Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic

Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic

Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic

( 38 reviews )
100% of reviewers recommend this race
  • Tampa,
    Florida,
    United States
  • February
  • 3 miles/5K, 5 miles/8K, 9 miles/15K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon
  • Road Race
  • Event Website

This Old Runner ~~

Florida, United States
36 28
2023
"Gasparilla Half Marathon Review"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management
This Old Runner ~~'s thoughts:

Gasparilla Distance Classic has been hosting this weekend of races for 45 years — and the experienced pros know exactly what they’re doing!

COMMUNICATION

Everything I ever wanted to know about Gasparilla races I could find on the website. Regular emails kept me up to date and let me know what to expect.

It was my first Gasparilla race and I didn’t worry about anything. I knew what to expect before, during and after the race weekend.

EXPO

The expo was Friday and Saturday. We hopped the cross bay ferry from St. Pete and hit the expo early. It was at the Tampa Convention Center near the starting line.

Expo signage was good, and volunteers were friendly and helpful. It was easy to pick up my race bib, shirt, hat and bag. We took our time and strolled through the vendors tasting free samples, checking out gear, and signing up for races.

After we finished at the expo we walked around on the Tampa River Walk. We had lunch at Armature Works, then headed back to the convention center to take the ferry back to St. Pete.

We didn’t have to park, but it’s easy enough to park in the convention center garage and walk across the street to the expo.

RACE DAY

I ran the Half Marathon on Sunday morning. Since it’s a large race, we got there early. We enjoyed walking around the peaceful waterfront before the crowds arrived.

The corrals close 15 minutes before the start, so make sure you’re there. You’ll avoid the human traffic jams at the corral entry points.

The race started on time and we headed over to Davis Island in the dark. The course was well marked and lit as we made our way through the first few miles.

The only inclines on the course were the bridge going on and off Davis Island. It’s really mild, and early in the race. After that, the course is a flat out and back along Bayshore with views of the bay.

It was foggy and cloudy early on — perfect race conditions. The sun came and went a few times before shining bright at the end of the race.

The race course was filled with happy people encouraging us to keep running. There were pirates, fire eaters, a mime, guy on stilts, Star Wars creatures, more pirates, cheer leaders, and more.

Aid station volunteers were stellar. There was plenty of water and Gatorade Endurance offered, Everyone was cheerful.

I grabbed Gatorade Endurance gels at mile 5 and again at mile 9. (I love those gels!) Some lady pirates offered bags of ice late in the race, which was a nice touch.

My favorite sign came close to the end of the race, it said something like: Running is painful but it still hurts less than stepping on a LEGO. That made me laugh.

At the finish line, runners get a cold wet finisher's towel (so refreshing!). A few steps later you receive your medal. Keep moving, and you’ll find plenty of beverages, bananas, fruit cups, salty snacks, etc.

There was beer and Barbecue in the park, and Columbia Restaurant food on the plaza in front of the convention center. We picked The Columbia for rice, beans, salad, and bread.

Race weekend includes a 15K and 5K on Saturday; Half and 8K on Sunday. The longer races start at 6 am each day. The shorter races follow around 9 am. You can sign up for a Challenge and run several, or ALL the races over the weekend.

THE BLING

Gasparilla is known for it’s pirates and parrots. The SWAG is always colorful and top quality. Check out the half medal photo posted here.

I took home a long sleeve shirt, hat, plush towel and medal for running my half marathon. The shirt is a long sleeve v-neck in a lightweight dri-fit material.

Shorter races had short sleeve shirts. Every race finisher receives a towel and a medal after crossing the finish line. If you run a challenge, you also get a windbreaker jacket and bonus medal.

TAMPA IN FEBRUARY

It’s the perfect time of year to run in Florida. Gasparilla is a great course in a beautiful city. It’s the best excuse for a runcation! Everything about the Gasparilla Distance Classic was pleasing.

I recommend you train through the holidays and get yourself to the starting line in February! It’s worth it.

#RunGasparilla #GDCBR #HoorayRunning #ThisOldRunner

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