If you are a runner or a Green Bay Packers fan, and live in the Green Bay area, you probable have run this fun summer race. The Packers 5k run takes place every year (for 7 years now) on the Saturday that Packers Training camp kicks off. It gives fans a chance to run/walk through Lambeau Field and see themselves on the jumbotron. In 7 years, I have actually only missed this race once, only because we were on vacation the same weekend of the race.
Since they always work to make this a family event, they have had the event at several different times to try and find that sweet spot that allows all families to get out and enjoy the event. The first year, the race was at 10am – way too late in the day to start a race in July! By the time I finished running, it was over 80 degrees outside, hot and sticky! I decided that in the future, if they started the race that late, I was not going to run it. I understand that you can’t start a race geared to families at 7am – kids just don’t function well that early. But starting it at 10am was too late!
Over the next few years, they tried different times. We ran in the evening – 6pm start time rings a bell from last year and at least one other year. (still too warm around here at the end of July/beginning of August). We ran in the morning. Last year it was 6pm and that worked well for us since we were running another event in the Madison area in the morning and would have enough time to get back to Green Bay for this one. It was another warm one!
This year they opted to go back to the 8am start time. Once again, it was a warm one, but apparently that is going to be the case no matter what time they schedule this race!
This year, I was once again running this race with Lisa. After running it together last year after running the Warrior Dash in the morning, we decided that we needed to run this one together again. So we were up bright an early at at the stadium. Her sister Emily had decided to join us to, so it was going to be a fun morning!
We all had a good laugh when we realized that, aside from my Packers themed Bondi Band, none of us were wearing Green and Gold! Yup, Packers 5k and there was no green and gold to be found! For me, it was all about wearing what was going to be cool and comfortable, so I opted for a skirt and white shirt… and unfortunately, I don’t have a Packers Green or Yellow skirt… might have to suggest that to the crew at Skirt Sports! (affiliate link).
After our usual pre-race rituals (restroom, pinning Lisa bib on her shirt etc) and pictures, it was time to head for the start line. Last year, they finally started doing wave starts for this race. The first few years, they had suggested start points based on anticipated pace etc, but nothing structured. Last year they didn’t have anyone monitoring if people were starting in the right corral, but this year they did! It did make the start a little easier. The only suggestion that I have in terms of the way they do the wave start is that they lump everyone running anywhere from a 9-11 minute mile pace into one corral. That is a HUGE pace difference!
The course for this 5k starts on Lombardi Ave, right in front of Lambeau Field, under the watchful eye of Curly Lambeau and Vince Lombardi. With a minute or so between each wave starting, it was not long before we were on our way. Lisa and I usually run about the same pace but when I lost her in the crowd at the beginning, I figured I’d end up running the one on my own. But before I even hit mile 1, I found her again! We ended up running most of the next 3 miles, through the streets around the stadium together. The best part? All of the local residents that put our their sprinklers for runners and walkers to enjoy! You better believe that I made a point to run through each and every one of them!
Then it was time to head into the stadium! The time when your running watch gets confused and either gives you extra distance to your run, or cuts you short when you run through the tunnel. I lost Lisa when we hit the last water station just before we headed into the stadium parking lot, so I was on my own to finish. Running through the tunnel has it’s good and bad points. They have the speakers playing so it sounds like you are running out onto the field to a packed stadium before a home Packer game. It really can get the adrenaline going. But it is very crowded! When you go from running on the streets of Green Bay to running through the narrow path through the tunnel It’s really tough to keep up a good pace when you are heel to heel with hundreds of other runners.
However, once you get through that tunnel and hit the field, it’s game on! We have an unwritten rule that you DO NOT walk through the stadium. The energy is enough to keep you going tho! As usual, I had to take the customary Lambeau selfie with the jumbotron in the background! This was the only time that I stopped. And only for that moment.
Then it was off to run back through the tunnel and on to the finish line, where you finish but running across a replica 50 yard line. Mission complete. Today was not about time, it was about just getting out there an running! It was just the start of a crazy weekend, as we were also signed up for a 10k the next morning. In the end, I finished within 15 seconds of my time from last year, and with temps as warm as they were this morning, I will take that finish!
Thanks again to the Packers for putting on a fun family event at the stadium!