There is a little community in northern California that boasts it puts on the LARGEST, small-town walk in America, and I have had the pleasure of participating in that event on two separate occasions in the last few years. You can find out just about everything you need to know about visiting there, by clicking on www.visitmtshasta.com
Based on the attire of the runner in this photo, it should be a clue that the event is held annually, on July 4th. That means---not the Saturday before the Fourth, and not the Saturday after the Fourth, but the actual day of the week that is the "landing spot" for the Fourth of July each year. In fact, if you go the website of the group that sponsors the race, www.mtshastarunners.com , you can see exactly how many more days until the 2019 event!
I took this photo, as the participants turned the corner at a church along the route. As you can see from the photo, the event shirts were a light blue this year. Each year, the design on the front of the tee shirt changes . About 1,000 runners/walkers compete in the mostly-flat, run/walk. It is a family-friendly event, and I saw participants there, ranging in age from infants to 95 years old!
A very unique aspect of this event is that there is entertainment, provided by various groups in the area, all along the route. These kids were giving martial arts demonstrations as we walked by.
These ladies dressed in the appropriate ethnic costumes of their culture, were giving belly dancing demonstrations, accompanied by the sounds of exotic far-away lands, over their loud speakers. It is not everyday you can see a belly dancing recital, played out on oriental rugs, laying across the highway roadside!
Another group blasting out tunes of a different nature, was a group of ladies, demonstrating their Zumba exercise class routines.
This photo shows the participants going in two different directions. It was taken on the overpass bridge that is above Interstate 5 in Mt. Shasta. The group walking forward in the photo have reached the turn-around point, while those shown with their backs to the camera, are still headed for the turn-around.
One of the sponsors of the race is the Mt. Shasta Medical Center, operated by Dignity Health. All of the participants walk or run by the hospital, and there were volunteers/employees from the hospital manning a "relief station" in front of the hospital.
Another one of the sponsors was Crystal Geyser water, which comes from a source very close to Mt. Shasta. It is only appropriate that they be a sponsor, since the word "shasta" originally meant "precious water". Shasta is an African female name originating in the Sahara. The desert origin of the word explains why water would be called "precious".
Besides water, there were other free beverages to sample, including kombucha, a fermented tea.
The big surprise for me along the race route came, when I saw there were little bowls of lettuce for the participants to sample. As those who know me can attest, I have a "thing" for lettuce because it is low-calorie, and helps "fill me up".
In addition, there were samples of freshly-baked pizza along the walk route!! What a deal!!
This photo shows some walkers as they are on the bridge above Interstate 5. The jagged peak in the background is a landmark along I-5, and is called Black Butte. I am thankful to be able to say my son and I summited that mountain last year, and you can read about that experience in a previous blog I published (It can be seen in the blog archives, under the date of September 10, 2016, and titled "Siskiyou County Expedition")
In addition to the food/beverage sampling stations that appear every other block along the walking route, there are musical stages set up every other block along the race route. This photo shows a musician using a seldom-seen stringed instrument, accompanied by the traditional violin.
There are also country/western bands, solo artists, brass musicians, vocalists, and drummers, both Native American and Oriental.
All of the things I have described in the previous comments explain why it took me so long to finally make it to the FINISH line! I wanted to sample each and every product, and take a photo of each and every exhibit!
My steps were easily distracted by the activities and foods along the way, which explains why I did not come home with one of these medals!
When there were so many food and beverage products being handed to participants, there was a potential for litter to desecrate the streets of Mt. Shasta, but this issue was resolved by having refuse containers placed strategically after each sampling table.
I was especially pleased that the refuse containers were clearly labeled so that plastics could be disposed of separately, and hence more easily recycled.
The race route goes by the Catholic Church in Mt. Shasta, and every year, that community of believers sponsor a fund-raising pancake breakfast that provides a good excuse to load up on carbs before the race----it's for a good cause!!
Just like the sign in this photo says,MT. SHASTA SMILES on the Fourth of July!!
And for those who have an emergency that interferes with their smile, there is the Mt. Shasta Ambulance service!
After the race was over, we went back to my son's house, and he grilled us a delicious, healthy dinner outside. He is shown in this photo, and I am using this opportunity to apologize to him for getting distracted taking photos during this event, that we had intended to walk TOGETHER! After it was over, he told me had spent several minutes concerned, worrying, and wondering where I was (thinking that I had possibly brought on a Reactive Hypoglycemic fainting spell by cramming too much food into my mouth, too fast), because he waited so long at the finish line, with no sign of me. When I told him that I was taking photos and videos of the performers, I think it hurt his feelings that I was more interested in taking photos, than I was in walking with him. Therefore, I am using this experience as the visual aid for one of my First Place 4 Health ( www.FirstPlace4Health.com ) memory verses that says, "Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called "Today," so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness." Hebrews 3:13. Instead of concentrating on the precious time I had to spend with my son--the "TODAY"--I was focused on getting photos to write a blog about the event. Perhaps my behavior demonstrates how sin's deceitfulness made me think it was more important to publish a particular blog post, than it was to spend time encouraging my son. Hopefully, I will get another chance, and promise to do things differently next time I get to spend time with him! That is because doing activities with my son gives me "MILES OF SMILES"!! Tricia