Twilight 5Ks

Twilight 5Ks in Crystal City have locals getting a running start to the weekend

Friday, April 16, 2010

Your typical Friday night may include a few drinks, but this Friday evening could include a few miles, too.

For the second year, Crystal City hosts twilight 5Ks through the month of April. The running course is flat. The weather is mild. And the beer still flows. It's just a little delayed.

"I don't normally run 5Ks or any race because I don't like doing it when they're offered," said Jess Bolling, 24, who lives and works in Northwest, and ran recently.

The scene at a recent 5K was typical of any race. There were serious runners, casual runners, older and younger runners, a slew of runners wearing T-shirts touting previous races and runners talking about their post-race plans.

The timed course is a loop and not very scenic, but it is flat. There is one water station en route and one at the end. Bathrooms across the street in the mall are open to runners.

Peter Stramese, 39, an-ultra marathoner who ran a 70K in Iceland last year, had his whole T.C. Williams High School boys' varsity rowing team run the race. Seleema Ross, 56, who lives in Fort Washington and had retired from her government job that day, raced, too. Becky Ralston, 30, ran it with guys from her Alexandria running club. The crowd is not limited to Crystal City workers and residents, and more than 900 runners showed up recently.

"It's meant to be fun," said Angie Fox, the president and chief executive of the Crystal City Business Improvement District. "You get out there and you go for a run and then you relax for the weekend."

And as you start relaxing post-race, be sure to check out your time posted online after 9 p.m. Then revel in your runner's high.

-- Moira E. McLaughlin

Where is it? Admit it, Crystal City sounds far away, hard to get to and not exactly cool. Give it a chance. Crystal City Metro drops you off a couple of blocks from the race. As you exit the Metro, turn left on 18th Street and then right on Crystal Drive. The race starts and ends in front of an office building on your left, 2121 Crystal Dr. There is plenty of metered parking. Races start at 6:30 p.m. Friday, April 23 and 30.

The April 23 race is "Red Dress Run" for the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women campaign. Prizes will go to the fastest and best red dresses for both men and women.

How much? $15. Online registration at closes at noon the day of the race, but you can register in person with credit card or cash until 6:15 p.m.

If you want to shower and then go out: Crystal City wants you to hang out! Before the race, drop your bag off at Revolution Cycles at 220 20th St. (next to McCormick and Schmick's). After the run, racers are permitted to shower at Sport and Health, 2231 Crystal Dr. The race after-party is at Concord Luxury Residences, where there will be a DJ and runners get one free beer. Have dinner (and drinks, which may be more typical of a Friday night than those aching thighs) at Kora's Restaurant at 2250-B Crystal Dr., which offers half-price pasta to runners, or Cafe Italia at 519 S. 23rd St., which offers 20 percent off meals to runners. Keep your running bib for the discounts.

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