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. https://hotciderhustle.com/
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?