I was able to finally attend the famous Route 66 Marathon for my birthday. This was my 10th half marathon and also the start of my 35th birthday. It was a very eventful birthday weekend as we survived a hotel fire and 20 degree temperatures at the start of the race. If you are wanting to see more of what to do in the city and stay while running Route 66, make sure you check out my Tulsa City Guide. Below I will focus on the race it’s self and the highlights of the race weekend.
The Expo & Panels
I usually overlook expos because they are all the same but I saw this expo being packed on both days, and I can see why. There were tons of sales that I hadn’t seen at most expos. Brooks had an awesome deal on shoes, and even were doing foot analysis. Most vendors had a little bit of everything for your running and fitness needs. If you are looking for some deals and sales this was great to take advantage of while there.
If you can, it’s great to see the speakers and panels lined up at the expo. There were several that honestly even I enjoyed attending but also being a part of as a moderator on. The run influencer panels and also experts panel presented by SM Tulsa was epic and grand. You got a chance to hear from some vital historical folks in the running community but also what it takes to be a run influencer and some of our race preps. To be a better runner you just don’t run, but you also gotta learn. So I recommend it checking out their app, which shows the list of everything going on and also reminds you.
The Route 66 5k/10k & Shake Out Run
If you want to see a preview, then join the 5k and 10k, which were sold out. I have never seen so many people excited about a 5k except for the Boston Marathon. If you are there for cheer squad for those who are running the following day and want to hang out then this is a great race to join. You get a very similar experience as the marathoners do and the gear is fantastic! I loved the 5k hoodie shirts and have worn it a lot. Worth it!
Don’t want to pay or wake up early? Enjoy the famous Bart Yasso shake out run with fellow runners. It’s a simple out and back run with Bart and other runners who just want a quick warmup to start the day. You also get a chance to run with Bart and ask questions as he goes over the race before hand.
The Route 66 Marathon Race Review
If it’s your first marathon or you are a slower runner, the Route 66 Marathon embraces you COMPLETELY from the start of the race to the end. The last marathoner got the same experience and support as the faster runner if not even more. They party hard for you and with you.
I have tons of friends who run this race continually. I have never heard a complaint about the race either. After running it this weekend, I totally understand why the Route 66 Marathon is consistently a favorite of countless runners, and most recently named the best Marathon in the state of Oklahoma. Here are a few notes you should know about running the race and what to expect.
- The race is indeed a party. I stood in corral D, which is the latest corral and honestly it was FUN! They say they save the best for last and I honestly felt like the people cheer more for those who were in the back more than those who were elite and fast runners.
- Bart Yasso is your announcer, so he adds a special touch with announcing your name and if you have something special. There is so much confetti and fun before you start the race, it’s hard to remember this is an actual marathon you have to run.
- The back of the pack runners are the showstoppers at this race. This means if it’s your first marathon and or you are a slower runner, they embrace you COMPLETELY from the start of the race to the end. The last marathoner got the same experience and support as the faster runner. The entire city, volunteers, staff and fellow runners cheer more for you than ever before. I loved that the entire race staff comes clearly out to cheer for the slower runners specifically. This means a lot!
- The race is a bunch of rolling hills in the beginning. Most of the first half of the race was nothing but hills so if you can fight through this the first half, you can really speed up towards the end of the race. Nothing that I was dying on but if you are wanting a flat race this isn’t for you. The race takes you all over the city so you get a good view of amazing houses, the river and some cool sceneries of the city.
- This is a party that you are running so expect to be torn between wanting to stop every mile or so for a drink and ignoring the party to focus on your run goals.
- The Fireball pace team/crew is there to help remind you that you can walk, run or jog but no matter what you will have fun. This “pace team” is a group of runners who basically walk/jog the race and enjoy fireballs among other things.
Route 66 Famous Party Stops
So now that you have gotten the point that this race is a big party, here are a few famous party stops along the course that are known and a must to experience. Since I ran the half, I can only talk about what I saw, but I am sure there is more on the full.
- Fireball Alley: This is about midway into the race, and you know it because it’s nothing but a block party. I almost lost my mind and forgot about the race. You want to stop, and two-step or cupid shuffle and enjoy their famous Fireball jello shots among other things.
- Mimosa Alley: I am not sure if they are called this but I dub this section of the race Mimosa alley. Why? Because Mimosa at 9am sounds like a great thing to do right!?! Take a cup or shot of champagne and cheers to running another race.
- Tiki Bar: Apparently, there is a local doctor who comes out with to ensure you have a great time but adds a little flare with music. A tiki bar just for you to stop and take pictures; however, the highlight isn’t the drinks it’s the excellent and delicious snacks he has here. I am a snack girl so this was well needed!!
- Every Mile and Random stops: I saw some runners who stopped at houses just to grab beers and chat for a bit. Yes! It’s that kind of run. There was something was going on every half to full mile of the race. This is not including the official race stops, which actual water, Gatorade and such. The city takes care of you unlike anything else, and they want you to know they celebrate not only what you are d doing but YOU.
Personal Finishers Medals
When I registered for the race, I had a hard decision of what medal to select. I was with the Half-Fanatics and Marathon Maniacs but I could have easily selected Black Girls Run! too. This means I get a special medal and it’s pretty cool! Not a member of these clubs? Don’t worry. If it’s your first marathon, you get a special “My First Marathon” medal. What way to celebrate your first marathon than to get a medal that says it. Each year it’s something different so you have to keep your eye out for this.
The Mother-load of the Race VIP
I have gone to many VIPs but let me tell you the Mother-load VIP is worth every penny! The fact that it’s limited means I don’t have to worry about the elements and can relax. Since it was so cold during this race, the VIP entry was definitely needed. I got a chance to sit in warm tents, check my bag, and stay away from the elements before the race.
After the race, it’s located immediately after you leave the “post-race” security section and it’s inside. I was impressed with this VIP as everything was located inside, and I could sit down and not have a care in the world. I had excellent food, which included vegetarian options, massages with no wait, a quick place to change clothes, great drinks and could relax for hours.