My Top 5 Racing Moments in 5 Years of Running

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My Top 5 Racing Moments in 5 Years of Running

About 2 miles into my 5 mile run Saturday it occurred to me that I have been running for 5 years now.  The last 3 miles of my run gave me a chance to reflect on how I am so grateful to be able to call myself a runner.  It’s hard to believe that in that short amount of time, running has evolved into such a predominate, strong and positive force in my life.


My first race was the Flow 5K in March 2009.  A few weeks before the race I literally could not run more than a quarter mile.  I barely trained, I had to walk several times and I literally had no idea what I was doing.  I’m still not entirely sure WHY I did it, other than the challenge of trying something new.  But that didn’t matter, I loved the race experience and had such a great time.  I was hooked.


Over the following summer and fall I signed up for a few more 5Ks.  I ran/walked a few miles at a time, a few weeks before the race to “train.”  I use the word “train” very losely.


It took me almost another full year before I started running on a regular basis with a legitimate training plan, but that race 5 years ago marked the beginning of it all.


Over the course of 5 years, I’ve run a total of 25 races. One Marathon, three Half Marathons, two 15K’s, a 12K, a 10K, a 8K, a 4 Miler and fifteen 5K’s.


You can read more about my 5 years of running on my Race Log HERE, but there are some moments that really stand out in my heart as THE BEST.


So without further ado…. I present…. (cue the trumpet!!!)

My Top 5 Racing Moments in 5 Years of Running

(In reverse order!)

5 Run for Your Art 5K 2013 


After some serious health setbacks for much of 2013, including having sinus surgery, the Run for Your Art 5K was my first race back that I really felt like myself.  It’s my second fastest 5K time, but more than that, I loved every minute of this race. 


It was held on a perfect fall day, raised money for a great local charity, and had such a community spirit.  


This race reminded me of why I fell in love  with racing in the first place.

4 Cooper River Bridge Run 2010

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This was my first BIG race, first long race and first race I actually tried to follow some sort of training plan.  I actually ended up with bronchitis before my 6 mile training run, so before the race, the longest I had ever run was 5 miles. I honestly wasn’t sure I could ever run 6 miles straight, especially when it included a 1 mile uphill climb up a bridge. 

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I surprised myself though and ran the entire race without taking a single walk break! 

I fell in love with distance running at this race and immediately came home and signed up for my first 15K and Half Marathon.  I figured if I could train to run 6 miles, I could train to run 9.3 and 13.1.  I was right!

3 Veritas Spring Fever 5K 2012


After taking a break from racing after summer illness that killed my voice, (I know- the comeback seems to be a theme here) I spent some time focusing on running shorter distances with better form.  My focus on the basics paid off because I smoked this race!  It still stands as my 5K PR and the only time I ever won first place in my age group!  

Now, it was a very small community race and my time would never get me an award at a larger event.  But that morning, at that small race, I won the first place cookie.  As happy as I was, it might as well have been an Olympic medal.

2 Disney Princess Half Marathon 2011


I’ve run 3 half marathons, and the Disney Princess Half Marathon 2011 is by far my slowest, but it is still my #2 top running moment.  The combination of this half being a female centered DISNEY race AND running this with my best friend Sarah made the whole experience literally magical. 


We dressed up with tutu’s and tiaras, there were fireworks and a fairy godmother at the start line. We ran through Cinderella’s castle like we were flying.  I had some nagging ankle issues that kept me from training for the race the way I would have liked, but it really didn’t matter. 


We had the best time and I will never forget crossing the finish line hand in hand with my dearest friend!

1 Chicago Marathon 2012

No surprise here, but my top racing moment is finishing the Chicago Marathon 2012! 


The whole marathon experience was epic for me.  I enjoyed reading and learning about marathons, I found satisfaction in the training process of running farther and farther each week. 


Race day was physically the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I felt so strong when I crossed the finish line after 26.2 miles.  The experience taught me that I am tougher than I look and that I can do anything.  In hard life moments that I’ve experienced since my marathon, I’ve literally told myself… “You ran a marathon, you can do this.”  Having that source of strength inside me made every step worthwhile.


I even raised over $800 dollars as a SoleMate for Girls on the Run of WNC.  The race may not have involved Disney, but it still felt magical to me.

Your turn!

What are your top racing moments?

How long have you been running?

By | 2017-08-15T14:04:26-04:00 March 25th, 2014|Fitness, Motivation/ Inspiration, Races, Running|10 Comments


  1. […] My Top 5 Racing Moments in 5 Year’s of Running […]

  2. Annie @ What's Annie Making April 3, 2014 at 2:47 am - Reply

    I love this post! Running is definitely a journey and it’s fun to think about the roller coaster ride of it. My favorite running moment was definitely crossing the finish line after my first half marathon. My mom and my aunt were waiting there for me with open arms (next to the shirtless fire men 😉 )

  3. Walter Wright March 30, 2014 at 12:47 pm - Reply

    I love you Julie , you’re great =) !

  4. Dan Steadman March 27, 2014 at 2:21 pm - Reply

    Been running and racing since HS so that would be about 20 some odd years, took a few years off. Ran in HS and College…I tried 5, but there were just too many so here’s a sampling in order.

    1993 West Hampton 5k-known as the upset, I won beating the 5 time champ, and they let him pick the prize the week before the race
    1996 Peachtree 10k (Atlanta)-Don’t expect to PR at Peachtree it won’t happen…I did, and this was the first of 2 Niketown awards (first 1000 overall at Peachtree)
    1998 Peachtree 10k in the Atl, another Nike Town
    1998 NCAA South East Regional 10k a PR in your hometown isn’t a bad way to go out
    1996 Mars Hill Invitational-this course was tough and more mental than physical…I placed and my grandmother was there to see it
    1996 NCAA SE Regional…”I can’t feel my feet”…PRd there and beat a Mars Hill runner who had run all through the puddles to try and hold me off..he didn’t make it up the finish hill…
    2011 Camp Croft HM-something about the first
    2014 Green Valley 8k, won my age group 2 weeks after the passing of my honorary grandmother
    2012 Asheville C-T Half…they say don’t expect it or try for a PR in Asheville…especially two weeks after being in a near fatal wreck…ran a good race and missed a PR by a scant 5 seconds
    tops (no surprise) the 2013 Asheville C-T Marathon…the feeling of accomplishment, having done it in a great city, seeing the crowd at the finish, sharing a long hug with my dad (who inspired me to this) after the race, the numerous congrats for me on mine, my wife, and dad’s Facebook page…and the congratulatory e-mail from the FIRST guys…just a great experience, oh and having Julie Wunder and her husband as a part of the D-Team at mile 25

    Congrats on your five all around and here’s to many more and hopefully I’ll see you at an Asheville race!!!

    • JulieWunder March 27, 2014 at 8:40 pm - Reply

      Wow! What a great top 5!! You have done a lot running wise! Glad I could be there at the marathon!

  5. Sue Gray March 25, 2014 at 11:21 pm - Reply

    Loved the Myrtle Beach Marathon. The best local race is the Legacy Run in Brevard. A15k with a beautiful course!! It’s coming up next month , can’t wait! Been running for 30 plus years!

    • JulieWunder March 27, 2014 at 8:41 pm - Reply

      Oh cool! That’s the race I did the commercial for this year!

  6. Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie March 25, 2014 at 4:23 pm - Reply

    Happy running anniversary! Much like you, I think my biggest running moment would be when I finished my marathon.

  7. Jaime March 25, 2014 at 2:23 pm - Reply

    I had to figure it out. I’ve been running for 22 YEARS. I started in middle school. I ran throughout college (except my senior year, when I ran on my own, but not on the team.) I really want to run one of the Disney half marathons one day! At one point, I wanted to do the Goofy Challenge, but my days of full marathons are over.

    One of my favorite races has been the Thomas Wolfe 8k. This past October it really was THE best race.

    • JulieWunder March 27, 2014 at 8:42 pm - Reply

      Disney is awesome! I really want to do another one! I’d really like to do the coast to coast challenge with 2 halfs

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