On June 4th, I got to participate in my 3rd Zooma Annapolis event.
I absolutely love this race! From packet pick up to the post race party it is a total experience you must do!
Zooma offers 3 distances: 5k (new in 2016), 10k, and half marathon. I did their 10k in 2014 as my second 10k ever and loved it so much I participated in the half in 2015. I will not lie – the half course is hard so I decided in 2016 to drop back to the 10k.
Let’s start with packet pickup. With the race in Annapolis, they offer a few different locations to grab your race swag. This year, there packet pickup was offered in Arlington and Baltimore. Expo was held on Friday at the race hotel – Loews Annapolis.
Along with expo, Zooma offers guest speakers, a course preview and a fun cocktail party sponsored by Barefoot Wine! I was super bummed to not be able to attend these events this year – I was coming home from vacation – hopefully next year I can make these (especially the party!)
Race morning started out overcast and humid. Thank goodness for cloud cover or it when have been terrible if the sun was out!
I made arrangements to pick up my packet on race morning (not something I am a huge fan of doing but vacation was not ending early so I could get to packet pick up). Race swag included: race shirt and keychain. We also had a few goodies: a sample of Burt’s Bees BB cream (with a coupon) and samples of the electrolyte (like Crystal Light drink packets) Ultima.
I did a quick tour of the post race party area, hit the bathroom and got myself ready to go. Zooma is not a corral start – you get to place yourself in the queue based on your anticipated pace. I lined up closer to the back (coming from vacation and not training – I knew I was not going to have a pretty race).
The course is gorgeous! The first two miles are kind of meh but once you hit mile 2…you are in scenic downtown Annapolis. You run around the Governor’s Mansion and then head down Main Street towards the water. From the water, you head towards the Naval Academy and run down a street with really pretty homes and past a few more important buildings.
Most people would agree that the worst part of this course is the bridge. For the 10k, the bridge marks your turn around to head back to the finish – for the half, it marks the start of the second half of your race. The bridge does give you a beautiful view of the Naval Academy and there’s a nice breeze from the water.
From the bridge, the remaining course (for the 10k) is mostly downhill. There is a small incline leading to the final downhill straightaway leading back to the Naval Stadium.
Once you cross the finish, you get your water and medal. Continue walking through the chute and enter the after party. First stop, runner food. In year’s past, it’s been a box with a sandwich, hummus and carrots, and chip. This year it was a more typical runner assortment. Next, you get to shop! There are many local vendors offering samples, shopping and freebies. And then the best part – free wine, massages and yoga! Barefoot Wine is a sponsor of Zooma Annapolis and they over a wine tasting (a few sips of wine post race is enough for me so this is perfect!). I always put my name on the list for a massage before I plop down to stretch and eat. The massages are amazing (and free!). I tried the yoga this year. It was sponsored by Athleta and some of the positions I just couldn’t get in to – it wasn’t an intense yoga session but I was stiff from being on a plane the day before and from my untrained six miles I had just completed. 🙂
Fun photo ops at this race include posing with the Blue Angel (plane – not a pilot) that is on the other side of the stadium. You can also go into the stadium and have the backdrop of “Go Navy” behind you.