The Raptor Run 3k, in its third year at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park, was a brand new race for me. For whatever reason, much as I love the Alligator Farm, and supporting conservation efforts, I never could make the scheduling work. (Disclaimer: I received a complimentary race entry in exchange for my promotion and honest review of the event).
This year, I planned to make it happen. I talked to A about joining me, but he wanted to stay home with the puppy. Understandable, but I was also glad to have other friends there as well.
Packet Pick Up
Runners could pick up packets on Friday from noon to four, or before the race on Sunday morning. I had some errands to run on Friday, so figured I would just get mine then. Since it was Spring Break, parking was jammed: I ended up sending A into the building to snag my packet while I cruised the lot for a spot. With 500 runners (a sell out!) I just didn’t want to mess with it on Sunday morning!
The swag bags were great with bibs, and a super soft t-shirt, as well as lots of sponsor swag! Thank you!
The Night Before The Raptor Run 3k
So, with all the refrigerator drama, I almost forgot about the race on Sunday morning. I’m so used to running Saturdays, and not Sundays, and with all the appliance drama, my brain was on overload. Whoops. We went to dinner with my parents and I completely gorged on vegetable tempura. I regret nothing.
I put out my flat runner and tried to get some sleep.
I woke up incredibly early, simply because I had to take care of the pugs before hitting the road. Originally, my plan was to go out and do a couple of miles in the neighborhood, since this race was only a 3k, but wanted sleep more than I wanted to exercise. Fair enough.
I also wanted to make sure I had a parking spot. Alligator Farm has a private lot and street parking, but I had no desire to fight crowds. I slid into a prime spot at about 6:50.
Since the race distance was on the shorter side, I took myself for a little walk. The weather was brisk and it was still dark, so a figurative and literal warm up was just the thing.
The starting area was jamming with music and a dedicated area to the Avian Research and Conservation Institute (ARCI) and their conservation research on the migratory Swallow-tailed Kite. ARCI is the 2022 Conservation Partner for the Raptor Run.
J and her family arrived and we took a few photos while we waited for the race to start.
The Raptor Run 3k
At about 7:45, the announcer asked everyone to move to the starting area, on the road between the Alligator Farm and their secondary lot. The Raptor would be starting the race seven minutes ahead of other runners. It’s a dinosaur tail safety issue.
And then, at 8 AM, we were off.
The course was fairly straightforward: just a 3K loop through the gorgeous neighborhood behind the Alligator Farm property. There was a water stop at the one mile mark, which were manned by fabulous volunteers.
I decided I would try to run and J was up for it, too. Honestly, it felt great even though it’s been over a month, and we stuck with a 2/1 interval the whole time. The best part was that I didn’t feel any pain (or any kind of twinge) in my knee.
We crossed the finish line together, and victorious.
First, we snagged our beautiful medals.
There were plenty of snacks (bananas and granola bars), and drinks (water, and electrolyte beverages on ice). Runners and spectators could also get donuts and coffee from a food truck in the parking lot.
The best part were photos with the running raptor!
i am so glad I was able to partake this year!
Since I had the puppy at home, I had to run out pretty quickly, but it would have been the perfect day to purchase an entry to the zoo (in fact, every runner got a ticket for a free child’s admission with a paid admission in their race bag). Next time, I’ll stick around!
Check out my TikTok of the morning!
Have you ever raced a raptor?
Join the Runner’s Roundup!
Grab our graphic and share the love!