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The 2017 5k was on Friday April 21 at 7:30 pm. It was cool, around 45 degrees.
Registration: Available online starting at $25 and increased to $50 if spots were open at the expo. Included was a short sleeve unisex tech shirt, bib with timing strip, drawstring bag, finish on 50 yard line of Memorial Stadium.
Expo/Packet pickup: The expo open Thursday evening and all day Friday at the nearby Rec Center on campus. The expo was a decent size with area races, running gear and race merchandise. However, you did get to the expo space until after you walked through packet pick up. This started by going up to clerk that was representing the event you were running, you showed them your unique QR code that was sent via email. They scanned the code and gave you your bib. You could pick up someone else's stuff if they sent your their QR code. No IDs were needed. After you got your bib, you then went to the expo to get a drawstring bag filled with flyers and race shirt.
*Parking for all events was FREE surrounding the stadium area, however there was a lot of traffic, so if you arrived at a busy time just needed to be patient.
*Before the 5k (Friday evening) there was a pasta dinner held at the ARC (rec center) this also included a talk from Dick Beardsley.
Pre-Race: The 5k start was a few blocks away from the finish. There were a lot of participants that were managed with a corral start. No one was checking bibs when entering corrals. *My corral was so full, not everyone fit. There were port-o-potties everywhere. The National Anthem was sung live.
Race/Course: The course was around Champaign on the streets
-Scenery - Not very scenic, however was fun to run through a college town on a Friday night
-Terrain - All paved except finish on the turf football field. The paved portions were ok, few spots to watch footing.
-Elevation - FLAT!
-Spectators - Lots of family/friends spectating near the start, and lots of people in the downtown college area.
-Aid Stations - One stop, there was liquid, I didn't stop so not sure if there was something besides water.
-Course markings- No problems figuring out which way to go. All major intersections had law enforcement
-Photographers - Marathonfoto at the start and finish
-Volunteers - there were so many volunteers, at intersections, pre-race, post race, very friendly.
Finish: The unique part about this race is the run onto the football field, the finish timing mat with arch is at the 50 yard line. You are handed a cool medal, and there is a chance to grab a bottle of water. Participants are then encouraged to move off the field. No post race food on the field.
There was access for spectators to sit in the stands and watch their friends and family finish.
Post Race: The concession stands were the place to go for post race food. There were bananas, Nature Valley Granola Bars, and Jimmy John's sandwiches. The actual party was on a nearby side street outside the stadium. This year was the 150th anniversary of the school, there was cake!! Also you could wait in line to get a craft beer while listening to some live music. Local food trucks and race merchandise were available for sale too.
My race: With the marathon the next day, I was using this as a shakeout run...get the legs loose. I just wanted to run some miles, so no goal, but to finish.
Overall: What a fun 5k! If you register early the price is great and you finish on a football field and get a medal!