I generally don’t like evening races, and the West Chester Lei 5K is no exception. I’m a morning runner and tend to go to be early. So when a race starts at 8:00 at night, I’m already dreading it. Add ninety-degree summer heat and no shade, and I’m done with the race before I start. But this event is much more than the race. It’s a community fundraiser to help children born with Chiari Malformations.
The Lei 5K starts by the Muhlhauser Barn in Beckett Park. Most of the race is on Beckett Road with a detour into Beckett Park West. It finishes with a short loop around Muhlhauser Barn, ending at the start line. The only “hard” part of the course is the approximately half-mile climb up Beckett Road. In less heat, it would be an easy 5K. I wasn’t acclimated to the heat enough to be able to run anywhere near my normal 5K pace with a finish time almost ninety seconds slower than my normal 5K. Apparently, a lot of people don’t like evening races in the heat, as there were only 106 finishers.
What made this race good was the after party. Each race participant received two free cheese coneys from Skyline and a beer. The Naked Karate Girls provided the music into the evening. Good food, good friends, and good music made for a fun evening. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay out too late because I had to get up early for another race, but I stuck around for the race awards.
Age group winners each received a pair of goodr sunglasses. Overall male and female winners received a pair of running socks. In addition to the food and drink tickets, all race participants received a nice tech shirt. No finisher medals for this one though. The race raises money for Chiari Cares and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Neurosurgery Department.