This is my review of the 5k that I did on Sunday, Fleet Feet’s Opening Act 5k.
They actually had packet pick up at their three store locations on different days, so you didn’t have to deal with too much congestion when you went to get your bib and stuff. They didn’t have too much in the way of swag, just a t-shirt and a key chain, but they still look pretty neat and for a race under $20, you can’t expect too much!
Packet pickup went pretty smooth, so no huge issues there.
Their decision to start the race at 8 a.m. was one that left a lot of runners wondering why. I would have preferred a 7 a.m. start to help beat the heat, myself.
They had you park across the way at the mall, then walk about 15 minutes or so to the starting area. Once you got to the starting area you lined up in your wave corral. There was a table handing out cups of water, a few portapotties, and bathrooms at the amphitheater, but no shade. So depending on how early you got to the start equaled how long you had to wait in the sun.
The Course and Race
The course provided almost no shade. And it basically looped around the mall so not much on the scenic view. Pretty boring other than the four music areas you passed by, but even then it was hard to get pumped up. Also, I felt the course was a little on the hilly side, but that could have been just me. They did have a couple well manned water stations and several Fleet Feeter volunteers out on the course to give you some support, but other than that, actual spectators were pretty slim.
The finish was down hill which was nice, but by then I was struggling because of the humidity and earlier up hills. There was also a small cheering section and you could hear the band starting up. At the finish there was a guy scanning your bib chip, and then a couple of volunteers handing out ice water-soaked towels. I wish they would have had the water closer to the finish instead of where it was at because a) it was a little hard for me to find and b) seemed a little disconnected from everything.
Post race was nice once you were able to get your water and refreshments and find a place to sit down. They had a live band playing, which they interrupted for a few minutes to hand out awards, and they also offered one free beer to participants if you wanted one and were old enough to legally participate. Other than your usual fair of oranges, bananas, and breads, they had sodas available to you as well.
Then you had to hike back to your car the same way you came in, except all up hill this time in much warmer weather. Now, I get that it’s summer time and the weather can’t be changed by people, but at the same time I felt maybe you could have offered a type of shuttle service or something to help people get back to their cars after the race.
All in all, it wasn’t a bad race for a first running. Organization was pretty much spot-on, and other than a few details that can be sorted out later, everything flowed really well.
I don’t know that I would do this race again, unless there was a course change or something else, but for a quick, cheap race it is a fairly good time. I give it a 7 out of 10, as far as a score. If you are looking for something easy and simple to dip your toes in, this probably isn’t the race for you, unless they do a course change. But for someone looking to be challenged on a 5k course, this is your race.