I recently participated in the John Hancock – Cooking Light & Health Fit Foodie Race Weekend in San Diego. This year, the event occurred in Fairfax, VA; Austin, Tx; Tampa, FL; and here in San Diego. It’s a full weekend filled with fitness demos, cocktails, parties, and a 10k/5k with celebrity appearances. The Fit Foodie Race also proudly supports the American Diabetes Association. The event ranges in price from $55-$160 depending on how involved you want to be with the weekend; however, there are usually Groupon deals with significant discounts. I actually participated in the 10k for free! But more on that later! Let’s move on to the review…
Packet pick-up was at Road Runner Sports the day before the race and I got in and out pretty quick. I received my bib and t-shirt, but they were also selling some cuter t-shirts and tanks. Then, the best part happened! We got to meet not one, but two race legends – Bill Rodgers and Meb Keflezighi! Bill was super friendly and chatted about his time running through the streets of Boston. Meb was also quite gracious and his daughters were even sprinting behind him on the treadmills!
The race was held downtown and the course ran through the Embarcadero and Seaport Village. It started around 7am, but I got there a little late and ended up parking almost a mile away. Oops. I was a little confused on exactly where the start line was, but that was just the beginning of my confusion. But it was actually a very beautiful day and even got pretty hot later in the morning. I also ran with a fellow Stroller Warrior and friend as well as my 4-year-old – whom my friend helped push along the way.
Now, let’s talk about the course- The 5k course just did one loop around Embarcadero and was pretty simple. The 10k course, on the other hand, was a bit of a cluster. First, there were a couple of splits during the course where the 5k runners went in one direction and the 10k runners went in another. Then, at one point, the course took you down a not so glamorous part of San Diego – filled with graffiti-covered industrial buildings and glass in the streets. I also had the pleasure of running by a homeless gentlemen who was yelling out obscenities and threats to us. I am not normally bothered by the homeless, however, for a moment it slightly took away from my fun race experience…especially since I had my daughter with me. Anywho, I digress. My biggest complaint about the course was that after a while it just became a bunch of confusing and never-ending loops. I even encountered a woman who had run an extra 3 miles because she got misdirected on the course. However, I will say that the course was filled with a good amount of friendly volunteers who were directing the runners as well as passing out water and keeping the energy flowing. I just didn’t like having to ask, “Is this the right way?” at every turn.
Then came the post-race fun and food! We were greeted at the finish line with a tote bag of goodies and medals! There were a lot of live demos, raffles, contests, samples, and the chance to test drive a Lexus. Now, since we started the race a little later than everyone and got confused along the course, this meant that we ended later than most people and ended way later than the 5k runners. Many of the sample areas had pretty long lines by the time I arrived and I didn’t have the patience to wait at all of them. Also, some tables had run out of things which was a little disappointing. Then there was the big “food area” that was really hyped up leading into the event. But I was a little let down to discover that this was nothing more than a tiny plate with two tiny food samples on them. 😦
The DJ was good at holding everyone’s attention and kept the party atmosphere flowing. I was also thankful that I got my pics and autographs from Bill and Meb the day before since the lines to meet them after the race were pretty long.
So what was the SWAG?!
I will say, there was actually quite a bit of swag and I like the phrase on the back of the shirt. If I had more patience, I would have waited for more swag but I felt that I received a good amount! My two favorites from this haul are the Country Archer Beef Jerky and the Jambu full-size notebook with pen. There was also a beer garden, but I didn’t check it out because I had a little one in tow. I also loved the medal, especially the pink ribbon! (The 5kers received a medal with a blue ribbon).
Overall, I enjoyed the event – although I don’t think I would pay the full price for this one, at least not for the 10k. Next time I would do the 5k to avoid the confusing course and so I could get to the post-race party quicker to score more samples and swag. I’m not sure what the Friday and Sunday festivities were like, but I guess I was expecting a little more food on race day since “Food” is what the event is supposed to be all about. I also recommend running it with a friend so they can join in on the party fun.
There were also free race photos! Bonus SWAG!
So how did I run this race for FREE?? Well the Fit Food Race Series offers ambassador positions for each of their locations. The ambassadors offer giveaways on their blogs for free race entries. I found one of the ambassadors on Instagram and ended up winning a free race entry! You can find her blog at Runs and Roses.
Have you run the Fit Foodie 5k/10k? What did you think?
See you at the next event!