On Saturday, December 21, 2013, I traveled to Twin Lakes Park in Sarasota, Florida to participate in the Frosty 5K. This race is now the first race in a three-part series of the Active Suncoast 22.4 Challenge. Since costumes were encouraged, many participants showed up in full Christmas attire including a group of sparkly white and red tutu’s, boxer shorts with holiday prints, holiday shirts, antlers, Santa hats and other holiday “gear”.
There was also a group of people dressed as snow – er, well – snowpeople! Great enthusiasm with the costumes for sure!
Due to the popularity of the race, along with the 750 runner cutoff and finisher’s medals being promised, this event sold out back on November 29. Because there was an incident on the interstate (I-75) involving a car fire, it caused some participants to miss the race and a grand total of 662 finishers were listed on the race results.
Since registration opened at 6:15am, I got there relatively early in order to pick up my race packet and bib. I also wanted to visit with old friends and do a little mingling as a brand ambassador for Emergen-C. It was dark when we arrived, so I visited for a while, but then got busy passing out Emergen-C product samples and getting some photos.
We moved to the race start area and the race began timely at 8am with the Florida temperatures already soaring well into the 80s. We went through the start gate and ran through the parking lot on a gravel surface and made a left. We continued through the parking lot until we got to the entrance of the park and then we turned left onto a very grassy section. We cut through this grass for a short period of time until we got to a very pleasant blacktopped neighborhood area. (Those of you that follow me know I have serious issue with surfaces that are not level, so I was not off to a very good start for this race with the gravel and the open field of grass.) Once we got to the neighborhood streets, I was relieved to see that the streets were very level although sloped slightly downhill on each side presumably for drainage. There were tons of volunteers that kept everyone directed properly and there were no problems with the course, both in mileage and marking. Everything was made very clear and it was a very easy route.
When we got near the 3 mile mark, we came around a lake and again came into a gravel area for the remainder of the race, but it was fairly consistent and shallow, so I didn’t have any problems with the gravel. There had been a young woman in front of me for the last half mile of the race or so. She and I had played a cat and mouse game for 2 of the 3 miles of this race with our run/walk sequences. One I hit the last tenth of a mile of this race, I bolted and crossed the finish line with ease. No records were broken in my book, but again I was able to shave some time off my last 5K without breaking too much of a sweat. (We had plans to go shopping after the race and I was doing my best to keep my hair intact! LOL!)
After the race, participants had an opportunity to get a photo by the blowing snow machine, grab a bite to eat from Gecko’s and Chik-Fil-A, coffee from Dunkin Donuts or a beer from the beer truck. Because this race is so well put together and has so much to offer, I wouldn’t be surprised if people are on the lookout next year and it sells out again!
The bling was exactly as they had promised – very sparkly and spectacular for a 5K event! I mean, come on, who gives out bling for 5ks? I was told later that it was actually a bottle opener although I missed that initially. The ribbon for the medal is also very beautiful and I’m proudly hanging mine among my half marathon medals.
I will also be participating in the other two events totaling the Active Suncoast 22.4 Challenge, which are the January 26th Active Suncoast Half Marathon in Lakewood Ranch, and the Sharks Tooth 10K in Venice on April 12th! I hope I see you all there!
In case I didn’t already say so – thank you Active Suncoast Foundation for a great race!