I am so behind on posting! Let’s catch up! Last Sunday, I ran the inaugural St. Pete Run Fest half marathon. I was excited about this race because it ran through downtown St. Pete. I spend time there but I never really get to “see” the area so this was a great chance.
The race was great at hyping itself and continuing to announce new and awesome race perks! I mean, besides looking like a good race, I signed up because they offered me a free hat! I’m not usually swayed by medals but quality swag gets me every time!
On Saturday we headed to the expo and packet pickup which was over at the Mahaffey Theatre and Saturday Morning Market. I love that it was combined with the morning market cause it allowed us to do some local shopping while supporting the businesses that supported the race. The only thing I would change about packet pickup would be to put it in the lobby of the mahaffey or maybe even at the Rowdies stadium. Otherwise, it was an easy-peasy pickup!
The great thing is that we were able to just drive over on race morning. We got there about 6am with the race starting at 7am. The music at the start line was bumping and it was easy enough to self-place for time and get going.
So, to be 100% honest I’m not a huge fan of the course. It’s a good course but it has quite a lot of turns. Some people love that, I’m not one. For me, it makes the race feel longer. I don’t know why but that’s just how it feels. There is a lot of construction going on downtown so I don’t know if the course will change any as that lets up.
The best part of the course, by far, was running through the Tampa Bay Rays stadium. My pace was going great at this point but I had to stop and take a bunch of photos…cause obviously!
It was a nice reprieve from the sun and the heat to get some of the milage inside!
When you came into the stadium they had the camera turned on so that you showed up on the jumbotron! It was awesome!
I had to take a quick detour and get a photo in the dugout cause, well why not!? Then you get to run out of the stadium and up a nice little hill! All around downtown. As we were coming down Central Ave into 1st your could feel the heat and humidity starting to rise. This course it completely open to the elements. There was some shade from buildings but not very much. I saw Jon at the turn onto Bay shore and I was starting to feel spent.
I had been pretty good about staying in front of the 3 hour pace group up to this point. Right when Jon saw me they passed me. I told him I was fading but kept going. The last 3-4 miles of this course felt long! The wind stopped completely and the sun just shone! Now, this has ZERO to do with the race organization but has to be noted. I’ve never seen so many people walking on their way back. I saw my friend Karen heading back and she was walking and she was about 20 minutes behind where she normally is. I knew I was screwed.
They were able to add in 2 bridges (ok 1 bridge that you got to cross 2x). And it was just before this bridge that I texted Jon and said I’m done and walking!
About 2 miles from the finish another L.O.U.D runner caught me and was so excited to find someone! We chatted and got to know each other and decided we should try and run again!
We crossed the finish line in 3:10:08. Not too shabby considering the heat. And about 20 minutes past my normal half time. However, the post-race party is where this race WINS!
When you finish they hand you a medal and a race specific tervis tumbler pre-filled with water! They made a big deal about the race being as green as possible and that is amazing!! Then you got an Orangetheory/St. Pete run ICE COLD TOWEL (see above picture of it on my head). It was absolutely needed and amazing!
Then you head into the post-race area that was sporting a beer/wine garden, food from Outback, Carabba’s, and Bonefish Grill. And the BEST part was the Beach Snowballs! I’ve never heard of them but it is quite possibly the best snowball I have ever had! I will be seeking them out next time we are at St. Pete Beach!
I also made it a mission to track down the St. Pete Running booth to grab an inaugural poster! I’ve made the trek to St. Pete on more than one occasion to buy from their store (go local) and I wanted in on this action! Thanks St. Pete Running for an awesome addition!
All in all, this was a great first time race! I’ve already got this weekend blocked off on my calendar for next year! Hopefully, they have a new tervis every year and I can start a stellar collection! If you happen to be in the St. Pete area the weekend before Thanksgiving next year this race is a must!!!