Originally, I was going to skip this race, but was convinced on Saturday to run it on Sunday morning. Last year’s event was fun and the post race party had plenty of beer and top-notch food. I expected to find more of the same again this year. The weather was not nearly as agreeable as last year’s event or even the Elvis 5K the previous day. In fact, the worrisome 9:00 am start was not kind to us runners. If the event would have started at 7:00 am (preferred) or even 8:00 am (like the Elvis 5K), it would have been a little more forgiving. There was a breeze and cloud cover until 8:45, then the clouds parted and the sun bore down upon us. It became apparent very quickly that this race was not going to be a PR!
The first mile was bearable, but I decided to take it easy after that. The heat just beat me physically, and especially mentally. I still finished feeling better than I did after the second MRTC 5K, and my finishing time was a little bit better as well.
Swag: A-: Another Breakaway Bardog 5K, another great, super soft t-shirt. This race has certainly figured out how to make their runners happy with the race shirts, and that is certainly one reason you see so many of their shirts worn around town all year. I did not get a pint glass this year (only given to the first 350 runners to register), but it was very nice looking. The post race food and drink was basically the same as last year, which is a positive. It is hard to argue with Bardog sliders and veggie kabobs, as well as a large beer selection, with plenty of local brews. I used all three of my beer tickets to take advantage of this race perk.
Course: B+: A small tweak from last year eliminated a couple of the turns, which was certainly a positive, but crowd management was an issue for all 3.1 miles. Just over 1,000 runners finished this year’s event, but it felt like it was much larger than that. The post race party also was hampered a bit by the number of runners and limited space. The earlier you finished the race, the easier it was to get beer and sliders.
Overall: B+: Very fun post race party with a great spread, downtown course, and the proceeds from the event goes to St. Jude. You cannot argue with any of that. However, I would love to see the race incorporate an earlier start time to alleviate some of the Memphis heat. I am certain that I will participate in this event again (I was not certain of this at 9:35 am this morning), but hopefully it will be more like 2013 than 2014 for me.