- 3 miles/5K, 6 miles/10K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon
- Road Race
The expo had a few local 5k races present passing out information out about their races as well as local companies. The expo was held at the Century Center which is really the only place in South Bend probably big enough to hold the expo. Participants enter a room upon arriving at the expo to pick up their shirts and bib numbers before checking out the vendors. This year was the first year that you had the option of having our packets mailed to you before the race for a fee. Also, you could select to have race day packet pick up for a fee as well. This is the first year that they did not have race day packet pick up for free. Some people were upset about the fee for race day packet pick up but I get why Sunburst went in this direction. This is a race of over 5000 people and the last thing a race wants to do on race morning is put volunteers at a table to hand out packets rather than placing them somewhere else. Also, you have vendors paying for expo space and they want people to come by and talk with them. Honestly, for a race this size, I think they should do away with race day packet pickup all together.
Race day consisted of 3 different race options, the half marathon, 10k, and 5k. This is the first year that they did away with the marathon distance. The number of people that were running the full had been in decline for a few years and it was just time to end it and focus on the other 3 distances which I think was smart. They had just over 100 last year of over 5000 total participants.
The course just seems to get tougher and tougher every year for some reason, but there really wasn't any kind of major changes to it. There are a few hills on the course including Hallelujah Hill right before mile 12. I actually like the course thought for the most part. You spend a lot of the early miles running along the St. Joseph River as it leads to the river walk of Mishawaka before going back to South Bend and heading towards Notre Dame.
I would say that the race lost something with the new finish line, which I know a lot of people will disagree with. First I feel that I need to make a little bit of a disclaimer, I am not a Notre Dame Fan. In fact, I cant stand Notre Dame. I would love to see the football team lose every game. There I said it. Now onto the finish line. This was the first time in I believe 3 or 4 years that the race finished inside of Notre Dame Stadium. Not a big deal to me, but to a lot of people, it was a big deal. Anyways, while you get to finish right on the field, you are finishing in the middle, away from any crowds or people cheering. Family and friends were allowed to come into the stadium but not onto the field. So the finish line felt dead. I thought the finish was better when you finished outside of the stadium rather than in it. There was also more of a post race party atmosphere when you finished outside of the stadium. My understanding was that this was Notre Dame's decision, not Sunburst. I am not sure what Notre Dame is concerned about considering that the field is field turf and not real grass. Cant do much damage by allowing friends and family to come on the field. Notre Dame wouldn't even allow Sunburst to hand out medals on the field. You had to go on the concourse to get your medal. If I was a big Notre Dame Fan, I would probably want to get a picture with my medal on the field. Notre Dame, your field is not that special or sacred.
Other than the finish line, I thought that everything with the race went real smooth as compared to other years. The medals this year were great and featured the skyline of South Bend overlooking the St. Joseph River. I am king of surprised there wasn't more of a Notre Dame feel to them, but that's alright. One of the new features this year was that you were given the opportunity to choose what shirt color you wanted (assuming you registered early enough).