First costume run! Mike’s work group wanted to sign up for a 5K together and found Heroes vs. Villains Run for Justice after looking around for a costume or themed springtime 5K. Potomac River Running is a lead sponsor of the race, which is actually put on by and benefits the Fairfax Law Foundation. We’ve done a few of the PR races in the past and have been impressed with the price, food, logistics, t-shirt, etc., so we figured this race would have to live up to PR standards – and that it did!
We drove about 30 minutes outside of DC to the Fairfax Corner shopping plaza on Sunday morning. We met up with Mike’s work crew. A co-worker had made cute Despicable Me minion hats from directions she found on a blog; they came out great! It was a pretty chilly morning so the hat was a welcome outfit addition. Another co-worker made the “overall bibs” that we pinned on our shirts to complete our minion outfit.
The race had taken over the open-air plaza at the outdoor shopping center. Highlights included the excellent DJ, pre-race coffee, bubble machine and group stretch session prior to the run. Also, it’s worth mentioning that there were plenty of portapotties and they were clean! The atmosphere was really fun and festive as everyone gathered in their costumes in the plaza. There was a short kids’ run before the 9 am 5K start. It’s nice to have a later start for a 5K so we can fully wake up and the weather can warm up a bit before start time.
The course had not been posted online so I had no idea where we’d be going. But it already looked better than the hilly trail course from our previous PR 5Ks in Reston. I thought I’d probably be able to PR if the course was pretty flat and paved. Because it’s a small race, there were no corrals.
UnderArmour Victory Tank Top
Nike shorts (last year’s style)
Zensah compression calf sleeves
C9 by Champion sports bra
Garmin watch Forerunner 10
Mizuno Breath Thermo arm warmers (wore for first time and had bad chafing – good thing it was just a 5K!)
Target running gloves (with handwarmers inside)
The course began in the shopping center but we soon headed out on the large road around the perimeter. At the first turn out of the shopping center, there was a nice long downhill but I knew an uphill must be coming up. I had already lost Mike and was still trying to get around some runners and settle into a pace. Half of the 4-lane road, separated by a median, was closed for the race so there was plenty of space to spread out. There wasn’t a whole lot to look at since we just ran by entrances to housing developments but a few people had come out to cheer on the runners. The volunteers were also excellent, spread out along the course, cheering on runners as we passed by. There were a few hills but at a very gradual incline.
I realized around mile 2 that there were no women in front of me and none close behind me. I decided not to push myself to PR because I didn’t want to have any stomach issues post-race, especially with Mike’s co-workers around. I kept going fast but didn’t give it all I could. After I made the turn back into the shopping center to the finish line (and up a gradual hill…), I realized I was going to be the first female finisher!
I took a left by the Ann Taylor Loft and saw the finish line arch and Mike waiting there cheering me on. The last stretch was packed with spectators! A couple of volunteers started to get the finisher tape across the finish line for me to run through. I was going to get to run through the finish line tape!! But how does that work? I’ve never actually seen someone run through it in person. Will it snap in half? This one did! It was really exciting! Although this wasn’t a PR for me, it was pretty close and I think I can definitely PR on this course next time.
The food! I have never seen such a spread before for any race. From breakfast chimichangas to Wegman’s cookies (yes, important that I mention the brand) to fresh-baked bread from a local bakery to breakfast burritos to granola bars. AMAZING. The sun had really warmed things up so we all relaxed in the plaza, waiting for the awards ceremony to begin.
I was called up on the stage for the Top Female Finisher and given a very generous American Express card for a prize! Mike’s boss (Gru) won in his age category. Mike (in the most competitive age/gender group for this race) lost 2nd place by 1 second!
All seven of us minions won the “Magnificent Seven” costume category prize. There were a few other categories for costume winners, as well. We all received gift certificates to Potomac River Running stores.
Overall, this was a really fun and family-friendly 5K race with great prizes, excellent food and entertainment. I did wish there were photographers along the course, like other PR courses, but there was only one at the finish line and at the awards ceremony. But the photos they did take were made available on flickr for people to view and download. This was a great race that I’d definitely recommend!