The range of free food and drink offered after races runs the gamut from high-end, nutritious energy food to pure junk. Here’s a review of five different post-race menus at events near me. What’s on the menu near you?
- Slattery’s Turkey Trot, Fitchburg, Mass.: I’ll admit to a hometown bias here. This was my first race ever and the finishers of this semi-tough 5-miler – usually held the first Sunday afternoon (yes, a 1 p.m. start!) before Thanksgiving – get a delicious yet simple spread: hot turkey soup, a turkey sandwich on white bread, and a free beer. There’s also plenty of water on hand and sometimes some free samples from vendors, including popcorn and hotdogs.
- Smuttynose Rockfest, Hampton, NH: This half-marathon race in early October can get a little pricey if you don’t register early ($75 or more) but it has by far the best post race food and drink. Three words: free lobster rolls. If that wasn’t enough, you also get chowder – seafood usually – and there are a ton of free food samples – yogurt, nacho chips – plus the expected bananas and water. Oh and two free beers from the very excellent Smuttynose Brewery. In 2014, they poured the refreshing Bouncy House IPA, low in alcohol but high on taste.
- Running with the Wolves 10K, Marlborough, Mass.: Sometimes, the conditions affect your impression of the post race food. In 2015, this evening 10K in August had a start time temperature of 93 degrees. It was muggy in the dusk and the out and back course is all downhill on the out and all uphill on the back. Challenging in any conditions, but add that heat and you have a recipe for meltdown. The post-race food, however, was perfect: chilled wedges of watermelon. Good for you and so satisfying. A local baker also had goodie bags of homemade whoopie pies.
- Wallis Sands Half Marathon, Rye, NH: I’ve run this race three consecutive years (2013-2015) and it is always well-organized and fun. The post-race food features some staples that many races have or should have: Muscle milk – these are pricey are usually given away for free after this race. Pizza? Yeah, kind of junk food but at 10 a.m. on a Sunday after a race so delicious. And my personal favorite: pulled pork sandwiches from a local barbecue restaurant. I’m a sucker for good barbecue and this lovely little sandwich on a soft roll on an early May morning on the New Hampshire seacoast was an almost religious experience.
- Ashland Half Marathon, Ashland, Mass.: The first year (2013) I ran this grueling, hilly half marathon that starts on the original start line of the Boston Marathon, the post race food was freshly grilled burgers made by the local AMVETS club at the finish line. You could smell the burgers cooking as soon as you finished and it was a primal urge to eat that drew you to the food area. In the two years since, the meal is provided by Subway. I’ve got no qualm with the sandwiches but the burgers (they had veggie burgers too!) were far superior. They also had craft beer from Jack’s Abby Brewing in Framingham, Mass. and wine.
What was your favorite post-race meal?
Written by Rob Haneisen.