Sunday, October 28

Race report: McGuire's Halloween Run

Yesterday nearly 1,000 runners, walkers, superheroes, and zombies took part in the sixteenth annual McGuire's Halloween Run 5k and 10k in Destin, FL.
Bagpipers serenade runners at the start of the race.
The start:
McGuire's provided coffee, donuts, and bananas for pre-race breakfast. While I generally do not eat before a race, the goodies were a nice touch.

The bad:
If you were looking for a race, this is not the event for you.
Runners make their way to the starting line
More than half of the runners are decked out in Halloween attire, so most participants (myself included) cruise along and enjoy the spectacle of a 3.1 mile trotting costume parade. In other words, this is a participatory event more than a race.
Where's Waldo? (Hint: There are 3 in this photo...)
In fact, I would caution runners against trying to race the 5k course.

Since the 5k route is out-and-back, the fleetest runners had to weave their way through a slow-moving mass of runners and walkers who took up most of the roadway. Let's just say that traffic cones might have helped to corral runners onto the right side of the street... Fortunately, 10k runners had less trouble with course crowding.

Also, the race had one other major flaw. Rather than hand out cups of water, volunteers were distributing disposable water bottles. If runners wanted to run holding a water bottle, chances are, they would have brought their own.

Based on the pile of discarded, half-full plastic bottles I saw littering the course, I have one word for whoever made the plastic bottle decision: wasteful.

The good:
Any race that provides ample parking and flush toilets is a good race in my book.

The race, despite the Halloween theme and promise of post-race booze, was well attended by families with children. Many parents, dressed as caped crusaders, pushed jogging strollers full of pint-sized Power Rangers and pumpkins.
As Halloween events go, the crowd was fairly tame - with risque outfits outnumbered by Gumbies, zombies, and superheroes by a wide margin.

The finish:
The post-race party is the highlight of any McGuire's race, and the Halloween Run did not disappoint. Finishers re-hydrated with beer and Irish Wakes (the restaurant's signature orange juice and rum drink).

Restaurant staff and volunteers also dished out stew, bread, and other goodies for hungry runners.
Irish Wakes
The highlight of the already-good post race party is the costume contest, which involves a costumed chorus line (think Rockettes, but with zombies and superheroes).

If the costumed antics don't get you laughing, you have no soul. (Maybe a vampire got yours?)
Costume contest chorus line

The verdict:
Run (or zombie crawl) this race if:

  • you love Halloween,
  • you like a good rum drink, or
  • you feel like spending your morning at a block party.

Zombies! Run!!!

Do not run this race if:

  • you want a PR,
  • you think Halloween costumes are stupid, or
  • you are disgusted by crowds of people drinking at 10am.

Oh... and our costumes!
My friend, C, was visiting for the weekend, so she and I dressed in matching uniforms (complete with beer pitcher and chicken wing props) and Hubby was... well... let's just say he was a big hit with the kiddies on the course because he frequently stopped to hand out COOKIES.
Putting the finishing touches on our Cookie
Monster and Waitress costumes and props
For what it's worth, running in thick nylons while carrying a pitcher was not nearly as miserable as I thought it would be. That said, this is the scariest running costume I've worn in years (see last year's pumpkin and the prior year's road runner)...

For more photos from the event, see the McGuire's Halloween Run slideshow.

Halloween costumes: yea or nay?
Are you running and Halloween-themed races this year?
Best Halloween costume you've ever seen?
(My favorite at this year's race was a trio of women dressed as rock-paper-scissors. Loved it!)

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