January 1, 2015. Jacksonville, Florida. Cloudy, humid. 50-60 degrees.
Traveling to the “TaxSlayer” Bowl game, means I had to search for a nearby 5k, and as luck would have it, there was one as part of the bowl game festivities. The First Place Sports, VyStar 5k.
Registration: Available online through the website, I paid around $30 and the price increased as race day approached. Race day registration was also available. Included chip timing, bib, cotton short sleeve shirt, post race pizza and beer (bud products in a can)
Pre -race: There was no true expo for the race. You could grab your “packet” the day before or prior to the race. There was parking available in downtown Jacksonville on street for free – as it was a holiday, or you could park in a ramp. There were plenty of port-o-potties and a table had some drinks available. A count down clock was mounted above the starting banner. As it became close to starting some announcements were made, and runners were encouraged to line up according to pace, then the National Anthem was played.
Race / Course: The race started on time and was run on the paved streets along the water in Jacksonville
- water stops in paper cups
- paved streets
- volunteers on the route
- mile markers
- crowded finish area, traffic allowed on course due to some scheduling conflicts
- photographers on the course
- ran around the Jacksonville Jaguars football stadium, EverBank Field
- no medics on course
Finish / Post Race: Finish line marked with timing mat. Finish chute with bottles of water, table with sports drink. Pizza and beer in swimming pools filled with ice. Awards to overall winners and AG winners.
Overall: Race was well organized, no problems. However nothing special about it, if I weren’t in town for the bowl game I wouldn’t make it a priority.
Personal: As I mentioned I was in town for the Gator Bowl…what they heck is TaxSlayer anyway. Kelly and I hopped in the car and traveled the 16/18 hours to get there. I am always running or training, but didn’t have any goals for this race. Kelly is training for her first half marathon in February.
I was also excited to meet fellow BibRave Pro Jenn. Not only was she going to cheer us on, she had promised some of her “social media famous” cookies. As I turned the first corner on the course, I spotted her in the orange, and she had made a sign, it was awesome. Kelly and I had our own cheer crew. Thanks Jenn!
We met up with Jenn at the finish and she had this giant bag of home made Oreo Chocolate Chip cookies, they were bite size too, so you didn’t feel guilty until you ate about 5 of them, lol. They were so good, perfect for a post race treat, tailgating and a road trip.
Kelly and I departed ways with Jenn, and checked the results. At the time I placed 4th overall in the 30-34 age group, always freakin 4th place. UGH. It was humid for me, so I tried not to push too hard.
A day later Jenn asked if I stayed for the awards….which we did not. I went online to look them up and after the overall race winners, I placed 2nd in my AG, WHAT?!?!? Ok, so the 2 women that placed overall, ran sub 19 minute 5k’s, um hello?!?! However my time of like 26:20 placed me second and Kelly was moved into the dreaded 4th place. It was a great moment, as I discovered this after the disappointing loss in the Bowl Game.
That brings me to today, I am waiting to get my award. From the photos it appears to be a plaque. However the running store didn’t say they would ship it, so Jenn offered to grab it for me. Thanks!!!
It’s always nice to start the new year off with some exercise. Always better when friends can cheer you along the way.
As always, I will add my review to Bibrave.com. A great place to read and write race reviews.