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Jan 19, 2014

Auto Show Shuffle 5k race review

Short Version
Finished in 23:25(official); no new PR(PR is 22:18)
verall place:  28/619
AG(M40-44):  4/40
Overall Pace:  7:33/mile

Race #63!!!!

Overall, a fun race in downtown Detroit.  I loved the course and it's the first time I've ran on the dequindre cut.    It was a great course, decent medal, with a horrible shirt but I'd come back just for the course.  First time my timing chip has ever failed in a race(times listed are now corrected and official)


Long Version

Registration/packet pickup
Registration was done all online and was very easy.  All you had to do is input your information into the website and pay with credit card.  Hughesware handles it all and they have always done a nice job.  The company also had a website which you can see HERE.  It had answers to all your questions.  My name was incorrect on my bib which was strange but they corrected it before I even finished the race and it was correct on the printed results.

You had the option to pick up your packet the day before at a Tim Horton's location in Detroit.  While I did not pick up there, the website had the wrong address originally but the race sent out an e-mail with the correct address prior to the start of packet pickup.  In addition, you could pick up your packet that morning at the Port Authority which is what we did.  We got there pretty early(6:40am) and the race was all set up and ready for runners.  They opened at 6am - yikes!  We were able to get our packet and put it back in the car.

Parking was right across the street from the Port Authority which was very convenient.  The only issue we had was when we were leaving, the parking company was having issues with getting people out but that was not the races issues.  The race also offered 50% off parking so it was only $4.50 to park for the race.
Parking Garage across from Port Authority
Our view from the parking garage
Ren Cen next to the Port Authority building
Port Detroit
The registration area was also open for runners to remain inside during the wait time before the race.  That's good since it was freezing outside and we would have remained in the car otherwise.  I saw the race director, Emily, numerous times during the event including at packet pickup and at the end giving out medals.  I love seeing that commitment.

Start Area
The Port Authority building was right next to the start so, fortunately, we could stay in the warm building until just before the start time.  We had planned to meet at 7:45am outside by the start with the SEMR group but it was too cold so I didn't go.  I did see a couple people from the group though.  In addition, we were able to use regular bathrooms inside.  I didn't see any port-o-potties by the start but it appeared the bathrooms were enough for the runners that were there.  
Welcome sign
The race had two location for the race bib numbers.  On the first floor as you walked in and on the second floor if you forgot.  Haha.  Great idea.
First floor bib numbers
 The race had signs up pointing to registration as you can see below towards a flight of stairs.
More signage
As you got into the second floor, the packet pickup was set up with the volunteers ready to help you.  You gave them your packet number and they got your shirt, discounted parking and bib.  The shirts were huge so my running buddy and I asked for an exchange from medium to small which they did.  Later when I got home I learned that they ran out of shirts so perhaps the volunteers were not supposed to exchange sizes?
Packet area
The race also had a sign with the certification of the course which is always nice to see.  I love that they took the extra time and money to make sure the course was at least 3.10 miles.
Certification of 5k course
 On the other wall was the bib numbers again in case you forgot or needed to look up another bib.
Bib numbers on second floor
One unique thing they had was gear check inside.  Wow - gear check for a 5k is almost unheard of!  While we did not use it, it was nice to see the option.  I could see using it if you were running late and wanted to just check your package and go race without having to go back to the car.  It was an option they probably did not need to offer considering how close parking was but it was a nice touch.  My only issue with it is that if you are going to offer it, you probably should not allow anyone in that area to keep things more secure - just an idea.

Gear check area
Since we had plenty of time, we sat and talked and also grabbed a quick picture of the three of us.   We also met up with my sister-in-law who was also running the event.

Me, Kevin and Trieu(or Larry, Curly & Moe)

Before you know it, it was time to go outside and race our first race of the year!

I had a fairly decent race overall and was pretty happy with my time.  Still no new PR but this was all for fun anyway so I was not shooting for a PR.  I just wanted to push myself and I accomplished that today.  

This is the first time I've ever had my timing chip not work properly.  My results showed 24:49, however, my Garmin showed a time of 23:25.  I thought it was strange that I was that far off of the timing company so I e-mailed them and they modified my time officially.

The timing company almost immediately e-mailed me back and said I was one of three that their chip did not register but they would modify it within 24 hours.  Officially I finished in 23:25 - good for fourth in my age group!  Woohoo!  I'm excited with that.

You can also see the trouble I had at the beginning of the race for the first two minutes as my pace was jumping all over the place since I was weaving in and out of the crowd.  Haha!  I was still very happy with a 7:36 first mile.  I was then able to pick it up a little once there was not so large of crowd.
Course Map per Garmin
Super flat
Check out that temperature! No wind! yea!
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. 

The race had over 600 runners and it was quite crowded at the start area.  I'm not sure the race could handle much more than that given the very slow start and people being at the incorrect pace.
Runners in front of me at the start
Runners behind me at start
We got a quick picture before the start
The race did the National Anthem and we were off.
Crowded start
I must have passed at least 100 runners or more in the first quarter mile and many of them were walkers so I definitely would go up closer to the start next time.  Either that or the race needs to make an announcement for walkers to be at the back.  Of course, it probably didn't help that we had an absolutely gorgeous morning as the sun was coming up really, really red and everyone was looking at it.  No better way to start the day than with a great sunrise at a race.
Gorgeous sunrise
As you can see, the race did a great job keeping all the snow and ice off the course overall.  It was pretty crowded to start but after I got past some people, it cleared up.
On Riverwalk
Beautiful even in winter
We took a turn off of the riverfront and onto Atwater street slightly.  For those that have run the Mustache Dache, this is part of that course as well.
Atwater st.
The course again turns and heads towards the Dequindre cut.  I've never run or biked on it and it was very nice.  Very industrial but a nice place to run.
 Here we are heading under Jefferson Avenue on the Dequindre cut.
Dequindre cut
Jefferson Ave bridge
 The course had some graffiti on the sides of where there used to be bridges.  It actually added to the urban feel of the course.
We made a U turn and headed back since this was, for the most part, an out and back course.  It was nice to be able to see the winners as well as pass some of the people behind you too.
Turn around
Mile 2
Great signs directing you
The old bricks in the road were a bit slippery when running on them which may have slowed people down somewhat but I liked running on them and seeing the RenCen coming ahead

Great volunteers directing
Getting back to the State park
Back to the park
William G. Millikin State Park is a hidden gem in the City of Detroit
Carousel to the left
GM headquarters on the right; river on the left

I tried to take a picture with my camera holding it the other way.  I happen to get lucky with the picture below of the RenCen.
RenCen closeup
Mile 3 - if you look hard, you can see the Ambassador bridge
Success for my first race for 2014.  It was a fun one!

Aid Stations
No aid stations on the course.  While it's not that big of deal on a 5k course, it would have been nice to see an aid station half way through the course.  I have to admit it would have been pretty darn cold for the volunteers if there were one.

Finish area
The finish area was right in the same building as the start area except it was on the lower level of the Port Authority building.  The race had everything very organized for runners finishing and you were able to get your post race food very easily.  The course offered chocolate milk, water, bagels and bananas.  There's nothing like chocolate milk after a great race.
Finish area
I ended up paying $25 since I received a $5 coupon code, that the race offered for earlier entry, so the total cost was $27.95 with the handling fee online.  Overall, a great price for what you received.

You received a short sleeve tech shirt, a finishers medal, a certified 5k course which was outstanding and well protected from traffic, chip timing including a bib with the race name, finish line food, a place to stay warm before and after the race, 50% off parking, a Tim Horton's coupon, and two discounts on tickets for the Auto Show in Detroit($8 savings).  The only issue was the tickets needed to be used that day - not sure why but I didn't end up using them.
Race bib
Auto show discounts and Tim Horton's coupon
I do have to say that I heard many did not like the color of the shirt.  Actually, I don't mind the color of the shirt, however, the logo on the shirt is horrible and ridiculously huge.  It's clear that whoever designed this shirt is not someone who runs.  I wish race organizers/presenters would realize that when a logo this large is on a shirt, it does not breath like it should especially when the material has been added to the shirt instead of screened into it .  Also the shirts made by A4 always run huge, and you sweat terribly with these because they don't breath like a Brooks or even a Leslie Jordan brand shirt.  While races want you to wear the shirt for training/other races to promote their race, given the size of the logo, unfortunately, I'll probably never wear it.  This is a good example of what not to do for race shirts since the race will now get less free marketing as I'm sure many runners will agree with me and will not ever wear it.
Shirt Front - ugly, huge, and thick logo on shirt - poorly designed for runners
Shirt back - typical sponsors
The race also included a medal.  Frankly, I don't think anybody has much to say when you receive a medal for a 5k because we are lucky to ever get one but I'll give my opinion.  First, it's nice to get one for a 5k - and appreciated.  Second, I think they really missed the boat....errrr, car? on this one.  It seems an automobile would have been the way to go but regardless, it's not a bad design or size and the ribbon also has the race name on it which is nice.
Medal with ribbon
Medal close up
Personally, I did not experience any issues with the organization.  The race director, Emily, is the same person that directs Rock CF which is another outstanding race on Grosse Ile.  Except for the incorrect address at packet pickup for the day before, I heard that the race ran out of shirts and medals.  It's always my biggest pet peeve, and a difficult one to control for races, but the race is going to order more and get everyone a shirt and medal that was promised one.  I've never experienced not receiving a medal but I can imagine it would be disappointing to finish and not get it.

Other than that, the race had great communication via e-mail, well organized start and finish areas, plenty of volunteers everywhere including HAM emergency personnel on course(Thanks Bruce!).  One suggestion I would have for the race is to figure out how to charge either $4 or $5 for parking instead of $4.50 as this likely slowed down the ability to leave the parking garage by quite a bit.  While I don't consider this the races fault, I would have been happy to pay $0.50 more to get out quicker.

Overall, a good race with an awesome course.  Frankly, I thought the course was one of the better 5k courses I've run on but I also love running on the Detroit riverfront and the Dequindre cut was fun too.  I didn't love the medal but, frankly, we are lucky to get a medal for a 5k race so I'll take it happily.  The shirt needs some work and it would be nice if they could get it about 50 degrees race day - lol - but I know that won't happen and I was happy to see that the course was primarily cleared of ice and snow.  Overall, it's a great race to start off the year and I would certainly do it again.

Race #63 complete
Have a great day and....Keep Running!!!!

Note:  I was not compensated in any way for this post. All opinions are my own.


  1. Great pictures of the course! Makes me feel a bit cold with you all running in all of that snow though :) Congrats on a great race!

  2. Ground still looks icey, was it slippery, did anyone fall?

    nice solid run well done.