First things first: the medal is just as gorgeous as I hoped when writing the preview for this race. The owl with a stained glass subset behind it was the absolutely perfect reward for being crazy enough to run in 80-degree weather (after completing a half marathon earlier in that same week). Totally worth it.
This year was my first time participating in the Twilight 5K at Vancouver Lake. The event also has half-marathon and 10K options. According to the announcer, the half marathoners are the most curious, the 10K runners are the most beautiful, and the 5K runners are the smartest (“shortest distance between start and beer”). The race organizers had the set-up planned well for the three adult races so that runners and walkers would use overlapping parts of the course, but not be too close in timing to get all clumped up. My only regret in the scheduling is that the 1-mile kids race occurred while all of the other events were in progress. How were the participants supposed to cheer on the tiny humans?
The setting for the races was perfect. We had parking set aside, which meant no added parking fee for us and no extra congestion for picnicking families. There was also lots of room to spread out for stretching in the shade, walking part of the course, or sitting in the area that would later be our after-party. After the races there was a shaded area set up with tables so folks to stick around, listen to the band Firefly, and enjoy their free beer and burritos.
Since I participated in the 5K (and felt super smart about it, thank you Mr. Announcer), I did not experience the entire course that some runners and walkers journeyed. All events were versions of out-and-backs, with the final mile cutting through the park on paved and unpaved paths. That final mile seemed to last forever because of all the curves in the road. Next year, I’m walking it in advance to count the number of turns. It was hard to know when to put on the gas without finish line in sight until the final 0.2.
Overall, definitely a race I will be looking at again next summer. Fun area. Adorable tank top (there was a t-shirt option too). Lots of after-party food and music. And, of course, the gorgeous medal.