Some of the Best Food and Drinks I’ve Had at Races

I’ve known runners that ran a race simply for the food and drinks at the finish. One of the nice perks of running a race is indulging afterwards. While I can’t say I chose a race based on the food or drinks they offered, I have had the pleasure of indulging in some unique and delicious foods and drinks after races. There have also been races where I’ve been nauseous and not felt like eating or drinking anything but fortunately those were not very common.

For simplicity’s sake, I’ll start at the oldest races I ran and work my way to the most recent races.

I first heard about the food after the Kiawah Island Half Marathon from my co-worker who recommended the race to me. Not only did she say the course was fast and scenic but also the post-race food was amazing, and she was right on both accounts. There was white bean soup, local fresh vegetables with basil pesto spread, organic pasta salad with grilled chicken, sweet corn bread muffins, sliced oranges and bananas, and hot chocolate, tea, and lemonade to drink. Kiawah Island Marathon and Half Marathon, South Carolina-4th state

When I ran the Arbuckles to Ardmore Race for Mercy Half Marathon in Oklahoma I had been suffering from what turned out to be my first bout with anemia, so this was by far my slowest and most difficult half marathon to date, not because of the course but because of my poor health. My doctor said I shouldn’t be running at all and couldn’t comprehend how I possibly could be, but she didn’t understand how stubborn I could be when it came to running. It was nice to be rewarded with warm cinnamon rolls at the finish of this race, and even more so given my struggle. Arbuckles to Ardmore Race for Mercy Half Marathon, Oklahoma-21st state

The huge spread after the Kaiser Realty Coastal Half Marathon in Mobile, Alabama may have been thanks to the sponsor of the race, BP. Elite runners Deena Kastor and Johnny Gray were also there thanks to BP and that was fun to hear them speak. Whatever the reason, the food was amazing. There were crab cakes, shrimp and grits, crab corn chowder, seafood gumbo, rolls, shrimp and oyster po boys, and chicken fingers. Kaiser Realty Coastal Half Marathon, Alabama-23rd state

I didn’t really expect the food after the Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach, Virginia to be anything special but it was pretty good. There was an abundance of Yuengling beer and tasty Irish stew, a perfect combination, and nice on a breezy March day at the coast. Shamrock Marathon, Virginia-24th state

The Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon in Portland Maine is known for their huge after-party with a food and beer garden full of music, Shipyard beer, pizza, and ice cream. This should come as no surprise since the town of Portland, Maine is well-known as a foodie destination. Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon, Maine- 31st state

You’d better bet there were plenty of hot baked potatoes after the Famous Idaho Potato Half Marathon in Boise, Idaho. At the finish line, we were rewarded with baked potatoes with a wide array of toppings like bacon, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, salsa, and chopped green onions. Famous Potato Half Marathon, Idaho-42nd state

I never would have expected so much food at the White River Half Marathon in the small town of Cotter, Arkansas. There was chocolate milk, water, donuts, bagels, bananas, sausage biscuits, lemonade, Gatorade, coffee, hot chocolate, chili, a variety of soups, and pizza, and it was all freshly-made and tasty. White River Half Marathon, Cotter, Arkansas-44th state

Another small race where the food was surprisingly good was the Seashore Classic Half Marathon in Lewes, Delaware. There were hot dogs, hamburgers, ice cream, beer, and Bloody Mary’s. Seashore Classic Half Marathon, Lewes, Delaware- 45th state

Most of the food after the Star Valley Half Marathon in Thayne, Utah was the usual bananas, orange slices, mini muffins, rolls, sports drink, and cold chocolate milk but what was special was cut-up watermelon. The watermelon was particularly refreshing to cool off with after a hard race plus since it’s mostly water, it’s great for re-hydrating as well! Star Valley Half Marathon, Thayne, Wyoming- 46th state

When you call yourself the Hot Cider Hustle Half Marathon you had better have some good hot cider. When I ran it in Omaha, Nebraska not only was the hot cider good and actually hot but there were also delicious caramel apples, both with and without nuts on top. That was a first for me and I loved both the hot cider and caramel apples! Hot Cider Hustle Half Marathon, Omaha, Nebraska- 47th state. Note, there are many Hot Cider Hustle races, beginning in October and going through November, mostly on the east coast or midwest, with distances from the 5k, 8k, 8 mile, 10k, and half marathon.

Are there any races you ran where the food and/or drinks were unique or memorable? What were some of your favorites? Have you ever run a race simply for the food or drinks they offered afterward? Or are you one to just not feel like eating or drinking after a race and the thought of eating right after a race turns your stomach?

Happy running!


Author: runningtotravel

I'm a long distance runner with a goal of running a half marathon in all 50 states in the US. I also love to travel so I travel to other places when I'm not running races. Half the fun is planning where I'm going to go next!

16 thoughts on “Some of the Best Food and Drinks I’ve Had at Races”

  1. Food and drink is a highlight for me so I am looking forward to Smuttynose in NH for the lobster roll.
    Here’s what I can remember:
    Great rum drink after the Bermuda Half.
    Chowder after Surftown in RI.
    Pretzels, grilled zucchini, peppers, asparagus and chicken after Perfect 10 in NJ

    Of course, any time there is chocolate milk I’m happy or ice cream.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sometimes I’m hungry after, sometimes not for hours.

    One of my favorites was the chowder & lobster roll after Smuttynose (it was cold!). Really hit the spot.

    Food definitely comes into play but as you know, there are many factors!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Spirit of Gettysburg 5k had a huge spread after including watermelon… unfortunately it’s been since maybe 2008 since I last ran it so I don’t remember all the goodies included just that there were a lot of tables!

    The Turkey Hill Country Classic (5k, 10k or half marathon) is sponsored by Turkey Hill so of course they provide a lot of their drink and ice cream products after. I think they also had hot dogs.

    I’m not a big fan of beer so any race that offers it after hasn’t been up my alley but the White Rose 5 Miler also had one hard cider option so I had to take advantage of that! I also enjoyed a good chicken salad sandwich.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m tempted to sign up for some of those just for the food and the travel experience. Who’ll know if I just sneak onto the race course at mile 12? 😉
    I can’t think of any races where the food was blog-worthy, but we’ve seen race food deteriorate over the years on some triathlons we did yearly. That’s a pretty disappointing discovery when you finish with your race expecting one thing but getting a lot less.


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