Race Recap: NYCRuns’ Firecracker 10K

By | July 7, 2021

I’ve been to Governors Island a few times for work and fun, but had never run on the island. I was watching the weather in 2017, but from a vague recollection-it had sold out before I could register. Not sure why I didn’t otherwise.

It was great,and I’d absolutely do it again.


Linking up with Coach Debbie Runs, Confessions of a Mother Runner, Mile by Mile, Runs with Pugs, and Laura Norris Running for the #RunnersRoundup to share my thoughts on running Governors Island

looking north from the Maritime Building

The Ferry is at the Maritime Building, which is soon to also be a hotel, just like it was in 2015. I have a better understanding of the ferries, and know they won’t be going anywhere. In fact, Seastreak just moved there as part of alleviating the crowds at Pier 11 since NYC Ferry had expanded their service there. My getting to a downtown race game is off so I was there way early and watched the fog burn off. I’d rather be there with time to kill than stress about missing a ferry any day so this was time well spent.

Start area, Colonels Row

10K starting chute

I feel bad for race organizers-and anyone trying to plan events this summer – COVID has made everything a game of musical chairs and NYCRuns and NYRR, among others, are rolling with it as best they can. As NYCRuns said themselves on the race page:

Please be aware that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all aspects of this race are extremely subject to change.

I was fine with that this summer, but don’t think I could have rolled with it before I was vaccinated, which is part of why I didn’t race until June.

There were a lot of moving pieces as to waves, corrals, start times but in the end it ended up like Before Times-one start for the 5K at 8:30 followed by the 10K at 9. A 7:30 Ferry meant lots of time to pick up the shirt, check a bag, etc. and was wonderfully not rushed. It was a beautiful morning to catch up with friends and just people watch.

Map of Governors Island. Source.

Course Map. Source.

NYCRuns’ “new” course has been the same for a few years – it’s the same one Darlene ran in 2018. I really enjoyed it, although that loop back into the center is mildly disorienting when you’re not familiar with the island’s layout, which I’m really not. As Darlene mentioned, there isn’t really any shade so although it was very good weather for July (low-mid 70s) it was warm as there also wasn’t a harbor breeze. I amend my above, I probably wouldn’t do this in July or August as I think it has a not insignificant chance of being absolutely miserable.

the best part of lots of good scenery

I ran with! Mo for the whole race, so there weren’t many photos. I loved what we saw though: war of 1812 forts, glamping tents, the lavender fields, the hills/slide, the farm (alas goats, sheep sleep in) and of course Lady Liberty.

as you can tell, we had absolutely no fun whatsoever. πŸ™‚ Photo (c) NYC Runs

I have no idea what that time clock relates to. Not that I care,Β  but it doesn’t match gun or chip, so I guess they started it before we did. We were surprisingly close to last given our pace. There was a woman a few feet back for most of the last half mile and I wondered if she was content to chill there or was going to try and pass us. She didn’t, so guess we were just running the same pace.

tired, happy runners

There were lots of good things about this race, but my absolute favorite was running with friends. Bruce, Mo and I trained for the marathon together and while this was a much shorter distance, it was in some ways more meaningful after a long year of mostly running solo. We all got the blue part of red, white and blue down! And yes, that is indeed my beloved Frozen Penguin shirt. Had to honor NYCRuns race history.

interior of Castle Williams

Fort Jay‘s Flag

best. sign. ever

After we finished, the plan was to explore the public art, but the installations weren’t yet open. Instead we took the long way back to the ferry via Castle Williams. The building has such a long and fascinating history and yes, there’s a reason for the unicycle sign at its entrance.

All in all a fun race morning.

The popular argument against NYC Runs among NYC runners is that their races are more expensive than NYRR, which is true. To me that’s like the argument that your local book store is more expensive than Amazon — there’s a (good) reason for that. NYC Runs is a small business. I sometimes love running with 250 instead of 4000 of my BFFs, even if there’s a legit risk of coming in last. Plus I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for them because their Frozen Penguin was my first race.

I’m glad they got the go ahead for a Brooklyn Half/Marathon in spring because there’s definitely enough demand among runners here for another race, or six. Plus the NYC Runs’ Brooklyn Half goes past Wegmans which.. how can you not?

baby you’re a firework!

I love that they mailed the bibs, making for one less to do before the race, but I wish they’d also mail the shirts. Luckily a friend was checking his bag and I tossed mine in there as I wouldn’t have wanted to run with it. I don’t think I’ll ever run in it, but I’ll hang onto it for a beach/pool cover up like the Zooma tank from Bermuda.

21 thoughts on “Race Recap: NYCRuns’ Firecracker 10K

  1. Darlene S Cardillo

    I am so happy that you ran this race. I loved everything about your recap. It brings me back.

    And I agree. Running is mostly about friends not finish times.

    I do love that tank…just saying. And that is the best finish line pic. You both look so happy!!

    I have run NYCRuns races and yes they cost more but the perks make it worth it for me.

    What’s next?

    1. cari Post author

      I felt the same when I read your recap, which somehow I’d never commented on. I think I got the verbal version of it when we walked around.
      We had so much fun-just these little pieces of the old normal mean so much.
      Since I’m not as much of an ice cream person, I think winter NYCRuns races get the edge — their hot cocoa is amazing

    1. cari Post author

      Very fascinating history, and I subsequently learned that the forts had only just reopened, so super timely

  2. Jenny

    This sounds really fun! I lived in New York for years but never went to Governor’s Island. Loved the tangent about the unicycle festival- NYC really has something for everyone, right?
    I love that tank! I would save it to wear for your next Memorial Day/4th of July race- it would be perfect!

    1. cari Post author

      hah! I think this weather has been summoning you back. It has been bonkers, but we got a short reprieve.
      And yes, absolutely something for everyone

  3. Kimberly Hatting

    Sounds like a great event! The red tank is spot-on πŸ˜‰ I love your loyalty to your NYC Runs group…I have numerous loyalties to so many races, and I have huge guilt in not doing them (if there’s a scheduling conflict).

    1. cari Post author

      Luckily? we have only two major race organizers here so loyalty is easy. I’d like to do more Rockland Road Runners (near mom) but not always doable if I can’t guarantee car access

  4. Chocolaterunsjudy

    Sounds like you had a blast, Cari! and the weather was a gift (and it usually isn’t!). I’d definitely rather have time before than have to run to the start (true story).

    1. cari Post author

      same! Only time I like running to the start right as it’s beginning is if it’s super cold

    1. cari Post author

      same! I think we as a community wanted to support them but were also selfishly happy there was an in person race

  5. Catrina

    Oh, I would have loved to do this 10k! I love races that happen in special places. I didn’t know there was a farm on that island. Very cool.

    Well done for having fun and finishing it with a smile on your face! Love it.

    Now we are all looking forward to seeing you on a unicycle in September. πŸ˜‰

    1. cari Post author

      hah! I promise unicycle pics if it happens.
      I haven’t been able to determine yet whether the farm is a new addition or a re-creation of one they had when the Army, Coast Guard had barracks on the island

  6. JENN

    Oh I love this so much! What a great, fun race! Yes, some of the smaller races are more $$$ than others, but you’re right. There is sometimes a reason and I’m usually ok with that.

    I missed doing a 4th of July race this year, but there’s always next year.

    1. cari Post author

      yep! Not sure yet whether it will become a tradition, but looking forward to it if it does

  7. Shathiso

    Oh what a wonderful day!! So glad you did this and with friends too! That’s the part I miss most about racing – that camaraderie! And I would be with you way ahead of time – I’d always rather wait patiently for something to start, then get there late (or miss the ferry!). My husband on the other hand prides himself on getting to things bang on the dot! LOL. It makes for very interesting “conversations” before events!

    1. cari Post author

      I have runner friends who are like your husband-we usually just arrange to meet there, but we’re lucky as most races are walkable for us
      It was such a fun day!

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