and falling, and falling, and falling for about two hours. This was the case on Saturday as I participated in the BIX7 race in Davenport, Iowa. This is not something I would have volunteered to do a few years ago, but then I met my wonderful husband who has been participating in this event for 21 years.
The BIX is a 7 mile run (or walk in my case as well as a lot of others) on a very challenging course through the streets of Davenport. The first half mile or so is straight up hill, a pretty daunting undertaking especially on a hot July day. I was ever so grateful for the pouring rain that cooled us for nearly the entire race. There were definitely concerns about having to delay or cancel the event due to the severity of the storm, which I can attest to as we were driving in before the scheduled start time watching some wicked lightning strikes. Thankfully the lightning stopped but the rain didn't which helped many of the over 15,000 participants from the typical race day issues of heat stroke.
This was my 7th year participating in this grueling, hilly trek up Brady Street and on through other Davenport Streets near the Mississippi River. It's breathtaking in many ways not least of which are the hills. It's amazing to watch a sea of people bobbing up and down on their way up Brady. As a walker and a short one at that, it takes about 10 minutes (the point at which I actually reach the start line in the middle of those 15,000 people0 for me to actually see the world-class runners sprinting up the hill. Four lanes of traffic across filled with a bunch of crazy people who couldn't think of anything better to do on a Saturday morning (like sleeping in or something) and I'm one of them.
The course is lined with a bunch of other people cheering us on and partying at a pretty early hour. Bands and DJs are there, too, to keep us moving with some motivational music. The thousands of volunteers along the race route are amazing - handing out water (which may not have been needed quite as much this year), checking for participants who are having some difficulty, calling out the splits so we can see if we're on track for our goal, and many others. It's also a must to high five the hands of the kids who are there to cheer us on and keep us motivated - I hope it's as fun and thrilling for them as it is for us!
This couple hours of athletic prowess happens in conjunction with a magnificent jazz festival in varied locations in the city. Depending on how the race has gone, my husband and I will take in some of the music on Saturday night along the banks of the Mississippi. That didn't happen this year as my ankle was not really in favor of any more walking for that day. Nevertheless, it was a great day spent in the Quad Cities with 15,000 of our closest friends!