Finish in 22:37(official); no new PR(PR is 21:30)
Overall place: 135/3679
Overall pace: 7:17/mile
Registration was very simple for the race. I actually registered for the Thirsty Three series with this being number one. Running Fit makes it simple. They also have a website just for the Hightail to Ale race where all information was clearly spelled out. In addition, there were several emails keeping runners informed. Nice job!
The race had two options. You could pick up your packet the day before the race or you could pick it up race day. I decided to make the drive over to the Northville Running Fit store to pick my packet up early. I wanted to check out Hokas there too but they didn't have what I wanted to try. Packet pickup was from 4-7pm the day before so I went right after work. Coming from Troy, I made a huge mistake. I should never have bothered coming early because traffic was ridiculous and not worth the drive out there. Live and learn. The race also did a raffle for runners who showed up. I was only one number off winning something - darn!
It literally took 60 seconds to get my packet. They had things very organized and I was able to walk right up and get my packet. You could also pick up your packet race day before the race. I actually left work early to get down there but traffic took longer than expected. Race day packet pickup also looked really simple as there was nobody waiting and it was only a couple block walk from where I parked.
Speaking of parking, I parked in the Chene St. lot on race day, a designated lot, and there was a scammer there collecting $5 for parking. Running Fit was not charging for parking and as soon as they found out, the police showed up and the guy took off but I'm guessing he got $100 or more from innocent people. Hopefully it was good liquor he bought with my money. Seriously though dude, go get a job! To be fair, I did park in the lot an hour before the race said it opened so I had no clue he was scamming people. I also thought it was odd that the race didn't say anything about paying for parking so it was my mistake. Lesson learned.
|Running Fit Northville|
|Race day pickup|
|Packet pickup race day|
The start area was very organized. They had two streets used for starting and finishing and a parking lot where the packet pickup was located. Before, there was time to have a beer if you chose to at the brewery inside plus they had a tent set up outside too with draft beers of you choice - all Atwater of course, for $3 each. As we got closer to race time, it started to get extremely busy in the brewery and outside as well. Even with the amount of runners, almost 4,000, it was still very easy to move around. There were plenty of port-o-potties for the crowd with a long line of them. Much needed especially if you were drinking beer. Lol.
I chatted with several SEMR(Southeast Michigan Runners) as well as a co-worker before the race. The SEMR group planned to meet at 6:15pm for a picture at the start and with that we were ready to get in our perspective pace. The race organization did a nice job trying to get people in the correct pace and had signs up telling people where to start. In addition, they put this information on their emails so people would get it right. The race also had a blowhorn and was telling people where to line up too. I think that helped somewhat but many runners just don't listen especially runners who don't race often. The group I was in, about 7:45 pace, was listening and overall, most were lined up properly at least near the front(even though I went out faster)
There was an insane amount of runners behind us. Check out that crowd! They made a couple announcements for course direction and we were ready to go. I'm not sure why it is but Running Fit is fairly sporadic on the National Anthem and they skipped it for this race. It seems like something that needs to be added to the list so it's more regular at their races. I'm a traditional kind of guy like that and I like starting with it.
|Atwater selling beers for $3|
|Inside the brewery|
|SEMR runners group|
|People behind me at Start - wow!|
|People ahead of me at start|
The race said go and we really went out fast. I hate 5k's! They hurt! As I said, I started with about the 7:45 pace runners and, as you can see, finished the first mile under 7 pace. It was crazy fast for me even with the turns in the road. I settled down a little but still really pushed the pace for the other two miles as well. I was definitely racing this 5k and that was not even the plan - this was supposed to be a fun run for me. I probably should not have done that considering I was running a half also on Sunday. Oops.
|Map per Garmin|
|Pace/elevation 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.
As you can see, it was a bit crowded in the beginning but the race did do a wave start which I thing dramatically improved the quality of the race and crowd. I felt they did a good job keeping the paces where they should be and didn't feel like I had to pass too many people.
|A bit of crowd to start|
|The lovely blight of Detroit|
|Lemon James playing|
|Course Marshal - Ken!|
|Near Dequindre cut|
|Ready to turn|
|Back to Atwater|
|Port Authority with bridge to the left|
|Around the Port Authority|
|Lots of people still coming behind|
|Back to roads|
|Walkers still going|
|Final police car|
|Lemon James again|
|Brick streets - careful finish|
There were no aid stations on the course. It seems to me there should be one for the 5k but it seems to run 50/50 if there is an aid station or not for 5k's I've run. I personally would not use it but could see many wanting one. I think it would have been a fun idea to have a beer station but, of course, that costs money to set up.
The race had a first aid tent set up right at the finish. After you crossed the finish line, there were volunteers handing out bottled water to runners.
After you got your medal, they also gave you a bag of pretzels. This was a nice bonus because I figured that if you didn't pre-order food as the race showed on their website, I didn't think that you were going to get anything but a beer.
|Walk through brewery|
|Beer two choices|
|Giving out beers|
|Band at finish|
|Coming out of Atwater Brewery|
For your race entry($34), you received a chip timed 5k course with volunteers and police support. There was a QR code on your bib so you could check your results but mine didn't work since there was a hole in it for a safety pin. It looks like some of the bibs were made differently so it worked on their bibs. Results could also be searched on their website so I was still able to get my time before I even left the race. In addition, you received a finish line beer and Atwater beer is awesome!
The race also included a race glass with the name on it. While Running Fit usually does these glasses as finishers glasses, this time they didn't do it that way and instead gave them to people at packet pickup. This is a great idea and they should do it this way for all their races where they give out glasses. It kept runners from breaking their glasses.
You also received a cotton shirt and, frankly, I'm really happy to have it versus a tech shirt since I have so many. First I really like the grey color and the logo of the race is really nice too. In addition, as with many Running Fit race shirts, they are not plastered with tons of sponsors on the back of the shirt. Runners also got a race pin which is a signature item for Running Fit races. Finally, you received a finishers medal. Yeah, for a 5k! It's an incredible design as a beer bottle cap as well with it including a real bottle opener built in. The race also put its name on the ribbon. It's one of the best medal designs I've received for all my races and a very creative idea. It's also my first bottle opener medal.
|Medal with Bottle opener built in|
Organization for the races was very good. The start and finish area were very well planned and was really set up to handle the huge crowd they had for this race. The course was organized with course marshals and police and it came in at 3.12 on my GPS. The after party area was well planned. The website and emails provided excellent communication. The race acknowledged the medal issue of running out(even though they ordered enough due to dishonest people) and stated they would get everyone a medal that did not receive one. I was really surprised how well they were able to control the crowd and finish line area.
An excellent race for this inaugural year. As I've always said the race management company makes a huge difference in how things are handled and Running Fit, with the exception of a couple minor things, organized a superior race event once again. As one would expect the beer theme is a huge draw for runners and they picked a great venue. This is certainly one to add to your list especially if you like to drink beer and run. I can imagine this one is going to grow dramatically over the years as they sold out in their first year so next year be sure to sign up early.
Note: I paid for entry to this race myself. All opinions are my own.