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 =PR= 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 either of 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 who 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?