Charleston i5K Recap

Last Thursday night, my husband and I headed downtown with a friend to participate in the i5K (Innovators 5K) race. 

Sponsored by the Charleston Digital Corridor, the i5K is an evening race from the Aquarium down East Bay Street to the water and back, passing the fountains and the historical homes. It’s a beautiful route and the streets are closed- it’s pretty much the only time you can run in Downtown Charleston without worrying about traffic, minus the Charleston Marathon and Half Marathon.

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Most of the runners and walkers worked at tech companies in the Charleston area with big teams, shirts from their company, etc. Clay’s company didn’t have a team, and all my coworkers are in other cities, so we were unattached and felt a bit left out. Even though the race was open for everyone, we felt like the contests, after party, pre-run cheers, and pretty much everything except the run was geared toward the companies that had teams participating.

A few runners wore costumes, which was pretty interesting. One company had banana suit shirts made for their participants.

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Our first hiccup with the race occurred when we picked up our packets and Clay didn’t get a shirt. Even though preregistration was required (the race sold out with 800 participants), the only shirts left were L and 4XL- Clay wears an XXL which isn’t a weird size or anything- so his packet was basically a reusable bag, a chapstick, and a pen. We did contact them after the race about the shirt, but it looks like he just won’t have a shirt, which is a real shame since we registered so early.

Of all the races I’ve done, this is the first where I’ve noticed this… but not everyone actually completed the run/walk. People stopped at the East Bay Street bars and hung out, then just walked back to the start. It’s not really fair for those who put in the effort to run or walk the entire 3.1 miles. I also heard (my friend personally saw this) that some of them were smoking outside the bars.

Not a good way to represent your business, folks. Definitely not fair to those who would’ve completed the course and were waitlisted due to it selling out.

Despite the issues, the course was still beautiful. Then again, it’s hard to beat the beauty of running in Charleston, though- I’ve become spoiled by the running scenery here.

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I wasn’t sure how this race would play out, because I was *extremely* sore from doing BodyPump the day before and running on tired legs from training so hard for Race for Taylor. I really just set out to do this for fun, but even after my one mile warmup, my legs still felt like lead. Despite my low expectations, I finished in 23:53 then ran down the course for awhile to cheer for the other participants. I hope all the participants I cheered for actually ran or walked the whole distance…

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Clay and I hung out with one of my friends from run club at the after party and ate the Andolini’s pizza and Clay enjoyed a post-race beer. Pretty soon the awards started, but with so many girls my age in the race (Does every 20something female in Charleston work for a tech company?), I didn’t expect anything.

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However, the race director called my name and I went up to accept my award… which I *thought* was 3rd place female (20-29). The award was a certificate and a reflective light that would be mailed. With close to 100 girls in the age group, I was happy to get anything (I don’t really pay too much attention to who passes me or who I pass in a race). I barely heard my name, and I didn’t hear the placement. By the time I got up to the front, the race announcer had gone on to other winners, so when she finished, we got the certificate and hit 26 back to West Ashley.

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The next day, the final results were available online, so I checked them before writing my time and placement on my bib, just to be sure (plus I wanted to know exactly how many people were in the age group). That’s when I saw that I was *1st Place Female* in 20-29 rather than third. Oops. I contacted the race directors via e-mail, and last week, my actual award came in the mail.

Along with the certificate, I got a $25 gift card to The Foot Store in Mt. Pleasant. I will say it was a pretty sweet prize.

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Obviously I like this award much better Smile. I offered to drop it by the downtown office, but the organizers didn’t need the 3rd place certificate back, so I threw it away. I guess they printed another one for that girl…


The course was beautiful and my prize for winning my age group was impressive, but with the hiccups with Clay’s shirt, lack of course monitoring, and feeling left out due to not working for a company with a huge team, I’m not sure if I’d do this race again. Running on the streets downtown when they were closed to traffic was a great experience, though, and lots of people had fun with it.

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32 Responses to Charleston i5K Recap

  1. KrisLawrence says:

    Congrats on your ag win!!

    Stopping early in the race and coming back to the finish line is so irritating. I think some people just don’t get that they will mess with age group and placings by doing that. Especially for a race that sold out.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I’ve honestly never heard of people doing this? I guess people have before and it doesn’t surprise me, but with running, you think people are honest. You don’t hear about runners doping in the news, but you hear about runners carrying others across the finish, etc.

      Also I think most races I do are more like big circles or point to point without an out and back course with a bunch of spectators. All the other out-and-backs I’ve done, it was so small and secluded that people would’ve seen someone if they tried to cheat.

  2. Liz DeLoach says:

    It’s fine to drop down to a walk, or even walk the entire race, or not complete it if you injure yourself or become ill. But stopping by bars along the way? Seriously? Or just turning and going back to the start line? You’re right – it does not make your team or the event look good if you do these things.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I agree, it shows their priorities. There was plenty of beer at the finish for them when they were done, don’t know why people couldn’t wait to celebrate. Plus the finish celebration was included in the race price unlike whatever they drank at the bars, lol. Complete the race, save some money, then get your party on 🙂

  3. That is awesome Amy. Congrats on FIRST in your AGE GROUP! Next year I will have to run it with you and Clay and we can make up our own Tech Company name… “The Others!” That really sucks about Clay’s shirt. This is exactly why I will not run any of the Charleston Marathon events anymore. The first year, I did the 10k, and they ran out of medals, and I never got a medal. Year before last a friend of mine, who is slow, registered well in advance. Well he is slow, and by the time he finished, they ran out of medals. They said they would mail him one later. Well dang the USPS is slow, because 1.5 years later, he is still waiting on that medal! Things like this will give your race a bad name, if they make a mistake/error, they need to correct it ASAP, especially if the person lives in the area, and can spread the word of the poorness. Once again, CONGRATS!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I’m not sure that I’d run this again. Charleston races are like Charleston restaurants- with tons here, they have to be impressive to get our business, lol. Both Clay and I paid for this race out of our own money, neither of us got any time off work for it (I worked until we left for the run), and I don’t think anyone from our companies really cared that we did it.

      I do hate to hear that about the Charleston Marathon though, I liked that race but my favorite half was the Bridge to Bridge in Georgetown. I also did a race that claimed they would mail me a medal and never did. Granted I have a lot of medals and it was a 5K, so it would’ve been a very generic medal… but for newer runners, just *completing* a race is a big deal and they deserve that medal they get. That’s why any race that gives a finisher’s medal should cut off registrations several days before and not allow same day registrations.

  4. silkandtofu says:

    Congrats on the win, that’s an awesome prize!
    That’s a shame with the t-shirt though. That’s basically the one thing I look forward to after paying the money and time to sign up for a race, haha! Well and of course the race part – but still, that’s ridiculous since you signed up early and everything! At least you got a nice certificate and money out of it! 🙂

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Yeah… I’m used to not getting shirts that fit since I’m so small, but Clay doesn’t do many races and actually works out in and wears the shirts he gets, so it stinks when he can’t get one. I usually just sleep in mine since they’re so big, even a small is huge on me so I don’t wear them out of the house too much. Ladies cuts are nice though and sometimes I can get the kids fit, those are great!

      The certificate and gift card (although not money) are nice. Considering the percentage of my money that goes toward running, it may as well be money!

  5. Steph says:

    Nice job on the age group win! It sounds like a bit of a flop with the race, though. That was definitely a weird situation. They need to learn how to do a corporate race from Greenville! We have all the corporate shield events that are generally organized well.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      That’s neat that you guys have cool corporate races in Greenville. Greenville seems like a nice place too as far as companies go. Thanks for the congrats on the AG win.

  6. I hate disorganized races, those ruin the whole experience which stinks. I kind of dig those banana suits what a great idea. I have to say you are so good about supporting your local community with races – that really is a great cause and way to choose races.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Well, I’d want to support the local races anyway (always have), but with buying a home and pulling out tons of money, usually the only races I can do are ones close to home or within a short drive. I just can’t afford to stay in a hotel to do an out of town race more than maybe once a year- and even then would prefer to stay with friends if I can save money that way.

      I’m a little pickier about local races though since there are so many, I want to actually like the cause I’m supporting :). Since they’re close, I’m able to support more races than if I did 2-3 big races per year that I traveled for.

      The race wasn’t disorganized so much as it was… not organized for those of us who didn’t have 30-40 coworkers also doing the race. The packets were really the disorganized part (minus those who just stopped, and I think the only thing the organizers could do about that would be to put more volunteers on the course next year to watch out for that).

  7. Great job on the race. I have to agree, it was very much geared towards company teams, trying to promote wellness in the job environment. EIther way, getting out to run downtown is never a disappointment! And a win is even better. There are more and more races popping up mid week, and it makes me sad I can’t partake!
    I really want to do the Charlestowne Landing Runs but i teach boot camp during the week each night.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Honestly, I agree that wellness *needs* to be promoted in the job environment. I remember how things were in my office- there were some of us who worked out and lived healthy lifestyles, but there were a lot of others who did not. The sad thing was, all the things my company did to promote wellness (and they really did a lot and have good programs), most of us who participated were already the folks who did it anyway rather than the ones who really needed to be there. You just can’t change people who don’t want to change.

      I want to do those Charles Towne Landing runs too but can’t due to buying a home and wanting to save that money, and committing to every Thursday night is tough as well. Maybe I can still make it to one of them, we’ll see. If not, there’s always next year.

  8. Awesome! Congratulations on being first!
    Never heard of issues like that before in an actual race. Wow! Stopping in the middle of the race on purpose then going back to the start line.
    I’m glad you enjoyed the scenery in this race despite not being that organized.

    Congratulations again! Have a great week!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      We definitely have some beautiful scenery in this city if you ever get to visit. The stopping was certainly very trashy of them, especially since those people got the chance to run in a race that sold out. Sadly not everyone looks at it like that, though =/.

  9. Great job on finishing first in your AG. Charleston Marathon has improved each year. I will be participating again. It should be a premier event in this area and with the help of the running community and knowledge gained through experience, it will be one day. Please don’t let one experience determine your thoughts of any particular race. It’s like I always say — They are still putting erasers on pencils. In other words — there’s only been one perfect person that walked this earth and he isn’t a race director. haha Maybe I could be too forgiving. Seems to me like the CBR sold out again this year even after the terrible problems they had last year.

    Thank you for all you do in this running community and especially for the encouraging words you have for us “slow” runners. You have helped many and will help many more. Keep up the good work. The experiences we have aren’t always the best but maybe with more involvement we can make a difference.

    RUN ON!!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Yeah, the CRBR will sell out every year- it’s an “experience” race and has quite the reputation. The iFiveK will sell out next year too- after all, it’s a corporate race. They could opt for corporate only and still have a ton of people out there.

      I’m really glad the CRBR and Charleston Marathon are striving to improve each year. New races like Charleston Marathon have it tough. I hate that people have had issues with it, but I guess it gives those who cannot travel to a destination marathon a chance to complete a marathon.

      As far as giving the race another chance… I look at it like a restaurant. With tons of restaurants in CHS, they have to be good to get our repeat business- there’s just too many places to try. CHS has a ton of races, and I can only do so many because they’re on the same days and obviously money ;). If I budget $50 toward races for next April, I’m more likely to do 2 other races next, just because of my experience with this one. That way I get to try other races too.

      “Slow” runners are still faster than everyone on the couch!!! Heck, even if you finish last in a race, you still beat everyone who will never run, who will run and never race, or who will train for a race but then never cross the starting line. When you look at it like that, no runner ever finishes last.

  10. Like you said the other day “each quarter mile laps the guy on the couch.” Your encouragement is invaluable. Keep it up.

  11. One more thing. I totally understand the budget thing. There are many races and events that I’m not able to participate in because of it. What it has accomplished is it’s driven me to want to volunteer and get more involved with the operation of races. See you Wednesday at mm6, 22 and the finish.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Yeah- see you Wednesday! I am only doing the half distance, and really I am just running it with a friend, not a race. It’s my weekly long run since I thought I’d be moving on Saturday (supposed to close on a home Friday and hoping we actually will!).

  12. Kara says:

    Bummer that some of the logistics didn’t work out…that’s frustrating! So crazy that people stopped in the middle…maybe since it’s so “company-focused”, a lot of the people just do it to have fun with their colleagues and aren’t necessarily trained for it? I do love the banana costumes though, haha. Maybe they should just call it a “fun run” so people who actually want to race aren’t misled…anyway, SO AMAZING you were the first place female in your age group!! You are a superstar! 🙂

    I hope I can run in Charleston someday, it looks so beautiful! I’m adding it to my bucket list 🙂

    • Amy Lauren says:

      It deserves to be on your bucket list. This is a beautiful city.

      Yeah, a lot of people were doing it just to have fun and weren’t trained- which is fine. Exercising, running, walking are meant to be fun. But really, it is only 3.1 miles. They could have walked the whole thing.

      Thanks for the congrats. I ran the whole way and still beat anyone in my age group who possibly stopped off at a bar and did not complete the race, lol.

  13. LilMysNinja says:

    I LOVE Andolini’s Pizza! Sadly we didn’t get a chance to have any since we tried that pizza joint on the corner of 61 and Sam Rittenburg.

    Those people that didn’t really run that race would upset me too. That kind of defeats the purpose of a race! You can do that stuff any day of the week, so why bother registering for the race? I personally would have loved to do it because of the route it had.

    Minus the hiccups, I’m glad to see you placed! Congrats!!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I haven’t tried that place at the corner of 61 and Sam Ritt but I drive by it almost every day and have thought about it. Was it any good? Maybe I should stop in.

      Yeah, it wouldn’t have bothered me so much for the race if it wasn’t one that sold out and left a lot of people disappointed, or if they had registered as untimed walkers or something, you know?

      Come down and do another run here in CHS and we will hit Andolini’s afterwards, deal?

  14. Zaneta says:

    Congrats on the AG win speedy lady! 🙂 What an awesome prize!
    Thanks for linking up on the Race Recap Roundup! 🙂

  15. awesome job on the finish and boy do your prizes sound great. I have never done this race before, but it sounds like fun. I love running downtown.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Running downtown was fun- it always is though, it’s hard for a downtown run to not be fun unless you trip and fall on the rocky streets or something.

      My spot in this race from this year will be up for grabs next year ;).

  16. Congratulations on winning the race!
    Wonder how long they have been doing races??? It sounded like it had a lot of speed bumps to work through for the next year.

    Whenever we go to Charleston we either 1.Shop 2. Eat. or 3. look at the beautiful scenery, and with you living there I am *slightly* jealous 🙂

    I’m glad you had fun nonetheless!!!

    -Mel

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Oh yeah, being downtown is always amazing with the scenery. I like the little gardens too, just outside random churches and random little ally with a cute garden and fence. That’s what makes Charleston special… and the food. You can’t outrun Charleston food… I know people who work out here so they can justify the food and beverages (beverages: also huge here).

      And shopping here is great too, gotta love Tanger! That’s my favorite mall.

  17. AWESOME JOB!!!!!!! Getting first that is amazing! so proud of you!

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