The DAV 5K is a national race series presented by DAV (Disabled American Veterans). These races are held to raise money and awareness of the issues that ill and injured veterans race every day. New this year, in order to give back more support to the programs & services that DAV offers, the DAV 5K no longer offered official timing and Veteran Branch of Service T-Shirts. If running a timed/certified course is a must for you then this race won't check those boxes, however it's a great way honor those who served while getting some fitness in. I'd rather see more services offered to our veterans so I think this is a great use of resources on the part of DAV. I also appreciated the transparency.
Pre-race info: This is where race management lost a star. I did not receive a single email from DAV5K after registering for the race. You have to get all the race and packet pickup information from the website/google search. I'm not sure if this was also a cost-saving measure but it made planning for the race a bit annoying, i.e. I only found out there was packet pickup on Friday on that same day. The information on the website was good though.
Race morning - you can park in the paid Piedmont park lot or find street parking. I opted for the paid lot to save time and it was easy ($6). Leaving the parking deck/park area in general was difficult since there are many walkers in the race and the roads were still partially closed when I left.The start area is a 5-10 walk/jog from the parking deck and included free Chik-Fil-A biscuits, coffee, hot chocolate, etc. It was freezing so hot chocolate was amazing. The race ceremonies include a presentation of the colors, pledge of allegiance (that was a first for me at a race), and the national anthem. The motorcycle honor ride starts first, followed by runners (who they tell to start in the front), and then walkers. Everything went off right on time, which was much appreciated on a cold morning.
The race - the course is the 5k loop around Piedmont park which I've run many times. The course would be more fun/pretty if they used the roads/paths inside the park rather than running on the road around the park but it does make for really easy course markings since it's just right turns around the park. There was one water stop and they were handing out whole bottles of water, which is honestly a bit useless if you're running but probably not necessary if you're running a 5k in cold weather anyway. Just something weird imo which loses a star for aid stations.
Overall, I thought the race was well-managed and made for a great recovery 5k for me after several weeks of hard races. It was certainly a great way to celebrate Veterans Day.