They called this the 1st Annual Run of Champions, but they have had a couple of other races at the stadium (NY Giant Draft Day 5k).
Pre Race: They had a number of opportunities to pickup the packets ahead of time in NYC to alleviate a crowded registration. They also coordinated public transportation to the event. All of this was communicated via their website and emails. I registered online but due to my location I had to pickup on race day. I was a little confused when signing up for the kids race when it asked me for a pace time. I was afraid I was signing my girl up for a 5k, but once you got to the end of the registration process you could choose the kids race.
Race Day: I signed up with my father-in-law and we left at 7 expecting a quick drive. Unexpectedly they had closed the major highway (Rt 17) and we were re-routed. Luckily we were delayed for too long. Packet pickup was from 7-8 and we arrived at 7:30. I had to wait for one person before I received my race packet. There was a wonderful woman standing by the registration to help runners put on their racing chips. You went to a separate table to receive your race shirts. Everything was quick and efficient. It took me about 5 minutes to check in me and my girl as well as get our shirts. Just the way I like it.
We had time (the race started at 9) so we walked around the EXPO area where they had a free skin cancer check and a few other vendors. We meandered into the stadium where we could sit in the lower deck and just soak in the atmosphere of MetLife stadium. If you had registered early enough, there were VIP packages available which gave you access to a VIP lounge and possibly some Giants legends.
The Race: Walking to starting line we saw Otis Anderson, Stephen Baker, Amani Toomer and Joe Morris. Amani Toomer was there as a runner and a former NY Giant. They had corrals based on your estimated pace time which made the start of the race smoother. The race course itself was flat and fast. It was also extremely hot. I felt like I was roasting from start to finish. I am not a big fan of running in the hot sun and this course didn’t have a lick of shade. The race went around the parking lot in a huge loop and then entered the stadium at the 50 yard line. You went to one end zone and then ran the last 100 yards across the field to the end zone. The run across the field is the whole reason I ran this race and I wasn’t disappointed. I finished in 26:45 and beat Amani Toomer.
Post Race: They had water at the finish line and if you wandered about you were able to find the bananas, apples and bagels. It wasn’t readily apparent to me where the food was, but I am not much of an after race eater anyway. We had time to take in more of the stadium, while we waited for the kids race.
Kids Race: They had kids races divided up by age and held the race on the field so the kids got to experience running into the end zone too. To ensure kid safety, each parent was given a matching number which you would use like a claim check after the race. Kay and her cousin both ran the kids race and were rewarded with ribbons at the end of the race. Pretty cool for the kids.
After the kids race: Most people had cleared out between the adult and kid races which led to one of the coolest parts of the day. They had tours of the locker room that ran all day, but the lines had been long all morning. After the kids race, we were able to wander right in without any wait. It was almost empty so we got to really enjoy it and take a thousand pictures. It was a one of a kind experience for us and everybody loved it. If I had a tip for anyone reading this it would be to wait for that locker tour line to die down and then go enjoy it with a little peace and quiet without 3000 people trying to push in past you.
Goodies: A technical NY Giants shirt (I bought a second for $10), the privilege of touring the stadium and the locker room. The kids also got technical shirts and ribbons.
Overall a really fantastic race if you are a Giants fan. For Giants fans it would be 5 stars. For a not Giants fan, I would say 3.5 stars. If you aren’t a fan, the $55 entrance fee is steep and with the exception of the finish line the course is boring. That being said, if you are a fan it is worth every penny.