Yesterday I ran the Growler Gallop 10 Miler sponsored by Atwater Brewery in Detroit.
I was excited about the race going into it – 10 Miles is a new distance for me (aka automatic PR), I love any race that gives you beer afterwards, and the course went through Belle Isle, which was where the Cocoa Classic half in the spring’s course went too.
I did packet pick up on Race Day. The race didn’t start until 4PM, so I arrived around 3, picked up my packet which was easy and quick, and then returned the hoodie we received to my car. Parking was very convenient – there was a secured lot right next to the start of the race where parking was available for $5.My hoodie was a little large (I got a medium and they were unisex sizing), but I was able to exchange it for the last small after the race.
Port-a-potties were adequate until many of the 5K runners showed up and then the line became incredibly long. I used the bathroom about 40 minutes before the race, but happened to chug water on the way in and ultimately had to pee again by the start of the race but didn’t think I’d have time before the race started. I just assumed I’d use a bathroom on the course. (spoiler alert: BAD CHOICE). The race started on time and the start was not overly congested. If anything, we were moving backwards to avoid being at the start.
The race course went down the riverwalk along the Detroit River. It had a lot of curves, right from the go, but it wasn’t too bad. There was a water stop a little after mile 1, which seemed a little silly, but I guess there weren’t a ton of convenient spots for them. I didn’t get water due to that bladder issues I already talked about. There weren’t any port-a-potties at that water stop, so I kept going.
I considered stopping at both a gas station and a wendys that we passed while going down Jefferson, but assumed once on belle isle there'd be port-a-potties along the course.
I was wrong again. Finally, around mile 3 there was a public "comfort station" with bathrooms. There was some sort of event going on though, and the woman's bathroom had a long long line. I ended up using a family restroom that didn't lock and luckily no one walked in on me.
The rest of the course traveled all the way around the island. It felt long - I think it must have been much longer than the last race I did on belle isle, because a lot of it didn't look familiar as well. There was another water stop around mile 5? (had to look this up to confirm).
As the course went along, I saw a few clusters of port-a-potties, but I'm pretty sure they weren't placed by the race organizers, and instead were placed by the state, who now owns belle isle.
I stopped again for a bathroom break at mile 7, where there was a comfort station right next to the course. but I was still running off the course to get to the bathroom, which is really just frustrating.
There was a water stop at mile 9, which was the same water stop as mile 1. I'm still not sure how I feel about that stop. I did stop and get water, and walk for a bit while I chugged it down. That probably gave me enough power to push through the last mile, finish hard, and chick a guy :) but I also may have powered through without the water stop and finished faster.
Overall, the ten miles were hard but good, and the race was generally fun.
At the finish we got medals, and then walked over to the starting area for post-race food and beer. They provided pizza, which I am always a fan of, snack sized bags of chips, doritos, cheetos, etc., bananas, oranges (my other favorite post race food), water and of course beer.
My final time was 1:33.08 (9:19/mile). I can only imagine what it would have been without the various bathroom stops though.
Also they said there would be gu/gels on the course and there definitely was not. this doesnt really bother me because I always bring salted caramel gu myself, but I'm sure people relied on that.
My final gripe with the race is that when I signed up, the swag package included: a long sleeve shirt
a finisher's glass
a medal (for 10 miler's only)
2 free beers.
And in actuality, the swag package included:
2 free beers.
I understand they're a new race, and they probably didn't anticipate all the costs, but even as of a few days before the race, the website still stated they were giving out a finisher's glass, and a long-sleeve. The hoodie is great, but I like getting what I sign up for. Also its clear that they originally intended medals only for the longer race participants and then made it for everyone which is fine, but the price differential shouldnt be just for the increased length of the course.
So here's my overall analysis
Pros: course, free beer, medal, distance (10 miles is unique -- not too far not too short)
Cons: TOTAL LACK OF PORT-A-POTTIES ON THE COURSE (and too few at the start). did not receive swag promised. also said there would be gels/gu and there wasn't.