Year of the 5K: LA Chinatown Firecracker Run

Run #2 of the year has been completed! Yes, I woke up incredibly early Sunday morning to take the Metro red line and gold line down to Chinatown for its 35th Annual Firecracker 5/10K. There were already a good amount of people there by the time I arrived, but I was pre-registered and got checked in pretty quickly.

Chinatown Gold Line

One of the ceremonies before the run includes setting off 100,000 firecrackers, which, according to ancient Chinese beliefs, are supposed to scare off evil spirits. This actually had really amusing consequences and I tried to document the transition from celebration to mild chaos.

The firecrackers near the starting line, ready to be set off.

The firecrackers near the starting line, ready to be set off.

Everyone getting excited and taking pictures and video.

Everyone getting excited and taking pictures and video.

BAM. The noise, smoke, and flying bits of firecracker causes everyone to try to cover their ears, noses, and mouths.

BAM. The noise, smoke, and flying bits of firecracker causes everyone to try to cover their ears, noses, and mouths.

People even try to stay low and escape the cloud. It's like a atomic bomb warning went off.

People even try to stay low and escape the cloud. It’s like a atomic bomb warning went off.

It was just so hilarious, even though I was experiencing the same kind of discomfort everyone else did and was trying to avoid breathing in all that smoke. Who wants to get all that in their lungs right before a run? Definitely something that they need to figure out eventually, but it is a fun tradition that is probably a big part of where the run got its name.

The run was fine, though I still don’t have anywhere near the proper stamina to qualify as “good” and those hills around the Dodgers Stadium can be really annoying. I’m averaging just under 40 minutes for the 5Ks I’ve been doing, but I don’t really do them to get fast times or win. All I care about is making it to the end, and if I did that, well, that’s already amazing in my book. Still, it’s crazy knowing that there are a lot of people who have faster 10K times than my 5K.

Firecracker Finish

I also got my very first finisher’s medal! It’s much smaller than I thought they would be, but I am just glad that I have one now since there weren’t medals for all participants in the other 5Ks that I have done. Plus, it has a great Year of the Snake design that is awesome for two reasons. One, if you read the last Chinatown post I made, you should know that I was born in the Year of the Snake. Two, the design was created by the studio of Shepard Fairey, the mastermind behind the OBEY giant and the Obama “Hope” poster. It really is a great design though.

Firecracker Medal

February has been a really eventful month and we’ll see how March compares soon!

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