Friday, July 04, 2008

Firecracker Run

On Friday, I, along with nearly a thousand other Twin Cities runners, participated in the 32nd annual Firecracker Run 10k in beautiful Excelsior, MN. Excelsior is located on the south shore of Lake Minnetonka and is quite a picturesque and historic city.

Sailboats on Lake Minnetonka in Excelsior

We really could not have asked for a much nicer day here in the metro. A cool morning warmed quickly, and we were looking at low 70's and sunshine at the start of the race. It seems that weather like this rarely occurs on holiday weekends, so I was quite pleased.

The race, part of Excelsior's annual 4th of July celebration, started and finished right on the lake front in Excelsior Commons Park.

I love milling around at the start of races, listening to the conversations, chatting with runners; it is great people-watching. Also, many spectators bring dogs, so it becomes almost a pet show, I saw not one, but two long haired dachshunds, a couple of cute golden lab puppies, witnessed a husky that wanted a piece of a sheepdog, and got "cold-nosed" by a wire-hair terrier. What I am saying is that the pooches were out in full force at the Firecracker Run!

Setting up the finish line in the park

It was a good crowd on hand, and the start of the races was pretty congested and slow. I was trapped in a big way and had a hard time getting past people at the start. After a half mile or so, things got spread out enough so that I didn't feel boxed in.

We ran through some pretty residential neighborhoods on city streets. Believe it or not, the 6.2 mile race would actually cross into a small portion of four different towns (Excelsior, Greenwood, Deephaven, and Shorewood)! The course was mostly flat, but there were a few gentle, rolling hills thrown in just to keep in interesting.

Lots of local residents came out to watch, some even setting up hoses to spray runners (only those who were willing, mind you!) to cool them off. There was plenty of support along the route, and especially at the finish where there was a sea of spectators.

I didn't push myself too hard. This was, after all, a 4th of July fun run! I managed to chug across the finish line in 49:35. Not a blazing 10k for me by any stretch of the imagination, but I felt good and it was an enjoyable day.

The post race crowd at the Firecracker Run

Following the race, there was a buffet of fruit, bread, water, and (drum roll, please) red, white, and blue bomb pops! How festive and appropriate, not to mention a fantastic post race snack to cool you down.

A nice morning spent with a host of local runners, a gorgeous day, and a satisfying race. What a great way to kick off a holiday weekend!

Until next time,

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