Race Review: Celtic Solstice 5 Miler

Hey guys!  As you know back in December, I ran the Celtic Solstice 5 Miler in Baltimore. I posted the recap but now it’s time for the race review to see if it’s right for you! I judge races based on 5 categories; atmosphere, course, post race party, race swag, and logistics.  To read more about my rating system, check out my Race Reviews/Recaps page. Five medals is the highest rating a category can receive while one medal is the lowest. So what did I think about the Celtic Solstice 5 Miler?

Atmosphere

If you want to run a holiday-themed race, this is definitely the race for you!  Most people dress up in costumes or other festive gear that will surely get you in the holiday spirit. I would say people generally run this one for fun and run it with a group of friends. Not to say that you can’t go and compete, but if you do show up to compete, be sure to line up at the very front at the start line. There are not corrals at the start and everyone just kind of squeezes in at the last second before the gun.  The Irish Wolfhounds and bagpipes make this race even more festive and fun!

Course

The course itself is just okay. I wouldn’t say it was very scenic and pretty. There are quirky Baltimorean things you run by such as weird gazebos and a random graveyard by the tennis courts. At least it keeps it somewhat interesting? LOL! The course is hilly and challenging but I like that because it keeps you honest. I also like that you are always around people but it does not feel crowded.  I get my energy from others around me so I am not a fan of races where you are alone for a portion of the course.

Post Race Party

If I could give the post race party 6 medals I would!  The post race party is the reason I come back year after year.  Admittedly, I do not like to drink beer after a run. So races that offer that as their selling point do not appeal to me. But mulled wine after a blustery run? Perfection! After I cross the finish line I head right to the warm tent and grab a cup of mulled wine.  Then quickly head over the the table with all those yummy Italian cookies! It’s always nice to just hang out and relax after a race and I love listening to the bands at the after party. If you like a good post race party, this is definitely the race for you!

Race Swag

What I like about this race is you have the choice to opt out of the race premium, therefore saving money on race registration.  I don’t know about you, but in December my wallet is feeling a bit tighter than usual from buying presents. This year I chose to opt out but in previous years I have received the premium. Registration without the premium  is around $40 and registration with the premium is around $75. The value of the premium is about $65 (give or take) so the value is there.  It just depends if you want to spend the money or not. The previous year the premium was a very nice Brooks quarter zip long sleeve shirt that I wear often.

Logistics

When you have a lot of runners driving to a public park on the weekend with limited parking, there’s bound to be some chaos. I remember one year we were sitting on the off-ramp for 30 minutes to get to the start line. Another year they had to delay the start because a gate was stuck and prevented runners from getting to the start line.  This year we were turned around several times because random access roads were closed or the parking area was full. But honestly, my running partner and I expect this now so we do not panic or stress. Plus we are only running this for fun so we aren’t worried about getting to the starting area early. Even though the logistics aren’t the best, it won’t deter me from doing this race. The race organizer isn’t at fault and they really try their best to make it less stressful. I just think the race has grown in popularity and cannot handle the venue.

Overall

I really like this race and if there is a year when I cannot participate I’m definitely sad. If you are looking for a fun holiday-themed race with a great after party, then you must sign up for this one!

So tell me, have you run a holiday-themed race? If so, which one?

 

 

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