Mike and I ran the Torchlight 5k about a month ago, an event put on by Lifetime Fitness. This thing was epic. Thousands of people running through downtown Minneapolis right before the Torchlight Parade on a Wednesday evening. The weather actually cooperated and cooled down a bit (thank goodness). We ran along the parade route, so there were a ton of onlookers on the side cheering us on.
They did one thing very right with this race – the chip timers were on the bibs, so there wasn’t a need for any fussing over anklets afterward. Plus, as long as you registered your bib number online ahead of time, they automatically send you your finish time via email. VERY well thought out, considering there were simply too many people to deal with timing questions afterward.
The race began at the Basilica downtown, but the after party was happening at the finish line on St. Anthony main. Per the Torchlight organizers’ instructions, we decided to park at the finish and walk to the start. So we began walking….and kept walking….turns out there weren’t too many turns in the race route, because we had to walk about 2 ½ miles to get to the start. We BARELY made it. They started the national anthem right as we arrived, and the horn sounded 90 seconds later. Talk about the nick of time.
Because there were so many people packed onto Hennepin Ave behind the starting line, when the horn sounded, everyone kind of stood there and shuffled forward, itching to go. A couple minutes later, we started moving. With thousands of bodies everywhere, it was tough to keep a steady pace. Slower runners were blocking the way, while faster runners were dodging in and out trying to pass. It thinned out a little around mile 2, and then clogged up again at the walking bridge across the Mississippi.
These events are just soooo much fun. I think I have a perpetual grin on my face during a race this size. It’s just so cool to see THAT MANY people who are into any one type of activity gathered in one place! Even better yet, that thing is fitness J
The overall winner finished in 16:05, and the first place female in 17:06….seriously? How is that physically possible?? I finished in 27:00 even, and placed 432nd out of 2,847 females.
The post-race party was a nice touch – a great band (Lost Highway – good stuff, check them out) – very entertaining, even though country isn’t my thing. Every runner also received 2 free beers. There was some poor planning going on here – people couldn’t get in and out and everyone had to wait about 30 minutes for their brews. Come on guys, WE’RE THIRSTY! Oh well.
We lounged in the grass and listened to the band for a bit, then headed out for a super late dinner on a patio. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE summer?
Have you ever done a night race? What event have you participated in with the coolest after-party?