What a great concept, get out and run to start your Thanksgiving!!
This is the first time I have run the Thanksgiving Day 5k in Minneapolis, but not the first time I have run a Lifetime event (I've also run the Torchlight 5k), so I knew I could expect a well prepared event, and this didn't disappoint!
Parking: I arrived downtown Minneapolis about an hour prior to the start of the race. I entered downtown from the western suburb and was able to drive right into parking ramp A. I was even able to park right outside of the skyway entrance (this is the skyway entrance that leads right into the expo). There was free outdoor parking at the meters due to the holiday, but I wanted the ease of getting right into the skyway that ramp A gave me.
Expo: I had the option to get my bib and long sleeve technical shirt at one of the local running stores up to a week prior to race day. I have done this in the past for the Torchlight 5k and knew it was an easy in and out of the store, but didn't end up doing that for this race. Therefore I had to pick up my bib and shirt prior to the race starting on Thanksgiving morning. I would say the only downfall to this pre-race pickup is that then you have your long sleeve shirt in had prior to the race beginning. Luckily I planned for this and made sure I had enough time to walk back to my car and drop it off prior to making my way to the starting line. The closer it got to the race start time, the more people there were in the Target Center hallway (the location of the bib and shirt pickup). I found it very easy to get in and get my gear, and then loved that I could stay warm in the building until needing to make my way to the starting line.
Course Scenery: This race takes you through downtown Minneapolis. You start by heading from the Target Center towards the Vikings Stadium. I really liked that you were able to see these locations while out on the run. The second half of the race loops you back around where you finish at the same spot as you started. I really like an out and back because you don't have to worry about getting back to your car afterwards!
Aid Station: There was one aid station around mile 2. With the cooler temps I didn't need any water at this station. I feel even having one aid station on a 5k race is great!
Post Race: There was an after race tailgate area set up in the outdoor parking lot right next to the finish line. I loved that this was all blocked off and you didn't have to walk far to get to it. They had plenty of water and gatorade, along with snacks and a few vendors handing out free samples (the kind you would usually get at an expo). I hung out for a little while and made sure to get my free cider (they also had cocoa and coffee) and my free Turkey Day Cider Mule. The cider mule was nice to try, and I liked the though of it, but really 8:30 AM on Thanksgiving morning was a bit early for me to want to have it all.
Overall this is a great race, that is well organized and a great way to burn some calories prior to the overeating that happens on Thanksgiving!