Race Report: Firecracker 8K in Southampton, New York

Race Report: Firecracker 8K in Southampton, NY

A PR! Yay! (RunKarlaRun.com)

Running the Firecracker 8K in Southampton, New York on Sunday, July 6 was an impromptu decision. Sometimes those last-minute races I throw in the calendar are the best. Without time to worry and hand-wring, I just shrug my shoulders with a, “Here goes something.”

What was that something? A pair of personal bests for both me and my husband, Phil. After a tough Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half in June, it felt great.

Race Report: Firecracker 8K in Southampton, New York

We are champions! (RunKarlaRun.com)

Phil and I were vacationing at a friend’s house in Southampton on Long Island’s southern oceanfront beach territory for the holiday weekend. We logged a run on the beach in deep sand two days before and did calisthenics by the pool the day before.

Race Report: Firecracker 8K in Southampton, New York

Beach run! (RunKarlaRun.com)

But like we do just about everywhere we go, we checked RunningInTheUSA.com to see if there were any races nearby. Wouldn’t you know it? The start was less than a mile from the house.

So we plunked down $25 each and biked over on race morning with little expectations.

The Firecracker 8K Course

The race was a benefit for the Southampton Rotary Scholarship Fund with a start and finish in a town park beside Agawam Lake. A 3-mile run accompanied the 8K race. We got tech shirts instead of cotton—impressive given it was a charity race with just 190 runners.

Race Report: Firecracker 8K in Southampton, New York

The race shirt (RunKarlaRun.com)

The race promised a flat and fast 4.97-mile course, and it delivered with only the slightest of bumps in the road. The race’s lowest elevation is 1 foot above sea level near the beach and it tops out at a whopping 27 feet above sea level with a net elevation loss of 6 feet.

Race Report: Firecracker 8K in Southampton, New York

The course

The race started inland near the lake, headed to a beachfront road, and then circled back inland, finishing beside the lake.

It was a beautiful, bucolic course along manicured residential streets. The side roads had nice patches of shade, though the stretch along the beach was in full sun. Overall, it was a beautiful way to spend 5 miles.

Race Report: Firecracker 8K in Southampton, New York

The lake (RunKarlaRun.com)

Race Report: Firecracker 8K in Southampton, New York

A lovely course (RunKarlaRun.com)

Race Report: Firecracker 8K in Southampton, New York

Along the course (RunKarlaRun.com)

Race Report: Firecracker 8K in Southampton, New York

Shade and sun along the course (RunKarlaRun.com)

But what a sunny day it was. The temperature for the day topped out at 80, and it was well over 70 for the 8 a.m. start. I sipped water at the four stops along the course and dumped the rest on my head.

The Firecracker 8K was electronically timed, but without a starting mat. So all 190 runners registered gun times, not net times. I was sure to start my watch with the gun and check it when I crossed the start—a 3 second lag.

Race Report: Firecracker 8K in Southampton, New York

Runners line up for the start. (RunKarlaRun.com)

The course was open to traffic, but at 8 a.m. on Sunday in a residential town, there were hardly any cars out there.

A large finish banner welcomed us back to the race area, where runners got water, a chocolate recovery drink, fruit and bagels.

Race Report: Firecracker 8K in Southampton, New York

Post race celebrations (RunKarlaRun.com)

To top it all off, the race announcer performed Frank Sinatra karaoke. I have the video to prove it.

What I Wore

I get lots of question about what I run and race in, what products I like and would recommend. Now even Runner’sWorld.com is doing a Run Outfit of the Day Feature. I was featured on June 25.

Race Report: Firecracker 8K in Southampton, New York

Run Outfit Of The Day (RunKarlaRun.com)

I save my favorite gear for race day.

Here’s what I wore at the Firecracker 8K, from the bottom up:

New Balance 1400v2 Shoes

Under Armour No Show Liner Socks

New Balance Boylston Short

New Balance Impact Tunic Tank

Motoactv GPS Fitness Watch

Oakley Polarized Half Jacket Sungalsses with Red Iridium Polarized Lenses

Big Island Running Company Run Aloha SuperVisor by Headsweats

Karla’s Race

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have my 5-mile PR on the brain going into the race. I always want to PR. Who doesn’t? But I really didn’t expect it. I told myself to just go out there, run hard and see what happens. And that’s exactly what I did.

Race Report: Firecracker 8K in Southampton, NY

Waiting for the race to start (RunKarlaRun.com)

My first mile was my fastest and I slowly melted under the sun through the first four miles, going from an 8:30 to 9:00 pace per my GPS. I walked through water stations relishing the break as I sipped then splashed.

Race Report: Firecracker 8K in Southampton, New York

My GPS stats

But my last mile was the second fastest of the race at an 8:45 pace. I gave it everything I had. Just Keep Pushing was my mantra.

To my amazement, I beat my road 5-mile PR by 1:25, coming in at 44:19 with an overall pace of 8:56. Granted, the 8K is .03 shy of 5-miles, but at my speed that’s a difference of about 15 seconds. So I still walloped my previous best by over a minute.

Race Report: Firecracker 8K in Southampton, New York

On the way to a PR! (RunKarlaRun.com)

However, my track 5-mile PR, set during a 2013 workout, still stands at 43:01. I set it on a cool, dry fall evening when I was having a dynamite workout with my teammates. But I figure if the USATF logs track and road records separately, so can I.

Race Report: Firecracker 8K in Southampton, New York

Coming into the finish (RunKarlaRun.com)

If I’m being honest with myself, I wanted to run this race at an 8:30 pace. That would put me on par with a 2:00 half-marathon, my goal. But since I just sort of winged it on a hot day, I’m really happy with what I did. It always feels good to PR and it always feels good to lay it all out there on a beautiful course. My time lets me know I’ve got some work to do. Good thing I have all summer to train for a nice, cool race in the fall.

Race Report: Firecracker 8K in Southampton, NY

PR for Phil! (RunKarlaRun.com)

Phil also ran 1:30-second PR (after adjusting for that extra .03 miles) finishing in 32:30, a huge leap at his speed. He was 18th overall!

But somewhere along the course, our bike lock key bounced out of his pocket. Thankfully, there was a small army of first-responders on hand. One of them had a bolt cutter. Now I know just how easy it is to break a U-lock: pretty easy.

We biked home laughing. Now we need a new bike lock. Maybe we’ll get a stronger one this time. Let’s just say I won’t be leaving my bike on the streets of NYC any time soon.

The Firecracker 8K was a perfect way to finish off 4th of July weekend. I didn’t see any fireworks over the weekend, since tropical storm Arthur postponed them. But with the crack of the starting gun, I burned some pavement with a new PR. I’ll take it.

Karla Bruning


Karla Bruning is a race announcer at the TCS New York City Marathon + other major events, TV host for the New York City Triathlon + contributor to Shape, Redbook, Runner's World + other publications. She used to report for Newsweek but spent her free time squeezing in workouts. Now it's her job. She's run 8 marathons, 30 halves, 10 triathlons + open water swims. When she's not running, talking about running or writing about running, she's snuggling her baby, spoiling her dog + compulsively traveling.


07 2014

24 Comments Add Yours ↓

The upper is the most recent comment

  1. 1

    Congrats to you both!!! I am beginning to think the best time to get a PB is when you don’t put a lot of thought into the race. Maybe sometimes we just over think our races?
    Enjoy the victory :)
    Kristi@Blog for an Average Runner recently posted..Real Runners Run in RainMy Profile

  2. 3

    Congratulations on a new PR!!! I think you’ll get that sub 2 this fall! Do you have a half in mind?

    I got mine at the NYC Half. I know you work it, but it’s an amazing course… And mostly downhill ha ha!!
    Kaella (On The Run) recently posted..Vacation Photos, A Video & Run RecapMy Profile

  3. 5

    I nominated you for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award on my site :)

  4. 7

    Nice race Karla (and Phil) – very speedy! Looks a lovely fast course although 80F is a bit warm.
    Funny, I’ve been looking at getting a new bike lock myself. Wiggle is a good site. The best ones are hugely heavy – I like the look of the Hiplok, which you can wear as a belt! Probably OK for riding to races or for short distances. Just don’t wear white shorts!
    Ewen recently posted..2 Red Balloons at the Gold Coast HalfMy Profile

  5. 9

    Congratulations on your PR! It’s great when you go out there and get it unexpectedly! And the course looks great! See…2014, that 2:00 half is gonna happen! :)

  6. 11

    Sounds like a great race, and the pictures of the course are so pretty! Great job to you and your husband on your PR’s – it’s so funny how the races where we have little expectation turn into great races! :0)

  7. 13

    Congrats to the both of you guys. Nice race!!!

    Nice looking course and I love small local races. I’m slowly catching up on my reading, so you’ll be getting more comments from me today. :)
    Elle recently posted..Relaxing in Fort LauderdaleMy Profile

  8. 15

    Congratulations on the PRs. I’ve always wanted to run a last minute race while on vacation, that’s so cool!

  9. 17

    Awesome! I love that you guys look up races to do wherever you are, and it sounds like it turned out to be a great success — even if you didn’t plan for it. Love the pictures, and congrats on the PRs! It’s the best feeling to perform even better than you hoped, right? 😀
    Jennifer @ The Final Forty recently posted..Race Recap: Cranford Jaycees Firecracker 4-Miler 2014My Profile

  10. 19

    Congrats on the PR!!! And in the heat even! I agree, sometimes the last minute races are the best – no time to think about it and no pressure.
    Emily recently posted..Ode to an Early Morning RunMy Profile

  11. 21

    Congrats on the PR and being featured in RW!
    Tina@GottaRunNow recently posted..Focus on RacesMy Profile

  12. 23

    Well done on your PRs in hot weather!

    I really enjoy reading about your adventures with your running husband. It’s nice how the two of you find things to laugh at :)
    Judith recently posted..Not Quite a Recovery RunMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Thank you! Laughing is how I get through life :)


  1. Sprint Triathlon Training: Swim, Bike & Run, Oh My! | Run, Karla, Run! 23 07 14
  2. Race Report: 2014 NYRR Team Championships 5 Miler | Run, Karla, Run! 08 08 14
  3. The Best Running Shoes? A Guide To Neutral 10 Pairs | Run, Karla, Run! 07 10 14
  4. My Favorite Running Gear of 2014: Clothes, Tech, Shoes + More | Run, Karla, Run! 22 12 14