It’s still the king.
The Revolutionary Run 10K/5K, about to celebrate its 38th anniversary on Wednesday, July 4, remains the biggest and best of Bucks County’s road races.
Back in 1981, a plan was hatched to combine the nation’s birthday with Washington Crossing Historic Park and form a race.
It was an instant hit and has grown to attract more than a thousand runners each year.
Now it’s become an annual tradition, including a popular 5K.
Aside from the aforementioned aspect of holiday and history, what makes this event so popular?
Is it the electrifying start, when a loud BOOM! fills the air?
The flat, fast course along the Delaware?
The special fun Bucks County Roadrunners Club after-party at Greg and Emily Grace’s place?
A number of veteran participants, many from the BCRR, checked in with their opinions.
“It (the opening musket/cannon blast) is LOUD,’’ Pete Lederer says. “Quite the shock, especially for anyone who doesn’t know it’s coming.’’
Joe Boyce concurred. It’s like a giant alarm clock with three or four cups of coffee thrown in for good measure.
“That starting gun really wakes me up,’’ he says.
Just about everyone loves the 10,000-meter event, because it brings back memories of the ‘80s
“Anything below five miles feels like a sprint, so I avoid short races,’’ Boyce says. “It’s rare to find a 10K anymore, let alone in the summer when you can run in the heat.’’
With temperatures usually around 80, even at 8 a.m., the heat aspect can be a challenge.
“Despite the fact that the course is mostly flat, it’s not an easy race,’’ says Lederer. “It’s typically warm and the location next to the river makes it feel that much more humid.
“Having said that, people along River Road come out to support the course with hoses to spray the runners, and kids hand out water. The finish line is in a good spot in the park that allows everyone to hang out after the race and chat.’’
BCRR vice president Rich Kanak says Revolution is always a red-letter date for the club.
“The club has been a long supporter of the Revolutionary Run, encouraging our members to sign up and participate in the team events and then socialize afterwards at ‘Graceland’ on River Road,’’ Kanak says.
“And the last couple years we have recommitted to being a sponsor of the race with a hospitality tent at the finish line and displaying our club flags and banners on the course at the Graces’ house.’’
For BCRR Winter Series director John O’Brien, this is an about-face temperature-wise. But everyone pitches in to keep the runners comfortable, with plenty of water, both inside and out.
“The neighborhood support is always nice with several people dragging hoses to the street to spray the runners as they go by, but I’m pretty sure Greg is intentionally going for my face if he’s manning the hose this year,’’ O’Brien says. “And the post-race watermelon is definitely a plus.’’
Mike Gross says the date and location of the race are only fitting.
“What more appropriate place to run when celebrating our independence than the place where Washington crossed the Delaware?’’ he says. “The old painted plates were the best awards going around..
“While the influx of other races has reduced the top-end winning times, it is still a great place to be on July 4th and BCRR does this race like no other. Having the Grace family along the course and hosting the BCRR post-race celebration is what makes this race the place to be.’’
If you haven’t experienced this event, try heading over to Washington Crossing on Wednesday and give it a shot. If you’re not quite ready for the 10K, jump into the 5K. Just the atmosphere alone is worth the price of admission.
38th annual Revolutionary Run 10K/5K, 8 a.m., Washington Crossing. Contact: www.revrunpa.com.