race report: the great candy run fun run {10.10.2015}

After little man’s triathlon, he was very clear that he was not interested in taking on another experience quite like that.

He did, however, say that he would like to do some more mile-long fun runs.

I was all on-board for that and immediately started looking at appropriate races for us.

Obviously, The Great Candy Run was the perfect choice.



With proceeds going to the Fetal Health Foundation, The Great Candy Run is a family-friendly, well-themed run with options for a 5K, a one mile fun run and a shorter, toddler-friendly distance. Costumes were encouraged, and there was promise of lots of candy and fun.

How could it be anything but?

I wanted to be really festive, and so I decided we would make our own, candy-themed shirts. Of course, my mind went immediately to Candy Crush. I was able to find a plain athletic shirts for each of us, and started making the famous candies out of felt. My mom was awesome enough to sew them all on for me, and I was able to use puffy paint to draw in the details.

They turned out really cute and little man was so thrilled that he won’t let me take the felt pieces off to use the shirt for anything else. Fair enough.

There was no early packet pickup for either of the kids’ runs (just for the 5K), so I made sure we were at the venue (Hemming Plaza) on the earlier side to find parking and pick up little man’s bib. A race t-shirt wasn’t included in the price of registration, but we were able to buy one for an additional $10. They had a full range of child and adult sizes available. We had plenty of time to stash everything in the car, and get back to the race site.

The real bummer of the morning was the weather. There were so many adorable candy-themed details, but the mist and drizzle really put a damper on the festivities. We hung out with some friends under one of the vendor’s tents to stay dry before our turn to race, but it would have been nice to wander around and enjoy the sights and the sunrise a little more.

Things got started a little late, but soon, the younger kids went off for their dash. It was very quick (and cute), and after the start line cleared out from those finishers, it was our turn to line up.

The course was an out and back: we were to run a half mile down the street, turn around and run right back. The only obstacles were a fairly surprising hill (who knew there was a hill in downtown Jacksonville?), and the slippery streets. We got ready, set and off we went.

Of course, little man is still learning about pacing himself, so he was off like a rabbit. I followed at a little distance and caught up to him soon enough. We took turns trading the lead until we got to the halfway point, where volunteers were handing out cups of water and little cups of Skittles.

I did have to use the Skittles as bait at one point.

However, we crossed the finish line, to the applause and cheers of the 5Kers who were waiting for their turn to start. Little man collected his medal and empty candy box, and it was on to even more fun!

The “post-party” was outside (bounce houses, clowns, face painters, games, etc, in Hemming Park) and inside, at sponsor Sweet Pete’s. Since the weather was so iffy, we opted to just hit the candy store.

On the porch of the store were two setups: a photo booth with props

and a nice little candy bar for runners to fill their empty boxes.

Inside, we were welcome to explore and shop, but there were also some interactive stations for the kids. They could decorate their own chocolate covered pretzels.

Or they could watch candy makers boil sugar so that they could make lollipops or taffy.

It was such a fun morning, and we both loved shopping for some sweet treats to bring home.

We headed out as the last finishers’ were crossing the line, and cheered them on as we made our way back to the car. Everyone looked like they were having a blast, which is a sure sign of a great race.

The Great Candy Run was a well-organized event with attention paid to every detail. While the race portion is obviously the most important part of a run, my event-planning self loves it when the whole experience is well-rounded and thought out.

What are some things that make a race feel like a more complete event?

What would be your favorite candy at a fuel station on a race course?

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28 Responses to race report: the great candy run fun run {10.10.2015}

  1. Haha oh my gosh, THIS. EVENT.

    First of all, congrats to the little man, I hope he enjoed it!
    This cracks me up because when I was in college, my brother and I used to half-joke/scheme about opening a candy store where we would host group runs too.
    What a fun event!
    Anne@candycrazedrun recently posted…It’s Been a WhileMy Profile

  2. I love love how you have totally inspired and motivated your little guy to have a passion for running at such a young age. You rock!
    Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…5 Tips to Stay Healthy & Sane During The HolidaysMy Profile

  3. Marcia says:

    What a cute event for kiddos! Love how crafty you were with the outifts. I too appreciate and very well thought out event and this definitely looks like one!
    Marcia recently posted…5 Ways to Rock Your Treadmill WorkoutsMy Profile

  4. Darlene says:

    Looks like fun. I’d want Kit Kats or red licorice.
    Darlene recently posted…Friday Five: Favorite Race SignsMy Profile

  5. I love how my ch fun your son has at these events! It’s so exciting that he has found running early. I’m not sure skittles are a great thing to hand out mid-race. They don’t seem to go with running (not the being candy part, the idea that they are so small and could be easy to take down the wrong way while running).
    Debbie @ Coach Debbie Runs recently posted…The Striving for Balance WorkoutMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      That’s a good point. I know that in the 5K, they handed out a variety of different candy at the water stops, although I’m not sure what kinds. Most of the kids stopped to eat their snacks when they had their water.

  6. They need to turn this into a marathon! How fun!
    Nicole @ Fitful Focus recently posted…Fit & Fashionable Friday: Ryka’s 2016 Spring CollectionMy Profile

  7. This looks like a great time! What a fun idea! Looks like you and little man both had a blast!
    Stacie Seidman recently posted…Thursday’s Threads!My Profile

  8. Ariana says:

    This looks like such a cute event!! Congrats to your little guy – I don’t blame him about the triathlon haha, as much as I love them the swimming part scares me.

    I hope the two of you get to enjoy more races like this together!
    Ariana recently posted…Get Better at Running By Not Running: Strength Training for RunnersMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      I think the whole thing was incredibly overwhelming for him. There was a lot going on, and I don’t blame him for being completely opposed for the future. At least he tried!

  9. Normally, I don’t love Skittles, but I think that would be about the only thing I could eat on the run!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…5 Race Signs that are off the hookMy Profile

  10. Natalie says:

    What a fun race!! I really think you are such a great role model for showing your son that running can be so fun!
    It would be fun to have Swedish Fish in a race!! πŸ™‚
    Love your race shirts too!!
    Have a great weekend!
    Natalie recently posted…Friday Favorites!!My Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      Thank you, Nat. We try hard to model a healthy lifestyle, and I hope it’s something he remembers fondly. I don’t have great memories of being active as a child, so it’s up to me to break that cycle and try to reflect something more positive.

  11. jill conyers says:

    What a fun race! The look on your son’s face is priceless.

    I have to pass on candy at the fuel stations.
    jill conyers recently posted…12 Vegetarian Thanksgiving RecipesMy Profile

  12. What a fun theme for a race! And I love your matching mother-son race shirts. So fun, and what a great way to get little man out there running with you!
    Kathryn @ Dancing to Running recently posted…Friday Five – Favorite Race SignsMy Profile

  13. I LOVE your shirts! So sweet & creative. Looks like you two had a great time.
    Celia at Chicago Jogger recently posted…Nike Get Out Here Contest + November Fitness ChallengeMy Profile

  14. What a fun idea for a kids race! And, I absolutely love your race shirts! I wouldn’t have wanted to take the felt pieces off either!
    Sandra Laflamme recently posted…Running Form. Using Your Arms.My Profile

  15. Pingback: race report: arlington toyota kids fitness zombie chase {10.18.2015} | Runs With Pugs

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