The first "new" county collected this year is Durham. Although we've been in some fundraiser 5Ks at Duke University, the 20k at Coach Bubba is the longest race we've done in Durham, so we're including it in the countdown. The Coach Bubba run, which also includes a 4-miler, is held each year in memory of a beloved track and cross-country coach.
Although it was pretty cool for the Coach Bubba run this year, the turnout was very impressive. 20k is a pretty unusual distance for a local race, but it's a good distance for checking your progression towards winter or spring marathon training. There was still a little bit of a fog in the air when the 4-mile run started out.
This course is an excellent example of why you should know the route before the race. The first half of the race was run through nice neighborhoods around the Durham Bulls Athletic Park and the second half (and all the 4-miler) were run on the Durham County section of the American Tobacco Trail. What I realized too late was that the residential section was up-and-down hilly, with the result that I was shot before getting onto the more even, long uphill and downhill grades of the ATT. Chad ran a much more evenly paced race and got through the hilly sections in better shape, so he ended up with a great overall run. Having the second part of the race on an out-and-back section of the ATT also meant that we got to see most of the other runners and get an idea of how we were doing overall.
The Coach Bubba runs, which were expertly put on by the Carolina Godiva Running Club of Durham, benefit Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers (TROSA), a charity that helps recovering sustance abusers with transitory housing options. Many of the TROSA folks were out helping with the race, and we give kudos to all of them for helping to put on a great 20k!