
Last Thursday night Downtown Orlando hosted 16,500 runners at the IOA Corporate 5k .  I believe it was the largest organized run since the Boston tragedy and the events of the week were on everyone’s hearts and minds.
I never doubted that I would go to the race, but there was a twinge of anxiety in me as I walked to the event.  Track Shack had worked wonderfully to increase police presence of both uniformed and undercover officers.  I saw the police presence, I felt the excitement of the runners, and my anxiety eased.
I wore blue and yellow ribbons in my hair to show support for Boston.
We started our start line show about 20 minutes before the race.  We introduced elected officials, spoke with sponsors, and got the crowd of athletes ready to run.  
Before the start the owners of Track Shack, Jon and Betsy Hughes, came up on stage.  Jon ran the Boston Marathon on Monday and he gave an emotional and inspiring speech.  He spoke of the sadness we all felt, but he urged to not let fear or anyone stop us from doing what we loved.  He asked runners to cross the finish line with their hands over their hearts as a way to honor the victims.  Finally he revealed that instead of the proceeds from the race going to the Track Shack foundation as planned (which supports local youth programs), that Track Shack was donating proceeds to The One Fund to support the victims of the Marathon Bombing.
We also shared a moment of silence before the National Anthem.  On the count of Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer the runners took off as “Sweet Caroline” played. 
Note the uniformed police officers starting the race.

The first few moments of welcoming runners into the finish were emotional for me.  A runner would cross their hand over their heart and point to the sky and I would get a lump in my throat.  I wanted to keep the finish line the same happy, inspiring place it had always been.  However my mind still remembered what happened. 

The most emotional moment was when I was handed this sign by Matt's wife. There are no words.
As a running community, I think it is okay to move on.  To clap and cartwheel across the finish line again.  I don’t think it is okay to forget.  And I don’t think we ever will.

Congratulations to the 16,500 runners and walkers who crossed the Corporate 5k finish line.  A huge thank you to Track Shack and all their staff who worked so hard to make the event a success and for keeping us safe and helping us all honor Boston.

Does your town have a corporate race?
Have you raced since Boston?

Love and sweet Caroline,
Carissa & Kyle
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