- 3 miles/5K, 13.1/Half Marathon, Other
- Road Race
This is my favorite local race. I will continue to do it every year.
I did the 5K and Half Marathon Challenge (5K Saturday and Half Marathon Sunday). For this you do get an additional "bonus" challenge medal. (Who doesn't love extra swag?!)
First, prices are reasonable, it was $100 for the "Challenge" - both the 5K Saturday and Half Marathon on Sunday. This fee comes with 2 tickets to the festival per day, plus your bib for each day is a ticket in. So essentially 6 tickets (@ $5 each, value of $30 right there!) plus the swag is amazing! Great tech tank top for the Half Marathon (love that it was different from the 5K, so you get two different styles) and the medals are so colorful and really high quality. Like, people will think you just won first place at something extremely important.
Plus you get a really nice post-run breakfast (eggs, hash browns, bacon, muffin or corn bread, apple sauce, yogurt, banana - yes, really, all of that!) AND you get to see the giant hot air balloons and participate in the festival afterwards! The value for what you pay is great and, more importantly, the day itself is just really enjoyable and memorable.
The race management is very organized, packet pickup is a breeze, plenty of volunteers to hand out water and Gatorade at aid stations, plenty of really nice volunteers to help you find your way if needed (though parking and navigation is a BREEZE at this location) and PLENTY of CLEAN porta-potties with the little hand-sanitizer stations (runners, you know how much this means!!). And Go-Go Squeez (apple sauce) was handed out at mile 8, which is what I use for run-fuel anyway after the 1st Plano Balloon half. Much easier on the tummy than gels! All the little details just really make this race enjoyable.
As for the race itself, the Half Marathon elevation is a bit challenging, nothing to extreme, but not flat. The course scenery is AMAZING. Especially this year - the balloons were flying around just right over our heads! It was truly an unforgettable sight. I love the size of this race - not too big (you have space) but not tiny. Just right.
Overall I would 100% recommend this race to anyone and will continue to do it year after year. For what it's worth, this is (so far) my only "tradition" race that I do yearly. Love it so much!