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By  Grey Feathers

November 28, 2013 (Santee) – The second annual Waddle and Trot 5K run began and ended at the Pathways Community Church, the sponsors of the event.  Proceeds will be evenly split between the Santee Santas and the Santee Food Bank.  This was a certified 5K run on a fast and nearly flat course around Santee Lakes.  The family-friendly event attracted serious runners to casual walkers on a sunny beautiful Thanksgiving morning.

On the starting-line were contestants with team shirts and bright-colored running-shoes.  In the middle of the crowd were great grandfathers, teenagers, parents with infants and children.  Near the back were dozens of strollers with precious cargo along for the ride. 

This was my first 5K run ever and I found myself locked in an epic battle for last place.

Among my companions at the tail-end of the race were youngsters as young as 6 years old who left me in their dust.  One man had an infant in a stroller and another on his shoulders.  As we entered Santee Lakes Park the race leaders had already rounded the lakes and were zooming past us toward the home stretch.  That’s when I gave up my thoughts of a last minute kick to overtake the leaders and grab a gold medal. 

Instead I took in the sights in the lovely Santee Lakes Park as I shuffled along.   I saw a Great Blue Heron about to grab a snack and seven White Pelicans.  I was told that the Pelican can hold more food in his beak than his belly can.

Later I met Ryan Maize, who came in second overall.  He graduated from El Capitan High School and was running for Cuyamaca College.  His time was a scorching 16 minutes and 14 second.  (He told me the world record was an amazing 12 minutes and 47seconds.) 

"Cuyamaca is the go-to place for aspiring young runners from the Grossmont League who hope to continue their running careers on the college level, and use it to help them get into four year universities," Maize said.

I also met Aaron Hemphill who was first in last year’s competition and third this year.  Aaron said there was just enough competition to make it fun for him and his friends who were all in-training.

And indeed everyone was having fun.  There was an abundance of community spirit and good will whether one was there to Waddle or Trot.

I took in the view from last place.  No medal.  But nobody’s really a loser here, since we enjoyed exercise,  beautiful scenery, good company and the joy of giving to help East County families in need.

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