The Best Damn Race celebrated its 7th anniversary in Safety Harbor on February 2, 2019. By all accounts, it was the best one ever. I agree!
Safety Harbor is a charming city on the west side of Tampa Bay. It's one of the few hilly areas nearby. The rolling hills make the races a good challenge for Floridians.
The race starts on the brick road in front of the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa. It ends at the marina. In between you see why people like living in Safety Harbor.
There were three options for packet pickup:
Thursday, Jan. 31st (3:00 – 7:00 pm)
Dick’s Sporting Goods
258 Westshore Plaza, Tampa, FL 33609
Friday, Feb 1st (12 – 6:00 pm) and
Saturday, Feb. 2nd (5:30 — 8:45 am)
BDR Expo at Safety Harbor Marina Park
110 Veterans Memorial Lane, Safety Harbor
I picked up on race morning. It was easy and fast. If your shirt didn't fit you could return after 9 am to exchange it for another size.
The Best Damn Race shirt is the perfect blend of polyester, cotton, and rayon. Super soft and very breathable. This year's shirt is dark blue. The color makes the logo pop. Ladies and mens cuts.
I like when races provide bags that can be used to check your gear on race day, but also work for everyday use. This one does the trick. It's not to big, not too small.
Inside the bag was a sweet pint glass. That was a surprise. If you run the remaining 3 races: Savannah, Orlando, and New Orleans you'll have a complete 2019 set.
The goodie bag contents included a package of Biscoff cookies, a discount for Dick's Sporting Goods, a free Bloomin' Onion coupon for Outback, local race info and a BDR sticker. There was a beach ball, cleaning cloth for glasses, and a koozie.
The remaining events in the 2019 Best Damn Race Series:
Savannah, GA on February 16, 2019: Half and 5K
Orlando, FL on March 3, 2019: Half, Challenge, 10K, 5K
New Orleans, LA on March 24, 2019: Half and 5K
The Best Damn Race provides FREE photos. Make sure your bib number is visible so you can find them later.
Photogs are positioned at the start/finish as well as one or two places on course. The half marathon includes a photographer in Philippe Park. The trees in the park are gorgeous and provide picturesque race photos.
It takes a couple of days for volunteers to tag all the pro photos. This year photos were released to runners on Wednesday afternoon. I kinda like waiting a couple of days for pics since it gives everyone a reason to relive race day.
All bibs have a timing chip. Timing mats for splits every 5K for the half marathon. There's automated runner tracking that sends an email message when you cross the timing mats. Your bib must be uncovered for it to register.
No pacers for the 10K or 5K, which is normal. There were 8 pace groups for the half marathon. The pacers ranged from 1:40 to 2:50 finish times.
All the races begin in front of the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa. They finish behind the spa at Marina Park on Tampa Bay. This set up means you get to run down a hill to the finish line. But, you don't have to run up it at the start. I appreciate that.
I ran the half marathon. The course begins by heading north along the waterfront on Bayshore Boulevard. It runs through beautiful and shady Philippe Park. Next you run south through Safety Harbor. Before mile 6 you can look over and see the finish line, but you have a few more miles to go before crossing it!
The course travels through parts of Clearwater before returning to Safety Harbor along Bayshore Boulevard. There are some hills in the later miles. (These are hills by flat Florida standards.)
In the neighborhoods it's quiet. There were people on porches here and there. There was a lively Mimosa stop around mile 7, and a Girl Scout cookie station a while later. Spectators and cheer squads were concentrated near the finish.
There were 8 aid stations on the half marathon course. Three were double-sided so you could hit them twice for a total of 11 fuel opps. SIS and GU gels were available at miles 5 and 8. The first station had water; the rest offered water and Gatorade.
There were two port-a-potties at each aid station. The Best Damn Race Half course is USATF Certified # FL14005EBM.
The Pinellas County Sheriff and Clearwater Police Department directed traffic and kept everyone safe.
Top 3 male and female Overall Awards. Top male and female for Masters and Grand Masters. Age Group awards were 3 deep in each of 15 age groups.