April Fools

Statue to Statue 15k

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If I showed you my medal and told you that my race today began near the tallest cast iron statue in the US, you might think that the race began at the Statue of Liberty. But no – April Fools! At 151 feet tall, the Statue of Liberty is the tallest statue on the US mainland, but she is made of copper. She represents Libertas, the Roman goddess of liberty, which I never realized before but it makes sense. But she is not the tallest iron statue in the US

No, the tallest iron ore statue in the US and the world for that matter actually represents a different Roman god, Vulcan, the god of the fire and forge. The Statue to Statue 15k begins in the vicinity of the Vulcan statue, which was created as Birmingham Alabama’s entry for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in 1904s World’s Fair.

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The race does end near the Statue of Liberty but – April Fool’s!- not the one welcoming huddled masses to New York harbor. This Statue of Liberty is a 36 foot bronze replica in Vestavia Hills Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham. She originally stood atop the Liberty National Life Insurance Company Building downtown, but was relocated in 1989. And although this Statue of Liberty is only about a quarter the size of the original, she does have real flame in her torch which makes her a bit more badass.

For runners, the Statue to Statue 15k offers two April Fools tricks. First, despite the name, you don’t actually see either of these statues on the course. In my second year of running this race I wonder why they don’t change the course to actually pass the statues.  The other trick that would make you say “you gotta be foolin’ me” (or something worse) on any day of the year are 2 mega-steep hills that make up big stretches of miles 6-8. Almost all the runners end up walking a spell on these hills, and I did my share as well. But after the hills the final 1.5 miles or so are all downhill and you literally feel like you are flying to the finish.

Last year the race was not on April Fool’s day but I still managed to trick myself out of placing in my age group by starting too far back in this gun timed event.  This year I started right at the front and ran waaayyyyyyy too fast in the beginning trying to keep up with the kids. My first 3 miles were 7:37, 7:33, 7:06! (pant, pant). But the early push helped and I finished in 1:16:50, 36 seconds faster than last year and good enough to officially nab 3rd in the old man group.

So I collected my medal, pleased that I was able to run from “statue to statue” faster than I did last year. I’m hoping that this is part of a continuing trend and not just another April Fool’s trick!

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