February 5, 2012

Davis Stampede

We participated in the Davis Stampede for the first time. There was a 5k, 10k and half marathon. It was the 30th annual event so there were a few special perks. They included a finishers medal for all three distances, age group medals that were 5 deep instead of the usual 3, post race pancake breakfast, post race beer, personalized bib numbers for those who registered by a certain date and pacers for the half marathon. The half marathon is part of the California Half Marathon Series where you complete 4 of the half marathons in the series including the championship race in Walnut Creek in order to receive a special series medal. Anyways back to the race. We participated in the 5k and the half marathon. All three courses were flat. Race registration fees ranged from $27 to $55 depending on the distance and registration deadlines. There was also an option to upgrade from the typical cotton shirt to a technical fabric t-shirt for $5. We opted for upgrade. More on the shirts later. There was early bib pickup for a few days leading up to the race at the local Fleet Feet. There was also race day pick up starting at 7am. The event was based at Central Park which is downtown, with parking available on the streets and on in a few public parking lots in the area. We made sure we left with plenty of time to look for parking and glad we did because we had just enough time to do everything we needed to do before the race. As we drove to the race and got close to the freeway exit we found cars were backed up onto the freeway.

There is really only one exit off of the freeway to get to downtown Davis so we just sat and waited. It was stop and go but traffic moved a bit quicker than we had expected. Once off of the freeway there wasn't a back up on the city streets so we drove through some of the downtown streets and found parking a few blocks away from the race. Once at Central Park we picked up or bibs which contained the disposable timing chip attached to the back of the bib. Shirt pick up had a long line so we split up, one took the bibs to pick up our shirts and the one with the earlier race start stood in the bathroom line. There were several portapotties but there should have been more. We had heard in the days leading up to the race that the technical shirts were way too small. The race did offer shirt exchanges on race day as available. When we picked up the shirts we noticed that the womens shirt defnitely ran small. I had to exchange mine to a men's size because the women's larger sizes were out, probably because so many people were exchanging for the larger sizes. Unfortunately we assumed that the mens sizes were fine until we got home and realized that the mens ran small too, darn it, too late to exchange.
The start line was right by the park and the 10k and half marathon races started together at 8am, although we started a few minutes late because of some problems with the timing system. There were pacers for the half marathon and I lined up between the two that I thought I would finish between. We took off on the downtown streets of Davis and at first had a tough time maneuvering around people that really should have started further back. It took about a mile and a half for people to really spread out. At about half a mile we went right and saw a sign where the 5k runners were to turn left. We ran alongside railroad tracks through an industrial area of Davis. Not a great view but I've have gotten used to these sights on half marathons. There wasn't a mile marker at mile one but there was one at every mile after that. Just after mile two we turned left and the 10k participants had to make a sharp turn to go across an overpass while I continued straight before turning onto a gravel path. The course took us on a loop around some parks and schools on concrete, which I was happy to be off of when we did a loop on loose gravel around a golf course. After this the course took us back to where we split from the 10k participants and then it was my turn to climb up the overpass. The rest of the half marathon course was the same as the 10k course, heading back onto a bike path before being back in downtown and the finish. This bike path was my favorite part of the course because it was paved, flat and had some shaded areas. Once back in downtown it was just a few turns before crossing the finish line. There were water stations about every 2 miles on the half marathon course with one having cliff bars and sports beans. There were also a few portapotties along the course. The course was well marked with many ROTC volunteers keeping us on course.
The 5k course was basically a big loop around the downtown area. There was one water stop which seemed a little early as compared to other races.
Finishers medals were handed out right after the finish line. After the race there was water, gatorade and fruit. The pancake breakfast was a short walk from the finish but just like everything else there was a long line. The pancakes were fresh and good. There was a booth with coconut water-my favorite. Needless to say I made several stops at that booth. There were a few other booths as well, typical of what you see at other races. The 5k race results were up but results for 10k and half marathon were still missing so we made the walk towards our car, stopping at Fleet Feet. We made the stop at the store because they were having a New Balance giveaway. We got a pair of socks and a plastic cup. We made our way to the car and parked about a block from the event and checked the half marathon results before heading home.

Race Results
Race Website
California Half Marathon Series