This past Sunday I ran Bull City Race Fest again! Third time in the four years the race has been running. The only time I didn’t run it was a few years ago when I ran the Greensboro Marathon the day before. Yes, I hated to miss it that year but I just couldn’t get myself out of bed at 4am after a marathon the day before. My legs and energy were shot. This year was another story.
Everything about this race is just awesome. Tons of runners, nearly 6,000 every year running the Half, Five miler and 1 miler combined. I was asked to be on the pace team again this year, one of my absolute favorite things to do. Since I’ve been struggling a bit with my feet I decided to pace the 9:00 mile group.
I paced with with a great runner, Drew, who I hadn’t met at previous pace experiences at this race. He was an awesome pace partner. In 2013 I paced the 1:45:00 finish group, in 2015 I paced the 8:30 per mile group with my son, and now 2016 the 9:00 mile group.
Race morning was near perfection weather wise. 52 degrees, and just beautiful. This race has always been ultra lucky with fantastic weather. We lined up with our pace sign about 20 minutes prior to the gun. As you can imagine, this group was loaded with folks wanting to beat the 2:00:00 Half finish. I love a huge group of runners, especially on a hilly course. Runners ebb and flow, and you get a chance to meet and talk with so many new faces along the way!
Our race was filled with ups and downs, as you would expect on the hills of Durham. Such a great course though, giving runners a chance to see many parts of the city. We kept a great consistent pace. Constantly checking our progress, Drew and I maintained a pace of about 8:57 through the first half of the course. As with most races, our timing devices were a little off from each other, and also the mile markers on course, but doing the extrapolations each mile, we were confident our pace was on target especially knowing how difficult and hilly the final miles are.
We ended up bringing tons of folks across the line with new PR’s, and many more just so happy to finish that tough race. Pacing is always tough work. My goals are different depending on each races expectations of how close to the target each pacer should be, and much to my surprise I came across the line with a perfect 1:58:00, 9:00 minute mile pace. So difficult to nailed it perfectly, in fact I’ve never done it. Most races expect a finish within a minute under goal time, but not over. This one may go down in the books as the only perfect finish I’ll ever have.
It was a great day! Finish festival with food trucks is always a bonus, especially when you can spread out and bask in the sun and also the glow of an awesome finish! Thanks Bull City, and big thanks to Drew for pacing with me! I shall return!