The 2nd annual Silo District Marathon weekend was held at the Magnolia Silo's in Waco, TX. This race is created, organized and physically run by HGTV Fixer Upper Stars Chip and Joanna Gaines and raises money for rare cancer research through the "Brave like Gabe" foundation. I was so excited to run this race as I am a HUGE "Fixer Upper" fan. Here are the details!
PRE-RACE: I expected more communication from the race organizers overall pre-race, aside from a confirmation email and some information about opting into fundraising, there wasn't a lot of communication and the website wasn't rich with information either. As the race got closer we were informed that a race app existed, this provided much of the race information I had been hoping to receive (parking, expo, etc.) and 6 days before the race I did receive a pre-race email recapping a lot of what the app had been able to share. Something interesting to note is that the race information through social media comes entirely through the @magnolia account, which can be confusing for those unfamiliar with Joanna and Chips' Magnolia branding. Searching #silodistrictmarathon also allowed me to find a lot of posts about last year's and this year's race.
Although this was the second year of the race, it was the first year that Magnolia Co. had organized a pre-race expo. The expo was modest but still a lot of fun, packet pickup and swag distribution was truly seamless and the small number of (all Waco owned) vendors seemed to really be enjoying the atmosphere. There were plenty of opportunities to photo ops (always a highlight for me) both at the expo and throughout Magnolia Market at the Silos. There was plenty to do at the Market itself too, food trucks, shopping, outdoor activities and more: If you are patient I 100% recommend checking out the Silo's Company Bakery and the Magnolia Table restaurant (just be warned, lines will be long!) Over 6,000 people travel out to Waco for this race so it's really special to be surrounded by so many runners and fans - the atmosphere was so exciting!
THE SWAG: The swag for this race was pretty standard, a dry fit t-shirt and a nice canvas bag. I really loved the material of the bag as apposed to some of the more plastic feeling ones I have received from races in the past. The t-shirts ran a little large but they were willing to size swap the following day for anyone who wanted a smaller size. Additional swag was available for purchase including more t-shirts and a baseball cap (which tbh, I regret not buying). Everything Magnolia designs is truly adorable so I enjoyed taking in all the merch and rocking my race t-shirt for some photos at the vendor fair.
THE RACE: Parking for this race is a breeze, there are two large parking lots about 1.5 miles away from the start line with ample shuttle buses taking runners right to the start, signage was clear and finding parking was simple. The beginning of this race was a little stressful, porta-pottie lines were extremely long and after waiting nearly 20 minutes I actually gave up and made my way over to the start corrals. The corrals were super crowded and it was a little hard to understand where I should go - I definitely recommend showing up at least 30+ minutes early to this race just so you can get yourself situated. The race starts in waves about two or so minutes apart, Chip and Joanna (plus baby Crew!) were manning the start line cheering on runners. The course itself is beautiful, weaving through Baylor Universities campus and various neighborhoods of Waco. Much of the course is shady and green, a nice contrast to the crazy humidity Texas is known for this time of year. It was so humid this whole race that at every single water station I needed to dump a cup of water over my face, it was HOT out there! There was not as many spectators along the course as I was expecting for a race this size, however, aid stations were plentiful and there was water, gatorade, gels, pickles and more available throughout the route. There were a few bands and some entertainment along the course but nothing major. I absolutely loved the inspirational quote mile markers, but did notice that on the Half Marathon route they disappeared after mile 10. I spent the last 5k of the race having no idea how close I was to the end. The route itself has several hills and at least one of them is very steep - the hardest part of the course for me was the very end, for about the last half mile you can see the finish line -- it was absolute torture! Overall I really enjoyed the entire course and the scenery of the race. One of the only downsides of this race is that there is NO race photography on the course, even when I look terrible I do usually enjoy seeing photos of my experience during the race.
BLING: I enjoyed the medal for this race, designed in a true medallion style there were separate medals for the 5k, Half Marathon and Full Marathon races. Each medal had a separate colored lanyard
and there are super cute large medal displays you can take photos with once you've completed the course.
FINISH LINE & POST-RACE: This race finishes back almost exactly where it started, with plenty of fans cheering you on in the finishers chute. The after party at the silos was a lot of fun, I ended up getting some sweets in the bakery and stopping by the awards ceremony. The entire weekend was a lot of fun and I really hope to run this race again next year!