Pop Up Miles Week One: Let the Games Begin
In a late spring in North Carolina that has consistently been either a gazillion degrees or rainy – or both – the chances of perfect running weather seem pretty slim. But sometimes the weather gods just tee up the perfect day for the running community. That’s what the 90-plus runners who showed up to Cary Academy Tuesday night were hoping for.
For the first week of the Sir Walter Running Pop Up Miles series athletes and spectators got just that and were gifted one of those perfect days. Mid-70s and sunny with no humidity by the time of the first race at 7pm set everyone up to have run the race they’ve been waiting for since last summer. To run the race that Bannister built, the full mile, sixteen-hundred and nine meters, is the true test of a runner.
The first race of the day was the 5:30-and-over mile. A diverse race of people from all walks of life gathered to go four laps around the oval not to win, not for the prize money, but for the love of running. The race did not disappoint with all competitors pushing themselves to be the best they could be. Runners of all ages competed and ran a vast array of all very impressive times in what was the largest competing crown in Sir Walter Pop Up history.
Soon after the completion of the first race brought to the track the speedsters: the 5:29-and-under mile. 5:29 may have been the hypothetical barrier for entry but most runners blasted that time with a few massive sub-4:30s to be had for the top finishers. This race was not in the least tactical with competitors shooting out from the gun and culminating with a sprint between Jackson Martin and Brian Picone for the win. Both runners dropped a 4:24, so we’ll let them fight it out for the win. So many fast times, so many great races in the two miles, too little space to give them all a shout-out – head over to the results to check it all out or to see how you did.
By 7:30 most runners had toed the line at least once but it was time for the toughest of them all, Tuesday night’s special race: the 5k. Nonetheless, a large contingent of runners decided to give it a shot at the 12-and-a-half lap journey to the finish line. This race was a reminder of what Meb Keflezighi said about winning not being about getting first place but being about getting the best out yourself, and the grimaces told the story. No one who started that race didn’t give it all they had – okay, maybe Jeremy Brown – and most were rewarded with outstanding times for themselves. The track 5k can be a boring race at times but with the group who came out Tuesday it was far from it, every story was compelling and was a reminder about the best part of running – as a sport and as a community: the people.
To finish it out for the night, with the sun setting over Cary Academy, the community came together one more time to pass a baton to one another, four times around the track; not to win, but for the joy of it all. The 4x400m to finish out the race was an absolute blast with people of all ages competing. From competitive high school kids, to more experienced runners, to the young kids just getting into it, the energy during the race was unreal. The atmosphere the whole night was astounding for that matter, everyone cheering on their fellow runners. It was a night of familiar faces greeting old friends and new names making memories. This is what it’s all about.
The highlight of the night cannot go unmentioned, though. The last runner across the line, as the end of the meet approached, drew every runner to the side of the finishing straightaway. Davis Broll the 5 year old superstar rounded the last curve in full sprint, the only way a kid knows how to run, and was greeted by a shower of cheers that rivaled the Wellesley Scream Tunnel. Everyone got to their feet as he was escorted to the line by a pack of Cary High runners who encouraged him the whole way from the end of the first bend of the track. A perfect way to end the night and to start the Summer of Miles. We are so excited by everyone who came out and look forward to seeing everyone next week at the same time at Ravenscroft High School. Until then, stay nutty milers.
Check out the Facebook Album and tag away! (Photos by @j.cuttphotography)
Finish of over 5:30 Mile
Finish of under 5:29 Mile
If we are missing your time, or your time is incorrect, email us at [email protected]