- 5 miles/8K
- Road Race
I was really looking forward to this race. The race runs through Busch Gardens during their Christmas Town (hence the name + Dash) which is when they decorate their park for Christmas. Packet pickup was a breeze. There was no race day pickup, but we were in town for the weekend so we had no problem picking it up the day before. Pickup was located at a Dick's Sporting Good, which was easy, since it was the same as the year before. The swag was pretty good. You got a great long sleeve tech shirt (blue this year) as well as 50% off an admission ticket to Busch Gardens for 2014 and 2015. Oh, can't forget, a free Chic-fil-a sandwich as well. We also received a virtual grab bag, but it didn't include much in the way of deals.
Since the race was held at Busch Gardens, it was easy to get to and parking was plentiful. There were also a line of bathrooms at the parking and then again down at the start / finish line that was a short walk down from the parking.
The weather was a little chilly. It wouldn't have been as bad if it wasn't for the wind. As the race would go on, it warmed up but was pretty chilly pre-race and for the early portion. Luckily, my costume as Frosty included snowman looking mittens, which kept my hands warm. I was worried the course might be a little difficult, as I know Busch Gardens can be a little hilly. Overall, the elevation wasn't bad. There was a long hill at the beginning and some smaller ones elsewhere but most was just winding back and forth. The portion though the park was nice to see the decorations. While the race was during the day, I had still hoped that the lights would be on. Alas, they weren't. That was a little bit of a let down, but the non-light based decoration did not. I really enjoyed seeing the decorations. I was running the race with my sister, so we weren't running for time. We were running for enjoyment and paused to take a lot of pictures. The "worst" of the course were the parking lot sections. Not because they were overly bad, but because there were a lot of loop backs, which to me always feels like "Hey, I know you're running forward now, but you'll be back."
After finishing the race, there were Marines in dress uniforms to present our medals. The nice touch to the medal, being Christmas themed, it was also an ornament. This feels oddly appropriate to me as well, because for the longest time my daughter called my medals from the Disney Half ornaments.