Once a tradition in downtown Willimantic, CT, the Boom Box Mile was on hiatus for several years. The Mile was back this year and I couldn’t wait to participate in this traditional Fourth of July race.
Believe it or not, I had never raced a mile prior to the Boom Box Mile. I asked for some advice from a friend who’s an excellent mile runner. She assured me that the only way to run the mile was to go all out and try to hang on for the duration of the race. If you weren’t suffering, you weren’t going fast enough. With this advice in mind, I signed up for the Boom Box Mile, ready to test my speed in the mile.
Organized by the First Mile Race Management group, in collaboration with The Last Mile Timing, the Boom Box Mile was professionally run and well organized. Runners arrived at the starting location in the late morning of July 4th. Check in was simple and the volunteers were helpful and happy to be there. It was already hot, hot, hot, and runners tried to simultaneously warm up and stay cool.
After a short description of the course (one mile – straight), runners lined up. It was 85 degrees and sunny at race start. Humidity was moderate, but the all-road course was radiating heat. If my mission was to suffer the whole time, it was mission accomplished thanks to the heat.
There isn’t much to say about a race only a mile long. The course was well-marked. It was a straight shot down Main Street in Willimantic. Course markings included a starting line, marked quarters on the road, and a prominent and festive finish line. Thanks to the parade that would follow the race, there were lots of shouting, encouraging spectators. The race was professionally timed by the Last Mile Racing. At the end of the course, runners were handed a bottle of water and ushered back to the start for the awards. Awards were presented and runners were sent off to watch the annual Boom Box Parade, popular with regional politicians and lawnmower-riding locals alike.
All in all, it was a fun event. If you’d like to test your speed, or start small with a one-mile race, the Boom Box Mile is a great one.