Be sure to add your blog to my blog list -- Click HERE or blog list above to add your blog!

Nov 11, 2013

#mustachedachedetroit 5k race review

Short Version
Finished in 23:25(official time); no new PR(PR is 22:18)
verall place: 57/945
AG(M40-59) The Mid-life Crisis Group: 10/78
Overall Pace: 7:33/mile
Race #59

The bottom line is this is the best 5k race I've run since I started running.  For a 5k, they offered an awesome shirt, cool medal, an incredible theme, the best 5k course I've run, free beer at the end, and an excellent post race party at Atwater Brewing.  It was truly an outstanding race.  RUNdetroit did an excellent job with their first event!


Long Version

Registration/packet pickup up

Registration was very simple.  You went online to the Mustache Dache website(HERE) and registered online, chose your shirt size and received a confirmation that you were registered.  It was all quite simple as it should be for any race entry these days.  The owner of the race,  RUNdetroit, and their Facebook page(HERE) gave many updates as the race came closer.  You also received periodic reminders that it was coming up once registered.

There was a few options for packet pickup.  You could pick up on either Thursday or Friday at RUNdetroit running store or you could also pick up race morning.  I opted to go down at my lunch hour and pick up my packet.  Justin and Alia, the owners were there giving runners their packets.  They were all set up with the shirts and bibs and checklist and I was in and out in a few minutes.  It also gave me an excuse to pick up a pair of Swiftwick socks at their store as well since I've been wanting to try the Merino wool option for colder weather.  If you have not come down to their store yet, you should make it a point to do it.  They offer great service and the expertise from the owners directly!

I love that races give you options for packet pickup and, for me, I always love getting my packet prior to race day as it's one less thing to worry about race morning.
RUNdetroit store front
Shirts for women(red) and men(grey) all set up and ready
Justin giving service with a smile and he's ready for this race with a full beard!(but he does normally has one)

Start Area
Normally I start this part out with stating that I had to get up at 4-5am to get to the race but not this time around.  This race started at 10am.  While I don't necessarily want all my races this late, it was nice to not have to get up so early on Saturday.  I got to sleep in and still race - a bonus!  Plus it was nice that it was later given the post race party had beer.......great beer.

It was really easy to find the start area and the parking was only a block away.  There was plenty of spaces and we got there about 9:25am with no worries of it filling up.  The start was in an industrial area of Detroit close to downtown and close to the riverfront.

Plenty of Parking near the start
Since we got there a little early, I was able to get a picture near the start line with the Mustache Dache sign.
Ready to run!
The timing company was all set up and ready to go!  It was a beautiful day for a run but was a bit windy.  Ok, ok, it was crazy windy!
Timing company is ready!
Before we headed over to Atwater Brewing to check it out, we made a stop at the bathroom.  Plenty of port-o-potties with these at the start and also more near the post race party area too.
In case you had to go
We made our way over to Atwater Brewery.  I had never been there before but have had a few friends who have gone there and described the industrial feel to it.  It was a great venue for a race.

Atwater entrance
Medals all ready for us
As you can see, the beer making equipment was all over the place.  While they were not making beer at the moment(at least that I saw), it was cool to tour around the factory and see everything.  It was also nice to get out of the cooler weather since it was windy outside.  The brewery has a bar set up inside(below) and also tables for people to drink and chat with each other.
Inside Atwater Brewing
Runners keeping warm
Some runners drinking before the race
We went out to check out the start area some more.  They had gear check.  At a 5k race?  Wow!  It's not something I would use for a 5k but there were others using it.  This is something pretty rare to see for a 5k race.  In fact, I've never seen it for a short race.  A nice offering.

Gear check
The white tent had runners still picking up their packets since they were not able to make it to RUNdetroit the two days before.
Packet pickup
Pickup line
After we looked at the start area, we went back into the building to stay warm until the race start.  Matt, who won the race entry I gave away on the blog, came up and thanked me again which was nice(he kicked some butt on the race too).  Then Amber, who follows the blog, came up and asked if I was Detroit Runner and we chatted a few minutes.

About 10 minutes before the start, the volunteers started announcing for people to line up since the race was going to start.  As we got in line and waited, Valeria, another reader asked if I was Detroit Runner too.  I love meeting people at races who follow the blog!  I always feel like a rock star(in my own mind.  Ha!  Speaking of rock stars, the race did a Jimmy Hendrix style National Anthem with just the guitar and we were ready to run.  There were lots of people with Mustaches and, while Kevin and I had real ones, there were plenty of fake ones and face painted ones(that were offered by the race).  What a fun theme idea for a race and for a good cause as well - Movember!
Runner ahead of me at start
Runners behind me at start
The course basically went down Atwater street starting in an industrial area and up past the Renaissance Center with a turn around at the Port Authority.  We made our way back on the riverfront and Riverwalk with a jaunt into the Milliken State Park.  I've never been at the State Park there and it was really nice to run through it.  As I said, this now goes down as my favorite 5k course of all time.  Obviously, I love running in Detroit and Justin and Alia, the owners of RUNdetroit put together an excellent course.
Map per Garmin
My plan was actually not to run this as hard as I did.  I had planned to just run this fairly easy considering I just ran a marathon a week before but I figured if I was feeling good, I would push myself.  No PR for me unfortunately but I was happy with my time given my still recovering legs.  As you can see, there was a slight dip in the pace.  I pulled off on the riverfront to take a quick picture with the Ambassador bridge in the background.

The elevation is flat, flat, flat and I was happy to see that!  I started off in the mid seven pace but had to run around a few people at the start.  I said to my buddy Kevin, we should have lined up a little bit closer to the front but it was still a pretty fast start.  When I got home to see my other splits(since I didn't look at the race), I could not believe that I had a negative split on this course.  It felt like I was slowing down at the end but apparently that was not the case.  It must have been the wind that helped because the wind was at our face when we went out and it was at our back on the way in so it kept me moving quickly.
Pace/elevation per Garmin

Splits per Garmin
Note: When I take pictures during the race, I don't change my pace or stop in the interest of safety.   I just keep running and I get what I can get from the pictures.   Some come out better than others but they give you a great idea of what the course is like.

I've been waiting for a nice sunny race day for quite some time.  It helps having the sun out as I tend to get much clearer pictures when running and today was perfect not only for that but to race as well.  We started in the industrial area right next to the Atwater Brewery entrance.  I love running in urban races!
Just as we started
Not long after we started, we made a couple turns and were running past Chene Park which is a really nice area and another fun thing to run by.
Chene Park on the left
As we continued on Atwater street, you could get a clear view of the Renaissance Center and part of downtown.  It was exciting to know we were going to be running past this soon.
Running to Renaissance Center
We also had an awesome view to our left of Canada and the State Park.  There was also some color still left on the bushes which was really pretty.
Our view to the left into Canada
We continued along Atwater Street as we headed for downtown.  Before I knew it, we were already at the one mile marker.
Near GM headquarters
Mile 1
As we got next to the Renaissance Center, the sun shining on the glass was really cool.  What a great place to run through.  Of course, if you didn't want to see the building, all you had to do was look to the left and enjoy the run on the Detroit river.
Back of Renaissance Center on Water
Our view to the left into Canada
As we passed the Renaissance Center, we came upon the Port Authority.  I've actually never run through this part of Detroit so it was a unique experience for me.  This part is very close to the Detroit marathon course but not on it although part of this course(on Atwater St) is on the marathon route.  We actually ran around the Port Authority building which in essence was our turn around to make our way back to the finish.
Running towards the Port Authority
Running around the Port Authority
At the turn
Time to come back
This time on the way back, not only was the wind to our backs but we had another awesome view actually running closer to the riverfront.  I loved this part of the race and if I lived closer to this area, I'd probably opt to run here all the time.  It's such a beautiful area of Detroit.
Lovely run
Even some of the trees on the river had some fall colors left on it too!
Riverwalk area
As I mentioned above, I turned around to get a picture of the Ambassador bridge and the result is below.  I've seen many people over the years take pictures of the Renaissance Center and this area with the bridge in the background.  Had I not been racing(oh yeah, this was a race, right?), I could have stopped to take tons of pictures but runners were coming up so I continued my pace.
Bridge in background(I turned around for this - that's the downward spike in my pace)
I've always felt the Riverwalk area is one of things that Detroit got right.  It really is such a nice area with the merry-go-round and benches to relax.  The fountain in the area was also still going which I was surprised to see so it was another nice treat for the runners.
Merry go round
Mile 2
Fountain on the right
I've also never run in William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor.  For those of you that don't know, he was a former Governor in the State.  How beautiful is that area?  Can you imagine what Belle Isle would look like as a State Park?
Going into William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor
Mustache directional signs everywhere - love it!
As we ran through the park, I got a shot of downtown in the background with a pretty area in the park.  This was an awesome place to run the race through!
A look back to the Ren Cen in the park
As we came out of the park area, we made our way back onto the streets towards the industrial area.  Before we headed back though, we made a detour back into the park again.
Back on the road
The volunteers directing people were so excited and enthusiastic.  It made such a fun race!
Volunteers were awesome
As you can see, the park area continues and it's so nice to run past the water and even a lighthouse.  I think running through hear took my mind off the hurt of a fast 5k.
Back in the park looking into Canada
Lighthouse in the park
I love that the race took the time to put orange cones along the area in the park where we needed to run.  It made it much easier to know where we needed to go with each step.  The volunteers in this area also did a great job directing us where to go.
Excellent course routing
Once again, we were back on the streets and heading back for that cold beer at Atwater Brewing.  I had already decided I'd be drinking a Dirty Blond based on some recommendations from co-workers who knew I would be there today.
Back on streets
While some of you might not like the industrial feel of this neighborhood, I love running in areas like this.  You can just feel the history that was once a booming part of Detroit.  They just don't make buildings like these anymore.
Back in industrial area
As we turned the corner, the three mile marker came and went.  We could see the finish in the background and it was time to pick up the pace to finish this race strong.  There were some spectators and volunteers cheering runners in when we got to the finish.  Overall, a really great, well planned, fun, beautiful 5k course.
Mile 3(and a girl running with a bunch of mustaches on her)
Aid Stations
The race didn't offer any aid stations on the course.  Not that I always stop for one on a 5k, but I think having one about halfway through the course would have been better and I'm sure many were expecting one.  Again, I will say that the volunteers that were directing runners on the course were awesome and cheering for everyone running by them.

Finish Area
Just as we passed the finish line, there were volunteers handing out the race medal.  Of course, it was a little mustache.  It's a great idea for a finishers medal.  The race also gave out solid dark chocolate mustache lollipops - another awesome idea!  Kevin and I got a picture at the finish before we went over to the post race party.  We were both raving to each other about the excellent course.

Volunteers with medals/chocolate mustaches
After our finish
Next, it was time to carb back up after the race.  For those of you that don't know, I went my entire 18 weeks of marathon training without one beer so I was REALLY looking forward to this after party.  What better way to celebrate a 5k finish than with an Atwater beer?
Beer!  Brewed in Detroit!
The beer was set up not only in the bar inside the brewery but also under a tent outside.  All you had to do was give them what you decided on and you got your free beer.  They had lots of choices.  As I said, I chose their Dirty Blond and my buddy chose their Vanilla Java Porter.  Both are excellent beers!
More beer!
Did I mention more bathrooms?  We were drinking beer after all.
For your post race food, they of course had water and beer and had some pretzels and bananas to go with it.  For me, the beer was the highlight of the after party.  Of course, it was about 10:30am when we were drinking it and I can't say I've drank that early in decades.  Haha!  It's 5 o'clock somewhere right?  Another reason I was happy for a 10am start.
Pretzels(for beer) and bananas
Avita water(from Michigan)
We sat down and drank our beer and talked for a little.  There was also food for sale as well if you needed more but we opted to stick with beer and pretzels.
Post race party
More food for sale
Enjoying the beer and the weather
They were also offering free Mustache rides.  You could also hashtag your photos on Instagram or Twitter and they had a color printer to print off your picture for free!  What another great idea!
Mustache Rides for charity
Teeter totter
There was also a mechanical bull you could try out.  This post race party had everything.  We didn't try it and not sure if some people did but we didn't stay around to watch.  It's a fun idea!  The race also was offering a few merchandise items as well such as Koozies, glasses, t-shirts and Shwings which go on your shoes.  In addition, they had face painting for people that wanted a mustache.  Haha!  Fortunately, I grew mine so no paint was needed.
A mechanical bull
Mustache Dache items for sale
This was definitely one of the most fun post race parties I've been to for a race with plenty to do after.  It was the perfect venue for a race.

For your registration, you received a chip timed 5k course that was closed to traffic on a great downtown Detroit course.  You also received one of the cooler race bibs I've received for a race.  Everyone received a Mustache Dache cotton t-shirt.  While I know some of you like tech shirts, as I do as well, but I also love to wear a regular cotton t-shirt too and it's nice this one was not white so I will wear it.  All finishers received a finishers medal.  A finishers medal for a 5k?  Count me in!  Finishers also received a dark chocolate mustache lollipop.  The chocolate was really good as I shared it with my wife when I got home.  There was also a post race party and one beer included with your entry at a local brewer, Atwater Brewing which is great beer!

The cool race bib!
Shirt Front
Dark Chocolate mustache for finishers
Finishers medal
Medal front
Medal back
The organization for the race was excellent.  The Mustache Dache website has all your answers to questions.  RUNdetroit did a great job keeping local runners informed of everything going on with the race as well.  The start area was well planned, the volunteers on course knew what they were doing, and the finish area was also very organized.  I saw Justin from RUNdetroit running around and he was certainly doing everything he could to keep the runners happy.  He and his crew as well as the people from Atwater Brewing were awesome all around.  Races always tend to be more organized when they are put together by runners and RUNdetroit did not disappoint.

This is certainly a race I would do again!  I love when runners put together races and it's clear that this organization knows what they are doing.  It goes down as my favorite 5k course and one of the most fun races I've been to.  It's a wonderful place in Detroit to run and the course showcases one of the best parts of Detroit.  The mustache theme is appealing to everyone.  The beer is incredible.  The weather was the best we could have asked for especially being in November.  I'm so glad I could be a part of this race and I especially want to thank RUNdetroit for entry not only for me but also for the giveaway I did a few weeks back.  RUNdetroit has brought an excellent new race to the area.  I hope to see them do more races in the future!  They just set the bar very high for everyone who does races in the area.
Kevin and I being nerds. ha!

Have a great day and....Keep Running!!!!

Note:  I received a complimentary race entry in exchange for this race review.  All opinions are my own and I was not required to give a particular opinion.


  1. I saw you there, but didn't get to say hi! :( You and Kevin were actually standing in front of my boyfriend and I inside before the race, but I was shuffling my stuff around and you went outside before I could say hi!
    I agree, this was a really great race! I very much enjoyed the course and everyone was in a good mood (even if it was freezing!). The costumes were also really great! I would do this one again in a second! :)

  2. Looked like a fun race! There should always be free beer at every race, Ha! :)
    Great pictures and recap as usual. Great job Jeff!

  3. We don't have any 5km races here, just to short... But I really think we should, so I think I should get the club I'm involved with to organize one. We have a problem here that the front boys (and girls) are getting slow and lazy... Looks like you have fun, and maybe you should have gone for it, and you could have run a good time? was there more in the tank?

    1. Ha not much coach. Remember, I did just run a marathon a week before.

  4. I hate 5K's. I have not ran one in years. I hate how painful they can be. I hate how short they are. I hate how I get up early, get to a race early, get all amped up to run and am done running in a blink of an eye. BUT after this review and seeing your photos, I wish I had run this race. I am definitely adding it to my 2014 race calendar!!!

    1. You will have fu.n Stephanie and knowing you, you will win.

  5. I wanted to run this race pretty bad, but by the time I was going to register it was all sold out. I was pretty bummed about it, especially because it was mixed up with the Atwater Brewery, which I have not been to yet.