Running downhill, hiking up

One thing I like about 5Ks: Like snowflakes, no two are alike. That’s not to say they don’t have similarities: they’re all 3.1 miles, for example (usually). This summer’s four-race BluePoints 5K Race Series, for instance, is turning out to be a very fast series.

Take Race No. 1, the Blue Points 5K on the Runway at PTI (that would be Greensboro’s Piedmont Triad International Airport), held May 14. As advertised, that race was on an airport runway, which had a slight dip in the middle, but essentially was dead flat. (Cary’s Joseph Lust won the race in a speedy-quick 16:09; I was a ways behind.) Ideal race course in a lot of folks’ opinions.

Race No. 2 in the series — Saturday’s Blue Points 5K at the Ballpark in Durham — manages to go one better: Although it ends near where it starts, it’s downhill. Check out the accompanying course photo. The race starts in left field of the Durham Bulls Athletic Park and follows the warning track around center and right field before exiting the park. There, it hangs a right on Jackie Robinson Drive — a momentum-gaining downhill. Then it’s left on the flat American Tobacco Trail for a quick out-and-back before ending across the street from the DBAP in front of — and if you’re thinking it doesn’t get better than starting in a great ballpark and going downhill, it does — a saloon, Tyler’s Taproom, at the American Tobacco Campus. Talk about a carrot. Or carrots. Entry in the 8 a.m. race is capped, but as of last night there were still openings; check out the race site for details.

Race No. 4 in the series is on a golf course, not quite as flat as an airport runway, but close. I ran the inaugural BluePoints 5K at the SAS Championship last year (this year’s race is Oct. 1) and can testify to it’s quickness: fastest four holes I’ve ever done. Rounding out the race series schedule: the BluePoints 5K at the Carolina Panthers Fan Fest on Aug. 6. That one begins and ends at downtown Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium.

With such a fast slate of races, a runner would be remiss not to adopt the obvious goal: run each race faster. My time at PTI was 22:16, hopefully tomorrow’s downhill course will give me the needed one second. Follow tomorrow’s Blue Points 5K at the Ballpark live on Twitter at JoeAGoGo.

Not interested in running downhill? How about hiking up one? July is a bit toasty but still good for hiking, if you know where to go. Check out our sister site,, for five hikes recommended specifically for July.

Have a happy, active 4th!

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