Even though it was the day after the Gate River Run, I had to take on the Raptor Run 3k. This is a super fun local race, presented by the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park. Bonus, it’s only a 3k, so even exhausted, I knew I would be able to get it done. (DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary entry to this race in exchange for my honest opinion).
About the Raptor Run 3k
As mentioned, the Raptor Run is Alligator Farm’s annual race. It starts and finishes in the zoo parking lot, and a portion of the proceeds go to a different charity partner each year. This year, the race benefited Orianne Center for Indigo Snake Conservation (OCIC) and AZA Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE), partnering to celebrate Eastern indigo snakes. Clearly, this event is a super family-friendly distance, AND boasts a (n inflatable) running raptor. The raptor gets a five minute head start – anyone who beats her gets tickets to Crocodile Crossing, the zipline adventure attached to the zoo.
Packet Pickup + Race Morning
Runner could pick up their packets on Thursday or Friday at the Alligator Farm, but due to scheduling, I preferred to wait for race morning. Mr PugRunner joined me, and I insisted on being there as soon as the festivities started so we could get parking. Pickup was easy, and I got my shirt and bib, as well as an awesome Alligator Farm decal and our free-child-with-adult-admisson ticket. Nice.
From there, we walked around and checked out the vendors and displays. The indigo snake was available for viewing, but she was being super shy, so I didn’t hound her for photos.
We saw the super cool winners’ awards, made from repurposed ocean waste.
And I got a photo with JaxRun! I saw many of these folks the day before, too!
Our friends arrived and we hung out with them, waiting for 8AM to come along.
Obviously, the first order of business is getting the raptor ready to go!
As I mentioned, she gets that nice little head start, because… you know. She’s in an inflatable suit. But off she went, and then I hopped back into the crowd.
At the appointed time, the rest of us took off. I opted to stick with my friend for a nice, brisk stroll. Your girl was tired and a little achy.
The 3K course winds through the the Davis Shores neighborhood behind the Alligator Farm. It’s very pretty and quiet, with lots of gorgeous residential properties. There is a well-manned and stocked water stop that runners hit both on the way out and the way back. The course is easy to navigate and well-marked.
And then it was over and we were through the finish line. Yay!
All runners received an awesome medal.
There were plenty of snacks, including apples and bananas, water, and granola bars. We love a good spread!
And of course, who doesn’t love a photo op with the raptor, herself?
This is pretty much the best part!
I have nothing but love for the Raptor Run 3k. While it would be nice if it bumped up to a 5K, I love the accessibility of a 3K to everyone, and it makes things just a little different. Each year, the swag and amenities continue to be great quality (the shirts are super soft, and the medals are always so nice).
It’s great to support conservation, especially local conservation, and I love that Alligator Farm brings this component to their race. I’m hoping to be back again next year!
Do you prefer races that give back to a charity? Do you think you could beat the raptor?
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Lisa @ Mile by Mile says
Sounds like a fun race! I’ve never seen a 3k race option before. I bet that was perfect for the day following another race!
I love the premise of this (trying to beat the raptor) and it supports a great cause. I ran a 3K race in January and it was kind of fun to do a different distance.
Even with my current slow pace, I would hope I could beat someone in an inflatable raptor suit! But she did get a 5 minute head start, so you never know.
Darlene Cardillo says
What a fun idea. I would definitely do this race if I lived nearby.
What was the raptor’s finish time? Lol
That is the perfect race distance for a fun race! We have a local Turkey Trot where you try to “beat the Turkey” of course it is a person in a Turkey suit…lol. Thanks for the link up!
Deborah Brooks says
Short races like that are nice because they give more opportunity for newer runners to ry them out! A fun end to your weekend
I’ve never done a 3k race, but I like how this short distance makes it more accessible to many.
Ha, it depends on how far the lady raptor can run in those 5 minutes! Were you able to catch her?