I saw a bunch of reviews of this race last year and it looked like a lot of fun so I knew I wanted to give it a try this year. But the price was a little daunting. However, a friend of mine found a discount (either Groupon or Living Social, I can't remember which) where it was $30 for the race and we were happy to jump on that. This price included the race and the runner's village afterward but no shirt. It also didn't include the happy hour the evening before the race or the workouts/brunch the day after the race.
We decided to make a weekend of it and get a cheap hotel room close to the race. We had our own dinner/happy hour Friday evening before the race :) We all knew that we were planning to treat this race as a fun run and not worry too much about time so we indulged in a couple drinks and yummy food.
The race was in the Mosaic district in Virginia, and I had never been here before so it was a new location to me. There was plenty of parking and we had no problem at all. We were also doing packet pick up on race morning but this went smoothly as well. There was very little line and the packet just consisted of the bib at that point so we didn't have to go back to the car. One of my friends did have to use the bathroom and the line for that was so long that she didn't make it back to the start line until after the race had started. But that seemed to be the only logistical snag.
All the warming up
Once we got our bibs, we joined the group warm up that was going on. It started at 7am and it was fun. There was some dynamic stretching and some dancing and the guys leading the warm up was definitely engaging. One of my friends thought he may have been a little too chipper.
The other strange thing is that it was around the 3 mile marker, but the first time we past it my Garmin indicated we were around mile 1.5. We were very confused and a little worried that maybe we had missed a turn somewhere. But there were tons of people around us and all going the same way, so we weren't sure how that was possible. But then as we got to the finish line, there were volunteers directing us to keep going and directing people that were actually finishing to the finish line. So we ran right past the finish line and kept going to finish the second half of the race. I was definitely not a fan of that, mostly because it was just so confusing.
But the race itself was probably the least important part of this event. It's a weird thing to say but even though I didn't love the race, I will probably do this event next year and my friends all agreed. And that is because the runner's village after the race was so awesome! Once we finished, we were handed a bag and a bottle of water. The bag had some coupons, discounts, and a couple snacks. Then there were tons of tents with local restaurants giving out food samples. I have no food photos because I pretty much shoved everything right in my mouth!
I felt like there were plenty of options for vegetarians and one of my friends doesn't eat gluten and she felt like there were plenty of options for her as well. The lines weren't too long except for a couple booths so we just skipped those. Some of my favorites were the cheese samples, the house made poptarts, the Korean tofu, the kale salad, and the gazpacho. But there really were tons of options, and so much swag that we began running out of space in our bags! There were also several photo opportunities and we definitely took advantage of those :)
Lastly, there were stages with fitness demos and cooking demos going on and I thought that was a really nice touch. There was also a tent for a gym where they were doing massages, assisted stretching, foam rolling, etc.
All four of us felt like this was something that we would definitely be interested in doing next year. The 5k itself was just ok but the experience afterward made the whole thing worth it. It was very family friendly, we saw several kids and strollers. It was also walker friendly and very supportive down to the last person to cross the finish line. There were also 2 water stops, which was great given the humid weather.
Now, I'm not sure I would pay full price. I would probably still only do it again if I found another discount like we used this time.