So I had been looking at 4th of July races but was having trouble pulling the trigger on one until two days before when I decided to run the Liberty Run 4 Miler at Washington (Wash) Park in Denver!
Why did I decide to run?
I wanted to see more of Wash Park
Four miles sounded like a fun distance
It benefited the Denver Fire Department
Another reason was that I took a look at past race results and if I ran it hard I couldn’t be in contention to place!
So with that I registered and counted down the 2 whole days to race day. :P
My main goal was to run sub-7 min/miles and treat this as a fast tempo run. I would run about a mile warm up and a mile cool down with the 4 miler sandwiched in the middle. Really I just wanted to make the miles I was already planning to run more fun!
I didn’t do early bib pickup so I showed up around 7:40 to get my bib and shirt and with a race start of 8:30 it was plenty of time to do that and do my warm up mile. I also got to play some Wizards Unite around the park since there were a TON of Inns and confundables to catch.
Parking was also really easy for this race. You could park around Wash Park or across the street at South High School. I opted to park a couple blocks away to make sure I did my warm up and cool down miles but I could’ve parked right at the start line if I wanted to.
There was water and a couple of tents set up at the start and the air was festive. This definitely had a neighborhood race feel to it with lots of local running groups participating. I did my warm up and just tried to stay relaxed as I enjoyed the beautiful morning we were having.
With the singing of the National Anthem and the final countdown we were off!
This course takes you around the park in a couple of loops. You first loop runs around the lake/front half of the park (which actually took you across the finish line and then back to the start line), then you took the big loop around the park, and then you ran around the front half of the park again to finish in the middle of the park.
I went out a little fast on the first mile and at about .25 miles I had to dial it back into the pace I actually wanted to run. My first mile ended up being a 6:31 according to my Garmin (a new mile PR!) and then I just tried to settle into a comfortably, uncomfortable push pace somewhere around a 10k effort. It was a little on the humid and warm side (for Colorado) and I was definitely feeling it a little bit. I was able to pass 1 other woman but knew the pack was competitive and that there were many women in front of me. I just focused on running my race and putting in the effort I was focused on, sub-7 min pace.
I ended up running a little long and crossed the finish in 28:07, a little over my goal but when you factor in the extra .12 my Garmin clocked I was right on target and really proud of my finish!
The finish line was well stocked with water, bagels, fruit cups, sport bean samples, and Skratch waffles (so good!).
As I had suspected, the women’s race was really competitive compared to past years. While a time around 28-min would’ve put me in the top 5, this year the top woman ran a sub-23 min and the top ten were all sub-28. I took 11th which I’m super proud of and also I’m really impressed by the women who came out to run.
So afterwards I milled around for a bit, ran my cool down/back to my car, and headed home. I did make a quick pit stop at La Mar’s donuts though because the 4th of July is just the day you eat donuts. Pro-tip: If you are in Denver, while Voodoo Donuts gets a lot of hype, La Mar’s is my go to donut shop.
Overall, this was a great race, competitive but still small and very well-run and benefits a great cause. Wash Park is also just a beautiful park which helps. If you are looking for a Denver 4th of July race I highly recommend it!