Do you lament how flat the Midwest is? Do you want to experience a race that blends trails, stairs, and asphalt? Sign up early for the Buckeye Classic 10K. This race is put on by M3S Sports, which runs several popular races in the Columbus area, and they do a great job. I ran this back in 2010 and it still ranks as one of my favorite races of all time.
PACKET PICK-UP: For the smaller M3S races, packet pick-up is always at Fleet Feet up in Lewis Center (near Polaris). It's pretty easy to get to and of course it's a good opportunity to pick up other running-related goodies.
SWAG: There's not as much swag for this race, but you do get a very nice sex-specific long-sleeved tech tee. (Note: the year I ran it, the tech tees were not sex-specific, but I found the men's small to fit quite nicely. It became one of my go-to shirts for running in the fall and early winter.) You also get a pretty cool looking medal at the end!
PARKING: There's plenty of parking at the Metro Parks, which is where the race is located. If you arrive closer to the start time, you may need to park further away from the race start and jog in for your warm-up.
RACE SIZE: The race is capped at 500 participants, which makes it a fun, smaller race. This works out well because you're running through Highbanks Metro Park on its trails, and those can get kind of narrow. As with any race, there will be some clustering at the beginning before everyone settles into pace for the duration of the race.
ELEVATION + RACE COURSE: If you run in Columbus typically, be prepared for some mega hills. If you're from hillier areas of the country like San Francisco, Atlanta, or Seattle, you'll probably find this less challenging. You're on the trails for the majority of the race until you get towards the finish, which winds you onto flat asphalt. I love that you can finish fast during this race because the terrain is flat and smooth.
POST-RUN: Be sure to enjoy some Snowville Creamery chocolate milk – so good. Local, whole milk free of antibiotics and full of deliciousness!
Overall I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this race, and I'm hoping to run it again this coming fall! It's a really fun and challenging race, especially before a long day of watching football.