As a late week call, I put the Bunny Run 5k in Concord NC on my race calendar. Just two weeks removed from my goal race, I felt like I needed to get back on the roads again and put some racing under my belt.
The Bunny Run 5k is pretty late start for April. In the case of this April, it was. Race time temperature had to be pushing mid 70s by the time we rolled off the starting line.
Since the Bunny Run and the Street Light 5k share the same course, I was well aware of what lay in store for me. Mile one is super fast with a long downhill section. Mile two is relatively flat. And, mile three is – well mile three is pretty much all uphill with some nasty switchback thrown just to make our lives more interesting or possibly more miserable.
The starting line is packed with kids and adults.
With a quick countdown, we were sent on our way.
Running a 5k feels fast and different. My legs hate the need to turn over so much faster. Watching everyone else, they bound along effortlessly heading to the greenway entrance. What looks effortlessly for them doesn’t feel the same way for me.
Switching from the road to the greenway the course levels out. Each of those young runners now feels the true weight of running. Funny how life is equalizes us all.
My patience’s during the opening mile pays off. Shortly after the mile, I match strides with the race leader. At the turn around, I gain a slight advantage but he roars back so we can run side by side. We switch back and forth wanting to take the lead but the outgoing racers force us to return to a single file running order. We cross under the road and see the 2 mile point just ahead. My pace carries me in to the lead. Passing the two mile mark, I grab a cup of water and dump it over my head. The cold water feels awesome and revives me from the sluggishness of the heat that I am enduring.
Now comes the hard part of climbing back up to downtown Concord. Not as much as seeing but feeling I know he drops off the pace. The terrain steepens – slowly at first but growing more and more every 100 yards.
Reaching the switchbacks my legs feel the strain of the hills but with only two options – push those thoughts aside or slow down, I opt for the former.
Topping last switchback leaves me with weary legs but one more hill still looms ahead. This last hill hurts badly.
Now, I am free to run to the finish.
Three more corners are in the books. I dig it all the way to the finish.
At 52 years old, I claimed the overall Bunny Run 5k title in 18:14.
The Concord Park and Rec Department deserve a big “pat” on the back for job well done. They consistently organize well run races at a reasonable cost. My race day registration was $20, and I got a shirt to boot. The course was well marked and had plenty of course monitors. This included a police presence and blocked off roads.
Races everywhere could take a lesson from these guys. Could well be the reason they always have a large turnout for their races. Kudos to them on their efforts.
Cool Down Runner