Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Race Report: Verd Anez Benefit 5K

On Saturday morning, I ran the Verd Anez Benefit 5K. Verd, a beloved hockey coach and community member, died on January 31 of this year. He was shoveling snow off the roof of a pole shed when he fell through a fiberglass skylight. He was killed instantly when he hit the floor of the shed. Verd and his wife, Karen, have seven children, ranging in age from elementary school to college.

My dad worked with Verd's father at Minnesota Power for a number of years. My parents often stopped to talk to Verd and his family after church. Family meant everything to him, he had a deep love of God and strong faith, and he was known for his kindness and generosity. He will be greatly missed.

Click HERE for a KARE 11 news report about Verd, if you want to read more. There is also a video on that page you can watch.

Last weekend when I was home, I read a short article in the local paper about the 5K, which was being held to raise money for his family, and I decided then that I would run it. I didn't know Verd well, but I wanted to run to commemorate his life and also do something to help his grieving family.

Saturday morning, I headed over to the race site (Little Falls Community Middle School) about 8:30 a.m. I registered for the race and picked up my t-shirt. The race didn't start until 10:00, so I had plenty of time to stretch, drink some water, use the bathroom at the middle school, and chat with several people that I knew, including an old teacher, former classmates, a family friend, and one of my dad's co-workers. 

This was just a few minutes after registration opened.  More people showed up... a LOT more.
Before the race, Fr. Mark, the priest from Our Lady of Lourdes, gave a blessing over the runners. To commemorate Verd's spirituality, his family released several doves into the sky. Here is the video I took. If you want to skip the prayer and go to the flight of the doves (although if you want to hear a true central Minnesota accent, I'd listen to the prayer), go to 1:12 in the video.

The race started behind the press box at the track/football field between the middle school and high school. There were no bib numbers, timing chips, or prizes for the winners. The scoreboard on the football field kept track of the elapsed time. My wardrobe (long-sleeved tech shirt and cropped running pants) was a smart choice because it was a cool, cloudy day with periods of sprinkles.

I started out the race towards the front of the pack. The first mile was pretty easy for me. I had about a 7:56/mile pace going as the course weaved around the middle and high schools and into a residential neighborhood. There was a slight downhill during this portion, so that helped me out. I felt like I was slowing down a little as I hit the halfway mark, and I stopped at the lone water stop on the course to drink a little water. At this point in the race, my forearms felt strange, like the muscles were both tensing up and going numb. I had rolled up the sleeves of the long-sleeved tech shirt I was wearing, so I rolled them back down again. A few minutes after the race ended, my arms felt fine. That's the first time that's ever happened to me before… weird.

After the half-way mark was a gradual incline as Broadway turned into First Street. I trucked my way up that hill, but felt my pace slowing as I passed Lindbergh Elementary and the middle school. We ran around the middle school again and past the Exchange Arena, where Verd coached hockey, to finish where the race started, behind the press box. I kept my steady stride going as I finished, looking at the scoreboard for my finish time.


Not too bad for my first 5K of the year. I should get faster as the summer progresses.

I drank a bunch of Gatorade after the race and picked up a few food items to take home, as I wasn't hungry at that point and planned to eat something when I got home. I chatted with my former teacher after she finished (28:xx); she's running her very first half-marathon in Fargo on May 21. Rain was coming down harder at that point, so I headed home.

Race shirt and post-race fuel
Back of t-shirt... love that quote!
Later that day, Mom and I attended the spaghetti dinner fundraiser for Verd's family.

Verd, thank you for gracing us with your presence for the short time you were on this earth. You will be deeply missed.


  1. It sounds like a great benefit run! It's always nice to see a community come together to help out a family of their own.

  2. Love that you were running for such a great cause! Love that quote too!!

  3. What a horrible accident! I am glad you were able to have a good run and support this cause. That quote is awesome.

  4. What a great event to be a part of! In such a tragedy it's awesome the community came out to show support!!!!! I love the t-shirt "slogan" - that's GREAT! What a great racing time you had - wow, girl - you're FAST!!!! I'm glad you were a part of it - that's pretty awesome of you!

  5. That was nice that you were able to participate in such a meaningful race. It's nice to see the community come together and creative a posative out of a negative. And way to go on your run... your 5k was a speedy one in my book!

  6. How cool that you could merge running with remembering someone special to your family. Sounds like a great event.

  7. This sounds like a very worthwhile race to do.

  8. It is very important to participate in such kind of events. Terrible story.
    You made a fast race, brava.