It's June in Florida. It's hot. It's humid. Everyone is a sweaty mess. That means it's time for the Best Damn Race Leftover 5K! AKA, Tampa Bay's last hurrah for racing season. Sure, there are some sweet beach 5Ks over the summer. But, most of us have to wait until September to run with a crowd again.
I think that's why the BDR Leftover 5K is such a celebration. It's a goodbye for the summer. It's a late season test in heat and humidity. It's one last race while you're in peak condition. Whatever the reason, the BDR Leftover 5K is fun!
First, depending on when you register you'll pay $9 to $25 dollars for a 5K. You can't beat that deal.
Second, all the medals and shirts are from previous Best Damn Race events. So, if you've been eyeing that sugar skull medal from New Orleans, or missed out on the Manatee, you have a chance to score one. It's the only time you can run a 5K and take home a half marathon medal.
The mystery of which shirt and medal you'll get adds to the excitement. You choose your shirt at packet pickup. The medals are laid out on tables near the finish line. Runner can peruse their options before the race begins. There are no guarantees — you have to reach the finish in time to snag your medal before someone else gets it. Maybe that will make you run faster?
(Photos credit: Best Damn Race)
Running in Safety Harbor
I love Safety Harbor. It's a charming, waterfront town on Tampa Bay. The locals are kind enough to let runners invade their streets a few early mornings each year — and believe me — we appreciate the hospitality!
The race begins and ends at Safety Harbor Waterfront Park. The course takes runners north on Bayshore Drive, turns around and then heads south. The entire race has views. There are slight inclines, but nothing serious. The main challenge is the heat and humidity.
The Leftover Race has Two Waves
The Best Damn Race Leftover 5K has two waves. Runners in Wave One must finish their 5K in 30 minutes or less. This is important because the runners in Wave Two will collide with runners who don't finish in the time limit. It's a safety issue.
The two waves are a good idea. It gives faster runners a challenge. It probably leads to faster finish times for many runners. We naturally keep pace with those around us. So, if you're running with the faster crowd, you'll get a better time. Another benefit is fast runners don't have to maneuver around walkers and slower runners who self-seeded in front of the corral.
You don't need to worry about getting the medal you want. There are two batches of medals that include bling from all the past races. There's plenty of bling for both waves.
If you know fast runners, you can cheer them on while you wait for Wave Two. Or vice versa.
Waterslide? Yes, Please.
I love the waterslide at the Best Damn Race Leftover 5K. I've seen runners of all ages enjoy cooling off in the slide. What the heck, we're all dripping wet by the end of the race anyway.
Mix & Match Your Best Damn Race Leftovers
I chose the 2018 Best Damn Race New Orleans shirt, and the 2017 Safety Harbor 5K medal. I don't know why, but I always choose a 5K medal for this race. I'm happy with my race SWAG.
It's fun to see what everyone picks. I saw groups of friends running in matching shirts. I wonder if they chose matching medals, too. Bottom line: You get a solid shirt, medal, and race experience in a charming setting for $25 or less.
Plan Your 2019 Best Damn Race Schedule Now!
Here's the lineup for the 2019 Season. Savanah is new this year. Just look at all those racecation options!
Use Discount Code THISOLDRUNNER to SAVE
You can use my code, "THISOLDRUNNER" to SAVE $5 on any distance race, in any city (except Savannah during the Registration Blitz). Use it for yourself and all your running friends. Go ahead and sign up now to get the best deal! I hope you'll try at least one of the Best Damn Races in 2019.
Racing for a Reason
One last note. You should know when you run the Best Damn Race Safety Harbor and the Leftover 5K the charity partner is Special Olympics Florida — Hillsborough County. I don't know about you, but I love running a race that supports a cause!
Scene on a Run: So much fun to watch runners choose their medals at this race. One lady had a humongous half marathon medal around her neck. I said, "Wow, you got a good one."
She replied, "It's big and shiny so it works for me." Grins all around.
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Feb. 24-25, 2024