My goal of running a race in each month of 2013 has now officially eclipsed the eight month plateau! The eighth month of racing was realized when I ran in the fourth annual Breakaway Bardog 5K in downtown Memphis yesterday morning. This was my first time to attempt this race and I was pleasantly surprised by the event. The event is not hosted by the major race promoter in the area, and being that it is only in its fourth year of existence, the event logistics went rather smoothly. The only real issue was at packet pickup. Most races you can walk in, pick up your packet, and leave. For this race, however, it took a little over twenty minutes to get my bib and swag. I am purely speculating here, but my assumption is by hosting the event internally, with some assistance from the Memphis Runners Track Club for timing and course layout, the event is able to donate more money to St. Jude, which is definitely worth a little bit of a wait. Also, I do know that this year’s race was the largest yet, so with a boost in participants, a little bit of a learning curve is to be expected.
The weather certainly was better than expected for the third Sunday in August. While the humidity was at 90%, the temperature was only 72, and the dew point was actually under 70, making the race much more pleasant than August average of 91 degrees! The morning was also overcast, so there was no battling the sun during the run either. I know several people set PR’s yesterday. I was not one of these people, but I did, however, have my best time since February! I finished the race in 28:12, and more importantly, felt that I could keep going at that pace for a couple more miles.
The race is held in conjunction with Bardog’s anniversary party, so race participants are encouraged to stay after the race for an after party. There was beer, live music, and food in copious amounts. The finish line funneled you into alley beside Bardog. First, there was water available, then beer, then sliders, then peanut butter and banana sliders, then chicken salad sliders, fruit, and then more beer. Having multiple beer locations is always a prudent move for a race, especially a race at a bar! And since this was an event hosted by a bar, participants were treated to beer a few notches above Bud Light or Miller Lite. There was multiple brews from Yazoo Brewing, some Yuengling, Fat Tire, and many other beers that were much appreciated by the majority of the runners. I will say that I am thankful that I got my wristband prior to the race because that line was insane after the race. I had a couple of beers and sliders before heading home, but if I would have had a DD, I am certain that I could have been persuaded to stay down there for a little while longer! The post race party lasted until 11 am, and that point, the anniversary street party began. There was a world beer tour tent with about fifteen beers to try, and well as food and drinks to be purchased, a dunk tank, more live music, and a meatball eating contest. Proceeds from all of the events were going to St. Jude. I am very interested to see what the final donation total will be.
Course: A: It incorporated quite a bit of your standard downtown Memphis running course with one exception, no Beale St. Most races have you run up the hill on Beale before turning to the finish line. This race, however, had you stay on Riverfront for a couple more blocks and then turn up the hill onto Monroe where we ran past the front of Bardog, turned onto Main until Union, then turned onto Union to finish at the alley connecting Union and Monroe, which is where the after party was. And for all of you readers that are unfamiliar with Memphis, the city resides on the fourth Chickasaw Bluff which separates the city from the Mississippi River, This bluff makes for a very steep ascent on downtown runs. Riverside Drive is the street basically at the same level of the Mississippi.
Swag: A: The food and beer selection was awesome, which is to be expected with Bardog. The opportunity for the after party was also great, but I do hope that people went home to shower before the majority of the festivities. The race shirts were super soft tees, which means it is a shirt that I will actually where again in public, which I did yesterday afternoon. Seriously, all races should be forced to give super soft tees or tech shirts. No one wants a plain, scratchy white tee-shirt anymore. I also received a pair of Brooks shoe laces, a coupon to Aldo’s Pizza Pies (a sister restaurant to Bardog), a Bardog wooden nickel for a PBR, a free ticket to that evening’s Redbirds game, and a beer mug since I was one of the first 350 people to register for the race. Some of the participants also got Believe Memphis headbands, St. Jude sunglasses and koozies, and different race advertisements. I noticed that some people were upset on Facebook that they did not get the full allotment of swag. There are much better things to get worked up about than that. Oh well.
Overall: A: I am very glad that I chose this race over the Elvis Presley 5K that was held on Saturday. I know that the events are held in such a manner that I could have run in both, but I was never going to do that, so I am glad that I chose this one. I will certainly be making a return visit for next year’s race.
And on a nerdy side note, I wore my Batman Under Armour shirt for this race. I had several people comment on it and I even saw another runner with one on as well.