Race Review: Big Gay Race
This past weekend I ran a tune-up race in preparation for my October half marathon. As previously written, the Big Gay 5k intended to raise awareness about the Minnesota marriage amendment. This comes up for a vote in November. Wanting a close, inexpensive race, this was an obvious choice. Here’s how things went.
Update: The marriage amendment was shot down!
I had a great race. I came in around 19:50 (6:21 pace). Since they didn’t use timing chips, that’s my official Garmin time. I have no idea how I did overall. My best estimate is somewhere in the top 25. With over 6,000 runners (many walkers), I made sure I started at the front of the pack, and stayed there.
The race itself was well organized. I signed up online hassle free, and picked up my packet on race day. They are a trusting bunch as they didn’t ask for my name, just t-shirt size. Since there were no timing chips, I understand why they didn’t need to ID us. I’m also thinking they wouldn’t mind if someone came just for the shirt.
Big Gay Race Course
I’m partial to any races in Minneapolis, especially around St. Anthony Main. The course was a fast out and back. We started on Main street (just under the Central bridge), crossed the Stone Arch, ran up West River parkway, and turned around past N 4th Ave in the North Loop neighborhood.
There were so many people running/walking that by the time I was finishing, a massive crowd of walkers were just starting to cross the Stone Arch. Surprisingly, it didn’t feel crowded, and with the exception of a clueless biker, I never once felt like I was going to run into anyone.
Since they didn’t have a map online, I wasn’t exactly sure where we would be turning. It was rather obvious because of the great job the dozens and dozens of volunteers did. There wasn’t much time to take in the awesome views of the city, but they haven’t changed in awhile.
As mentioned, we all got orange t-shirts with the “Vote No” logo for the amendment. The after party was complete with balloons, a band and other normal post race stuff. The food was something else however. They had several varieties of mini-cupcakes from Cupcake, and cookies from the Cookie Cart. They also had the usual bananas, cheese crackers and water. This was by far the best post-race food I’ve ever had! Note to self – 4 cupcakes after sprinting a 5k is not a good idea.
My only criticism would be the out and back course. I’m not sure how else they could have planned it, but I prefer a big loop to an out and back. There is a greater sense of accomplishment.
Overall this was a fun race on a beautiful Minnesota fall day. I don’t know if they will continue to have it once the vote happens in November, but I hope they do. It’s the perfect time of year for a 5k.