This was the 2nd Annual Jacksonville Best Damn Race which consists of a 5k, 10k, and half marathon basically running the same course in the Downtown/Riverside location of Jacksonville, FL. The Best Damn Race series includes other locations throughout Florida. They intrigued me with their claim of the best after party, low registration costs, but most importantly their medal. (more on this later).
Registration is based on number of runners registered, not date, so you must keep track frequently to get into the lower costs (Starting at $1!) They also frequently promoted $5 off promo codes throughout the year.
PACKET PICK UP
With Jacksonville being so big, they offered a couple locations to pick up your packet/shirt/bib the couple days leading to Race Day, which is a huge plus for me living 30 minutes from Downtown, as well as race morning. I went for the pick up at the Jacksonville Running Co 2 days before the race, so besides just getting the necessary race items, I could also pick up last minute race supplies if needed.
There were plenty of emails sent out with race information. Their website has just the right amount of information, and they keep their Facebook page maintained with up to date details. Because a big storm had come through the day before the race, and the 2nd location for packet pick up was outside, they had to cancel the pick up/move indoors to the other location on the other side of town, and they did a great job of getting this information communicated in all the above sources!
We started at Metro Park in Downtown Jacksonville, ran by the Landing, went over an overpass and into the Riverside area/neighborhood, then turned back with a brief jaunt along the St Johns River (my favorite and most scenic of the course), and then followed the Jaguar tracks back down to Metro Park across from the Jaguar Stadium! A portion of the course had to be rerouted around the Landing because of construction, but I dont think it was a big deal.
I forgot exactly how hilly downtown/Riverside actually is. Now, dont get me wrong, when I say hilly, I mean 'Florida Hilly.' Besides the 3 major hills (over pass, neighborhood hill midway, and ramp on the St Johns boardwalk) the course had slight inclines throughout.
Parking was located across from Metro Park at the Everbank Field. I arrived early enough to be just steps away from lineup. Because it was a cold morning, that meant staying in my car until last minute! Real restrooms were available with the race being at Metro Park which is a huge plus. There was a Gear Check, but to be honest, it was just as far as leaving your items in the car. The 5k and 10k started first, with the half marathon about 15minutes behind them. Pacers were provided to get you your PR.
I woke up race morning with a visitor, if you know what I mean. Cramps and diarrhea (sorry guys) were already starting and I was just plain tired. I still wanted to try a 3x30 trying to go for a repeat of last months Kiawah because the weather was race perfect (50s and overcast) but quickly remembered Jacksonville is not flat, so I was completely pooped (literally) entirely too soon. I kept adjusting the pacer, so really there was no consistency with this race for me. My mission....just get this over with! The fog never lifted the entire race morning. By the time we reached the river, you could barely even see it! Half way through the race, we ran into the Marathon High group training for The Donna! It was exciting to see these teenagers working hard towards their goal next month!
HYDRATION STATIONS and SPECTATORS
Fuel stations were properly stocked and I didnt experience any issues with them. Gu was even provided halfway.
There were minimal spectators throughout the course, but this race is still young, and it was a cold morning.
I was wet and cold arriving at the finish line. They had a few vendors set up for shopping. Food was provided by Pollo Tropical (yum! but on the small side) and beer as well as liquor (for purchase?) was available. Because I participate in 'Sober January' for last minute marathon training for The Donna, I did not get to partake. There were sodas available for nondrinkers, which I do not drink either, so I wish there were better options for those not drinking (chocolate milk, protein shake, etc)
This is one of the few races that actually gives you free race photos that are actually still organized by bib number!
I am highly disappointed in the race shirt. Although I am glad that it is short sleeve despite being a winter race, and Vneck, the design is entirely too generic. The Best Damn Race shirts/tanks that they were selling at the Finish line were much better.
The reason I ran this race! The funny thing is, this medal is the Exact replica of the Jacksonville BEACH sign. Besides this being a race directed by someone that is not a local, I do not understand why they would use the Beaches sign for a Downtown race. But being a Beaches local, I will not complain!
Would I recommend this race? Sure thing. Prices are perfect, and if you are a planner, you may be one of the lucky ones to pay under $30!! The director seems to know what he is doing, as I did not see any issues, and compared to the other races that take place on the very similar course throughout the year, I would chose this one with a better price but same/better perks!
I am currently running a half marathon a month and also running a half marathon in each state all to show support and raise awareness for breast cancer via The Donna. Please consider showing your support by making a donation today! www.donate.breastcancermarathon.com/2016-marathon/melissajohnson