Make sure to check out my review at Bibrave.com
Saint Louis, MO. Sunday, December 14, 2014. 7:30am. Cloudy 50 degrees, humid.
Registration: This was available online as early as April. Price increased as race day approached, around $70. However a free hat was given to anyone with a code the last month of registration. Once registered online, there were emails sent with details, more frequently as race day neared. You could also register at the expo. Included with registration was a gender specific goodie bag (drawstring bag with zip up hooded sweatshirt – pink or green), bib with name, chip timing, and a finisher’s mug full of treats.
Expo / Packet Pick-up: The expo was held at the Double Tree at Union Station on both Friday and Saturday before the race. There was no pick up on race day. Someone else could pick up your packet. The expo was average size, a handful of vendors, race information, a DJ, race merchandise, hot chocolate and marshmallows, a place to try on your sweatshirt and lots of inflatables.
The pick up was part of a hotel, mall area. One entrance had a sign directing you all the way around, when you could have just cut through.
Pre-race: All parking on the streets of St. Louis is free on Sunday, there were also ramps available near the start. There were plenty of porta-potties. Racers were told to get to the race area by 6:15 and the corrals would open at 6:45. Gear check available by bib number. A guy with a microphone roamed near the start making announcements – around 9,000 participants. Corrals were fenced off, with one opening, however fencing allowed for people to sneak through, not heavily policed, but corrals was not crowded. The 5k and the 15k started together. The National Anthem was sung live.
Race / Course:
- Race started on time, each corral started 3 minutes after
- Course on streets of St. Louis. Cement & asphalt. Lots of potholes, cracks, cobblestones
- Water & “Sports drink” stops in separate colored paper cups. Water in blue, ahem.. lemonade in yellow
- 4 Treat stops; chocolate chips, strawberry marshmallows, Tootsie Rolls, and chocolate marshmallows
- Mile markers with clocks
- no medics on the course
- a few spectators, mostly those cheering for people they knew
- ran by St. Louis landmarks, Capitol building, the Arch, Busch Stadium
- The race was not flat, but there were no steep hills, some nice inclines & declines
- The 2 courses split after mile 2, clearly marked
- Photographers near the finish
- Bathrooms on the course
- I only noticed one intersection no monitored by a volunteer
- Tracking was available to all participants via text or social media
Finish / Post Race: The finish line was clearly marked. A volunteer handed you a medal. Only the 15k had a chocolate bar shaped medal. There were cups with “sport drink” and bottles of water available. About a block long finishing chute, marked with signs to not stand around.
Proceeded to tent marked “Finisher’s mug” Where you redeemed the tag on your bib. Included in the plastic mug was chocolate dipping sauce, a banana, pretzels, a candy cane, Rice Krispie treat, marshmallow, wafer and a wet nap. Lots of trash cans and plastic bags to discard and then wrap your mug up to take home.
There was a DJ and the awards podium was set up with a backdrop where participants could snap pictures. A merchandise tent was also set up.
Overall: As far as a “gimmick” or themed race this one was fun, and a 15k was a nice distance to race. However with these style of races, no one is actually racing, they are fun. I did enjoy my time in St. Louis, but I am not sure I would do another one. I would recommend this if you want to have some fun and eat a lot of chocolate.
Personal: Josh, Laura and I traveled to STL the Saturday before the race. It would be the last race of the year for all of us. It would be my 50th of the year, woohoo!
We stumbled across the start / finish after dinner and noticed everything was set up, but there was no security over night.
We stayed about a half mile from all race festivities. We could walk to the expo, and the race start. #protip spend the money to stay close to the start/finish the extra sleep and post race shower are worth it.
We really didn’t have a goal, but to do our best. Josh was doing his best, but went out way too fast. Laura and I ran together and had some fun, stopping at the food stops, posing with the Grinch, and did some dancing. Laura and I finished around 1:29.
The items in the finisher mug were cool, but it was just too much chocolate and too sweet. The mug can be re-used for pens / pencils on my desk, sadly not for a hot beverage.
We didn’t stick around for the awards, but when the sun came out we went and played tourist. We took a trip to the top of the Arch.
Then capped off with a well earned brewsky.
I also ran with a Go Pro, so enjoy this video recap of the race: http://youtu.be/XCSoiymhfEk