August 24, 2013. 3:00 pm HOT! HUMID! SUNNY! & HOT! 85 ish degrees, “feels like” temp in the 90’s.
I won entrance into this race through facebook. I went with the 7 mile option. I believe registration was around $35 & increased as the date got closer. It was capped & sold out before race day. This was the first year for the race. Easy to follow up to date information via the website and twitter @backpocketrun
Packet pick-up: At the Iowa City Running Wild store on Thursday & Friday before the race. There was to be no race day pick-up, but last minute announcement made for pickup at the store on race day. Had to sign wavier, picked up bag with Nike gender specific tech tee, chip for timing, some coupons, and gels if interested.
Pre-Race: Parking available for free in nearby hospital ramp. No Parking at the brewery. Both races were a point to point race, so had to be shuttled to the start. Told to be at shuttle at 2:15 pm. There were 5 marked buses for each race. The buses were not a continuous shuttle. The last bus waited until about 2:40. ( I was on this bus and there was some snafu, and we were tripled up, it wasn’t a long shuttle, but did I mention it was hot!)
Race & Course: Announcements were made, but couldn’t hear anything at the back of the pack. The group shuffled forward, and we were off.
- The course was ran on a number of surfaces; the cement road (vehicle traffic was heavy), paved sidewalk, asphalt, & trail. It was hilly and there was minimal shade.
- There were 5 water & Lemon/Lime Gatorade stops. The same paper cups were used for each liquid. Volunteers shouted which liquid they had.
- A couple of sprinklers from spectators. One child was handing out gu packets.
- Volunteers and/or law enforcement officials at every intersection. However some volunteers were on their phones.
- A few spectators here and there, but mostly were following their runner.
- No mile markers
- Paved sections were smooth, no huge cracks or holes
- The “trail” section was actually a short cut behind some buildings to connect to the end of the race. Rocks were big and almost a hazard. Perhaps it was a construction site.
- Course followed Iowa River, not boring scenery, but no course entertainment
Post Race: The finish was clearly marked. Tubs filled with ice cold water bottles. The timing company had printouts of your time and placement, times also posted to the side of the building. The line to get your pint glass with free beer was long, and in the hot sun. However you could choose any beer on tap. Could participate in a contest at nearby gym for another free beer ticket. Tent set up near awards stand with oranges (cut your own slices), bananas, cookies and bagel. Around the corner of the building was the mobile Scratch cupcake stand, each racer could get 3 cupcakes. Also Running Wild mobile store set up to purchase running items.
Overall: I am not sure if this race was designed to separate “the men from the boys” or a 3 pm time slot was the only thing available on a hot summer day. It is so close to tailgating season, I’m sure finishers wouldn’t mind a morning post run beer after a 7 am start. Also if they stay with a 3pm start, packet pick-up should be available on race day, would have been easier for out of towners. There was also a lot of traffic near the start, due to the time of day. It was too hot to actually enjoy the run. The course itself was a nice hilly challenge and not too crowded as it was capped. Plenty of water stations and volunteers. If you want a running challenge, this is your race. The weather plays the biggest factor. For the price and the swag, I would run it again if I were persuaded and well hydrated. It would be a good one to put in the mix if you have been training for it.
Personally: I think it was the stupidest thing I did that day. It was the second race for me in the same day, which didn’t bother me. It was just too hot to be running that far at that time of day, for me. I started at a good, slow race pace, then something took over & I was racing the next 2 miles. When I saw someone collapse at mile 3.5 (thank you Garmin) I took it into a shuffle, drowning myself, while walking through each water stop. This is when being a slow runner has an advantage. It was brutal! My record continues to be DNF and DFL free!
Angie 1:15:33 Results