This was my first time running the Hyde Park Blast 4 miler. There were a lot of fast runners out today: when you’re being passed on a steep climb by a guy pushing a double stroller (with two kids), you know the competition is stiff.
This race is an odd distance, four miles. So running it was a little awkward from a pace perspective. It’s too long to do at my 5K pace and too short to do at my 10K pace. And too hot to really worry about which to use anyway. The course runs through some of the residential sections of Hyde Park, which is not known for its flat terrain.
The race starts with a slow climb up Erie Avenue for the first quarter mile that turns into a steep climb up Paxton for another tenth. You get a small reprieve over the next mile with only small, rolling hills before another steep hill. Before you can catch your breath from that, the course turns back onto Erie Avenue for another slow climb to about two and a quarter miles. A turn down Delta Avenue, then Observatory may seem like welcome relief with nearly a mile of downhill running. But I knew at some point we’d be paying the piper with a climb back to the finish line. That starts with about three-quarters of a mile to go, and while it wasn’t a particularly long hill, at that point in the race your pretty wiped from the heat. Fortunately, the last half mile is flat to downhill, so if you have any juice left in the tank, you can spend it here.
The Hyde Park Blast is more than just the race. It’s an all-day street fair that includes the four-mile run, a kids fun run, and serval cycling events. For you triathletes, the cycling events are in the afternoon, so you can participate in both the run and bike. In the afternoon and evening, they have live bands adding to the entertainment (though I couldn’t stay all day after the run without going home for a shower). Plenty of choices for food as well.
Race swag consists of a shirt and a hat (the hat was available for pickup after the race). No finisher medals for this one, but plenty of free stuff from the various vendors, including a hand towel from a dental company that was very handy. Race proceeds go to help cancer research through The Cure Starts Now and Karen Wellington Foundation.