Stars and Stripes 5K Run 2017 (Katie Huynh)

I didn’t know what to expect. Actually, I did have some expectations.

The Fourth of July is a day for most American families to gather together and celebrate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence–where we became free from England! Since it was morning I did not expect many people to be at the 5k run, largely because I thought people would want to sleep in on the holiday. I surely wanted to sleep in.

I was wrong. I arrived at the event and was taken aback by a myriad of runners! And the family of those runners! And the friends of those runners! It was lively, loud, and full of smiles. I observed the pleasant smiles and cheer of many of the elderly, adults, adolescents, and kids. I thought, “Many of these people are either doing this for themselves, or for someone else.” It is beautiful to have a reason to do something, when that reason is for a great cause.

I found the tent to our organization and met up with all of the other members. I was late–but not late enough to see the beginning of the next race begin–which consisted of runners of ALL ages. There was not much activity before the race started, but I was excited to see the start of the race. The announcements blared. I expected a gun– but was half-disappointed, half- met with relief when I didn’t hear it. The starting gun always gave me chills, thinking back to track meets. The start of the race! There were several men sprinting in the front. I was horrified! Why would they want to start sprinting so FAST in just the beginning of the race?! I anticipated which of the front runners would finish first, in the end.

Starting the race!

Runners started to trickle towards the finish line! I promptly took pictures of the runners–but was unsatisfied by how my pictures appeared on my phone. With the rest of my club members, I approached our booth and was ready to take on the oncoming crowd and attract our fellow runners to purchase some jewelry.

Runners trickling in!

Our organization is a nonprofit, and all of our proceeds are going to benefit low-income students in the Bay Area. I strongly encouraged participants to take part in the cause, as it would help in their funding. When I met with a few runners, I talked to them about our cause and our reason for doing this. I talked about our hand-designed jewelry which was crafted to be distinguishable and memorable for a purpose. I was delighted to hear their enthusiasm for the jewelry, and ecstatic about their involvement in volunteering or with other non-profits. I further asked the race participants about their race experiences. Some of those experiences were bad, some of them were good.

I remember there was one lady who had to run after having a swollen, twisted ankle just a few weeks before! I couldn’t believe she was still running only after a few weeks. At her current age, tt only added to my amazement that she was endured so many other races before this race, participating in multiple marathons and 10k’s. “My body’s getting old–and now I only run those 5k’s and 10k’s now!” I adored her determination to run and her eagerness to help with our organization’s goal.

As the time ticked by and other booths started to pack up their equipment, our time with the race slowly came to an end. I witnessed much of the community start to align themselves along the street to watch the coming parade. I reminisced of our event only one-two hours before. WHAT A SUCCESS!!!! It was my first time to participate in an event like this, and I only could envision the many more fundraisers that I would be able to engage in. It was so fun talking to the other members (Eve, Ada, and Shannon), as well as our fellow running community! I liked the pancakes too.

Good bye!

Katie Huynh, HLFY Secretary


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