Like many well-intentioned parents, mine got me into a sports team that really sucks. The Oakland A's sure are lovable losers, though. When I found out they were holding a 5K when Bartolo Colon was (supposed to be) in town with the Braves, I had to sign up. Unfortunately, Bartolo was not there because he was DFA'd days before. Fortunately, my tears did not render me too dehydrated for the race.
The 2017 Oakland A's Play Ball 5K was actually the first time I've ever done a 5K. I like hating the world the last two miles of a half marathon better. However, when you get the chance to run on your favorite baseball team's field *and* a ticket to see the AL West's coolest team is in the goody bag, how can you pass it up?! I was pretty pumped to do a race without getting noodle legs later. I was also excited to watch my last place team hopefully not get shut out or no hit.
The $60 registration fee included race admittance, a cool shirt, a finishing medal, the aforementioned complimentary game ticket, and free parking. That's a pretty awesome package, if you're into teams with questionable bullpens, which I am! The portapotties in the parking lot also emitted minimal stench. What more can you ask for?
The course starts behind home plate. You run out of the stadium and enjoy the sights and sounds of a large parking lot. Apart from running up the ramp that leads to the Bay Area Rapid Transit bridge and the initial exit of the stadium, it's pretty flat. A very easy course. I slacked something fierce and managed it in 26:27. That made me 78th out of 600-some-odd runners. I got a 78th place finish high five from the A's mascot Stomper, an elephant baseball enthusiast.
I only got minimally sweaty, good news for the people sitting next to me at the game! Isn't the finishing medal awesome?
The finish line had bananas, water, and nutrition bars. Your standard post-race fare. It also gave you the chance to admire a World Series trophy! I was basically still attempting to eat blocks the last time they won, so it was a novelty for me. I got to watch the playoffs in the ALDS disaster years. (Dangit, Jeter flipping and Giambi not sliding) It was also fun to chat with other A's fans. I live in Idaho. It's tough to find A's fans among our state population of 12 inhabitants.
With everything included in the fee, the easy race course, and an elephant cheerleader, what's not to love? The Play Ball 5K was fun and a great deal. Here was my view for the game. I'm not entirely sure if that is Guy Fieri sitting in front of me.
How many other races let you have a free ticket? The A's lost, but at least they tried.