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The Cap City Half was an awesome #runcation / #racecation, even if the weather didn’t cooperate!
If you’ve been thinking about a #runcation, here’s the scoop: Sign up for this race, splurge for the VIP package, and book the race hotel (the Sheraton Downtown). It’s a combo that guarantees an amazing weekend. We headed home on cloud nine, and I can honestly say this is one of the best race operations I’ve have the opportunity to experience.
Pre-race communications were spot on. Emails started arriving on Monday of race week with important details about timing, location, etc. saving me the trouble of looking things up during preparations for our trip.
Even before getting into town I called the hotel to confirm reservations, etc. and the front desk manager, Stacy, was so helpful I felt like the VIP experience started before we left home. Although the VIP package isn’t tied to the hotel at all, the hotel clearly rolls out the red carpet for the race.
At packet pickup, VIPs were directed to an upstairs balcony—away from the hubbub—and offered a glass of champage upon arrival. I did know there would be VIP packet pickup, but I did not expect a champagne reception! That was quite a way to set the tone for the weekend.
The race offers packet pickup starting on Thursday afternoon (the race is on Saturday), so we took advantage of the early pickup and enjoyed a night on the town without pre-race food restrictions or early bed-times cramping our style. This is what truly gave us the opportunity to make it a #runcation, so a huge thumbs up for Thursday packet pickup!
The VIP swag bag was a nice drawstring bag that I’ll use again (not the typical plastic/disposable bag), as well as a nice Adidas tech long sleeve half-zip—with thumbholes. And I love thumbholes. 😃 Also included in the swag bag was a fabric bracelet to wear for access to the VIP tent at the race.
ALL of the goodie bags included free food and drink tickets, as they were attached to the bib. The bags also included a race “magazine”, which I’ve only seen for a few races and this was by far the most interesting. Pro tip: read about the elite racers when you get the magazine so you know who you’re running in to at the race hotel. ;-)
It’s such a luxury to stay at the race hotel—what a treat! I still got up ridiculously early to start fueling and stretching, but without travel and parking to worry about, I was way more relaxed race morning than usual. It also helps now that I don’t freak out about it being “race day” and treat it like “just another run”—with crowd and nutrition support. 😉)
Logistics should be easily manageable no matter where you’re coming from as there are parking garages nearby. Note: the VIP package includes a free parking pass.
With rain looming as it was time to line up, I checked a bag even though the finish is basically at the hotel. I’ve learned that I chill very quickly after a race and dealing with bag check to have something warm and dry waiting is worth it. In this case, the VIP pass came in handy again as there was a private VIP bag check that was super fast to drop-off (and pick up).
Also located in the VIP tent/area were additional porta-potties and catered breakfast. I forgot to take a peek to see what was for breakfast, as my feeding schedule didn’t mesh with picking up something at the race. I had asked around a bit at the expo but couldn’t find the answer to what would be served, so that mystery will continue until next year…
The corrals seemed well managed and spacious, with lots of porta-potties right next to the corrals. After a little more warming up, I hopped in not long before the Star Spangled Banner. This race featured a local celebrity announcer for each wave, which was a neat additional way for them to include sponsors, etc.
Given the forecast, most of the bands that would have been set up (understandably) opted-out so we didn’t get to experience a band every mile. I had really been looking forward to that extra energy, but totally support safety first!
Columbus is a pretty flat course, and known to be great for PRs. As we wound up with the course being shortened mid-race, the most I can say is that I was PRing every intermediate distance and on track for a great overall race. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to prove it’s a great PR course next time around. ;-)
Wow! What a medal! And what a storm! Race support did a great job of quickly shepherding people off the course and into shelter. I wound up grabbing my bag and heading straight to the hotel, figuring I’d head back to check out the food after the rain let up. In the meantime, the after-party got cancelled, so I missed my opportunity to sample the amazing-sounding post-race spread.
All runners were to receive a slice of Papa John’s pizza, a Coors Light, one sparkling wine, and a Patron margarita. And as if that weren’t enough, VIPs were also to receive a catered lunch! I’m looking forward to checking out all of the food and the post-race concert next time around.
Despite a rain-out, we had a wonderful time in Columbus for this race. I whole-heartedly recommend it, and can’t say enough about all of the VIP perks. You get a ton extras like tech half-zip, a parking pass, catered breakfast and lunch—and an “eased” race day experience with shorter lines, etc. If you’re looking for a #runcation, put the Cap City Half on your list!