The Love Run Race Recap, Part 1
Part 1 of my recap will cover my arrival, expo experience as well as general observations.
Part 2 will cover my race experience and the afterparty.
Race: The Philadelphia Love Run
Location: Center City and Fairmount Park, Philadelphia
Distance: 21.1 km (13.1 miles)
Date/Start Time: 30 March 2014, 8am
Distance Travelled to Compete: Negligible
Weather conditions: Moderate temperatures, 50-60s, no humidity, cloudy
Course conditions: Mostly flat but a gradual hill midway with a hill near the Please Touch Museum. Downtown is flat.
Preview: CGI Racing, a NJ-based race company, has their debut run in Philadelphia. The course is mostly like the RnR course in the fall except for a couple of twists.
CGI Racing has run a number of races in New Jersey and is expanding with a wider repertoire of races. To my knowledge, CGI’s Love Run opening in Philadelphia this year is not only the first race they have expanded outside New Jersey but also they are filling a niche much needed for Philadelphia – a spring half marathon. The Odyssey Half takes on the summer slot in June and for many runners it is far too humid that time of year.
The Love Run registration had started 1 October of last year and registration on the first day allowed some lucky runners to get a half off discount towards the race fee of $60. Alas I was not one of those lucky ones, but that rate was still decent compared to most races I’ve seen for races these days.
One big thing that CGI stresses is that this race tends to have a lot of perks. There are definitely perks for team entrants (which I did not do) but teams of 10 persons or more can get their own tent, or their own latrine. Photographs are very affordable compared to the usual photogs for major races. Try $7 compared to $25 for a single shot. And most of the photos I believe can be had free. Very nice.
After getting through Walt Disney, this would be my last race before heading into my summer offseason. I need the next 7 weeks to focus fully on school without the pressure of structured training and a 30 March race was the perfect way to underline the season.
The expo for the Love Run ran on both Friday the 28th (12-6pm) and Saturday the 29th (9am-5pm) at the usual Philadelphia race expo haunt – the PA Convention Center at 11th and Arch Streets.
With a smaller field of 15,000 runners, and the lack of a headliner/title sponsor I expected the race expo to not be as large as its Rock n Roll (September) or Philly Marathon (November) counterparts. Sure enough, it was smaller, but on that front, it did not disappoint.
After walking inside, the signage telling you where to go was pretty direct.
I collected my bib and tech shirt in quick order and incidentally, a volunteer told me to also get my souvenir mug.
Pretty solid. It will be my token around in the office.
After proceeding through the merchandise area, I wandered through the vendor section. Yes it was smaller, but I really liked how there were quite a few other races being advertised at the expo. I’d like to see more of these at expos to be honest. If smaller races don’t want to hold booths, they should at least throw flyers in our grab bags to hawk adverts at us. This race is not such a big race where I would see advert fees being too high like Philly Marathon or even worse RnR.
I managed to scoop up a few tech shirts from race vendors for my dad – I have plenty of race shirts myself.
And speaking of which, here is the Love Run’s race shirt –
I took a seat by the speaker’s area – I had gone there quite early, at 1pm, so I took in a yoga instructor showing some key stretches for runners. Simple but informative.
All in all, not bad for an inaugural expo. I am not sure how big CGI races are with giveaways and other sponsors, if it is not the norm, and these races’s expos are normally like this, then well, no complaints. The bevy of other races hawking their courses though was a plus.
It wasn’t crowded at the expo but it was not unexpected as we’re talking a smaller race to begin with and I had gone on Friday.
The one thing I did not like however is that I had gone to the information booth to request a map of the course. I’m fully aware that this map is available online but I was still surprised to see they did not have paper copies available for potential spectators. In fact they didn’t seem to have much of anything to hand out. This is something they could improve on for future years.
I am definitely looking forward to Sunday, and I am hoping the rainy forecast doesn’t dampen things for us too much.