I enjoy the 8K distance but don't get to race it much. The usual 8K I do is the Twin Bridges 8K in my hometown that is part of the Seafood Festival. I've won that race twice counting last year when my friend Katherine and I finished side by side in honor of our friends Sonny and Taylor Hyman.
Race day parking was easy. I parked at the parking deck near the start for free when I arrived about an hour before the race start. I ate a Honey Stinger waffle an hour before the 7:15 AM start. I walked around and talked with some friends before doing my dynamic warm-up exercises. Thirty minutes before the start I did a scoop and a half of Generation UCAN. I then headed off for an easy two miles warm-up run where at the end I met up with my friend John Barry and we did some strides together before going to the starting line.
I felt good and and had plenty of runners around me to run with which is what I love about bigger and more competitive races. It's one of the reasons I ran so well at the Florence Forth 10K in Durham in March. Right after the first mile we turned right onto Buchanan. I kept John and Mark in my sights as I wanted to keep them within striking distance. John was gradually pulling farther away but I was keeping Mark pretty even ahead of me. The course was rolling but nothing steep. There was one female runner ahead of me and another had pulled even with me as we neared two miles. As female number two pulled even she complimented my Duke singlet before saying "Roll Tide". I laughed and told her not to beat us too bad in football when Duke and Alabama play in the 2019 kickoff game. I ran mile two in 6:03.
After mile two we got a nice downhill stretch on Trinity where I used it to pick my pace back up and catch female number two. Tim Meigs was on Trinity just passed the train trestle taking pictures and it was good to see him. At about 2.85 miles we made another right turn onto Morris Street. I used the downhill and flatter section of mile two to tree well and got my split lower which resulted in a 5:48 for mile three.
Under a mile to go now and Main Street was a gradual uphill until the right back onto Morris Street. We got to go down the steep hill we just climb after mile three. I'm sure those still going up the hill saw us flying down and hated it haha. Time to stretch the legs on the downhill and let gravity help too. You really feel the drop of the downhill at about 4.5 miles and can really open it up. Mark found something on the downhill and was pulling away from me whereas up until now I was keeping him consistent and even gaining on the uphills.
It was a really good race for me. It was my fastest 8K since my PR of 29:04 in 2012 at the Twin Bridges 8K Road Race. Getting coached by Philip Latter of the Running Syndicate has been treating me well. I'm running some of my fastest times in years thanks to him. I've had two really good races in Durham this year now. Both courses are similar with the rolling hills but the longest hill at the Running of the Bulls 8K is less than half a mile and comes right after mile three whereas there is a mile uphill at Florence Forth from mile five to six. The Running of the Bulls 8K course is fair and keeps you honest but you get a fast downhill finish. Finishing inside the stadium was fun. Post race festivities was also great. Brooks Running was there with iced coffee and Fullstream Brewery was there as well with beer. Bull City Running did a great job setting up the course and race day organization. This is a great race and one to do in the Triangle area.