About the Firecracker 5K

Like most other races the 11th Annual 2020 Firecracker 5K, hosted by PR Races, had to switch to virtual this year. It was my 8th consecutive year of running what has become one of my favorite races. Truth bomb – due to injury I walked the 2020 Virtual Firecracker 5K.

I normally love kicking off the celebration of our nation’s birthday with a fun morning of hanging out and running with my friends. Sadly, this year that fun was not to be and as a virtual race, we had a window from July 3rd to July 5th to complete the event anywhere we chose. It wasn’t until writing this recap that I realized my friend Erin and I had participated in the event a day early. LOL

Race organizers made a donation with proceeds from the race to the USO-Metro which supports the local military. Due to my competitive nature, I probably wouldn’t have run the race if it had been live; however, I happily signed up to not only support the USO-Metro, but to also support PR Races.


Packet Delivery

I’m truly getting spoiled having race packets delivered to my mailbox, and for those signing up in a timely fashion, PR Races gets your packet to you before the race. Race packets included a shirt, bib, patriotic cutouts, and a finisher’s medal.

2020 Virtual Firecracker 5K

2020 Virtual Firecracker 5K


The Course

The nice thing about virtual races is that they can be run wherever you choose. Running with my friend Erin who lives about a mile from me made the choice easy. We’d each leave our house at 7:30 AM and walk along the parkway until we met. At that point, we’d start the race and take it into the woods, staying on our shaded neighborhood trails.


That’s 2020 for You

Erin and I have run five of the previous six Firecracker 5K’s together since meeting in 2014 and last year didn’t quite feel like Independence Day without her joining in on the race day fun. To say that I was thrilled that she was willing to walk this year’s race with me is an understatement!  After a little planning we decided to meet on Thursday to reignite our Firecracker 5K tradition – only it wasn’t Independence Day, we weren’t in Reston Town Center, and we weren’t running… Oh that’s right, it’s 2020!


And We’re Off

We picked a random crack in the trail for our starting line and Erin commented on how appropriate the crooked line was for a 2020 race.


Erin’s son M was our lead biker and after giving us a 3, 2, 1 countdown, he turned and rode off. Having not shared our route with our lead biker, we occasionally had to call him back on course.


Aside from my ongoing injury, my back had started spasming the night before after twisting it when I slipped while taking out the garbage and I could feel some residual pain when we started walking. Erin was kind enough to stay at a slower pace and my back felt fine.



As we came up on the trail beside my house, low and behold, there was a water stop set up for the three of us! 😉


I must have subconsciously known that we were doing the race a day early and that it wouldn’t count because I inadvertently stopped my watch at the water stop and whenever we had to get our lead biker back on course. Full disclosure: I did not stop my watch during either of my previous two virtual races this spring.

Photo credit: M

The Finish Line

As we came out of the tunnel and neared our finish line we were all smiles – no contorted and painful looking expressions on our faces in this year’s finish line photos!


Erin and I tied in a photo finish with a time of 50:34 (16:19 average pace).

Our splits were…

  • Mile 1 – 16:10
  • Mile 2 – 16:23
  • Mile 3 – 16:20
  • Final .1 Mile – 17:37 pace

2020 Virtual Firecracker 5K


Shoutout to the Winners

Please be sure to check out the race results to see how others did in this virtual race…

The top overall finisher (and top female finisher) was Gillian Bushee of Reston, VA who finished in 18:15 (5:52 pace).

And the top male finisher was Patrick Kiernan of Fairfax, VA who finished with a time of 18:59 (6:07 pace).


Post-Race Shenanigans

What 2020 walk or run with friends is complete without a photo showing we stayed socially distanced?

Photo credit: M

And what race is ever complete without a jump shot? Unfortunately, Erin had to fly solo because my back would have rebelled on landing.


After our race I returned home to find bananas for my post-race refreshment next to my house where the water stop had been; not really, I put them there for the photo. 😉


Medal Monday

Even a virtual race deserves to be celebrated on Medal Monday so I used our Americana style flag hanging on our deck as the backdrop for this patriotic piece of hardware.


Here’s hoping we’ll be back at Reston Town Center for next year’s Firecracker 5K and that I am running again…


  • • Did you run in either a real or virtual race on Independence Day?
  • • Do you wear themed outfits or colors for holiday races, virtual or real?
  • • How did you celebrate our Nation’s birthday?