* Event Details
So I was a last minute register for the Inflatable 5K after hearing about it from some coworkers on the shuttle bus on Friday afternoon. I figured it would be a great way to get my 9 year old through her first 5K because she has been nervous about moving from the kids races into the adult runs. First, I have to say that this is a great run for the newbie runner. There is nothing competitive about it. There is no timing, no winners. Just go out and have a good time fun.
The I5K has a bib pickup at Sports Authority the night before the run. This is for preregistered runners. You can not register there. The day day of the race I found out the parking was $10 to park at the actual race track parking. I decided we could both hoof the extra 100 yards and park at the mall for free. The racetrack offers tons of parking, so that will never be an issue at this venue. When we got down to the bib pickup, the lines were long. I think it was due to runners arriving exactly 1 hour before run time. No worries. We still got our bib, watched some of the waves head out and then it was our turn to get into the corals. There was a food area that had hamburgers and other foods. Plenty of shaded seating since they have an overhang and picnic tables to sit under. I saw they had stuff for sale as far as schwag goes, but didnt take the time to look. You got a t shirt, medal, banana, kind bar, and water at the finish line so it was comprehensive to what other races give you.
They had a slush cart which was popular, a booze cart, and some other snacks and stuff. They did have water stations at mile 1 and 2 which was quite nice on the hot day.
* Race Details
The start of the race is right in front of the old grandstand on the turf course- it opens up with a climb up this big obstacle and then you slide down. I do have to say that the obstacles get quite hot and your shorts ride up on them, so make sure you wear capris, or some sort of compression shorts under your shorts to make sure you dont get friction burns… I learned my lesson quickly. A recommendation to the running organization is to maybe wet the obstacles down to stop that from happening.
This was a family event, so there were kids as young as 4 on the course- plenty of room to run around them for sure. The run is on the turf section of the track, and it is dusty with shots of grass. They have some areas that have hay on the drier areas. One of the obstacles is a blow up version of the high knee tires that football players do. There were some people who would take it at full speed and then wipe out (which was pretty funny). The next obstacle was a big blow up room with volunteers pushing these big clear balls around. My daughter got pinned between 2 of them and had to fight her way out. There was another obstacle which was really cool… you had to either jump over this high bar or crawl under it. I jumped over it, my daughter crawled under. You then took off to the stables. The track is a very big place, and they used it to their advantage. You went out to the stables area and then came back behind the track (close to Rt 28), and then came back onto it. When you got back onto the track, you were already at 2 miles. Then you hit obstacles every few hundred yards. If you like bounce houses, then this is where the real fun began. There was an obstacle where you climbed up, slid down, and then had these big prong things you had to run through and then go back up a hill and then slide down. Everyone was courteous, and waited until people cleared the obstacle before sliding down. I didnt have any backups at the obstacles on my wave, and friends who ran other waves said they had them staggered perfectly. The obstacles were fun, and I would recommend this to anyone who wants to do a run with their family. If you are looking for a competitive environment, this is not it. This is 100% just for fun, and you can make some great memories with the kids, or even family members who have never run a 5K before. Its a great introduction to what OCR and running is all about. I dragged my 9 year old there, and when she was doing the race she didnt complain one bit, and shes quite hard to please. She gave it 2 thumbs up, and a “Mom, we need to find out when the race is back in the area again”.
Overall, its a great event for those who are experienced in OCR or running to get those who arent out into something that is fun and become an ambassador for the sport. Its not difficult, but it can easily be an event to turn those friends and family into runners due to the positive experience they would have. Youll have lots of laughs, and watching the wipe outs on the obstacles is funny because they are big blow up bounce houses. The slides are fast, and youll share a lot of smiles on the way to the finish line. The event is already on the I5Ks website for Salem, NH, and Ill be back next year with my daughter and son in tow for sure. Its a great way to make some summer family memories while promoting fitness.