Kickoff to Kinnick 5k – review

Sunday, September 12, 2015. Sunny 50 degrees. Iowa City, IA. 8:30am

Kickoff to Kinnick – a 5k with a finish on the field at Historic Kinnick Stadium, benefiting the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital and Tim Dwight Foundation.


Registration: Available online, by printing a form, and on race day. Registration topped out at $40 on race day. Included with registration was a unisex, short sleeve, soft, cotton tee; timing on a bib, post race beer, and a pint glass.

Packet pick up: There were multiple times to pick up your packet, however no expo, the first 2 pickups were at the local sporting goods store, the Friday and Saturday before the race. If you picked up your things at these pickups you were able to get the pint glass. The pint glass was also available at this store after the race on Sunday. Race day packet pick up was also available, near the starting area in a parking lot.


I registered on race day, I think $40 is high for a 5k, even for a charity race. However I could have registered earlier to save some dollars. I also got a t-shirt, and was told they run small, I sized up and it’s kinda roomy. It’s time for more races to have no shirt prices or give something else. Which leads me to the pint glass, which I didn’t get, but they weren’t available on race day pick up, and I didn’t make the trek across town to the chain sporting goods store.

Pre-Race: Plenty of parking in nearby University lots, all free. Only about 4 nearby port-o-potties. There was music playing over the loud speaker, and announcements from a local radio DJ. With about 20 minutes until the race start, the 1600+ participants were encouraged to make their way to the start line.

With about 10 minutes to go, more announcements and pace per mile signs showed up on the side of the starting area. No mention to line up according to pace. A drone flew over the crowd. No National Anthem.


I understand the importance of getting runners to the start on time, but it seemed like a lot of standing around before the start. I was also amazed at the amount of people running this race. Most 5ks in this area draw about 500 people, tops. However with the popularity of the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon and the Soldier Field 10 miler, maybe I shouldn’t be surprised.

Race / Course:

  • paved surface, on street and sidewalk. no major potholes, but could have been a spot here or there to watch out for
  • Roads were not closed
  • ran against traffic in coned off lane
  • no mile markers
  • 2 water stops, in small plastic bottles
  • some photographers
  • no starting corrals
  • family friendly event, strollers permitted
  • some rolling hills near the last half of the course
  • lots of volunteers, at most every turn & intersection
  • no course markings

I had a difficult time navigating through the first quarter mile, as there were walkers & families near the front. I am fine with people walking and keeping an eye on their children, but please line up according to pace or move to the side, it was very crowded. When we made the first turn is when the crowd thinned out as many went to the narrow sidewalk when the course was still on the road, making the road easy to navigate. The course eventually ended on a sidewalk, but not until the last .75 miles.

The water bottles are hard to drink from, and it looked like volunteers were not enjoying twisting off all the tops. Also with no mile markers, but a banner before each water stop I was confused, thinking maybe the miles were marked by water stops, when my Garmin was showing the stops just before each mile. I was thinking the course was going to be short.

I also didn’t notice any route arrows or signs telling which way to turn, I just follow the crowd, and I don’t think you could get lost, but just thought I would note it.

Race photos are all ready up and available for purchase

k2k k2k1 k2k3

Finish: Runners were allowed access on the field by running through one of the tunnels at Kinnick Stadium, once on the field you could see yourself on the jumbotron crossing the finishing line, marked with an arch, clock, timing mat and photographer. The Iowa Spirit squads were milling about as well. Participants were allowed to walk around the field and take pictures. Spectators were not allowed on the field, but could watch in the south end zone. No food or drink on the field.


This was the “draw” of the race. It was cool to run out onto the field. However the tunnel could have proved hazardous if you were not paying attention as it was steep and had lots of turns, and there were no race officials in this area. I noticed many spectators on the field, no one was policing that, but it was not a problem.


Post Race: The post race area was outside the stadium in the west parking lot. There were tents with freebies, similar to what you would see at an expo, live music, and a silent auction. There was bottled water, bananas, granola bars, hot dogs, chips and craft beer. ID had to be shown for access to beer area, where each runner of age was given 2 beer tickets.


The post race was nice, there was plenty of room for everyone. Also lots of drinks and food. The giveaway lines were long and the silent auction items were pricey. Two Backpocket Brewery beers was a great touch, but next year I need to bring a DD, or have more time to hang out post race. I enjoyed the time I had getting to visit with others. Hey Anne!


Overall: This race is pricey and crowded, but it’s cool to finish on the field at Kinnick, the post race is fun.

Results: Since I run this part of town at least weekly, I knew the last half would be hilly, and I really tried not to start too fast. Well that put my 2nd mile a lot slower, but I was ready for the hills. I finished in 27:24 (I am still mad I was only 23 seconds from beating Tim Dwight.) Finishing 300th overall, 14th in my division, and 82/950 females. I was happy with my finish, not my best time, but I ran my best race. I also didn’t have a short course, my watch was at 3.13. The results were also posted the same day, online.

Personal (long story part): I really haven’t been too crazy about running this race. I am very familiar with running in Iowa City and Kinnick Stadium. Years ago, there was some talk about organizing this race with the local running store and with the University, as I mentioned before there are other races that finish on football fields, why couldn’t Iowa have one? Then out of no where some non local race company puts this idea together, and bam there is a race. So the first year I refused to run the race.

Another thing I am conflicted about, the name…if it’s the Kickoff to Kinnick, it should be before the first home game. I also understand there are scheduling conflicts for this race to work, but then change the name. I think this year the race also had a couple of dates announced and moved around before they decided on the final date. (while this is not a big deal, just my two cents)

Then this year I thought, hmmm how can I hate on a race if I haven’t ran it? I was still uncomfortable with the registration price. I run a ton of 5k’s, heck 10k’s for less, and most of the money goes to charity, yes $40 is steep for my area, but I paid for my entry to give you this glowing review 🙂

So with all that said, I really did enjoy this race. There are a few headaches that a new race goes through, but they are easy to fix. For example have a better starting corral system and go to paper water cups, maybe add some mile markers. However creating a family friendly, Hawkeye tailgating like post race atmosphere with local craft beer, it should keep people coming to the event.

Also some positive suggestions, this race is huge, as in participation, let’s expand it to longer distances. Let’s get the local running stores on board, the local running club. If this is truly the finish on the field race at the University of Iowa, let’s make it as great as the other races, people travel long distances to run. In my opinion, Iowa City has yet to be known for a bucket list race. This could be it.

Did you run? What did you think? Make sure to add your review to


6 thoughts on “Kickoff to Kinnick 5k – review

  1. Are you going to be ready for Chicago? Less than a month away!

  2. I’m ready..ran 26.2 on Friday, you?

  3. This event was founded by and put on by a UI student, so hopefully this will keep you from vetoing it in the future 🙂

    • As I said I enjoyed the race, but a few things can be improved. As a U of I grad myself, it’s great that a student is taking on the task of race director, hope they can incorporate the active running community more in the future, and make it a better event. I run about 40-50 races a year, any where in size from 45,000 runners to 100 runners. They each have great things, and bad things. I hope they can all improve and keep runners wanting to come back for the next year.

  4. Pingback: 2015 year in review | Angie Runs

  5. Pingback: One GIANT Medal! | Angie Runs

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