The Run for the Wild at the Bronx Zoo is another one of those races that I always want to do, but always end up with something else on that day. 2015 was no exception. Since last spring, April 25, 2015 had Tough Mudder scribbled on it in pen on the calendar. The Run for the Wild was out of the question.
But then Tough Mudder switched the location and the date for the Pennsylvania event. It was moved 6 months into the future and an extra hour south. Refunds happened. I registered the whole stinkin’ family for the Run for the Wild 5K Family Fun Run/Walk. They also have an earlier 5K run, but it’s untimed and wasn’t jogging stroller friendly.
X was super excited to get his bib and t-shirt in the mail. He was super excited to ‘go run too fast’ at the zoo. He learned all about Earth Day at school so he was beyond super excited to get to help save the gorillas because ‘gorillas are part of the earf.’ This was going to be a great family run.
My mom found out that we were going and asked to come be a spectator. We piled into the car bright and early Saturday morning and headed down to the Bronx Zoo, AKA my most favoritest place in the whole wide world. (Seriously. My family has instructions to sprinkle my cremains all around the place when I die. Eternity at the zoo!)
As usual, X transformed into a shy little grumpfish as soon as we got to the race site, which was at the Bronx River entrance to the zoo.He didn’t want anything to do with getting out of the BOB or putting on his bib or getting his face painted or watching the extreme pogo stick jumpers.
As we stood trying to coerce the kiddo into not being a turd in the happiest place in the five boroughs, my mom up and decided to go register to do the Run/Walk with us. She had been hitting the treadmill and going on walks almost every day to get ready for this year’s Dirty Girl Mud Run. She figured she might as well get some 5K street cred if she was going to be walking the zoo anyway.
The Family Run/Walk started at 8:45AM with all the same pomp and circumstance of the 8AM Run start- group warm up, thank yous from dignitaries, and pushes to help the WCS further by voting for the Congo exhibit as the best exhibit ever.
Then we were off into the zoo. I was super happy that we got to run past one of my favorite spots. It’s not an animal exhibit, but a spot where you have the conservation society’s wide open spaces on one side and NYC apartment buildings on the other. This has always amused me.
We passed a few animal exhibits along 3.1 mile route. One of the first were the zebras. We also saw the hyenas and a few other enclosures. We planned to explore the zoo after the race was over, so we didn’t stop too much along the way.
There was a water station right near the Dancing Crane Cafe. There was also a nacho cart setting up for the day. It was very hard to keep running when there was melting cheese and guacamole so close by.
X continued to sit in the stroller for most of the run. Even when I pointed out that there were girls beating him. He said his leg was hurting him. He said his neck was itching him. Anything to get out of running. But at the mile 3 marker, I pulled out the big guns. We had walked by the finishing festival area. There were lots of kids who finished clutching the plush gorilla that was promised to people who raised $60 or more. (Note: You had to raise $30 just to be able to participate, in addition to the registration fee.) I told my little Lazy Bones that he had to run across the finish line in order to get his gorilla. That did it. He got out of the stroller and started running.
He paused to walk only a few times. Then he paused to trip over his own feet a few more times. He is his mother’s son. We crossed the finish line in just over 1 hour. It was probably the longest 5K time I’ve ever had, but who the hell cares when you get to be active with your family?!
After hiking around the festival area (which included raffles and local businesses and lots of merch,) we found the fundraising prize tables. X got his gorilla and named it Duckie.**
He also tripped again and took some skin of his knuckles when he tried to stop himself from faceplanting into a wall.
We were then free to explore the zoo. Basic entrance to the zoo and the Congo exhibit were included in our registration fees. Other premium exhibits had to be paid for separately.
Even though it’s kind of expensive for 5K and forces you to beg your friends and Facebook followers to give you money, I’d totally do this again. Any excuse for a day at the zoo is good times in my book.
**My mom bought a plush snake for X while we were at the zoo. He named the snake Duckie, too. He also has a plush duck named.. you guessed it! Duckie!