The 2016 event took place on Saturday April 23. It was sunny and about 55-60 degrees. The race started at 9 am.
Registration: Available online and on race day, $25-$30 range. Included with the fee: cotton unisex short sleeve shirt, chip timing, ticket to upcoming baseball game of choice, & post race party. Proceeds benefit the Bandit Scholars program.
Packet Pick up / Pre-race: Pick up was at the ball park Friday before the race and on race morning, but only until 7:30. Bathrooms available in the ball park. Plenty of free parking on site. No expo, but lots of flyers at registration table for other area races. Someone else could get your packet.
*It’s strange as small as the race, that packet pick up closed an hour and a half before the race start. There were no events happening, so unless you wanted to run some extra miles along the riverfront, you just hung out. I contacted our friend, Kelly, to see when she was going to pick up her packet, and as luck would have it, she grabbed my stuff on Friday night. This meant I could show up to the race when I wanted, as I had to drive about an hour to get there.
Race & Course: Start area is about a block or so from the finish. After some announcements about the direction of the course, and water stops, the race started. There was no National Anthem or encouragement to line up according to pace.
*I hadn’t run this race in 2 years, and they changed the start line. They took out the weird part where runners had to jump a curb and run through some grass, making it a tight turn to get to the first bridge crossing (Centennial Bridge). However the lack of line up according to pace made for a super crowded first mile. It kept me slow, but weaving through walkers, or people stopped on course is annoying. Our friend, Joel was also racing, and I stayed near him in this time.
Race/Course: Course is along the Mississippi River, starting in Iowa crossing over to Illinois and back to Iowa.
– paved (except for bridges with grate material)
-water stops, paper cups, at each mile
-no official marking of each mile, but the water stations were positioned to mark each mile
-run along a section of the Mississippi River, over a lock and dam
-super flat, inclines and declines over bridges only
-course coned off for runners, but open for cars – first bridge was crowded with runners & traffic
-each water stop had first aid
Finish: Runners enter the ball park in right field, running over the bullpen pitching mound. A giant clock with the time faced runners as you crossed home plate to finish the race. A volunteer clipped the tag from your shoe.
A kids fun run was held after all 5k racers had finished. They ran the warning track to then finish on home plate.
My sister and niece were also at the event. Ella was signed up to run the kids race. Afterwards the River Bandits mascot, Rascal was around for photos. I don’t get that kid, she likes Chuck E. Cheese, but was terrified of Rascal.
Post Race: Excellent party! Due to the set up at the ball park you could snap photos in the dug out, but were encouraged to stay off the grass. Plenty of food & refreshment were available. 2 beer tickets were on the bottom of the race bib (Bud light & Micehlob Ultra), Gatorade, bottled water, granola bars, bananas, hot dogs & hamburgers. Picnic table seating. Race results were available to be printed for each participant. Shock top beer samples. Local running group was showcasing their upcoming races. A two person band played some music.
Award ceremony was held after all races had ended. Overall & AG winners were awarded medals or trophies. After the awards a raffle was held for prizes. (had to enter this raffle with a ticket, one free ticket with race entry, could purchase more)
My race: It was a beautiful day to run. I pushed myself and surprised myself with one mile at 8:26. However my overall time of 26:40 was good enough for 4th in my AG. Also got to hang out with some of my running friends. I have mentioned it before, but some races aren’t about the running, rather it’s about hanging out with your friends.
Overall: The price, game ticket, flat course and post race party are all reasons I will try to run this race again.