A few weekends ago I laced up with my running partner to tackle the Frostbite 15K for our first race back together since the Richmond Marathon in November. I won't lie, I was a little nervous! I'd never run this one before, and I hadn't raced since the Rock N' Roll Half Marathon in December (which I PROMISE I'm going to review soon!!). So the thought of heading out for 9.3 miles without too much training was a little stressful. BUT, I was told there would be donuts at the end... so I figured what the hell, let's do this! Read on for my full review of this fun distance!
Expo and Packet Pick-Up: Richmond Road Runners Club hosted this race and packet pick-up could not have gone smoother! Pick-up was the day before the race at Road Runner in Carytown. I walked in, was warmly greeted by several store employees and race volunteers and within two minutes had my bib and shirt... easy as that! There was no expo for this one (it's a small local race with less than 1000 participants), but I'm always down to spend some time browsing a running store for things I don't need (I mean... do I REALLY need another pair of Feetures socks? Probably not, but they're just so amazing... sorry, not sorry). So, long story short, packet pick-up was in and out with ZERO problems and the volunteers were wonderful!
Accommodations and Travel: Again, this is a small race, nothing like the Monument 10K or the Richmond Marathon where people come from across the country. BUT, that doesn't mean it was any less awesome! Being that it is a local race, and it started at 9:00 AM (side note... did you know that Disney races start at FIVE THIRTY IN THE MORNING??? wth.) there's really no need to find a hotel or Air BNB... and I highly doubt anyone is traveling from out of town for this one. BUT, if you are, the race is in the Fan and there are SO many cute options for Air BNB's in the area! So if you're looking for a fun getaway to RVA next year and want to also get a nice run in while you're here, make sure to come the weekend of the Frostbite 15K. I promise you'll be able to enjoy all of the amazing beer sights that Richmond has to offer and you won't be pushed to get up early for this 9.3 miler!
Course: I won't lie... I didn't look at the course map a single time before race day. I knew relatively where we would be running (Byrd Park) since I used to live over in the area and run through there often when I'm training. But this course was a pleasant surprise! It wasn't flat, but it wasn't overly hilly. It wasn't scenic, but it wasn't dull. It was a perfect mixture of hills, lake views, roadways, neighborhoods, and flat road! I loved that the course was similar to what a normal training run would be like for a Richmond runner. We started at Amelia Street School in the Fan and then headed up through the neighborhoods and into Byrd Park, looping the lake a few times before finally ending back at the school. I actually really enjoyed it and Samantha and I were talking during the race about how we'd be making it a regular part of our training runs!
Ease of the Start Line: Again y'all, small race. There weren't thousands of people trying to cram their way to the front of a corral, just 800ish RVA runners wanting to get together and log some miles on a beautiful Sunday morning! The start line was extremely easy to navigate and parking wasn't a problem. The school is in a neighborhood so we parked in from of a home, but there didn't seem to be any issues with people having to walk far from their vehicles. There were only a few porta-potties out front, but the restrooms were open inside. However, when we went to walk to the start line there did appear to be a lot of people still waiting to go. If you're running this one, try to pee before you leave, or head inside to grab an indoor restroom! Also, keep in mind that there's no bag check (well, at least none that I saw, we very well might have missed it!), but we left our bag with jackets and car keys right inside the school and had NO problems. Y'all... Richmond runners look out for each other, no funny business going on around our races!
Swag: I loved that even for a small race, there was still GREAT swag! Y'all know I love me a good race shirt... but when that race shirt is cotton AND long-sleeve, it's like a double whammy of amazingness!!! The shirts for the race were super cute, purple with the Frostbite 15K logo, long sleeve and VERY comfy! And there were participant medals at the end, which I always love! I think anytime a race (of any size) takes the time to recognize EVERYONE that crosses the finish line, it's so cool and empowering! As silly as it seems, getting medals honestly made me continue to run when I first got started! There's something about that feeling of accomplishment and being able to take something home that gets you motivated to keep going... so thank you Road Runners!!
Post Race Party: Y'all... what better way to end a 15K then with hot, delicious DONUTS!! The post-race party for Frostbite was low-key but awesome. Free donuts for participants and just a really chill atmosphere to mingle with other runners and talk about the upcoming race season! There's something to be said for a post-race party that doesn't go "all out" with music and loud bands and a ton of alcohol, it's really a cool way to just interact with the people you see on a regular basis at start and finish lines but don't ever really have a chance to chat with! I was super happy to run into one of my friends in the Richmond running scene who is getting ready to take on Boston for the first time in just a few short weeks! And of course, any excuse to eat a donut is great in my book!
So, overall would I recommend this race? Hell yes! It's small, so don't expect any unnecessary frills, but it's a perfect course for a nice spring marathon training run (or a tune up after a fall marathon, like what we used it for), the shirts and medals are a huge perk, and it's a wonderful opportunity to network and talk with fellow RVA runners! I'll definitely be back next year... and hoping for the same weather... it was 60 degrees on race day... frostbite be gone!