I love to try to find races during major US holidays. One of the fun Holidays to find a race on is the 4th of July. This year, we were on vacation, so some of the local favorite races were out of the question. I knew that we would be in Southern Colorado on the 4th of July. You would think, in a state like Colorado where there are so many activities to do outside, it would be easy to find a 4th of July race. It was a lot harder than I thought.
Finally I found a 5k, a free 5K, in Durango, CO. It was not easy for me to find this race and contacted local running stores to find it. Knowing that to the rest of my family, running a race while on vacation is not exactly what they would consider a vacation, it was easier to convince them to go along with it since it was free. Now of course, since it was free, there were no race shirts or awards to go along with it. There wasn’t even any type of timing. This was a free fun run. I will say though, the city brought a lot of items to get you into 4th of July spirit.
Parking was somewhat difficult. The race was held in a small park and there was also a pancake breakfast going on, so the street parking was packed. But we were able to find a parking spot a couple of blocks away. To register, all you had to do was sign a waiver and that was it.
The race started at 9:00AM and was all on a bike path and was an out and back course along the Animas River. It wasn’t a tough course but for a runner from Indiana, running in Durango was tough. Prior to the run, they announced to everyone that it was a 5K-ish run. Meaning, the course is long. Not a big deal for me, but with 3 others running this race in the family that is not used to running at high altitude, any extra distance is testing the lungs.
It was pretty crowded at the start as there was an impressive crowd for this race. It was also not a closed course. There were signs along the route warning others that there was a race coming and to stay off the bikes, but as you have probably guessed, people didn’t listen and there were some bike riders.
Looking back on this race, while I had done some runs while at higher elevations, I should have taken this run a little easy. Its a free run without time and awards, who would have known if I just ran easy. But that isn’t my style. I measured the course as being 3.31 miles long and ran it is 24:07. Not really all that fast, but my lungs were burning. I think before the race, they said it was a 3.5 mile long route. There was also about 92 feet of elevation gain which was mostly on the way back to the start.
Overall, with this being a free race, this is a great family event. There were fast runners, slower runners, and some in between. There were also plenty of walkers taking part as well.
If you are in Southern Colorado over the 4th of July weekend, check out the Freedom 5K(ish) in Durango. It’s a cool town with a lot to check out, beautiful bike paths, and a lot of history. And don’t forget to check out the awesome trains that run from Durango to Silverton every day.