This year my Fleet Feet Training Group chose as their Summer goal race the 5th annual Common Heart Firecracker Run. It was my first time running this race, but I had heard some really great things about it from friends, so I was excited to do it. Not only was the course highly praised, but it is a great local race in that it supports the Common Heart charity, a local food pantry that does a lot of amazing work in the area. I signed up for the 10K course.
We've been having a rough summer here in the Charlotte area already as far as heat and humidity and race day was no exception. In fact, it was 98% humidity when I arrived that the race site in the Lake Park Village in Indian Trail, NC (about a 40 min drive for me). The Start/Finish area was located right in the village center near a big park and shops, so there was plenty of parking available. My training group coordinator had picked up our packets for us the day before so I cannot comment on pick up, but the packets were in red, white, and blue bags and contained the usual trinkets, a few pens, key chain, magnet, lots of sponsor flyers, literature about Common Heart and the race shirt. Shirts were your basic 100% cotton grey unisex t-shirt with race logo on front and sponsors on the back. TBH, I will probably never wear it.
15 minutes before the 7:30 10K start, we were all called to line up at the Start. The 10K course was a large 3 mile loop around the Lake Park Village with a few turns here and there (basically, it was the 5K course twice with the start backed up .2 miles from the finish to get in the requite miles. The 5K course had been officially certified, but not the 10K.
There was lots of cloud cover and some slight rain at the start, which did nothing to dent the oppressive humidity and temps were already rising in the mid-70s. The loop was beautiful, winding past the park, through the business district, around a lake and weaving through a few streets in the neighborhood. There were lots of course volunteers and a few police officers to direct traffic (the roads were partially closed, but being inside a neighborhood, there was very little traffic, all of which was held or re-routed away from runners. There was an aid station at the half-way point of the loop so 5K runners got 1 water station at mile 1.5 while the 10K runners passed it at 1.5 and again at 4.5. The clouds dispersed pretty quickly after the start and soon we were in full sun with little to no shade on the course. The course was very flat, but the humidity and the heat made the race a real challenge. I fell pretty short of my 10K PR but it wasn't my worst 10K performance and the course atmosphere, scenery and supporting a great cause made up for my lack of performance. Let's put it this way, I plan to make an impressive come back when I run it again next year.
There were no participation medals for either distance, but 1st, 2nd, and 3rd overall and AG winners received medals with 1st and 2nd also receiving gift cards to Omega Sports. Overall all, it was a great, well organized race for a great cause on a beautiful course, and I hope to run it again.