2017 Dulles Day 10k on the Runway Recap

Back in September, our family participated in the Dulles Day races.  Having previously run the 5k in 2013 and 2015, and the 10k in 2014, I knew that this was a fun and exciting race for people of all ages.  Since airplanes are not only visible from the race course, but an airplane is also pulled out and right on the course itself, I figured that this would be a fun race for little man to “participate” in since strollers were allowed on the course.

The course itself was on one of the runways at Dulles airport.  Race courses can’t get much flatter, and thus faster, than that!  Given that I was at the height of marathon training, I opted to run the 10k, while my husband opted to run the 5k.  He wound up being the one to run the race while pushing the BOB stroller, and thus, took little man along for the ride with him.  And like I had predicted, he had a blast out on the runway seeing all of the airplanes.

Photo Credit: PR Races

The 5k started ten minutes before the 10k did, so I saw them off before I lined up for the start of my own race.  Since my pace had slowed down a bit due to marathon training, my goal at Dulles Day wasn’t to PR, but was simply to have fun while out for a 6.2 mile run.  And that’s exactly what I did, I had fun.

Just past the start line
Photo Credit: PR Races

The runway was actually harder to run on that I had remembered it being.  It was super sticky from the melted rubber from the airplane tires, and the sun beat down on us runner that morning.  Its a good thing that I wasn’t trying to PR, because I would have been incredibly frustrated and disappointed if I had been.

The race started on a service road just off of the runway, behind the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum at Dulles.  Less than a mile into the course we were on the runway, and just past the one mile mark ran past a full size jet.  It always amazes me how large airplanes really are, and how science allows for them to work the way that they do!

Splits for Miles 1-2:
10:01, 10:10

The further that I ran along the course, the more that I felt the impact of running without any shade on black tarmac.  I wound up running slower than I would have liked to given how flat the course was, but I reminded myself that not every run is meant to be a speedy one.  So instead of getting frustrated by my pace I focused on enjoying the thrill of running on the runway and took lots of pictures.  I mean, how many people can say that they’ve run on an airport runway?

Split for Miles 3-4:
10:11, 11:08

The closer that I got back to the start/finish line, the more that I tried to push myself.  I tried my best to make up for the couple second stops that I had made during the race to take pictures, and just before the finish line I saw my husband and son cheering me on.

Nearing the finish line
Photo Credit: PR Races

Splits for Miles 5-6.28:
10:36, 10:33, 2:48 (last 0.28 miles)

I crossed the finish line at 1:06:15 (10:41 pace).  This was about seven minutes slower than my current 10k PR, but was “fast” for a marathon training long run.  Given that it was on the faster side of my long run paces, I was quite pleased with my finish time.  Sure, it would have been nice to PR given how flat the course was, but not every race is meant to be run with a PR goal in mind.  More importantly, my husband and son were at the finish line cheering me on, and my son had a huge smile on his face when he saw me.  That smile was priceless, and it was clear that he was quite happy to see me, as well as proud of me.

Post race with my boys and our medals

Thanks again Dulles Day for hosting another fun race.  I’ll be back again in the future!

QOTD: Do you try to PR at every race, or do you run some races just “for fun”?

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31 Responses to 2017 Dulles Day 10k on the Runway Recap

  1. As you said, not all races will be PR’s, especially on hilly courses or on hot days. For holly courses, I’m more interested in setting a course PR. On hot days, I try to set a goal that will take effort, but is achievable if I run smart enough!

  2. Lesley says:

    My main is to always run a race for fun. PR-ing would be icing on the cake, but it’s not a primary goal anymore. I found when I put pressure on myself to PR, I wouldn’t enjoy the race as much.

  3. Chaitali says:

    This sounds like such a fun race! I didn’t realize that they actually brought some planes out too.

  4. I have done one race on a runway, and yes…quite a flat course LOL. They had two airplanes set up for us at the finish line…kind of like an arch to run under.

  5. Marian says:

    Some races should absolutely be for fun, especially the ones that fall within a training period for something bigger where you do intend to PR. Airport races are definitely an experience unto themselves! 😊

  6. One of these years I am going to make it to this race!

  7. AJ says:

    Yay for having fun during a race:)

  8. Rachel says:

    This sounds like such a fun race! Your pics are fantastic, too! Congrats!

  9. So much fun! I have yet to run on a runway, but I really want to at some point. We have a race here that fits the bill but I haven’t been able to work it into my schedule yet.

    I don’t try to PR every race. Sometimes I use a race as a training run, or I just feel like being in the race atmosphere. Each one has its purpose and beating old times isn’t always my ultimate goal.

  10. kookyrunner says:

    How fun that the whole family was able to take part in all the racing fun that weekend!

  11. Organic Runner Mom says:

    What a cool place to run a 10K. I know there is a Race the Runways event in Maine which would be cool to do sometime. Nice job on the hot tarmac!

  12. Wendy says:

    This looks like fun! Looking at the runway and that wide open expanse of pavement, I think it would feel a little overwhelming. Congrats!

  13. agsignor says:

    What a neat race! I had no idea airports had races. Congrats!

  14. angela@marathonsandmotivation.com says:

    It sounds like a fun race and looks like you had beautiful weather! Congratulations!!!

  15. This really seems like a very fun race, Kathryn! Awesome experience. Is this an annual event?

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