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  • Writer's pictureTIKIMA THOMPSON


Hey there, my running enthusiast Homies! I'm excited to share my eventful experience at the renowned Cherry Blossom 10-Miler with you all. Strap in as I take you on a rollercoaster ride filled with unexpected twists, bladder challenges, excessive photography, and a surprising finish. Brace yourself for a tale of determination, setbacks, and unforgettable moments in the heart of Washington D.C. Let's dive in!

In 2021, I planned to participate in the Cherry Blossom 10-miler alongside my friends. Alexis, an experienced runner from, had completed this race before, while my friend Mike and I were first-timers. Unlike my friends who trained diligently, I must admit that I didn't prioritize my training until a mere 3 1/2 weeks before the race. Predictably, this lack of preparation resulted in an Achilles strain injury. Ouch!

On race day, despite being unable to run, I eagerly cheered on my friends as they triumphantly crossed the finish line. At that moment, I couldn't help but yearn to experience that sense of accomplishment myself. You would think I would have taken the opportunity to rehabilitate, train, and plan for the next race, right? Well, I did none of those things. Although I did rehab my Achilles, I hesitated to push myself beyond a 5k distance. I merely ran the bare minimum to maintain my running routine, and unfortunately, I lost sight of my original goal of completing the race.

Instead of entering the lottery for the 2022 race, I decided to sign up as a volunteer to distribute medals on race day. My rationale was that volunteering would secure my entry for the 2023 race and I would have more time to train. However, my friends didn't share my wait-until-next-year mindset. They encouraged me to seize the opportunity to volunteer on the Thursday before the race, which would guarantee entry for Saturday's event. After some contemplation, I accepted the offer.

Accepting the opportunity was a no-brainer because the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run holds immense historical significance in the Washington D.C. area. When people think of spring, they may envision warmer weather, daylight savings time, or spring cleaning, but for me, nothing embodies the season like the cherry blossoms and the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10-Mile Run. The racecourse provides a scenic tour of the nation's capital, traversing iconic landmarks such as the Tidal Basin, Hains Point, the Memorial Bridge, and areas of the National Mall. It truly is an epic race. Furthermore, as of 2021, the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10-miler has been a celebrated tradition for an astounding 49 years. That's quite the legacy!

The Thursday before the race, my friend Christina and I eagerly volunteered at the Cherry Blossom headquarters, immersing ourselves in the behind-the-scenes work of the event. The office walls were adorned with annual race posters and framed news clippings from past races, offering a glimpse into the rich history of the event. Our primary task as volunteers was to load boxes onto a Uhaul truck for delivery to the packet pick-up location. Despite the physical labor involved, Christina and I managed to complete the job efficiently, aided by two other volunteers. As we worked, we had the chance to learn fascinating tidbits about race logistics. Ever wondered how many bananas are needed to fuel a race that consistently attracts around 20,000 runners annually? Or how many volunteers are required for packet pick-up and race day to ensure the race's success? These were insights I had never considered before.

Having participated in numerous races, this was my first time being involved in the packet pick-up process, and it was truly exhilarating. The venue was bustling with vendors selling various running gear, including socks, Goodrs, and merchandise tailored specifically for the cherry blossom-themed race. I wasted no time registering for the race since I had worked hard to secure a race entry.

Little did I know that race day itself would be filled with even more memorable moments. Throughout the race, I found myself needing to use the restroom not once, not twice, but three times! It was quite a challenge to manage my bladder amidst the excitement and nerves of the race. Additionally, my enthusiasm for capturing the essence of the race got the best of me, resulting in an abundance of pictures that I couldn't resist taking. Needless to say, my excessive photography may have slowed me down a bit.

To add to the rollercoaster of emotions, my friends were at the finish line cheering me on vigorously to run faster. Little did I know, I had 5 seconds until I received a DNF (did not finish)... I ended up finishing dead last in my age group. While it wasn't the result I had hoped for, I couldn't help but reflect on the journey leading up to the race and the invaluable experiences gained along the way. Despite the setbacks and challenges, I cherished the opportunity to be part of such a prestigious event and to witness the resilience and determination of fellow runners.

The Cherry Blossom 10-miler will forever hold a special place in my heart, serving as a reminder of the beauty of spring, the strength of the running community, and the importance of setting goals, regardless of the outcome. Although I may not have achieved a personal record the memories and lessons from this race will stay with me for a lifetime. Who knows, maybe next year I'll make a triumphant return and surprise myself with a remarkable performance. Until then, I'll cherish the ups and downs of my Cherry Blossom 10-miler experience, pictures, and all.

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