The premier 5K race in Minnesota, the TC 5K and associated Corporate Challenge event, is worth a place on your calendar.
Held downtown St. Paul, with the start and finish at the Capitol Building, this is a challenging race with plenty of hills and elevation change. If you have not trained on hills, you may suffer a bit during the first half to three quarters of a mile.
This race, held in October, attracts a large regional participant list each year – with over 1,900 finishers in 2022 and nearly 3,000 prior to Covid.
Signing up is easy for both the individual and corporate challenge events. There is a large pre-race expo at the convention center the day prior to the race to pick up your bib, shop at dozens of booths and enjoy the atmosphere.
On race day, the course is USATF Certified and chip-timed. It only has one major turn, a switchback around a turnaround cone at the 1.6 mile mark. The start of the race begins at 859 feet elevation and hits 923 feet at the ¾ mile mark at the crest of the hill, representing an increase in elevation of 74 feet. From there you run some small, rolling hills and flats until hitting the turnaround – repeating the flats and rolling hills until you get to the 2.5 mile mark. Once you get here, it is all downhill into the very fast finish with 73 feet of elevation change over the last .62 to .65 mile (depending upon your watch measurement).
The course is fully paved and the timing crew, start and finish and course volunteers are all very professional, with plenty of cheering spectators along the route.
The post race party is big, with plenty of food and water available. There are numerous medical personnel available if necessary. One negative – you will have to wait to receive your medal for a top finish as there is no medal ceremony and the awards are mailed to the winners after the race. The finisher medals are well done.
There are plenty of hotels in the area, including downtown at the starting line.