Thanksgiving equals Food, Family/Friends, Football. Well it is time to add an Run to the mix! I have always wanted to run a Turkey Day race but never got the actual motivation to do it. This year was very different. I am very happy that I bit the bullet and signed up for the Century Link Turkey Day 5k in Minneapolis.
Take this with a grain of salt, but this race is perfectly located in Minneapolis. I realize that I live downtown so for me anything in downtown is perfectly located but the race start and finish is located near Target Center which has plenty of parking all over the place. Also, downtown clears out around the holidays, so there is a ton of on street parking.
*RACE HACK ALERT* - On holidays, street parking and meter parking is free in Minneapolis!
The Bib Pick-Up process is done very well. Up to a week prior to the race you can pick up you bib at multiple running store locations around the Minneapolis area. On race day, they open the bib pick-up 2 hours before the race so that you have no issues picking up your bib and shirt beforehand. The pick-up area is inside of Target Center, so you can keep warm while you are in there. Really fast and seamless, do not need more than 15-20min to pick up the bib.
*RACE HACK ALERT* - You get your race shirt before the race, so be ready to wear it or run it back to your car or have your spectators hold on to it.
Before the start of the race, there is a mini-expo/activities area set up across the street from Target Center in the parking lot. They had vendors that were giving out free stuff, they had giant turkeys to take pictures with, there were lawn games set up, and they were serving FREE COFFEE AND COCOA!
*RACE HACK ALERT* - Drink coffee then go do your porter-potty business!
The race course was very well set up through downtown Minneapolis. You started out by Target Center (a couple blocks away), then ran down to US Bank Stadium. It is a wicked view of the sun rising over the Bank (The People's Stadium as we call it here in MPLS). Once you got close to the stadium you took a hard left and turned toward the river. Once reaching the river, you take another left and head back towards North Loop. The finish of the race is kind of great because it is a four block straight-away. Turn on the boosters and power through to the finish!
*RACE HACK ALERT* - Although they separate you based on your anticipated mile pace, once the gun goes off they drop the ropes and everyone takes off running. Kind of a cluster at the beginning.
Surprisingly, there are a lot of spectators on the 5K course. There is also an aid station around the two mile mark. There were three different areas where there were photographers snapping pictures. Also, once you were making it through the finish line they had a DJ playing and the announcers were calling people's names out. That's always pretty cool. Most importantly, they had the Vikings SKOL LINE in the middle of the course. (Where my Vikings fans at?!)
*RACE HACK ALERT* - By yelling "SKOL VIKES" as you run past the drumline will award you with a shout out.
After finishing the race you are cleared through the finish line area. From there you are able to go back to the activity area to meet up with people. The unfortunate thing is that you have to go around the other side of Target Center to pick-up your after race food. You have to have your bib or medal to walk through that area.
*RACE HACK ALERT* - the food is setup right next to the legendary 1st Ave Theater. Make sure you find your favorite artist and take a pic with their star!
Overall, this is a pretty fun race. There is definitely a ton of energy and excitement at the event. You get great views, awesome course, and a bunch of sweep swag. Start your Turkey Day feast with a bomb 5k. That way you can have an extra piece of pie at the end of the day!