The Sunburst Races in South Bend, Indiana have something for all the family – a marathon, a half marathon, a 10K, a 5K and a family walk – seriously, they have everything. More than 2,000 runners and walkers participate in all of the races, so they have everybody, too!
The Sunburst Races are held every year. In 2009, it will be their 26th year. They start every year’s events with the Friday Night Family Walk. Like it says, it’s a walk for the whole family (baby strollers and baby joggers welcome), and everybody who participates gets a Family Walk t-shirt. This is one of the few walks left in the country that still allows headphones, but organizers caution participants to be careful as they really don’t want to scrape you up off the street later! (BTW, headphones are not allowed on the marathon or half marathon.)
On Saturday, the more serious events begin. The marathon starts at the College Football Hall of Fame (Notre Dame, of course) and is run on a pretty flat course with only one half-mile incline and a couple of minor hills.
The half marathon follows the marathon’s first three miles but then veers off into Keller Park, finishing the race back on the marathon’s course and on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. And participants in both races get cool t-shirts. The 5K, 10K and the fitness walk all start between 7:15 a.m. and 9 a.m.
Sunburst does a great job with services too. There are tons of water stations, Gatorade fluid replacement stations, energy gel is available on the course, and they even hand out bananas for that all-important potassium. But the best bit of all: there is massage therapy provided at the finish line by massage therapy students from Davenport University. I’d throw on my running shoes and run in any marathon if I had massage therapy to look forward to at the end of it.
The Sunburst Races also has awesome finish line food (last year provided by Meijer supermarkets,) and there was everything!
I really like the Sunburst Races. Indiana is one of the prettiest American states, I think, with its rolling hills, green fields and clear blue skies. When these races start early in the morning, you really feel like you’re running in nature, so it’s worth running one just so you can feel that. Right?