Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. While using these links will not cost you any more, I may make a commission on any purchases.
Sure, we all wish we could gift our friends The Mirror Home Workout System or a Peloton, but for the rest of us, check out our guide of the Top 10 Budget Fitness Gift Ideas. Before you start shopping, think about the following questions to guide your search:
What types of workouts do they do?
Where do they work out?
How often do they work out?
Top 10 Budget Fitness Gift Ideas
10. Speed Jump Rope
Jump ropes are all the rage in Bootcamp and Crossfit gyms due to their ability to develop coordination, agility, footwork, endurance and overall conditioning. They are compact, lightweight, and bring back those fond memories of grade school recess. And under $10!
9. Fitness Dice
For anyone working out at home, it can get pretty monotonous doing the same workout over and over. A fitness dice adds a little spontaneity, resulting in new workouts every day!
8. Running Gloves
Gloves are a perfect Christmas gift because it’s cold outside! Look for gloves that are lightweight, yet warm, with touchscreen capabilities.
7. Fitness Journal
Gym rats love to plan and track their workouts and strength progression. Runners love to track their mileage and plan their training for upcoming races. Journals are a great reminder to get that workout in and motivation to keep progressing.
6. Yoga Mat
Whether hitting their favorite yoga studio or doing a session at home, there is no need for boring yoga mats.
5. Massage Stick
The perfect self-care gift idea! It can be stored under their desk at work or in a closet at home and used to treat themselves to a tension and pressure release anytime and anywhere. It’s a great gift that will keep on giving!
4. Foam Roller
One thing almost every runner, cardio fan and weight lifter loves but never has at home is a foam roller. Perfect for rolling out tight muscles, stretching, and even some isometrics, this is an amazing Christmas gift for any athlete in your life.
Nothing makes a runner happier than new socks! And they are definitely not something they tend to splurge on for themselves. My favorite brands are Swiftwick, Balega, and Zelle.
2. Resistance Bands
Great for the traveler or those with little space, resistance bands can be taken anywhere and provide a wide arrange of workout options for the newbie or advanced user. Most sets are under $10!
High on the trends list for 2020 have been joggers! Think of your old sweat pants, elevated to another level where they are both functional and fashionable. In my opinion, they are the new leggings. You can find budget-friendly joggers at Old Navy, and all the big-name fitness brands have their own too.
Running is one of my favorite ways to stay active. You can do it inside or out. Alone or with friends. You can even do it year-round. But it can be a little intimidating if you’ve never tried before. Here are my top 3 tips for running for beginners.
Running for Beginners
Get Fitted for Running Shoes
I’ve heard it said that running is one of the cheapest sports to get started in because you can do it with what you have. But I highly recommend you go to a specialized running store and get fitted with proper running shoes. This will likely cost you at least $100 but will save you in injury time and pain down the road. And once you know what shoe and size fit you best, you can find cheaper options online. In St Louis, I love Big River Running! They are highly trained in finding the right shoe for you based on how many miles you run a week, what surfaces you run on, and what injuries you’ve experienced in the past.
It can be tempting to jump right in and push yourself as hard as you can on the first day. Resist this urge. This is the quickest way to injure yourself and/or cause shin splints. Depending on your existing fitness level, your starting point can vary, but I would recommend 30 minutes of walk/run for your first workout. The Couch to 5k program is an excellent training program for individuals just starting to run. It leads you through run/walk workouts that slowly extend the run periods to where you are completely running a 5k by the end of the program. If you are not following a structured program, keep in mind that you should never increase your weekly mileage by more than 10%.
Join a Running Group
I started running with two friends from work. We decided to train for an upcoming 5k to stay active during the busy season at our public accounting firm. You can’t beat the accountability of running with friends. They are going to make sure that you show up when you schedule runs and follow up if you miss a run.
I’ve since joined Big River Running’s Training Team, which is a group that trains for half and full marathons, focused on races in April and October. We meet weekly on Sundays for 12 weeks leading up to each race. I’ve become great friends with many of the people in these groups and meet regularly during “off-season” and at various races around town. Check with the local running stores in your area to see if they offer group runs or training programs. It’s a great way to meet people at the same level as you.
You can also look for local running groups on Facebook and Meetup.com. Check out “Moms/Shes Run This Town” or search <your city> running groups.
What additional tips do you have for someone starting their running journey?
The Daily Mile Challenge. While walking or running for just 1 mile a day won’t be enough to get in shape, it will set you up in the habit of daily exercise. These small changes repeated over time can become permanent habits. And it will take you less than 20 minutes.
During the month of April 2018, join us on Facebook for daily motivation to complete your daily mile challenge. Your daily mile can be running, walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, rowing, anything that you can track 1 mile of travel. Many phones have built in health trackers (like Samsung Health), but you can also download multiple fitness tracking apps, like MapMyWalk, MapMyRun, and Nike+.
Tips to Help With The Daily Mile Challenge
Sleep in your workout clothes. I’ve heard this over and over, but never tried it. But I can see the logic. If you are already in your workout clothes, you have no excuse not to workout when you wake up. You are ready to go!
Set an Alarm. Whether first thing in the morning or after you’ve gotten the kids to school, set a time everyday to complete your mile. That consistency of the same time everyday, is just one more step to creating a new habit.
Have a Route Mapped Out. Use Google maps to figure out a route around your block that is 1 mile. Or see how far around your favorite park is.
Hold Yourself Accountable. Find a workout buddy or virtual buddy who will hold you accountable. For every day missed, pay $10 to a friend or charity that you don’t agree with their mission. This should keep you motivated to stay committed to your daily mile.
Create a Reward. On the flip side, you can set up a reward system for completing your mile. Buy a new workout top or get a massage. Treat yourself to a coffee date for every week completed.
It has taken me a while to get this post completed, but I felt I had so much to say!, The first weekend of December, I participated in the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend with my good friend Sherry. This was by far one of the most inspirational weekends that I have ever had. Between touring St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, hearing from the families of current and former patients, and the actual race itself, I have never been more in awe of the work done at St. Jude and what more I can do.
Thursday – Travel
Sherry and I drove to West Memphis, Arkansas from St Louis after work on Thursday. It’s just about a 4 hour drive for us straight down I-55. We stayed at the Knights Inn in West Memphis, a cute Marine-owned facility. A hot breakfast was provided along with all sorts of personal care items in the room, including a pair of slippers. The whole place was decorated in American flag decor. While not the most modern, it was very clean and the staff very personable.
Friday AM – St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
We started the day with a tour of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. We met other participants in the marathon weekend at the convention center for a bus ride over to the hospital complex. We had to go through security and I noticed that all cars had to go through security just to enter the complex.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – Main Entrance
Statue of St. Jude
Danny Thomas ALSAC Pavilion
We were dropped off in front of the Main Entrance to the hospital, with the statue of St. Jude greeting us. Directly across from the main entrance was the Danny Thomas ALSAC Pavilion. We had a brief introduction in the pavilion and met our tour guide. We learned that ALSAC (American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities) was also formed by Danny Thomas and is the fundraising and awareness organization for the hospital. Its sole mission is to raise the funds and awareness necessary to operate and maintain St. Jude. Danny Thomas was an entertainer, who when struggling in the industry, prayed to St. Jude for guidance, saying he would build a shrine to him. His shrine became what we know as St Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
While at the hospital, we were able to see registration, the cafeteria, the research wing, the Teen Art Gallery, and various clinical areas. For privacy concerns, we were not allowed to take any pictures with or of patients, but we were allowed to take pictures of their beautiful art, made during art therapy.
After our hospital tour, we grabbed some lunch in downtown Memphis at a cute coffee shop / bar called Tamp & Tap. With soups, salads, sandwiches and all day breakfast, you can complete your meal with coffee or a local draft.
Friday PM – Juice Plus+Global Headquarters
Next, we headed to the Juice Plus+ Global Headquarters for another tour. Their offices are located in Collierville, just outside of Memphis. We were joined by other representatives of the Juice Plus+ company who were also participating in the marathon weekend. We were given a tour of the various offices within the building, including getting to see where our founder Jay Martin sits.
Outside of the Juice Plus+ building, there is a beautiful park-like setting with a pond and walking path for employees. Overlooking the grounds is a statue of two figures in conversation. It represents the relationships that we all have and how it takes relationships to build our business. It’s all about heart.
Friday PM – Race Expo
After our tour of Juice Plus+, it was finally time for us to hit the Race Expo. You began the expo by picking up your race bib. As a St. Jude Hero, I was able to go to a special VIP line, where in addition to my bib, I also received a St. Jude running hat and a wristband that would get me special perks throughout the expo and on race day. To become a St. Jude Hero, you have to commit to fundraise and raise at least $500. Raising more than $1,000 gives you even greater perks, such as a race jacket and hotel stay during the weekend. You also receive a special training t-shirt and race singlet while training, and incentives for meeting certain fundraising goals throughout the process. This was my second year as a St. Jude Hero and I’m already ready to sign up for next year.
After getting your bib, you head through the Race Store. There are St. Jude logo’d shirts, hats, gloves, mugs, you name it. So many great items! And as a Hero, you also get some credit to shop in the store. Next stop was race shirts. You get a great long-sleeve wicking shirt for registering for the race and it’s specific to the race that you entered (marathon, half marathon, etc.). Another Hero perk is getting your name on the Pace Cars and I was able to find my name this year!
As the title sponsor of the race, Juice Plus+ had a big display with volunteers sharing about whole food nutrition. And as a Hero, our wristbands got us a St. Jude branded shaker bottle and Juice Plus+ Complete individual packets. It was then on to the rest of the Expo vendors. There were hundreds of different vendors, some promoting other races, some selling running paraphernalia (shoes, clothes, gels, jewelry), and others promoting different food items (chocolate milk anyone?).
Friday PM – Juice Plus+ Reception
When registering for the race, I signed up on Team Juice Plus+, since I am a Juice Plus+ distributor. They invited us to a reception at an event hall just down the street from the convention center. With an open bar and heavy appetizers, it was quite the reception. Our founder, Jay Martin even showed up and addressed all the runners. They also recognized those runners who had raised over $2,000 with a special gift.
Sherry & I with Jay Martin (Juice Plus+ Founder & Chairman)
Sherry & I with Meredith Martin (Vice President, North American Marketing)
Friday PM – Pasta Party
Another perk of being a St. Jude Hero is a free ticket to the Pasta Party. Think of it as dining with thousands of your closest friends. Buffet tables were set up a green salad and a few types of pasta with marinara, meat sauce, and pesto. They even had a gluten free option. We sat down at a table in the back with a few open seats. Little did we know that there was a whole program scheduled for the party. Richard C. Shadyac Jr. , CEO of ALSAC, spoke to the audience, along with the father of patient. They also recognized the top fundraising individuals and teams. It was inspiring to hear the stories of current and former patients who are leading the fundraising efforts for the weekend. Up next – Rest for the Big Day!
Saturday AM – Race Time
The Big Day! The half marathon started at 8am, and they recommended that we be in our race corrals at 7:30am. After learning from last year, we walked one block parallel to the race start line and corrals to avoid the congestion. As a slow runner, my recommended corral was Corral 14. While walking to the corral, we were able to watch the first runners from the 10k race that started earlier. Sherry was participating in the 5k, which started after the marathon and half marathon.
And we were off! The race started at the corner of 2nd and Monroe in downtown Memphis. We started out heading north, but quickly turned around and entered Beale Street around Mile 1. We continued in a southern fashion until Mile 3, when we hit the waterfront. We stayed directly on Riverside Drive for 1 mile, but continuing north until Mile 5. From here, we turned east and made our way onto the campus of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. With the weather being warmer than usual, we were greeted by so many patients and families and you were reminded why you were there. We continued heading east until Mile 9 before turning around and back to AutoZone Park for the finish.
Entering St. Jude Campus
St. Jude Campus
Entering AutoZone Park, the streets are line with spectators cheering you on. The actual finish line was just inside the park, entering from right field. The grassed out field was full of runners stretching and taking pictures and just taking in the moment. Once you were ready to move on, you proceeded off of the field and walked along the left field corridor to the outfield deck, where pizza, beer, donuts, chocolate milk, sports drink, and soup were waiting for us. We were also given access to the Juice Plus+ box in the stadium, where they had even more food for us.
I left this weekend so inspired! Between the hospital tour and Pasta Party, I was ready to donate everything that I had to St. Jude. I have already committed to myself to sign up as a St. Jude Hero at the Gold Level next year, raising at least $1,500!
Want to participate? Registration for St. Jude Heroes begins in May and open registration in June.
This past weekend I ran the half marathon in The Great GO! St Louis Halloween Race. This was my 4th half marathon of 2017 and 16th of all time. The Great GO! St Louis Halloween Race consisted of 4 different events – the half marathon, 10K, 5K and 1-mile fun run. Costumes are encouraged, with awards given to the top adult and child costumes and groups. This is a small race, with a cap of 5,000 participants, but only 795 runners completed the half marathon. A couple of factors likely let to this number. First, there are 3 major half marathons within the St Louis area within the month of October – Mo’ Cowbell, Rock ‘n Roll, then GO! Halloween. I was also supposed to run Mo’ Cowbell the first weekend of the month, but got sick the day before. The second contributing factor to the low turnout was the threat of rain. Meteorologists predicted that we would have storms all morning, including lightening, but we ended up with a downpour just before starting, then a light mist for a couple of miles before clear skies.
Packet Pick-Up occurred at the GO! St Louis offices in Clayton. I arrived in the last hour of pick-up on Saturday, having just driven back to St Louis from Juice Plus+ Live in Indianapolis. There were no lines and I was able to pick up my bib, shirt, and swag quickly. I had signed up for the Bridges & Broomsticks Challenge last October, which required me to run both the GO! St Louis half marathon in April and the GO! Halloween. At packet pick-up, I was able to pick-up my extra hooded sweatshirt for the challenge.
I do love the GO! St Louis challenges! You get an extra shirt and medal, and usually save a little on registration fees. Last year, I completed the Triple 5K Challenge. Having just had a baby in February 2016, I thought starting back with 5ks would be a good idea. The three 5ks were the GO! St Louis in April, All American in June, and GO! Halloween in October. Other Challenges include the GO! Short GO! Long which includes the 5k and either half or full marathon in April on back to back days and the 17K Challenge. The 17K Challenge includes a 7K at the GO! St Louis event in April and the GO! Halloween 10K.
To start the morning off, my alarm did not go off!! Every runner’s worst nightmare! The half marathon started at 7:30, but with the 5k starting at 7, I wanted to be downtown by 6:30. Well…I woke up at 6:00! I had partially laid out my clothes, but not my water belt or anything else that I would need. Running around like a chicken with its head cut off, my husband was warning me not to wake the kids. I was able to get out the door and downtown by 6:45. Luckily for the rain and low attendance, I was able to find parking in my normal spot and meet my friends at the Big River Running tent. A group of us had spent the season training together with Big River and started out the race together. The 10K runners split off about mile 4.5 and then there were just 4 of us together for the half marathon.
Mile 5 was tough for me. I haven’t been training as much as I should, and while I know that I can run a half marathon, my legs like to get very heavy. I fell back from my friends, but continued with my 30:30 intervals. At Mile 8, I had a resurgence and passed two of my friends, but it was short lived and my legs felt heavy again by Mile 10. Under good training conditions, I typically start extending my runs at the 10 Mile mark, but held out until closer to Mile 11. I also start finding people that I can pick off, especially if they look like they could be in the same age group as me. And although I’ll never win my age group, it’s just a sense of pride when I can pick those runners off in the last couple of miles. My last 2 miles ended up being over a minute faster than any of my other miles. So finished strong!
My friends that had completed the 10K were all near the finish line and tempting me with doughnuts. Going through the finish line, they handed me my medal for this event, along with water, chocolate, a pretzel bun, banana, and fruit cup. I had to go to another tent to collect my Challenge medal. I eventually reconnected with all of my friends where we enjoyed the doughnut holes and took photos of each other with our medals.
GO! St Louis events are always very well run, with good signage on the course and plenty of volunteers. They also provide a nice variety of finish food, with a little something for everyone.
Billed as the only nighttime half marathon in St Louis, the Equinox Half Marathon was a must run for me. The race took place on September 16, just one day after former police office Jason Stockley was acquitted of murder. That decision has sparked several days of protesting, with destruction of property and violence occurring after dark. While the decision was announced in downtown St Louis, the protesting occurred all over the city. However, the race organizers had worked with the Maryland Heights police and fire departments to ensure adequate race coverage. As I live in south St Louis city, my husband was very hesitant of me running. Not so much worried about the race itself, but about me getting home. The judge in the decision lives in our neighborhood and protests were expected there the night of the race. Fortunately, protesters stayed away from both the race area and my neighborhood.
The race originated from Westport Plaza, a unique multi-use area including hotels, restaurants, bars, theatres, and corporate offices. Check-in was to occur at a new entertainment spot called Westport Social. Not being familiar with Westport Social’s location within the plaza, I parked in the large open parking lot in front of the plaza. I saw others were parking there too and there was a truck selling various athletic apparel. Following the line of people took me to the back of the plaza. Check-in was set up outside of Westport Social within their outside seating area. The line was minimal and check-in consisted of several tables. The first stop was to obtain my bib. The half marathon and 5k had the same bib, no differentiation in wording or coloring.
The next stop was swag! Swag consisted of a hat, socks, pint glass and a bag full of coupons, including a free margarita at Fuzzy Taco and a free beer at Trainwreck Saloon with your pint glass and bib.
The course consisted of two 6 mile loops in the Maryland Heights area. Beginning right in front of the plaza, we proceeded to run through the plaza and run along the back side, including the new World Wide Technology facility. We wrapped our way around Westport Plaza before heading east, running by O’Fallon Brewery’s new location. It had been many years since I was last at Westport Plaza and there were so many new buildings and companies and restaurants that had moved out there. Around Mile 1, we entered Edward Jones Blvd. From I-270, you can see 2 large Edward Jones buildings, but I didn’t realize how large their campus was off Dorsett. They have numerous single story buildings spotting the whole area.
Overall, the course was very well marked, with plenty of volunteers, police and firemen along the course to keep traffic away and tell you where to go. The only place that I got confused was heading back into Westport Plaza after my first loop. I could see people running towards me and I was far enough behind the person in front of me that I couldn’t see where they had turned. There was a volunteer at the intersection with a sign with arrows pointing which way to go, but they made no sense to me so I just yelled out to him as I approached.
It always amazes me how I never notice how hilly a road is while I’m driving. I would have never thought this section of St Louis would have been hilly, but I was wrong. There were long stretches of up-hill climbs. Which I love hills, so this was my opportunity to leave and pass people along the back end of the route. I tend to run negative splits during races, which just means that I tend to speed up as the race progresses. I follow the Galloway run-walk method, using 30 second run / walk intervals, but usually when I hit about the 10 mile mark during a half marathon, I start stretching out my run portions. But, no matter how long I run, I only walk for 30 seconds, which has been shown to be the most efficient recovery time.
Upon finishing, I was handed a medal. And it actually glowed in the dark! Very cool! Many of my friends from Big River Training Team were volunteering at the finish line handing out water and bananas. I stayed around with them until some of the last runners came in. It turned out to be a beautiful night after the sun went down and was able to cool off a little.
Charity Miles is an organization that gives people the opportunity to direct corporate contributions to charities of their choice… simply by walking, running and biking! It adds extra motivation to know that as you are moving you are doing good!
Charity Miles tracks your distance, and large companies make contributions to the charity you selected.
Here’s how to join in on the fun:
Download the Charity Miles app onto your smartphone. Available on both Apple & Android at charitymiles.org.
Create a free account.
Choose which charity you would like to support. You may change selections each time you log in.
Select “Teams” and join the “Fueling Healthy Families” team!
Start walking, running or biking!
One cool feature of the app I love is the availability to add a picture and share to social media what charity you are supporting. You also get to see what corporate partner is donating on your behalf.
Some of the current charities:
Partnership for a Healthier America – End childhood obesity
Stand Up To Cancer – Fund cancer research
ASPCA – Protect Animals
Alzheimer’s Association – Support Alzheimer’s research
USO – Support our service members
Team Red, White & Blue – Enrich the lives of American veterans
Feeding America – Fight hunger in America
ALS Association – Fighting to treat and cure ALS
Save the Children – Invest in children worldwide
Operation Smile – Provide life-changing surgeries to children
Habitat for Humanity – Provide housing to people worldwide
Girl Up – Empower girls worldwide
(RED) – Create the first AIDS-free generation
Sight For Kids – Free eye exams and glasses for children
National Multiple Sclerosis Society – Move towards a world free of MS
Wounded Warrior Project – Honor and empower wounded warriors
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society – Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – Cure and treat childhood cancer
American Diabetes Association – Fight Diabetes
Charity: Water – Provide clean and safe drinking water
National Park Foundation – Protect our National parks
Shot@Life – Provide vaccines to children worldwide
The Michael J. Fox Foundation – Cure Parkinson’s Disease
Autism Speaks – Support Autism research
Every Mother Counts – Make pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother
World Wildlife Fund – Protect nature and wildlife
Girls On The Run – Empowering girls through running
DoSomething.org – Empower young people
The Nature Conservatory – Protect nature and preserve life
The World Food Programme – Fight hunger worldwide
Pencils of Promise – Build schools worldwide
Special Olympics – Empower athletes with intellectual disabilities
Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America – Cure Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
Team For Kids – Get kids active
She’s the First – Educate girls in low-income countries
Soles4Souls – Provide shoes to fight poverty worldwide
Nothing But Nets – Provide anti-malaria bednets
Back On My Feet – Empower people experiencing homelessness
Achilles International – Empower athletes with disabilities
The Ironman Foundation – Get kids active
Vision Spring – Provide eyeglasses to people worldwide
Foundation of the NSNA – Support our future nurses
Two 5ks in 2 days! That’s right, I participated in the Glo Run 5k on a Friday night, then the GO! St. Louis Run at the Raceway on Saturday night. The GO! St. Louis Run at the Raceway kicked off a week of racing themed events around the St. Louis metro area as a part of the “St. Louis Speed Festival”. Taking place at Gateway Motorsports Park, the night consisted of a 1 mile run, a 5k, and a Beer Relay. I participated in just the 5k, but had many friends in the various events. There were even challenge medals for competing in multiple events that night.
Covering nearly 200 acres, Gateway Motorsports Park is the largest outdoor entertainment facility in the St Louis region, encompassing a ¼-mile NHRA-sanctioned drag strip, 1.25-mile superspeedway, 1.6- mile road course, a state-of-the-art Karting facility and a new 14-acre, multi-purpose dirt off-road venue.
I arrived at the racetrack as the National Anthem was playing before the 1 mile run, which started at 6pm. The 5k was to start at 7pm, with the beer relay to run in heats starting at 8:30pm. The check-in tent was easy to spot, with NO line! Registration included a racer tank in red, along with a chipped time bib. I immediately ran into some of my friends from Big River Training Team who were waiting for the 5k and beer relay. We also had friends volunteering at the finish line, so chatted with them a bit while we were all waiting.
The 5k began and finished on the drag strip and included a loop of the racing oval. While advertised that the run would take place at dusk under the lights of the race track, sunset is not until after 8pm, so it was still light for the 7pm 5k and no lights were on. A little disappointing. It was still very cool to run on the race track though and was a little unusual to run on such a high bank at the end of the oval. Being on an IndyCar and drag racing courses, the race was flat.
We finished on the drag strip where we started. There was an announcer saying each of our names as we approached the finish line. Upon crossing the finish line, we were handed a bottle of water. Turning the corner, there was a line up of sports drink, various pretzels (rods, sticks, traditional, nuggets), and bananas. We were then handed our medals.
Participating in various GO! St Louis events before, they are all really well ran. I’d love if this race could be pushed back a little to actually run under the lights. A may have a slight obsession with night races now, with the Glo Run the night before and I just signed up for the Equinox half marathon, a night time race taking place at Westport Plaza in St Louis next month.
Interested in joining a future GO! St Louis event? Check out their website. They have all sorts of challenges you can sign up for by either racing multiple events in the same weekend or the same event at different race weekends. I completed the 5k Challenge last year, running three different 5ks – GO! St Louis in April, All American in June and GO! Halloween in October. I’ll be running the GO! Halloween half marathon this year.
Upcoming GO! St Louis events
October 22, 2017 – The Great GO! St Louis Halloween Race
Half marathon, 10k, 5k, 1 mile
April 6-8, 2018 – GO! St. Louis Marathon & Family Fitness Weekend
Marathon, half marathon, marathon relay, 7K, 5K run/walk, GO! St. Louis Read, Right & Run Marathon, children’s fun runs and a mature mile
The Glo Run St Louis was this past weekend and billed itself as a Run Through Luau. As a big supporter of the community, my employer (Wells Fargo Advisors) pays for race entries to selected races benefiting local charities. The Glo Run St Louis benefited Children’s Miracle Network and I was lucky enough to win one of the spots through the lottery.
I decided to take my 5 year old son with me, as he loves glo sticks and anything glow in the dark. The race started at the Upper Muny parking lot in Forest Park. We parked on the street at the entrance to the parking lot, so we’d have an easy exit from the park. Walking towards the check-in area, the first thing you notice is how long the lines are. I had received my bib number via email prior to the race and the lines were divided up by number, but the lines were so long you couldn’t make sure you were even in the correct line. Race day check in was the only option, so this is definitely an area for improvement.
My registration for the Chip Timed Run included a t-shirt, lei, 3 glo sticks, a flashlight, a bib and finisher medal. The initial long line was just for the bib and you had to go to separate tables for the remaining items. After collecting all our swag, we next jumped in line for body paint. My son opted for dots up the arms and face paint under the eyes. I followed suit with dots up my arms as well.
The Glo Run St Louis featured 5 on course neon luau themed zones:
Black Lights Luau
Luau Photo Op
Dancing Luau Giants
Arches of Luau
Black Lights Luau
Luau Photo Op
Arches of Luau
The race started at 8:10pm, just after sunset. As you can see, the course became dark and the flashlight came in handy to see in front of us. We started out running, but as you can expect with a 5 year old, we quickly resorted to walking and walked most of the course. Which was totally fine, as this race is definitely under the category of “Fun” races and had such fun photo ops. Of course, my son had to stop at each one for a picture.
Upon finishing the race, we were handed a bottle of water. As only the finishers who registered in the Chip Timed Run earned medals, we had to walk to another tent to pick ours up. They also had a table with granola bars and fruit snacks available to pick up. The whole night, they had a DJ playing music and a big dance party formed as people finished the race.
The Glo Run has events all over the US with 3 races remaining in 2017 – Twin Cities, Milwaukee, and Cedar Rapids. Learn more at The Glo Run.
This past weekend I ran the half marathon at Race 13.1 St Louis. This is the 2nd year that this national race has been held in St Louis. Starting from Missouri Research Park in St Charles, this was the 1st race that I have ran in this area of St Louis. The course covered portions of the Katy Trail, Busch Greenway, and Hamburg Trail.
To start the day, my alarm went off at 4:30am. I live about 40 minutes away from the race site and still needed to check in between 5:15-6:15am. With a high temperature of 69 degrees predicted for the day, I chose to wear a tank top and running shorts. Driving into the Reseach Park, there was plenty of close parking available. The race had a cap of 2,000 half marathon participants and 1,000 5k participants, but only 872 participants registered and only 753 finished. With these small numbers, I had no wait to pick up my bib and race t-shirt and then use a porta-potty. At packet pick up, I received a pre-printed race bib personalized with my first name and a race t-shirt. They also directed me to tables with safety pins, rubber bracelets, and temporary tattoos.
The half marathon started at 7:00am, with the 5k to start at 7:15am. Pace groups were available for the following half marathon times: 1:45 | 2:00 | 2:15 | 2:30 | 2:45 | 3:00. This made it easy to line up in an appropriate spot. But again, with the small race numbers, there was no starting corral congestion as so many big races have.
The course started in the Research Park with paved roads for the first 1.5 miles. We then entered the Katy Trail, with crushed limestone and beautiful views of the Missouri River. We stayed on the Katy Trail through mile 6. Hydration stations were located about every 2 miles, but the first station at mile 2 had ran out of cups by the time I got there, but had gallons of water that you could use. All other stations had both water and Gatorade.
We left the Katy Trail for the Hamburg Trail through mile 10, also on crushed limestone. The overall race was pretty flat, except for mile 8, which had a steep incline. At mile 10, we entered Busch Greenway, a paved trail that ran near Highway 94, back to the Research Park. Up to mile 10, the trail had been pretty well covered by tree coverage, but opened up at mile 10 for a warm final 5k.
The race organizers had warned runners of muddy areas on the Katy Trail after the recent floodings, but the Katy seemed in great condition. There was light muddy areas on the Hamburg Trail, but nothing that impeded your progress or slowed you down.
There was great crowd support and cheering upon exiting the trail and entering the finish area. There was someone on a loud speaker cheering all the finishers and announcing runners as they crossed the finish line. After crossing the finish line, volunteers handed out race medals and wet cloth to help cool down. They had tables set up with bananas and granola bars and a beer tent available. Papa John’s was also there handing out pizza. As I was one of the later finishers, they offered me a full pizza as they still had a large stack to give away.
Race 13.1 was a great experience on a beautiful course! It’s a race that I will be adding to my annual “Must-Run Races”.