By Jess in Minneapolis
Did you have a good 4th of July? Mine was great, and I was so happy to start it off on the right foot with a little holiday race!
Dustin and I, (as well as a solid group of Calhoun Beach Running Club runners), ran the Firecracker 10k on Thursday in Excelsior, MN. I also ran this race in 2011. I was registered last year, but it was so crazy hot that it was shortened to a 5k in 2012, so we wimped out and didn’t run it. We weren’t going to let that happen again, even if it was hot! No missing out on the 4th of July fun for this girl!
Weather: This year, the weather was still warm (in the 80’s) and the sun was still bright, but the 10k was still on! There were plenty of water stops along the course and people with their hoses out to cool us down. The heat was much more manageable this year. Besides- it’s the 4th of July! What do you expect?
Price/Swag: This was the first year that the race was sponsored by Steele Fitness. With the new sponsorship, the price went up to $38. But with the increase in price, we did get an UnderAmour technical tee, rather than an oversized cotton t-shirt. And you can’t forget the All-You-Can-Eat bomb pops at the finish line…SO good!
There is also a two mile fun run held the same day, and then a festival and fireworks at the finish line park later in the day.
Packet Pickup: Packet pickup was held on the morning of the race. There was also a lot of race day registrations, which made for a slightly chaotic packet pickup. There were no organized lines for pre-registered runners, two-mile runners, etc. There was just a loud man dressed in some sort of Uncle Sam costume yelling at runners as to which line they should be in….Not the most organized. In fact, the disorganization of the starting area led to the 10k start being delayed fifteen minutes. We were supposed to start at 8:30 but the gun didn’t go off until 8:45. There were plenty of porta-potties at the start though, and the lines were short.
Start line: The start was definitely a little crowded too. Dustin was able to make his way to the front to get his toe on the line, but I was barely moving for the first quarter mile, and it took awhile for the crowd to thin out. This wouldn’t really matter in a marathon, but for a 10k, where you’re running at a much faster pace, you don’t want to spend a bunch of time weaving around runners. At the same time, it was a good way to make sure I started slow!
|Start line of the 2 mile fun run|
The Course: The course had plenty of rolling hills. According to my friend Kelly’s dad, it’s the “hardest 10k in the USA!” I can’t say that for sure, but it definitely wasn’t flat and fast! The course goes out into the neighborhoods of Shorewood and Deephaven, and then back to Excelsior. It’s basically an out-and-back course, but not on the same roads. There was some crowd support, with several families coming out with sprinklers and American flags. Speaking of American flags, I was very impressed with all the red, white, and blue at the race! Personally I did my best to show my patriotism via some American flag shorts (I bought them HERE) paired with a red/white/blue BIC band!
Other perks? The race was chip-timed, and we received an email with our results and our place within hours of finishing. I was pretty impressed with that part of the race. They had a “DJ” playing some tunes too, which was fun.
Overall, I give this race a 7/10. I think the packet pickup organization needs some work, and the delayed start could be a little frustrating, but I think Steele Fitness was doing their best for the first year organizing the race, and they probably will work out the kinks for next year. However, I still love the small town charm, with the post-race popsicles and all the families that come out to cheer. There really aren’t a ton of 10k’s around here, so it was a nice change of pace in terms of distance.
And how about this? I was googling around to find information about the race, and I found this picture of Dustin crushing the 10k (he set a PR!) Way to go honey! (Picture courtesy of the City of Excelsior’s Facebook page).