2014 Firecracker 5K Recap

On Thursday I picked up my race packet for the Firecracker 5K in Reston Town Center.  Packet pick-up was at Potomac River Running and I got in and out in a breeze!


Since last year’s shirt was a little tight, I ordered a medium this year and it fits perfectly.  The color is a dark slate even though it looks black here. I addition to the shirt, we got a cute little race pin (on bib) which seems to be a signature feature of =PRR= races.

Here’s a close-up of the pin.


Race morning we woke up to rain from the outer bands of Hurricane Arthur that had skirted our area overnight.  By 7 AM it was heading north, leaving in it’s wake absolutely gorgeous weather!  The temperature was about 68° when we left our house, and even though it got warmer when the sun came out, the humidity seemed to drop a little as the morning progressed.

Bill and I met my local chapter MRTT friends at 7:25 for a group picture before we headed out for a short warm-up run.


And this is how excited we were that we got to go on an easy run together before we each ran our own race!


Bill joined us for our ten-minute run along part of the race course before we headd back to Fountain Square for our next engagement… another photo.


At 7:45 we joined other MRTT ladies for a multi-chapter photo!  It’s so cool having such a good MRTT showing at local races!


My new running friend Anne who blogs over at Mom and Dad Track Stars and I had been trying to find each other for about 15 minutes when we finally found each other at the starting line.  Erin read both Anne’s and my blogs before she met us, so we were kind enough to let her get a celeb picture with us.


I worked my way up toward the front of the sea of runners, but once again probably didn’t move quite far enough because when the race started I had to weave my way around runners for about a quarter mile.  I don’t want to get in front of runners that I will slow down, but I really do need to have more confidence in my pace and know that I belong even closer to the front in a 5K.


Approximately 2,200 runners showed up for this 5th annual race, and this picture shows participants stretching all of the way back to where the street meets the sidewalk heading into Fountain Square.


The cutest little drone was flying over our heads taking pictures before the start of the race.  After a beautiful rendition of The National Anthem and presentation of the colors by the Herndon High School ROTC, we were off!


As I mentioned, I jockeyed around other slower runners for at least my first quarter mile, and continued to pass far more runners than passed me.  By the time I pulled over to snap a quick picture of the water stop and volunteers, the crowds were thinning and I felt very comfortable.  This particular spot is at the beginning of a sweet downhill stretch that I enjoyed very much!


About a half mile after the water stop, I heard a female say my name as she passed me, and it was Mary.  Soon after, Kathy passed me, but I was able to keep her in my sights (but never catch her) for the rest of the race.

While I was getting passed by two of my running besties, the overall winner was crossing the finish line!  It was a fast course and Deme Dereje finished in 14:35 with an average pace of 4:42!

Shortly afterward, Etaferahu Temesgen was the first women to cross the finish line with a time of 16:25 (5:18 pace).

I finished in 24:19 (7:50 pace) which put me in 3rd place out of 46 in my age group (84th out of 1,212 females).   Even though I was 30 seconds slower than at the Fit Foodie 5K two weeks ago, I was very happy with my time because I shaved 1:39 off of last year’s Firecracker 5K time!

Bill came in right behind me at 24:50.

After I caught my breath, I walked around and captured a few pictures of the race festivities.


The USO had a large presence giving out little flags and stickers, collecting donations to “stuff the bus” with non-perishable food items, and accepting donations.  Potomac River Running made a donation to the USO Metro on behalf of the branch of the military with the most runners registered for the race.  At the awards ceremony they announced that the Army had won the “Battle of the Branches.”


There was a large board for writing words of thanks to our military stationed overseas.


Back at our post-race designated meeting place, we goofed off a little before we each left to go celebrate Independence Day with our families.  I have been running with these ladies since January and they are why my 5K time dropped 1:39 since last year… These ladies are fast and I push myself like I haven’t in years when I run with them.  Their times were:

  • Mary – 22:56
  • Beth – 23:47
  • Kathy  – 23:52
  • Dora – 24:15
  • Deb – 24:19
  • Erin – 26:12 (shaved 2:30 off of December time on this same course)


To add to the festivities, a band was playing on stage throughout the post-race activities.


Post-race refreshments included bananas…


Cookies, bagels, and plenty of water…


While walking around after the race we ran into Lana from Miles’ group!  We hadn’t seen her in years and it was great to briefly catch up with her!


Next we headed down the street to watch the children’s fun run.  It was a riot watching these little runners express themselves as we adult runners would love to do!  If they fell down, they cried; if they got tired, they walked without concern; and one little fellow even wore his red cape!  I overheard a dad telling his little girl that if she didn’t run, she wouldn’t get her medal that she badly wanted; and isn’t that why many of us race… to get the shiny bauble at the end!


We stuck around for the awards ceremony so I could get my third place prize.  It was a great cap to the end of a very fun morning.


Third place prize was a $15 gift certificate to Potomac River Running Store.  I know I will put that baby to good use!  All runners received a “Support The Troops” wrist band from the USO Metro after they crossed the finish line.


We celebrated the end of a perfect day with a margarita; on a patriotic napkin, of course!


If you live in the DC area, and are looking for a fun way to start your 4th of July with a bang, consider running this great race next year!  Potomac River Running doesn’t disappoint!


  • Questions:
  • Who raced today?
  • What did you do to celebrate Independence Day?
  • Did you get to see fireworks?
Happy Running! ~ Deb


  1. July 5, 2014    

    OMG!! I crossed only seconds before you! i can’t believe we missed each other!! My friend is in your finish line photo and I was just in front of the guy in purple!!! It was a great race!!
    Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes recently posted…My fav compression sleeves and a contest!!My Profile

    • Deb Runs Deb Runs
      July 5, 2014    

      Seriously? I wish I’d known that you were running, so I could have looked for you. I guess you didn’t get word about the mult-chapter photo… Bummer!

  2. July 5, 2014    

    Well done on getting 3rd in your age group Deb!
    I’ve found your starting line place is trickiest at races where there are a lot of more casual runners, but good on them for running too!
    Sherry recently posted…Race Report: Xterra Woodhill 14km Trail RunMy Profile

    • Deb Runs Deb Runs
      July 5, 2014    

      Thank you, Sherry! You are exactly right; casual runners don’t understand pacing and general race etiquette, but that’s where you learn the rules as you’re exposed to varying situations on the course. It’s always great to welcome new runners to our sport!

  3. Kim Kim
    July 5, 2014    

    Great job on the PR for the race!! And, awesome on the 3rd place AG finish!!!
    My boys and I did the 6 mile race around the lake we live on yesterday – fun that they wanted to do it this year.
    Kim recently posted…Bodyweight Moves Are Awesome!!! (6/29-7/5)My Profile

    • Deb Runs Deb Runs
      July 5, 2014    

      Thank you! It’s great that your sons wanted to race with you! The only thing that would have made my race more fun yesterday would have been if my two sons had run it with me, but they were at the Nationals game in DC.

  4. I missed the group pic bc the pick up line was huge. Totally should have come out the day before-lesson learned. Great job on race looks like you had lots of fun. Perhaps we will get to meet in person one day!
    Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…July virtual coffee dateMy Profile

    • Deb Runs Deb Runs
      July 5, 2014    

      Fingers crossed that we will meet at a race one of these days! I didn’t realize Sue would be running so I didn’t look for her either.

  5. July 6, 2014    

    I raced, but I did this downhill one miler – it was great but not nearly as packed as your race! I nailed that mile in 7:21 – looking to see if I can hold onto that pace for 13.1 miles next.
    Cheri @ Overactive Blogger recently posted…Things I will do on the 4th of July…My Profile

    • Deb Runs Deb Runs
      July 6, 2014    

      That’s a great pace! Hope you can meet your half goal!

  6. July 7, 2014    

    Congratulations on a great race, Deb!! I love all the patriotic outfits, and how many races are held on July 4!
    Also love that finishing pic of you- so strong!
    Abby recently posted…Taking a breakMy Profile

    • Deb Runs Deb Runs
      July 8, 2014    

      Thanks, Abby!

  7. Amy Amy
    July 8, 2014    

    You seem to find the most celebratory races to run! That looks like quite the event. And congrats ona great race, like always!
    Amy recently posted…Visiting Great Sand Dunes National ParkMy Profile

    • Deb Runs Deb Runs
      July 8, 2014    

      Thanks, Amy! We do have some great races around here, but I’ve never run with a dinosaur!

  8. July 8, 2014    

    Wow speedy mamas! Congrats on the PR and placing! This was my first time running the Firecracker 5K and enjoyed it very much!
    Jennifer recently posted…PRR Firecracker 5K Race RecapMy Profile

    • Deb Runs Deb Runs
      July 8, 2014    

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. The Run With Santa 5K runs along the same course, and it’s fun, too! Last year it started snowing right at the start. It was perfect!

  9. July 9, 2014    

    14:35!?!? HOLY CROW THAT’S FAST!!
    Awesome recap and race, my friend! That’s an awesome time! Your MRTT chapter looks like so much fun (HI ERIN!!! If you are reading this, congrats on your PR!!) and it looks like everyone did great! I love the shirt they gave out too. 🙂
    Salt recently posted…Cooking with Salt: Nourish by Lorna Jane Cookbook ReviewMy Profile

    • Deb Runs Deb Runs
      July 13, 2014    

      Yes, those guys are fast, and I see them at a lot of the local races.

      My MRTT chapter is the best! We have so many different types of runs throughout the week!

  10. July 13, 2014    

    Awesome race and congrats on your AG 3rd place! That’s a pretty big 5K. The winning time was so fast, it blows my mind that people can run those times! Your have some speedy friends in your MRTT group, too. The benefits of fast friends – you get faster, too! 🙂 Congrats.
    Meagan recently posted…Birthday Trail RunMy Profile

    • Deb Runs Deb Runs
      July 13, 2014    

      Thanks, Meagan! My MRTT friends drag me along and make me faster every time we run together!

No Pings Yet

  1. Grading My 2014 Running Goals - on December 31, 2014 at 3:48 PM
  2. Moms RUN This Town, My Local Chapter - Deb Runs on February 25, 2015 at 11:08 AM
  3. 2014 Blogger Meetups - Deb Runs on February 25, 2015 at 11:30 AM
  4. Where I Stand On My 2014 Goals - Deb Runs on April 4, 2015 at 2:49 PM
  5. Friday Five: Friday Favorites - Deb Runs on April 7, 2015 at 5:38 PM

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge



Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. I promise to never sell or share your email address.


NEW SPA badge


Virginia Bloggers Badge

Race PR’s (Personal Records)

5K - 22:57 (7:23 pace)
8K - 39:25 (7:55 pace)
10K - 47:05 (7:40 pace)
Ten Mile - 1:16:22 (7:38 pace)
20K - 1:45:30 (8:30 pace)
Half Marathon - 1:54:34 (8:45 pace)
Twenty Mile - 2:46:14 (8:18 pace)
Marathon - 3:29:04 (7:59 pace)
Ultramarathon - 10:50:30 (13:00 pace)

2016 Race Schedule

February 14 - Run Your Heart Out 5K
April 17 - Loudoun 8K or Half Marathon
April 29 & 30 - Ragnar Trail Richmond Ultra
May 22 - Chicago Spring Half Marathon
July 4 - Firecracker 5K
August 21 - Leesburg 20K
September 16 & 17 - Ragnar DC
November 24 - Thanksgiving Day 5K
December 11 - Frosty 5K

Favorite Races

1997 Marine Corps Marathon (3:44:56) - first marathon and first Boston qualifier

1997 JFK 50-Miler (10:50:30) - first and only ultra

1998 Boston Marathon (3:39:57) - first Boston

1999 Steamtown Marathon (3:29:04) - PR marathon

2010 North Face Endurance Challenge Marathon (5:32:38) - favorite trail marathon


Disclaimer: This blog contains Amazon affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a commission anytime you purchase items by clicking on these links. You will never pay any more when buying a product from Amazon through my link, and you will be connected to Amazon as you usually are. The only difference is that Amazon pays me for referring you!
%d bloggers like this: