CAPS Superhero Race Review

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The 2nd CAPS Superhero 5K and Sidekicks Kids Fun Run event is the best themed racing event in Elkhart, Indiana.

The race had well over 1,000 Superhero (participants) stomping the road of Elkhart downtown. The organization of Child and Parent Services (CAPS) is a hardworking team with the mission to ensure that every child lives a life free from abuse and neglect. This event is 100% geared towards children in making them feel special and protected in Elkhart. This is more than a 5K race because it brings awareness to a greater issue of protecting children from danger. The race hits the Elkhart motto “A City with a Heart” and every participant will leave with a great story to tell friends and families!

Please check out the CAPS website: http://www.capselkhart.org/

Pricing/Signup
The pricing of the event was spot-on for local races in the Elkhart area. You were able to signup online or on race day. One unique feature of this race was participant fundraising. Many participants had created an online fundraiser page to help raise money for CAPS. This incredible fundraising event fueled by participants and sponsors helped raise $40,000+ dollars towards the CAPS organization.

Packet Pickup Experience:
The packet-pickup location was downtown in Elkhart during the hours of 12PM-5:30PM a day before the race at Taig Marks Inc. The race management team also decided to have packet-pickup on race day in the early morning time before the race started. Plenty of volunteers were on-hand to handle the crowd control and greet the participants. My experience of the total amount of time it took from walking through the door of Taig Marks to receiving my packet was less than 5 minutes.

T-shirts/Swag:
The race provided a t-shirt for the running participants.The race t-shirt reflected the theme of the event with the logo being written like a comic book bubbling letters like the old batman t.v. series of the word “POW” being flashed on the screen.The swag was standard with racing information about upcoming local races and sponsor handouts.

Pre-Race Management
You arrive at the race site directly downtown in the Elkhart plaza. On the far right side past the parking lot are the portal-potties lineup and sponsor/ food tent in the grassy area. Race registration on race day was in and out very fast with plenty of volunteers on hand. The theme of the race was in full bloom with a free photo-shoot setup. Anyone can strike a superhero pose with a professional photographer Jason Bryant capturing the moment. The DJ at the event was keeping the event rocking with kid friendly popular tunes. The Superhero museum of Elkhart brought a crew of superheroes to the event to judge the live costume contest and make every child happy!

Start of the Race:
The race started on time which is very important for experienced runners who are warming up to run at the designated start time. I love a race that has an introductory speech in the beginning that explains the CAUSE, which in this case was CAPS. The race is a physical activity for runners but it also has a deeper overall meaning to provide support and funds for a wonderful cause.

Note that if you are going for a 5K time to try and lineup close to the front of the race to provide yourself ample room to run with the athletes looking to win this race or place in a designated age division. This race is heavily favored with walkers and a less competitive, family crowd than other local 5K races. Again this race is a THEMED race for FUN! This does not say the times were slow near the top, two local runners ran close to a 6:00 min pace.

Course:
The course followed Main Street out towards the bridge to a half mile loop around Wellfield Botanical Gardens and back to the starting line near Elkhart Plaza.This is a very FAST course and provided ample room for runners to space out and get a solid running rhythm.The course had very little elevation and a great race if you want to avoid major hills or trying to achieve a 5K PR with very few turns.

Aid Stations/Crowd Support/ Mark Course
The water stations were spaced out appropriately for the 5K race and crowd support was huge and helped very much for runners to see fans through the course. The course was marked with race signs. Absolutely NO WAY to get lost on this course. The race director had crowd support at every possible area where someone could make a wrong turn. I felt totally safe at every cross walk that were well-guarded by volunteers to manage the car traffic. I just kept running with no hesitation because it was clearly being watched by volunteers at any possible intersection.

The course was pretty much right on target to being 3.1 miles for the 5K. Minor adjustments if you zig-zagged or cut tangents.

The kids run featured many superheros running hard on a small loop course. This race is excellent for children to come out and not get bored at a race. If they love superheroes, then mark this race on the calendar!

Awards/ Post Race Food
The awards were a medal for the top 3 age group finishers. Overall winner (Top 1 for male and female) in the 5k received a trophy. The unique part of the race was a live costume contest providing commentary by the local ABC 57 t.v. crew and judging by the SuperHero Museum. Everyone on-hand was excited to see the various superhero characters entered in the contest.

The food was standard for a local race near the sponsor tent where race participants can learn about the sponsors for this event and receive more swag prizes! It was a nice place to relax and talk with other superheroes!

Overall Experience / Recommendation

If you are looking for a local race to be silly and dress up like your favorite superhero then mark this race on your calendar! This is the best themed race in Elkhart and every participant is a role model and superhero in the eyes of the children!

Kind Suggestions on Improvement:

-Increase the packet-pickup before race day hours to make it more convenient for families that work a 8am-5pm shift by offering evening hours.

-A new venue to host the packet-pickup. With over 1,000 race participants, an open pavilion would help with crowd control and help with the hours not being tied down to business hours. Probably was not a serious issue this year with participants but this race will probably grow in the 3rd year.

– Increase the number of portal-potties, a lineup was backing up close to the start of the race.

– Speed up the award process. This racing experience lasted a bit longer than most 5K local races. Maybe do the costume contest before the race.

-It was tough to distinguish and see the costume contest contestants from the general public. Recommend maybe a platform or a roped off area where contestants come forward in front of the crowd to make it known a costume contest is taking place.

-For the size of the race it is nice to award the top 3 Male and 3 Female overall with a trophy instead of only awarding the 1st Male and 1st Female.

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