DCRRC Langley 8K

By James Moreland
McLean, VA
January 20, 2013

Runners charge down the parking lot to the finish line.

The groundhog is predicting an early spring. That sounds right when you remember this week’s record highs when a tank top was too much to wear. Then Saturday morning, though the winds had died down, it was a bone chilling 15 degrees for the 10:00 a.m. start. In past years the race the race had been run in the stinking hot and humid summertime and some fool had prayed for cooler weather. Well, you got it!

The course starts at Langley High School just off Georgetown Pike making it the most convenient DCRRC race for anyone north of the Potomac River. The course circles behind the school, takes a short bike path along Georgetown Pike before diving down a long hill into the neighborhoods. The race has lots of turns and no flat areas. The course was marked in some places but if you were cresting one of the hills you might have missed the sporadic pink tape on the road.

Basically the race circled around and was mostly an out and back course. Two main intersections were unmanned. The first and most dangerous was the traffic light in the first half mile. Runners are lemmings so we all jay-ran in front of the bewildered cars. The next was the most vexing. As one runner said, “We were always taught that you stay straight unless you see and sign to turn.” Unfortunately after leaving the cul de sac at mile three, that choice was not available. The fork in the road was right or left and neither side was marked.

The top three runners went right and that was right. After that most everyone went left and that meant adding a hilly loop with about another .9 miles. Follow the leader became the rule. For me, fortunately one of the runners behind me bellowed out that left was wrong. I flipped a coin in my head and went right instead of following all the other runners. Either I would be running a short course or perhaps I would be running a correct course. Two streets later and still no marking a course marshal grinned and said, “You just cut in front of a whole lot of runners.”

At that point I was back to following runners and just hoping to find my way back to the school. With a little more than 4.5 miles on my GPS I sighted Georgetown Pike at the top of the final hill and I knew then I had run the right course. Now I just had to hold off those faster runners coming from behind who had run the extra distance. The trouble is that they were all about 15% faster than I was. That did help me to run faster in the last half mile which was a little long making my 8K a 5.05 mile jaunt. That of course was much better than those less fortunate ones who had no one to guide them and ran nearly 6.0 miles.

After the race there was food indoors where we signed up but with no heat on in the building it was about the same as outdoors. The race director had gift certificates for the top three racers and age group winners got a choice from his collection of running books.

The race was the fifth event in the DCRRC Snowball Series.

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