- Spinx Run Fest is held Greenville, SC, making it closer to home for us and therefore easy to get to.
- The Fest had a 5K, 10K, half marathon, and full marathon. Since one us was recently recovered from Achilles tendinitis, we were both able to experience the event at different distances.
Packet pickup was held at the Kroc Center in downtown Greenville. Volunteers were directing runners into a grassy area designated as packet pickup parking. For a Run Fest, the expo was relatively small, and manned by a half dozen vendors or so. Fleet Feet's Greenville store had a full staff selling everything from Gu to "Run GVL" shirts (which I still regret not purchasing for the bargain price of $15). Greenville's Pace Magazine had also set up shop, along with another vendor or two selling similar wares to Fleet Feet. After checking out the vendors, which were all located outside, we wandered into the Kroc Center where we located our bib numbers and picked up our packets, which included long sleeved, gender specific tech shirts. Each runner was given a Run Fest program which contained maps of all the races, awards ceremony start times, and other useful race info. We referred to this program numerous times between packet pickup and the race's conclusion, so we're glad it was provided.
Accommodations & Places to Eat
The last time we visited downtown Greenville we got a great rate at the Westin Poinsett hotel. Having booked the race so late, our options were more limited. Even still, we were able to stay at a recently renovated Quality Inn only a mile from the race start. The hotel had a continental breakfast, though we were once again too early to take advantage. We did make use of the room's refrigerator where we stored leftover pasta from dinner and milk for race morning's cereal.
Runners who can splurge on a race weekend could opt to stay at the Hyatt Regency downtown which looked both trendy and luxurious on the outside. Nearly any downtown hotel would be walking distance from the race start, just book early if you need more reasonably priced accommodations.
We arrived in Greenville just in time for dinner. Downtown dining options are plentiful and varied. Runners can eat in a place as casual and quick as Jersey Mikes, or eat at one of the finer dining options downtown like Roost or Ristorante Bergamo. Since we've ceased traveling for races with clothes other than running clothes, we opted for a more casual carb loading establishment: Antonio Bertolo's Pizza & Wine Bar. Here, diners order spaghetti or pizza at the counter and a waitress delivers it to the table of your choice. Both the food and the price of a meal are acceptable.
All four Spinx Run Fest courses took runners on a tour of Greenville's scenic downtown, and if there is an unsightly part we didn't see it during the 10K or half marathon. The rolling race course hills took runners through the beautiful Falls Park and larger Cleveland Park. The races began with the full marathon at 7:30 am, the half at 8 am, the 10K at 8:30, and finally the Big Punkin 5K at 8:45. We loved that all runners crossed the finish line on home plate at Fluor Field (stadium of the Greenville Drive minor league baseball team), just one of the many things that make the Spinx Run Fest an event not to be missed. Because of the staggered start times, runners from all 4 races were sharing the course with each other at one point or another. Faster runners may be passing slower runners from other events and sharing the finish line, as well.
Aid stations were less plentiful than other races we've run, but the cooler weather didn't necessitate water every mile. If you need frequent water stops, we recommend carrying your own at this race.
The downtown location makes this race a spectator-friendly event. Police officers were stationed at nearly every intersection and volunteers were vocal and helpful. Justin was most impressed with the volunteer at mile 8 who yelled loudly enough that even the directionally challenged made the correct right turn. Along the course, especially near the end, there were many friends and family members out there cheering on loved ones with posters and cowbells.
The home plate finish line is ideal for spectators as anyone can enter the stadium, settle into one of its seats, and cheer on runners ranging from leisurely 5K walkers to exhausted full marathoners.
The race finish inside Fluor Field made for an ideal post-race party setting. After crossing the finish line, runners made their way up the stadium stairs (a challenge for many of those who ran a tough race!) Spinx, being the race sponsor, had two long tables of post-race treats for racers, including the usual water and bananas, as well as sandwiches, yogurt, pineapple, and grapes. We are pretty sure that there was an entire truck that was just distributing coffee to everyone in the stadium. Runners and spectators were taking advantage of the stadium seats and enjoying both the views of the finish and of Fluor Field's version of Fenway's Green Monster.
This is an experience not to be missed. The beautiful courses, combined with a pedestrian-friendly downtown and flawless race organizing make the Spinx Run Fest one of our top racing experiences. There is no doubt that we will be back next year, especially because there are 4 races to choose from. Late October is an ideal time to experience Greenville and run any race distance.
Tips for a Successful Spinx Run Fest
- Train on some hills, especially if you are running the half marathon. The half marathon course was challenging by our Lowcountry standards.
- Pay attention to the volunteers and the arrows that clearly mark the courses. There were many turns, especially in the half marathon.
- If possible, experience this race with a group of people. Downtown Greenville is full of trendy restaurants and breweries. The post race festivities at Fluor Field lend themselves to hanging out with your coolest running friends in one of the coolest spots in Greenville.
- Start your holiday shopping early and visit the Mast General Store. There's something there for everyone on your list, including yourself.