Jamie, Justus, and I arrived at the circle and met up with my Mom and Dad. My Dad usually goes to all of my races but hadn't made a Beach Run this year because of his work schedule. This was his last week of work at Cherry Point because he was retiring after 41 years of working as an aircraft mechanic. I won the previous three 10K beach races of the year and needed one more win to clinch this years overall championship.
I made my way down to the sand with Jamie after doing a dynamic stretching routine and a mile warm-up on Atlantic Blvd. I talked to several friends including Eric Rowe, the legend Sonny Hyman and his daughter Kelly, and Nora Elizabeth Cole before lining up on the staring line. Nick Pugh came over and lined up beside me. I beat him by almost a minute in the previous beach run.
Nick and I kept running side by side and went through the second mile in 6:10. We passed under the Sheraton Pier and kept heading towards the 10K turnaround. This is where I started to pull away from Nick at the last beach race. He was staying with me this time. I knew I had to make a move sometime or he could out-kick if we stayed side by side until the finish. I ran mile three in 6:12 just before rounding the turn around.
I knew I had to keep running hard so I could get as far away from Nick as possible so he couldn't run me down and out-kick me for the win. The wind was really tough but the sand was still good even after the 5K runners and 10K runners had run through it. It was a little chewed up in spots but wasn't bad yet. I kept pushing, trying to hold a low six minute pace. I ran mile five in 6:15.
I couldn't hear Nick behind me or see his shadow but I had a feeling I wasn't far ahead of him. The wind was still tough and it was affecting me more now. I was still on pace for my fastest beach run of the year and possibly my fastest one ever in my life.
Mile six was really tough. The wind was brutal and the sand got worse due to the all the runners in the mile, 5K, and 10K already running through the area, twice for the mile and 5K runners. I ran mile six in 6:24 and was worried Nick would catch and pass me. I picked it up some and ran the last 0.2 miles in 1:22 to finish in 1st Place Overall in 38:10. Nick finished just fifteen seconds behind me.
Jamie finished third in her age group in the 1 mile. She is currently leading the points for her age group.
The race had 245 total runners in the 1 mile, 5K, and 10K. The series has topped 200 runners in every race so far this year. It is great to see the series growing.