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Gasparilla Distance Classic by Brian Hunt

Where: Florida
When: February 26, 2022
Race length: 15k
Quick Tips:
• Wear a hat or visor - once the sun comes up, there's not much shade.
• Pace yourself - with thousands of other runners, it's easy to start faster than you can maintain.
Gasparilla Distance Classic by Brian Hunt
Gasparilla Distance Classic by Brian Hunt
The best thing(s) about the race:
• The run along Bayshore Boulevard is iconic. Beautiful homes on one side, the bay waters on the other.
• Lots of on course support, from aid stations to cheer-a-thoners to live music to people in the neighborhood.
• The expo was amazing - first big expo since COVID and it felt like home. Lots of vendors, race announcer Fitz Koehler was speaking on the guest stage, there was a place for our kids to play pickleball. A great welcome to race weekend.
What was less than ideal: For all the scenic parts of the course, it's still very flat and mostly straight. Wish they would go cupless to cut down on the waste.
What I didn't expect: Post race, the after-finish chute is really long. Which is great to give some space to runners to catch their breath, grab some food and hydration. But also a little tricky to find family and reconnect.
Race organization: Amazing all around, the Gasparilla crew goes all out to take care of its runners. From expo to race morning to finish line, never a moment when I didn't feel welcome or cared for as a participant.
Fuel and aid stations: Water and Gatorade, which is fine for a 15K. I think the early aid stations just had water.
Additional info: This is a popular race, and for good reason. I don't think there was 26,500 like in 2019, but there's nothing like running with thousands of other runners. It's worth a trip to Tampa in the winter to race this, plenty of hotels, restaurants and entertainment to make it a race-cation.
Overall grade: 4 stars
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