My plan for 2015 is to complete 4 half marathons. I had registered for two, one in the beginning of May and one the beginning of June. Since there were long runs in my training schedule for the June half I decided to make another one of those an event. I also wanted to do more of a destination race but not to far away. I found the OZ Run in Chippewa Falls and since this really should be considered a training run thought it would be fun to run one like this in costume. Not worry about my time and just have fun.
I didn't want to dress a Dorothy because I figured there would be plenty of those and I decided on the Tin (wo)Man. They had a costume contest but I wasn't really planning on being a competetor in that because I didn't want to put on silver makeup for running a half marathon.
The website was nicely laid out, with the information easy to find. Great map of the courses (5K & half marathon). Clear when and where packet pickup was and there was a discount rate at a local motel, the one packet pickup was at.
Arrive in Chippewa on Friday. Checked into the hotel and checked out where the race would be starting and then went to packet pickup. Loved the tech shirts we received! They have a simple design and are great colors. On the sleeve it had the distance of the race the runner was doing. The race bibs had the same simple, noncluttered design. It was pretty organized and went quickly.
The half marathon race started at 8am and I arrived about 7am. I am always and hour early. Best parking that way plus you never know if unexpected issues will come up. The race start and finish line was at the fair grounds and there was plenty of parking right up close! This is always a plus.
I was surprised at the lack of costumes of the runners. The half marathon only had a handful of runners in any kind of Wizard of OZ costumes and just as I suspected, most were of Dorothy. The 5K runners were more festive, there was even one lady dressed as a tornado! It was pretty awesome.
It was finally time to start the race. There were only 119 runners in the half marathon. We ran downhill out of the fairgrounds and across hwy 124 into Irvine Park. Took a right turn and up a long gradual hill then around infront of the animal cages, another right turn and another hill. The first 3 miles where in the park and it seemed all up hill lol there were a few downhills but much more uphill. I knew once we got out of the park and onto hwy 5 it would be flatter, so I was just running for that. Flatter, not flat though. It was not a closed course but that didn't really matter. The vehicles were staying real clear of the runners and since the race was small there wasn't a whole lot of passing other runners anyway. Off hwy 5 we hit a asphalt trail through the woods and past some fields, then into a business park type area then into residential. Onto another trail, which brought us out to the edge of downtown Chippewa Falls. Back into residential and finally up a hill, around a long block and back to the fair grounds.
Along the course there was also OZ themed displays. There was a flying monkey in a tree, signs with OZ quotes, Toto in a basket, a witch and a poppy field. Nice little surprises to put a little smile on my face along the course.
The weather was about perfect and wind was minimal. Mostly sunny skies. There were plenty of water stops but only one porta-potty on the course, at about mile 7.5. Although when we ran past the golf course there was a porta-potty there that could be used, that was about mile 4 maybe.
The medal had the same design as the shirt. I really like it. The half marathon and 5K looked the same, just the half marathon one is bigger. They also have the race distance on them.
Once back to the fairgrounds there was recovery food and water. Photographers were they to take our finisher pictures infront of the OZ banner. They were only charging $5 for a digital download! There was a DJ near the finish and a live band over in “Emerald City”. A petting zoo for the kids as well. There was a table with the results but they only had about the first 30 finishers for the half marathon there. I kept checking back but no new updates were posted.
Then came time for the awards ceremony and costume contest. The age groups were kind of strange. My group was 48 to 59 (I think). I was second in my age group by only 1:51. The first place person received a yellow brick. Kinda cool but after I was thinking what would have I done with that anyway.
I also found out why you never wear something new on race day. The inside of my arms were raw at the end from rubbing continuously on my costume. But, hey, how can you train in a costume. Could you see me running around my neighborhood or on the treadmill at the gym in my tin woman costume? I would just be laughing everytime I passed someone!
This is definitely a race I would do again. Probably just the 5K next year but you never know…