Yesterday we did the LEGO Family 5K Road Race & Children’s Fun Run for the first time. This was the fourth year for the Enfield, Connecticut based LEGO Group’s run, but the first time for the Livingston’s. We were tipped off by several friends that this was a well run event with some really neat swag. “We” meant that Debbie and our son did the 5K and our daughter (and son) did the one mile kid’s race.
We are definitely fans of LEGO and the LEGO brand. When our son first started collecting them when he was three or four years old, I connected with my mother and we pulled out my 35-40 year old LEGO sets that had been kept in great condition in my parents’ attic. It is so cool to build your own LEGO with your kids. Now, they have a ton of their own LEGO and if all goes to plan, they can build their LEGO and my LEGO in 35 years with their own kids.
The LEGO Group is a fantastic family business based in Denmark and LEGO Systems, Inc. in Enfield is the base of their North and South American operations. This video offers a pretty good history of LEGO. It has been watched a few times in our household. We appreciate family business in a big way.
Well, the race was really well done. We got to the sold out race early and there was still a line for packet pick up. 467 runners finished the 5K and there were hundreds of children in the un-timed one mile and 1/4 mile races. This truly was a fun run with runners of all types out there doing something healthy on a Saturday morning. The race was held on the flat roads near the headquarters and finished right in front of the building.
The building was open and the company cafeteria was selling food. Many of the volunteers were LEGO employees. It was neat to go into the building and see the space. It was very nice. It looks like a really cool place to work. I know that jobs at LEGO are coveted. They have their own child care facility on-site and the company store (which was open to runners after the race) is a great benefit.
Master Builders displayed many of their unique creations on the lawn in front of the building. Several LEGO play areas were set up and there was even two giant bounce houses. This was very family focused. There were tents with a handful of other company’s (including Fleet-Feet) displaying their running related items. The race benefited a number of area charities including Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters. The race brought in some excellent sponsorship, but it was clear that the sponsorship of LEGO led the way.
At packet pick-up, each runner got their number and then was directed to a second pick-area where they received a wonderful LEGO gift. This year’s gift was very generous. Each registered 5K runner got a large yellow bag with a large LEGO kit. We were blown away by the value of our two kits. We got the Star Wars Red Five X-wing Starfighter and the LEGO Movie MetalBeard’s Sea Cow. We made a pact that we will build these as a family.
At the finish of the kids fun runs, each child got to pick from one of four kits. Our son chose the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Baxter Robot Rampage, and our daughter chose the LEGO Friends Heartlake Flying Club. There was a tasteful notice in each gift bag that stated:
The LEGO Race planning committee would like to thank you for joining us today. It is truly a pleasure seeing so many runners and families come out for this event.
We hope you enjoy your gift bag. Each year, our planning committee works hard to secure product samples for this event. This year proved to be pretty amazing. The product we secure, however, varies from year to year. It’s very likely that next year, will not be as substantial.
Additionally, we are not able to ensure that everyone will receive the same set in terms of monetary value but we trust that what you did receive was a nice addition to a great day.
As far as the Livingston’s are concerned, we got some very nice gifts that far exceeded the cost of entry fees. The 5K was $35 pre-registration (only) for each runner and the children’s fun run was free. That is expensive for a 5K, but when you look at what we got, it was a bargain. We had a little family meeting afterwards to explain to our kids that this was a very special event and the proceeds went to a good cause that helps other kids who might not have as the same two-parent household and opportunity.
Thank you LEGO, and we appreciate the appropriate disclaimer. I bet this race sells out every time they hold it in the future, regardless of the value of the gifts. Hopefully it continues to raise money for good causes. It was a nice notice that pointed out that LEGO’s business is cranking. The LEGO movie was a great success and it appears that product is flying off the shelves of stores and distribution centers worldwide.
Now, there actually was a race and the runners ran hard! The men’s race was won by our family friend, Henry Domnarski, from Palmer, Massachusetts, who is a very fast up and coming high school runner. This kid is fast! He had a huge gap, and crossed the line in 17:25. I would love to give him a run for the money (or LEGO), but he is getting faster. Regardless, I want to do this race next year! Henry is the son of my longtime Horst Engineering Cycling Team mate, Matthew Domnarski, so he has good genes. He was followed by Morgan Anderstrom and Carl Mills.
The women’s race was won by Jennifer McHale in 19:36, and she was fourth overall! Debbie was second place and Brielle Curtis was third. This wasn’t the fastest field of 5K runners, but these were still fast runs for a local race. Debbie isn’t typically a 5K runner and certainly not a road runner, but she was rewarded for her speed workout with a very nice plaque. It is a unique award that is one of the coolest she has received.
I think the only glitch was that no one could hear the start of the race. I was taking photos and I could barely hear the announcer 500 feet behind me, so I instructed the runners to “Go.” There was a hesitation, but then one or two trusted me and the pack started moving. Our son had a very good race, pushed hard, and set a personal best. He is growing up and getting stronger, but the most important thing is that he enjoys the activity. What could be more fun than the combination of LEGO and running?
The kids races were chaotic, as you would expect, but there were a lot of smiles. After the races, people lingered for a long time. We saw several of our Shenipsit Striders friends. They had the awards ceremony and then a series of raffles that included some amazing LEGO prizes. We didn’t win (the Death Star was our goal!), but we were happy to donate additional funds to the cause. We left this event smiling and grateful.
Debbie and the kids grabbed some lunch on the way home. I rode my bicycle from Enfield to work in East Hartford. I took many beautiful farm roads through Somers, Ellington, East Windsor, and South Windsor. The foliage is peak.
What a great way to start the weekend!