So in this day and age unless you live under a rock you have heard of Flint Michigan. All water jokes aside it hosts one my all-time favorites races every August.
Over the course of Friday and Saturday it hosts a mile race, a 10 mile, 8k, 5k, and 1/4 mile run for kids (Teddy Bear Trot), you can also sign up to do combos (I.e. 10 mile + 8 or 5k) which is what I have done the past two years to get mileage.
The 10 miler is a pretty big draw and draws seriously fast athletes who are racing for cash money, and is the earliest race on Saturday – so in order to do a combo you need to ideally be able to finish the 10 miler in about 90 minutes – especially if you want to try to place in your age group in the subsequent race- if not, it doesn’t really matter all that much when you finish/when you start.
I personally enjoy the 10 mile + 5k combo, as the 5k course is quite different from the 10 mile course, whereas most of the 8k course is a repeat of the 10 mile (you don’t see anything new). The 5k shows you completely different sties of Flint, and you turnaround by the Mott gardens.
Speaking of courses the 5k is super flat, the 10 miler on the other hand is hilly by Michigan standards. If you like in the mountains you would laugh your ass off that I call this course hilly. But if you live in “flat as a pancake mid-Michigan” the course is moderately hilly, especially around mile 5, and miles 7-9.
It genuinely is not awful if you plan for it. The first time I ran the Crim, I thought I was done with hills at mile 5 so I sped up, and by the time I got into mile 7-9 it was hotter, hillier, and I was spent.
In terms of general race info, it’s very organized, if you sign up ahead of time you will save more money – but you can sign up on race weekend. The expo is pretty organized, and pretty big considering other Michigan races that are similar sizes. The tech shirts were a lot cooler this year than in 2016 (color and fabric), but that is 100% my opinion. Packet pick up is right in downtown Flint, parking is great and very cheap/free (depending where you park).
Race day is also very organized, there are shuttles, which I really recommend if you’re not that familiar with Flint since you can park, take the shuttle, and use gear check. I however, being very familiar with Flint risked parking near the start line, WHICH is actually quite easy. However, I do admit to being really petty so I’m not going to disclose where I park because I plan to continue parking there for years to come before the Crim. Another thing I really like is you do submit a time to get a corral placement at the start. They aren’t super enforced but I am a huge fan of races using corrals, as I think it helps things stay more organized.
Another huge positive of the course is it is a mix of metro/downtown Flint, and the residential areas, this results in really great crowd support, in fact the crowd support in this race is really awesome especially in the residential areas after mile 5. Residents offer up everything from beer, jello/pudding shots, to pancakes, orange juice, and a few jumps on a trampoline.
If you’re really feeling feisty you can do a keg stand around mile 5, play air guitar/guitar hero around mile 6, jump on a trampoline around mile 8 (or eat a pancake), and this summer we learned the spectators were surprisingly open to being heckled by runners (us) for beer.
This year I ran with my friends, and we had a blast, no one pr’d, but we all participated in the above activities (and then some). After the 10 mile was over, a few of us did the 5k, my friend Lizzy and I won our respective age groups so that was a super neat moment. One thing that was particularly exciting, was this was the first time I’ve ever placed in a race and received a legitimate plaque or trophy (which I did not hate one bit).
The post race party is also pretty legit – right when you finish you’re given a cold, wet towel, and medal. Once you’re farther along they have water, chocolate milk, popsicles, and more. Once you’re able to get into the post race party there’s beer, music, and food. Your bib allots you a soft drink or beer and a slice of pizza. If you’re lucky a (very nice) volunteer may let you get two beers instead of your slice of pizza (angels walk amongst us). 🙂
One thing I was not a huge fan of was this year the results were not easy to find via search – all of the bibs had a QR code on them, if you did not have a QR reader/app on your phone you could not find your results right away, and for awhile you could only see the result of the 10 miler (I didn’t know I won my age group until much later in the day). Obviously this is not a huge deal, at all.
Overall, this is legitimately one of my favorite races, I am already looking forward to August 2018, despite what you think you might know about Flint, Michigan, the The Crim Fitness Foundation, the City of Flint and its residents know how to put on one hell of a show.