Dam Backpocket Run, Saturday August 23, 2014. 5pm. 80 degrees, sunny, humid.Coralville, IA
Registration: Available through the website and at packet pick up. There were two race options the 7 mile or 5k. Each price increased as race day approached, topping at $45 for the 5k and $55 for the 7 miler. Also the local running store had a promotion if you made a $100 purchase you could get $1 entry. Included with registration was a Nike tech tee, chip timing, and post race beer (including pint glass.) Entry was capped. You could only pick up someone else’s stuff if you had a signed waiver from them.
I had bought new shoes a week before they had this deal. I waited until a few days to register, I came to terms with the fact I was able to run the race for free last year.
Packet pick up / Expo: This is the second year for the race. The added 3 days for packet pick up and moved it to the neighboring Marriott hotel. In addition to being able to pick up your packet, Running Wild – the local running store – was set up with discounted shoes, apparel and some energy gels. There was a table set up with race numbers, told volunteers number to receive bib, then got a choice of blue or dark gray shirt. Then you were given a pre-filled clear bag (use for bag check.)
I understand pre-filled swag bags, however it promotes waste. There were upcoming race flyers, a Gatorade towel / shammy, a Nike promotional and 2 Gu packs. Most of my materials hit the trash / recycle bin, and if anyone wants my 2 packs of Gu, it’s yours. It would be nice to pick what you want by having stacks of materials you can take if you want.
Pre-Race: Both races are point to point. You were to arrive early and encouraged to park at the nearby UIHC ramp – for free. Shuttles started to leave at 4pm. There were port-o-potties near the race finish, and 3 were available at the start. Once we were allowed off the bus, I think the shuttle drivers were a little confused, we had access to cups of water. They also dropped us near the start, so we still had to walk up a hill to the actual starting mats. There was no shade for waiting.
Race / Course:
- Both courses were the same as last year. Hills, minimal shade, start on the road – moved to sidewalks, cement, asphalt, small section of gravel.
- There were water and Gatorade stops, however nothing but a table was at the first stop. Both liquids were served in green Gatorade cups, but volunteers shouted what they had.
- Miles were marked with yard signs
- The course was marked with red tape
- port-o-potties at the half way (or 5k start)
- Law enforcement volunteers at major road intersections, all other intersections with volunteers
- Little to no spectators
- no medical tent, but there was an ambulance stationed near mile 5
Post Race: The finish was clearly marked with an arch, clock and timing mats. Once through the chute there was a table where food was, coolers with water and Gatorade. A line was forming for the post race beer, this year you could choose a light or dark beer. When you dropped your beer ticket in the bucket you were handed a pint glass. The beer garden was open for the post race awards and hanging out.
When I finished the only food available was a halved banana. I thought that is weird, then I was informed that many 5k runners and finishers before me got to enjoy cookies and sweet treats.(pet peeve – you an a 5k, don’t eat / take all the food!) Also by the time I made it through the beer line, I did not receive the race pint glass, but one of the brewery’s everyday logo glass, which was fine as I had the glass from last year. Another change was the beer choices, I was looking forward to my cider, but that had to be purchased. Also the lack of post race food was because they wanted you to purchase a runner’s $5 special – brat or burger in the beer garden. The place also had pizza for sale. I rarely run a race with money, nor do I check it in a gear bag. I was also disappointed as there were no cupcakes this year.
Overall: If you registered before the price increases the course and heat / humidity are a great running challenge. However the post race was a disappointment. Ask me next August if I will run it again.
Personal: I had been joining the training runs for this race, just for new scenery and conversation. I knew what I was up against as I was familiar with the course and had ran it the previous year. It was also my second race of the day. I started with Laura, Dave & Shannon…but I was wondering where was Katie? She tapped me on the shoulder after we started, then I didn’t see her again. This was her first race at this distance, her longest distance. I stopped at the first water stop (should have been the 2nd) and waited for Katie. I stepped in pace with her, and ran to the finish. This is what I needed as last year I pushed to hard in the weather, this was perfect, I actually enjoyed the running part, and I didn’t feel exhausted when I was done. Congrats to Katie on her first 7 mile race! I think we finished somewhere in the 1:20 ish time frame.
I also met someone locally that ran a Ragnar race with someone I met through twitter. I actually sat next to Lisa on the shuttle, we made small talk. After the race and a return to the interwebs, we discovered she knew Amy. This is a small world, and the running community is awesome.