Next weekend marks the 25th anniversary of Sunburst Races in South Bend, Indiana. Last year some girlfriends and I headed down to run the ½ marathon. I’ve got this thing about ending races in football stadiums so the “Hall of Fame to Notre Dame” race, heading from the College Football Hall of Fame and ending on the 50 yard line of Notre Dame’s stadium, was perfect.
The first hiccup with Sunburst was the race hotel, the Marriott in downtown South Bend. The location was excellent – literally out the door to the start. But the price was outrageous – over $175 for one night in Indiana. My husband still complains about the cost of that hotel, and the hotel itself was average at best.
Sunburst holds its expo outside the College Football Hall of Fame. It was lively and fun with lots of music and entertainment. I must say that the shirt for this race was not great. The design was cute, but it’s HUGE. I got a small, and I could belt it and wear it as a dress. It’s always disappointing to do a race and get an unwearable shirt.
|the start- right outside our hotel|
Race morning was beautiful, warm, and humid. The start was fun and festive in downtown South Bend. South Bend has a small but cute downtown. The race ran through downtown a little bit and then branched out into neighborhoods for the most part.
|and we're off!|
The race then curled into a trail along the river which was scenic. There were people cheering everywhere, and at no point did you feel lonely on the course. Unfortunately there must have been a shortage of water because there was no water for about 2.5 miles between miles 7 and 9. With the high humidity that day it was a killer.
Late in the race (mile 12ish?) we got onto Notre Dame’s campus. I think the race could have been enhanced a bit if more of the course was on campus. The finish in the stadium was great. There was lots of cheering and entertainment, and it felt like a very grand finish. The fun finish (and a popsicle) almost made me forget about the humidity.
|finishing in Notre Dame's stadium|
One very frustrating thing is at the end of the race there was also a walking event where walkers were coming onto the field parallel with the runners. As we went to get water and popsicles, we were battling the walkers for hydration. Don’t get me wrong – I am thrilled that so many people participated in the event. But when you run 13.1 miles in that type of humidity you shouldn’t have to battle a line with the walkers at the end.
|my hard earned popsicle|
Overall I enjoyed the race itself (with a few hiccups). Unfortunately I don’t feel like I saw any of South Bend as part of the course. In terms of running that town it was a little lacking. After the race my husband and I went around town and campus a little bit, and I wish we could’ve seen more of it during the run.
How would I rate the race? B (running out of water and battling walkers takes it down a notch)
How would I rate South Bend? C (I feel like I didn’t get to experience much of it and what I did see wasn’t much to write home about)