Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Leesburg 20K

The Leesburg 20K run by Potomac River Running (@PRRunning) was a great event.  Starting and ending in downtown Leesburg, VA in the Marketplace Square area, it is really easy to get in and out and parking was plentiful.  With a start time for the 20K at 7:30am you don't have to get up and out of your house too early.  The weather cooperated and was a cooler 62 degrees (or so) at the time of the start.

Most of the race takes place on the W&OD Trail which was shaded the majority of the way.  This was a nice surprise as the sun started to run during the event.  The event is basically an out and back on the trail with a few short runs on the roads going out and then back into Leesburg proper.  What was surprising to me was that the overall elevation climb was about 480 feet according to Strava.  Most of this was on the first half of the course with the last half net downhill.

Strava Map of Leesburg 20K
I tried to take advantage of the net downhill last half as I started to realize the first half was all up hill. I was conserving my energy at the start which was a change for me.  Like a lot of runners, that don't compete, I usually come out of the gate too fast.  I tried to stick to 8:00/miles and was doing well at first but as the climb continued from miles two through five I started to slow down and averaged closer to 8:30/mile.  By the time I turned around at mile 6.7 I was already tired from the miles during the week and a 4 mile walk the previous day.  I wasn't able to exploit the downhill at all and finished the race with an average of 8:39/mile.  This is actually off pace for me so I was a little disappointed, but I had been pushing my milage hard the last two weeks, so I should have expected a slower time.

The scenery along the trail was really beautiful.  As I mentioned it was mostly wooded/shaded and you passed several beautiful farms and homes along the way.  I saw several resting areas with picnic tables.  The trail would obviously make a great place for cycling or long runs.  By the time we got back into Leesburg on the trail the sun was in our faces and the temperature was on the climb.  You can tell from this photo how much sun there was.

Coming off the W&OD Trail in Leesburg, VA

The water stops were plentiful (about every 1.5 to 2 miles) and were very well staffed with volunteers from local cross country running teams and other folks.  Each stop had water and Gatorade and one of the stops had gel.  They lined both sides of the trail and were about 15 or so deep on each side so it made grabbing a drink fairly easy.  All the runners at this event used great running etiquette which is always great to see.

The last climb up to the finish line is about a tenth of a mile and had a great crowd cheering on the runners.  While we were doing the 20K they also had a 5K and a kids fun run, so there were lots of people hanging around to enjoy the event.  My wife ran the 5K and really enjoyed it.  The 5K started and ended at the same spot, and shared some of the 20K course after we left, but was more of a loop versus an out and back.  I came across the finish line with a chip time of 1:46:38 which was respectable I guess, but certainly not my best.  My half marathon PR is currently at 1:44:36.

My wife took this shot of me finishing

The post race food was great, but I really didn't stay to take advantage of it.  I grabbed two small waters and a gatorade along with a pack of crackers and headed to Starbucks for coffee and a sandwich.  But they had lots of muffins, bagels, snack bars, fruit snacks, and I think I saw beer kegs.  And of course one of the best things about all PR races is the amazing free high resolution photos.  I do a lot of races and for the most part the photos are way over priced and mediocre at best.  The one above of me coming off the trail is a photo from the PR Running Flickr site.

Overall I would highly recommend this event.  It is a great course, well run, and the 20K distance is unique.  I heard a few people comment that the medal last year for the 20K runners was a lot nicer than this years (last year was larger and a little more complex), but even for a medal freak like me it was fine.

No comments:

Post a Comment