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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Review of GlowGo! 5K in Louisville, KY

 photo Glow2_zps57aaccfb.jpg photo glow1_zps44a2e845.jpgThe GlowGo! 5K is a 5K run (or walk, or stroll) that was held in Louisville’s Waterfront Park in July. I was super excited to go to this “multi-sensory experience” as this was my 2nd 5K run that I had ever officially participated in. I really was not sure what to expect. When I was given the opportunity to register I culled the website for info. It seemed like it was trying hard to be family friendly, yet it also seemed like I was about to put myself in the middle of a night of partying, and wild craziness.  This was furthered by my packet pick up experience, where I got a nifty bag with a T shirt, glow necklace and bracelet, Glow glasses, a super cool glow baton thingy, and a jar of cookie spread. I was puzzled, yet intrigued.

I am currently the only runner in my family, so the rest of my family smiles and nods… and I excitedly tuck in my boys for bed before I head down to the fun and or mayhem.  I found a place to park without too much trouble and headed on down to the party launch site. I had signed up for the 2nd wave at 9:30pm since the first two (9:20, 9:30) were deemed the most family friendly.  After getting in the chute and being surrounded by lots of scantily clad dancing women and a DJ, we got the go ahead and started our run. There were a wide variety of people there, and it was a fun time just to look around and observe the things going on around me. I loved hearing the kids around me say “That’s Cool!” or “Mommy can I sit down?” (around mile 2 somewhere).  

When we approached the first turn in the route there was a bit of confusion and a group of runners in front of me turned right instead of heading the correct way. Thanks to the guy behind me, I stayed on the route.  After the first station, the signs and volunteers were visible and I no longer was left to my own lack of direction. When I started, I was able to run fast enough to keep ahead of the walkers and partiers. However, as I stopped to take pictures it became a lot harder to keep a steady pace without fear of tripping over little ones, running into a stroller, or breaking up a 4 person group walking together. I just decided to take it easy, and run when I could.

Another thing that made this a tough event for me is that the path folded back on itself. Imagine yourself running with other runners. Great, now add walkers. Add strollers and families (yay!). Now add people standing still. Now add the same things coming at you on the other side of the path or sidewalk. In the dark.Yea. That’s what I thought. Now, it wasn’t always that bad- but when it was, it was just plain nutty!

The overall vibe was very casual, and filled with glowing bobbing runners and families. Some families had decked out the strollers and kids and it was great! Each of the three stations had a rave-like tent that you could run through, and celebrate, dance, or just keep running!  There were also a few water stations with cups of slightly warm water waiting throughout the course. (Warm water is better than none, right?) When we were finishing the last mile I was really glad to see the smiling face of the volunteer that was cheering me on. Yay!

 photo Glow3_zps6662cfc5.jpgAround the last mile, I caught up with an awesome mommy friend and we ran together to the end. I was curious to hear her experience and compare it to my own, as well as another running mommy that ran with me for a while at the start of the race, before she and her son zoomed on their way. (I run, but I am slow ) As I came to the finish line, there was a table of water, and then directly behind that, the party zone. There was loud music, food trailers, and other party events for the more energetic and perhaps younger crowd who did not have to hurry home to sleeping kiddos.  Alcohol was something that was everywhere both before and after the race, which to me went as a strike against this being a really family friendly event. People were even selling shots out in the open! Families are not the target here… so keep that in mind. The after race party was headlined by Havana Brown and seemed pretty wild. Too wild for this mama, but maybe in my younger days.

 photo Glow4_zps00cce784.jpgOverall, I think the run had more “that was cool” moments than “Aww, man!” moments. Not by much, but it did. If you want a chance to do something cool as a family and have a very portable stroller aged kiddo, or an older kid or preteen, I’d say this might be for you (if you skip the after party). My kids would have melted down in a glowing scream fest around a mile and a half. I saw a lot of families having fun, and a lot of cool moments with fathers and daughters or mothers and sons running it together.  If you want to get together for a girls night out, this would be a possibility. I also saw a lot of families heading out after crossing the finish line. Good thing, since the party scene was more like a college party than a celebration of the run.  Date night? Sure! (If you both want to bust a move!) It might be worth checking out. If you just really want to run a Kk, this probably is not the choice for you. Walk leisurely with glowing gear and admire the awesome Park and Ohio River? Have a blast and dance to some hit music? Go for it! 

I asked my friends for their views on “Family friendliness” and the overall time.  Here are their comments:

Nicole G.- “ With so many children there, there were parts of the course that were too dark and unsafe.  I was for sure okay with having to purchase the junk the vendors offered for sale, but for the price that was paid, I felt as though it should have had more to offer.  Way too much alcohol around so many children. I think there should have been a "beer" tent being you have to be 21 to be under it and that is the only place you could consume alcohol. The volunteers were amazing!!! They were kind and encouraging and they seemed to have been enjoying themselves out there along the paths!”


Suzy K.-“The atmosphere of the event was energetic and fun. I really liked that there was food and music, and I was surprised by how family friendly the mood was. Kids love glow sticks and rocking music! Having it by the riverfront was a plus with all of the space for kids to run and play before the event...It really should not be advertised as a run but as a walk and the greatest majority who participated were walkers. I had done a couch to five K training routine to train for this event and am still a struggling runner proud just to complete 3 miles without stopping to walk. The addition of so many walkers as obstacles in my path, the darkness, the glo sticks and rave stations made it very difficult to keep running. The addition of a set of stairs down and up at the end of the course broke me and I ended up walking a large portion of the last half mile which really disappointed me.”

By guest contributor: Jackie

2 comments:

Greg Schwartz said...

Seems like The Color Run is a more family-friendly flavor of the same event. I've taken my three kids to two such runs and they've had a great time in both instances.

J Shamblen said...

I agree! the Color Run was very family friendly (but crowded. The daylight makes a HUGE difference too!