For the first time ever, we registered for the Michelob Ultra Challenge of the Gasparilla Distance Classic. That’s four events over two days, for a total of 30.1 miles.
- 15K (9.3 miles)
- 5K (3.1 miles)
- Half Marathon (13.1 miles)
- 5K + 3K (4.97 miles)
What were we thinking? Not sure.
In 2011, the 5K + 3K was our first Gasparilla event and our longest race distance at the time. Last year, we bumped up the Gasparilla distance to 15K, which was shortly after we completed the Rock n Roll St. Pete Half Marathon. This year, we decided to go all out with the Michelob Ultra Challenge, despite running the Rock n Roll St. Pete Half Marathon two weeks prior and running the 10 mile Flatwoods Ramble last weekend.
I have to admit, we had some qualms with this year’s event. A race that happens once each year should run seamlessly. This year, it most definitely did not.
- After completing the 15K on Saturday, we had a long walk before hydration became available.
- Also on Saturday, we had to walk all the way back to the convention center and around the building just to get a banana, then double-back to reach the 5K Start line.
- Making us wait 2 1/2 hours to pick up the top 10% age group 5K finishers coffee mug was embarrassing. If it takes that long to calculate, tell us before the race that you’ll ship the mugs.
- No water was available at the post-race party on Saturday (on a day that city water was contaminated).
- The course maps online were unclear as to where the water positions were, which made it difficult for us to time out our energy intake.
- We were told we could drop off our 15K and Half Marathon finisher’s metals before the 5K and 8K, respectively, but we never saw the drop-off location.
- Ice towels ran out after both the 5K on Saturday and the 8K on Sunday.
- Sunday’s Half Marathon Start line port-a-potty setup (there weren’t many).
- Lack of real food (like Columbia’s) after Saturday’s races.
- You ran out of 8K and Select 55 Challenge metals on Sunday.
- The start line and first 1+ miles of each race were too backed up. Switch to corral starts next year like the Rock n Roll St Pete Half Marathon to avoid so much congestion.
-Allow Challenge runners a quick path back to the start line for the each race.
-Offer priority post-race food lines for Challengers.
- Allowing Challengers to begin races at the front of the Start line to give us ample time to return to the Start line for the subsequent race was appreciated.
- Saturday’s 15K Start line port-a-potty setup was efficient.
- Loved the Half Marathon and Challenger metals, as well as the jacket.
- Friendly staff (race staff, medical, etc.)
- AMAZING VOLUNTEERS!
- Best cheer station: Florida Blue Kid’s Running Program
- Runner up cheer station: Running for Brews
All-in-all, we had a blast and it was extremely rewarding to have the opportunity to challenge ourselves to 30.1 miles over two days! Race recap coming soon.
Did you run the Gasparilla Distance Classic 2013? Which event? What were your favorite and least favorite moments?