I meant to do this race last year but missed it somehow. I was interested in this race as a first family run. My plan was to have the whole family run the 1K and then I would run the 5k separately. There was 10 minutes in between the races so I was pretty sure I could do both. Everyone who completed the 1K would get a medal (I figured that would inspire my daughter Kay and maybe my wife.)
Race Day: It was a good thing we had signed up in advance or it would have just been my daughter and I. My wife wasn’t thrilled to get up early on a chilly rainy Saturday morning. By comparison my 7-year-old was excited to run her first race.
Today was one of the few times my insistence on being extra early paid off. We ran into traffic on I-295 South and it took some fancy GPS work to get us to University Park with some time to spare. Check-in was pretty easy although there was one area for the race check in and one to pick up timing chips for the 5k. I am not sure why they were separated (opposite sides of the building) but it may have been weather related. I also received some conflicting information on what times the different races started from some of the volunteers. not really a big deal.
Family Fun Run (1k): I was very excited to run with my daughter on her first race. Alas, it was not meant to be as I imagined. Apparently the 1k started as I jogged back to my car to stow our extra shirts and jackets. By the time I ran back to the start line the racers were halfway to the halfway point. At this point I may have spewed a few expletives, but I took off down the road. The course is up a slight incline and back down to the finish. I caught up to them at the turn around point and was able to enjoy half of the race with Kay. It was good timing b/c my wife was running out of gas. I was glad to be there as she crossed her finish line.
I had a few minutes to celebrate and cheer on my wife before I had to switch bibs and head up the hill for the 5k.
10th Annual Azalea Classic (5k): I was already warmed up from my 1k and dash to and from my car by the time I got to the start line. One note about the start line: there was a car parked at the starting line which was annoying. Starts are already chaotic without having to dodge a parked car.
If I were a good runner I would have scoped out the course in advance. Since I barely qualify as an amateur I didn’t, and plunged ahead into the breach. 200 hills later I was paying the price. Maybe this is a slight exaggeration. I attacked a few of the early hills thinking I could burn out some of the opposition (I may be back of the pack but I still have some competitive spirit). I only burned myself out. I was able to meander in at 27:12. I must have won because they gave me a medal.
I thought the crowd support was excellent for a 5k. There were lots of people throughout the neighborhoods out to cheer us on and band around the 1 mile marker. The start of the race ran past the finish of the 1k so there was a bunch of supporters there as well. I almost forgot. They had a marching band at the start and finish as well. Given the choice between a marching band and music piped over a PA system I will take the band any day. I would give them an A+ for runner support for a smaller local race.
POST-Race: We had plans so we didn’t stick around after the race. I am sure they had the usual post race stuff. My wife seems to think they had a nice variety of food and water. I guess if I am going to review races I will have to commit to hanging out a little after the races. We went to Panera Bread with race shirts and medals and my daughter enjoyed the extra attention.
The Goodies: The shirts were a big hit with my wife a daughter as were the medals. Both were above average for the size and cost for the race.
Kay’s Opinion: She liked the medal most of all but she also liked the T-shirt and the “bend in the road” where the race turned around. She would run this race again and gave it 5 stars.
Mer’s Opinion: My wife felt it was well-organized, not too far from our house and had a nice T-shirt. She also felt the marching band was a really nice touch.