The short & sweet version of this race recap: I participated in “The Wonder” Challenge (1 mile and 5k on Saturday, international half marathon on Sunday) at the 2022 Detroit Free Press Marathon races this weekend with my friend Katelyn. My hubby came along for the journey and was an amazing race photographer and cheerleader, a bunch of our running buddies were there, we met some of our favorite Instagram influencers, we wore awesome running outfits and got lots of compliments, and we had a whole lot of fun!
The longer version: On Friday, we dropped Ken off at work (he was working the home opener for the Red Wings), and Katelyn and I explored Detroit. We took some fun fall selfies and met up with Ken’s friends that were working at the Fillmore before getting lunch at JoJo’s Shake Bar. Their food was absolutely delicious, and the shake was pretty great, too, so good that we could not finish our food! After lunch, it was time to check out the expo and pick up our race packets. Neither of us had to see border patrol (score!) and both of us got the swag we wanted (another score!).
Our next stop was to meet our friend Heather and her two kids at Yates Cider Mill. In my opinion, Yates is the best cider mill in the Detroit area. People have strong opinions about which ones have the best cider and especially the best donuts. For me, it is absolutely Yates – those cinnamon sugar donuts are delicious, especially when you get them fresh, and they are still warm and a little bit crispy. After the cider mill we got dinner together, then headed to our hotel room to wait to pick up Ken from work.
Saturday morning we woke up nice and early to drive downtown again for the 1 mile and 5k races. We found decent parking not too far from the start. While sitting in the car waiting to walk to the race, Katelyn noticed one of our friends from Saginaw in the car across from us. People started getting out of the cars and we realized that most of our group of friends from Saginaw were in the cars right across from us! We all got out and had a big reunion, chatted, and then made our way to the start area. Katelyn and I wore “Boo Bee” costumes for the race. We got tons of compliments on our costumes, a few strange looks, and the announcer REALLY liked our costumes. The races went well. We got to meet a couple of Instagram influencers that we follow and even got to take pictures with them. I felt a little bit star struck!
Lunch was at the Hudson Cafe, where I enjoyed a delicious eggs benedict. I considered getting the Hudson Salad (which I know as a Maurice Salad), but decided I was in the mood for something more breakfast like. Back to the hotel we went to relax for the rest of the day so we would be ready to run the half marathon the next day.
Half marathon day was a very early start for us. We got packed and ready and headed down to Detroit. The new course meant navigating all of the new road closures to find parking. We eventually got where we needed to go and walked down to the corrals for the start of the race. A couple of our friends found us once again in the sea of people in the corrals, so we got to start off our race with them. Finally it was our turn to start, and we were off to the Ambassador Bridge!
This was Katelyn’s first time running the international half, and it was so fun and exciting to finally be able to go back to Canada. Everything I remembered about loving this race was the same, and it was awesome to share that with my friend. For this race, we wore pink shirts for breast cancer awareness, and we had a nod to Mean Girls with what they said. The front of the shirts read “In October, We Wear Pink” and the back of the shirts read “How many times in 13.1 miles will we ask if we’re finished yet? The limit does not exist.” I wore mouse ears like Karen Smith from Mean Girls (I’m a mouse, duh!) and Katelyn channeled Gretchen Wieners with her cat ears. A few people caught on to what our costumes meant and told us they really liked them.
The new course for the half marathon was nice! I enjoyed running by Cobo (oops, I’m sorry, Huntington Place) after returning from Canada, because it wasn’t too far from the finish area so Ken was able to come see us. I didn’t love that we were seeing the finish area when we were still so far away from it. The course took us close to Little Caesars Arena and featured a couple of “out and back” portions where we were able to see some of our faster friends on the way out, and a few of our slower friends on the way back in.
The finish area was a little bit chaotic. There wasn’t really a great area for people to spectate the actual finish line, and as usual there was a very long way to walk in order to get your medals and get the heck out of there. We did check out the after party this year and enjoyed sandwiches from one of the food trucks. My only complaint about the after party was that the only beverages available to purchase were alcoholic drinks (like beer or seltzer) and coffee/tea/hot chocolate drinks. With the food trucks being there, I expected they would sell other drinks, but they weren’t doing that.
Once we finished our lunch, we headed back to the finish area to watch for our friends to finish. KT and Katrina killed their marathon, ending up with a 5:14:00 final time, which was a PR for Katrina. We also waited to see my friend Erica finish her first marathon. I was there when she finished, but I did not end up seeing her coming toward the finish or completing the race. I was still so proud of her – welcome to the 1% club, Erica! When’s your next one? ;)
As usual, Detroit was a whole lot of fun. It was awesome to be able to go to Canada again. I loved the 1 mile and 5k more than I expected to. It was a great weekend of running and time with friends. Until next year, Fort Street!