I've been running since I was 10-years-old, when I'd "help" my dad get ready for marathons. That doesn't mean I am or have ever been particularly amazing (even during my cross-country days, I was usually 4th runner in), it just means I've run at a lot of events. Boulder Westend 3k made me realize that the best events are super simple, super cheap, grassroots, just a bunch of runners who love to run. We don't need swag. We don't need packet-pickup. We don't need all the crap that gets in the way of running. This race is so fun because it's spectator-friendly. Which means it's automatically not as fast as a track, or maybe even your typical looped road race. But, all those hairpin turns (3 times around a 1k "loop," down and back the same street) mean spectators get to see the runners several times. Nothing matches the hype of streets lined with cheering fans. Everyone imagines leading the pack--being the hero.
I knew I wanted to watch the elites run, so I entered the open 3k, which went first: even if I could technically qualify as elite (women had to run it in under 13 minutes), it was WAY more fun to watch the pros than to be dusted by them. After rain cleared through the area, the sun came out and Pearl Street was bumping. I saw Noah Droddy before the open race, in addition to a few other familiar faces. No matter what day of the week, what time of day, what the weather is, people will show up to run: especially people in Boulder. This race was commemorating Pasta Jay's 30th year in Boulder, and the place was packed. It was all organized by former Olympic marathoner Lee Troop, and TEAM Boulder.
The open race was super fun. At first I thought making all those turns would be annoying, but passing the crowd 5 times in a few minutes was awesome. My legs were still recovering from a 100-mile ride with 7,200 feet of gain I had done the day before, so I wasn't trying to crush it. Nonetheless, the runners were keeping a good pace, and I managed a 6:45 average. I'm glad to know that with some work, I could probably get "fast" again.
Then the main event. Noah Droddy hung back for the first loop, and let the other top guys set the pace. By the last loop, he was inching to the front, and by the final straightaway he was totally crushing it. He looked over his shoulder a few times to make sure he was set: no one was near him. I haven't seen official times, but he crossed the line right around 8:35. It's fun to see the local hero win a race, especially one who is such a good character. Noah and I had the same cross-country coach: went to the same tiny college in Indiana; so, it's like he's family. Overall, this was a great community event. There was a 1k race for kids under 12, several local vendors on hand, and plenty of outdoor seating to grab a bite and watch the best of Boulder.