Bibrave Race Review: Run CRANDIC

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Run CRANDIC  as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

First things first, May the Fourth Be With You! This past weekend, I made the trek out to Iowa for Run CRANDIC. Part of my bucket list involves hitting half marathons in all 50 states, and some of the middle of the country states have been hard to get, so I was excited about this one. To boot, it was the inaugural race and fellow Bibrave Pro Ang was part of the set up team (at one point over the weekend, she even said how running Sunday was going to be like a vacation for her).

I got into Cedar Rapids Friday late afternoon and drove about 30 min from Cedar Rapids to Iowa City (staying at the finish seemed easier since I was running the half marathon, rather than the full). After checking in at my hotel (I always appreciate discounted rooms for races), I went out for a run around town. Iowa City is more of a college town (read Univ of Iowa) and classes were nearing the end of term. While running, I ended up passing the packet pick up for Iowa City. Friday, you could a quick pick up in Iowa City with no vendors, etc (think quick in and out), so I ended up getting my packet on my way back to the hotel (only a mile run back of awkward bag holding). Bub numbers were posted on the wall of the Robert Lee Center and pick up was quick and easy. I ended up having to go back though because my number didn’t make it into my bag initially- at least I was only 1/10 mile away!

Saturday, there were shake out runs in Iowa City and in Cedar Rapids. I ended up sleeping later than I expected and missed the group run, so I went out on my own shake out run. After a shower and lunch, I decided to head off to Cedar Rapids to take a look at the vendors and hear about the course. There were some running stores, OrangeTheory, and packet pick up. It was held at NewBo Market, which had food and vendors set up. I ended up getting some throw away gloves because it was going to be chilly at the start. I met up with fellow Bibrave Pro Ang briefly and we chatted a bit. Since she was doing the full and I was doing the half and the races had different starting points, we got an early BRP picture before I headed to church, dinner and back to Iowa City.

Race day, I was up early and changed before heading over to Kinnick Stadium, where the finish was. The start for the half was in North Liberty and runners had to be shuttled there if they were parking at the finish. We were given parking passes during packet pick up, but no one checked them at the shuttles. I happened to be on the first shuttle out to North Liberty, so we were waiting for the start for a little over an hour. Part of the downside with where we were is that there was no barrier against the elements. Thankfully, it wasn’t raining, but it was on the colder side. Shout out to Corridor Dental though who opened up their office for runners. Something to think about for next year is tents for runners to gather under depending on the weather, +/- heaters if the area can’t decide what season it wants to be. There was limited packet pick up until 730 AM and bag check that would be shuttled to the finish.

The race started at 815 and had waves go off every minute based on pace (and I was thankful people put themselves in the correct corral). The first mile was around a lake before we went on the sidewalk/ road. The first 4 ish miles didn’t have much incline and weren’t bad overall. We jointed up with the marathon about 4-5 miles in to their race. We had some race on road, though a lot on paved running/bike paths through North Liberty and Coralville. The middle few miles definitely had some hills to it, though they weren’t terrible. I was running on tired legs, so I was slowed down a little bit. Around Coralville, we were funneled to sidewalks, which created a bit of bottleneck and made passing difficult. There were also areas where the mile markers were off, and not by a little bit (mile 8 was placed at 8.5, mile 12 was at 11.75), though at the end, you still ran a complete 13.1 miles. The last few miles, the elevation did let up, which was appreciated. Once we got back into the athletic stadium area, we passed the baseball field, which had Iowa playing and signs out to watch for flying baseballs. Can’t blame the race because the game time got moved up a few hours. Once you got to Kinnick Stadium, you went in part of it, had the chance to wave at the kids in the Children’s Hospital, ran through part of the stadium and finished outside one of the entrances.

Aid stations were well stationed and had a variety of water, gatorade and gels, oranges, etc. What was a good touch was signs saying what was available at each water stop.

The finish itself was pretty crowded. They needed somewhere with some more space where things could be a bit more spread out and less cramped. You were directed to a table to get your medal. Part of what needs looked at for next year is the medal situation. If you registered before a certain date, you were guaranteed a medal, but at the finish, your bib was checked to make sure you were one of those people. This led to some unhappy people (an order was going to be placed for people who didn’t get medals and they were sent out). Something to consider is getting medals in the future that aren’t dated and use them to make sure people get medals on race day. There was water available and organic chocolate milk, but I didn’t see any food. For further Run CRANDIC, I’d stick with something like a TruMoo. I saw so many partially full chocolate milk bottles that people didn’t finish (I felt like there was a huge taste difference from what I normally do and couldn’t stomach the rest of them). More food at the finish would have been a plus, in addition to the post race party they had at one of the local breweries. Kudos for the shuttle back and forth between the finish and the Brewery.

Overall, a good race, especially for it being an inaugural race. Every race has their hiccups, so I think if the finish congestion, medal situation and post race food situation can be hammered out, that would boost Run CRANDIC up a bit. I heard some of those involved with the race speak over the weekend, and they definitely seemed like they’d take feedback into account. If you’re in Iowa next year, be on the look out for Run Crandic and do it! Race this year? Don’t forget to review on Bibrave and look to claim your results on Athlinks!

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About drrunner
8 time marathoner, 65 ish time 1/2 marathoner with a bucket list item to hit all 50 states. BibRave Pro, Doctor and a mix of insanity

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