First things first: I loved this race!! The city is beautiful and the race is well produced. Definitely a race I will run again.
This is a smaller race, so I enjoyed the small-town kind of feel. The packet pickup was small, in Miami on Wednesday and then in Sarasota at Fit2Run on Friday and Saturday. It was very quick and efficient. The race shirt isn't my favorite ever, but it is soft and I will certainly wear it. The folks at packet pickup were so nice and welcoming of an out-of-towner like myself, and it made me that much more excited for this race!
Parking on race day was a bit of a challenge, as the race start is in a congested area. This isn't as much of the race management's error as it is just the logistics they have to deal with. I recommend arriving an extra 30 minutes earlier than you might normally arrive for a race. We found parking on a side street, but after searching for a bit.
The start line was well-organized with the pace groups holding their signs to help organize where folks were lined up. The course heads out to St. Armands key briefly, which does mean heading over a pretty steep bridge at mile 2, and then coming back over it around mile 4. The rest of the race goes through residential neighborhoods and is well-shaded from the sun.
Aid stations were plentiful, but I was confused as some aid stations only offered water or only offered Gatorade, while others offered both. The cups it was served in often changed and a few times I didn't get the liquid I needed. It was a little frustrating. The racing rule of thumb is that Gatorade should always be first and water second, and cups labeled accordingly. Nailing details like this will help keep the field much happier, in my opinion.
The finish line was a welcomed sight! I received an awesome medal and a bottle of water and a bottle of Gatorade.
The First Watch buffet was one of my favorite parts of my race experience- it featured fresh pancakes (they were making them non-stop!), fresh fruit, yogurt parfaits, a few other small items. I LOVE First Watch to begin with, and I remember reminding myself in the later miles of the race that the sooner I finished, the sooner I got pancakes!!
Free race photos and finisher certificates from Athlinks also are an incredible gesture and very much apprecated.
Overall, I had a great experience and would recommend this race to Floridians or those looking for a race-cation alike.