I’m no Allyson Felix or Emma Coburn, because I can neither sprint as fast nor run as long as either of those incredible female athletes.
But I do enjoy running, and I would consider myself a decent runner.
And as a runner, I can be extremely competitive, so I’m excited to run the Bakersfield Walk Like MADD race.
Of course it would be nice to win the race, but it doesn’t matter who wins. What matters is bringing awareness to Kern County's 2015 total of 4,223 DUIs, which was only marginally better than the county's 2014 total of 4,923 — that's according to the Kern County District Attorney’s Office. In 2006, the deadliest year for DUI-related crashes countywide, 15 people were killed in such crashes? So MADD is using this race to say, “Drunk Driving Ends Here.”
Well, my motivation to improve awareness about the problem was quickly heightened when a few colleagues questioned my ability to beat Vince Fong, a candidate for the 34th Assembly District. Of course, they didn’t mean to offend me, so I didn’t take it personally.
Much. They simply meant that Vince has been around the block once or twice when it comes to racing and he just may be a little more fit than I am.
Well, not so fast, people.
Let’s go back to February, when we both ran in Cal State Bakersfield’s PEAK Club Valentine’s Run. Fong, who did a great job, ran his 5K in 33 minutes and 53 seconds. I ran the race in 23 minutes and 38 seconds.
Like I said, I’m no Felix, but when my competitiveness kicks in, I feel like Felix.
Now Aaron Perlman — and I’m not sure if he is running the MADD 5k — is a different story. In November 2015, he ran a 5k at the BPD Memorial Run in 21 minutes and 10 seconds.
The last time a ran a 5K time even close to that was 2010, when I was a senior at Centennial High School.
But this race could go either way for Vince and me. We both got crushed by Perlman at the BPD Memorial Run. But Fong did beat me with a time of 35:24, a minute and a half better than my 36:55. Of course, I was running with my pregnant cousin.
But, like I said, this is all about bringing awareness. So Vince, I hope you and I have a fun race together.
So, back to raising money for MADD. Team TBC, which includes Education Reporter Harold Pierce and Digital News Producer Charmaine Cleveland, as well and systems guru Roland Reyes and his friend John Neri, has a lot of work to do. We’ve only raised $10 for the organization, while Eyewitness News, our competitor, has raised $800. And the Kern County District Attorney’s Office has raised more than $6,000.
We are being destroyed by others before the race even begins. So it’s time to step up my game and start raising money for MADD.
If you would like to donate to MADD or register for the race/walk, visit walklikemadd.org. Registration is just $30, and the deadline is Sept. 23 at 5 p.m.
The race, set for Saturday, Sept. 24, will be at The Park at Riverwalk. It starts at 8 a.m. Check-in is from 6:30 a.m. to 7:45 a.m.
Come watch me leave Vince Fong in the dust.