I have to say, the weather did everything it could to “dampen” our spirits but this ended up being a really fun day (and it didn’t hurt that we had free entries which we won at the Cap 10k). We even drug the girls along and made it a family affair.
Billed as “The most delicious 5k ever”, and sponsored by Cooking Light, Health and John Hancock Vitality the goal of this fun run and festival was to introduce folks to some healthy and tasty food, recipes and lifestyle. In my opinion, it did just that… rainy weather and all.
There was one thing I was a little puzzled by though, so I will start with that. Pre-Race Day packet pickup was scheduled for Friday from 4:00pm-7:00pm at a restaurant in Round Rock, TX. This was either a miscalculation, was not very well thought out, or race organizers were not from the Austin area… no one in their right mind would drive to or from Round Rock in that time frame! Needless to say, we opted for Race Day packet pickup on Saturday morning, which was well organized and went smoothly (except for the getting up extra early part… I just kept reminding myself that the Friday afternoon option would have been MUCH worse!).
We got all checked in with plenty of time to check out the festival area. There was not really much going on pre-race, since this was intended to be a post race party, but we did talk to a couple vendors, and took a silly photo or two in the photo-booth.
Since this was a smallish event, there were no assigned start positions or corrals. The emcee suggested that everyone just start lining up at the start/finish line, and get ready for the pre-race warm-up which was lead by a couple energetic guys from a local gym I believe (I have to admit that once in the starting area, I was having a little trouble hearing the announcements). The warm-up was fun and they got about 50% of us to partake, although some of the moves proved a bit too advanced for some of us.
Sufficiently warmed-up… there was the usual countdown, and we were off! Considering the slightly confined space, the start was fairly orderly. The multi-use path at Old Settlers Park is nicely laid out, and flat (by Austin standards), and would be great for a run, walk or a short bike ride with the kiddos. The path did prove to be a little over it’s intended capacity with 850 or so runners/walkers. Many folks were forced to use the grass on either side of the paved path, and with the rain it was kind of slippery. We had already decided this would be a casual jog/walk for us, so we weren’t in a hurry and the slippery conditions didn’t really bother us. For the most part everyone made do pleasantly, aside from those (a few at every running event) who were hell bent on achieving a PR at a fun run.
The “on course bites” were very limited, and somewhat disappointing (the only part of race day that seemed not very well coordinated) I am going to withhold too harsh a judgement here since the looming rain may have kept all but the most tenacious vendors from setting up on the course (a big thanks to Bella Portofino Tuna, and KIND Snacks for braving the weather and offering us some on course nourishment).
We made it to the finish just before the hardest of the rain hit, and received our cool finisher’s medal (Ashley was entranced by the pineapple) and our goodie bag, which was nicely filled with items and samples from several brands that were represented at the event. Mine got pretty wet on the inside, so I lost some of the coupons that were included, but most of the items made it through fairly well.
The post race expo, dubbed the “John Hancock Vitality Village Food and Fitness Festival” was actually very cool! Taking the weather into account, this part of the event went very well. There were food samples from local restaurants, a beer and wine garden, LOTS of packaged food vendors, and several other health and wellness related booths. Enough stuff to keep us busy for an hour or so. The lines weren’t bad for most stuff, and between the four of us we visited almost every booth. There were cooking demos that kind of fell short due to the weather, but on a nicer day those would have been more enticing. We hung out until the weather started threatening again, and decided we should move on before we got caught in the next downpour.
All in all, for a event of this size (fairly small) it was well put together, well managed and was an event I would definitely consider participating in again.