It’s good to enjoy a race with little at stake now and then. Tonight was such a race. It was the Van Cortlandt Track Club’s annual 2 X 2 relay, consisting of two folks doing 2 miles each.

For this, I enlisted Ari as my partner. He agreed and then asked whether it was cross-country. Indeed it is, I told him, and he got to do his first such race, and said afterward that he’d like to come back.

From Twitter, I knew of a number of others that would be there, and also met some other folks that I know. I finally got to meet Helen, Robert’s better half (which is saying a lot; Robert ran the Leadville Trail Marathon on Saturday and a Firecracker 5K on Sunday in Colorado). Amy C (@runamyrun) was there and she introduced me to a number of others.

It’s pretty basic. The first runner heads out around the flats to the cowpath and up then down Cemetery Hill, with the final 1/2 along the flats. A slap of the hands and the second runner’s off and does the same thing. Ari went first.

It’s just a fun thing. Male, female, co-ed teams. All ages, all sorts of runners. I elected to run in spikes. It’s been warm recently, but today was not nearly like the last few. I planned on playing it by ear, deciding if I would go hard when the race began.

Ari came in. I went out. I hadn’t really warmed up so I felt terrible for the first quarter mile or so. One guy went whizzing past me and I slowly passed a whole bunch of people. I started feeling OK at about the 1/2 mark and pushed it relaxed-but-hard for the balance of the race. From that point on, I actually felt good.

And the point was that this was an enjoyable Thursday night run in the Bronx. Van Cortlandt itself is a real melting-pot kind of place, all sorts of different ethnic groups hanging out, playing games.

As I knew a goodly number of people in the race, it was fun to hang with them, do a short warm-down. Most of them got muffins, the award for VCTC’s races. Ari and I, alas, went home empty-handed.

Two weeks until the next 5K there. A little work between now and then, and we’ll see.

Here’s a recording I made before the race, another of the where-I-run series.