Running With the Chowhounds

Posted by Filed Under: Running is Funny

Post Race FoodMost runners choose races based on the location, the terrain, the crowds, or the reputation. I often choose them for the food.

For years I ran a nasty, hilly 5-mile trail race because of the post-race pancakes and sausage. The California International Marathon serves up warm tomato soup, but this pales in comparison to the hearty minestrone ladled out at the Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay. The one race where I could have used some hot soup—the rainy and cold Mayor’s Midnight Sun Half-Marathon in Anchorage, Alaska—we instead received fruit and fresh bread.

The strangest “food race” I ever ran was the America’s Finest City Half Marathon in San Diego. Somewhere around mile 10, next to the volunteers distributing water and electrolyte drinks, there was a group of guys around a grill handing out hamburgers.

After the race, they served beer. But the city of San Diego frowns upon alcoholic beverages in Balboa Park, so race officials had to set up a tiny, fenced-off area where you could drink your beer. Imagine, if you will, a large mob of sweaty, beer-drinking runners, crammed shoulder-to-shoulder, fenced off from friends and spectators in a public park. It was unusual, to say the least. (The race no longer serves beer, “because of liquor liability and insurance issues.”)

Some races heavily promote the post-race food to attract entrants. The Hartford Marathon touts its distinction as the home of “some of the best post-race food in North America,” according to The Ultimate Guide to Marathons. Race organizers have even published the post-race menu on their Web site, which includes organic spinach orzo salad with roasted vegetables, homemade apple crisp with fresh whipped cream, yellow rice and beans, and grilled plantains.

What are your favorite race food memories? Worst (or wurst)? Share them in the comments section and I’ll run an update to this column in the future.

About Mike Antonucci

I ran 6-minute miles when I was in the military, then tapered for 20 years. Two-time marathoner (3:43 PR), my next goal is to stay healthy enough to run another. There are literally thousands of people handing out running advice and serious tips. I prefer to focus on the humorous or odd facets of our shared obsession. Let's face it, running is funny.

  1. running private on February 8th at 7:52 am

    Not quite food, but in France more often than not they used to give you a bottle of wine after a race. Sometimes a bottle of red and a bottle of white. Good times indeed!

  2. lemontwist on February 8th at 8:54 am

    Free Saranac beer at the end of the Boilermaker 15k in Utica, NY. The race ends in the parking lot of the brewery. 🙂 Of course, they also gave out lunches after the race, sandwiches. But none were vegetarian. So I still went hungry.

  3. Mom On The Run on February 8th at 11:49 am

    The Chilly Half-marathon in Burlington serves up fresh hot Tim Horton’s chili after the cold early March 1/2 marathon. I think I’ve done that race about 5 times just for the chili and doughnuts! Though I’m running even after the race if ya know what I mean 😉

    Also in March there’s the Achilles Track Club St. Patrick’s Day run in Toronto that serves beer post-race at a brewery – Steam Whistle Brewery. That’s another must do race of mine 🙂

  4. Helen on February 8th at 2:26 pm

    The Delaware Marathon has the best post-race food I’ve seen. Sandwiches, hot pizza, popcorn, soft pretzels, and ice cream sandwiches. During the race they hand out tons of cut up fruit too which is nice. And unusual stuff too, like pineapple, along with the typical banana and oranges. I’m pretty sure they had beer too but that’s about the last thing I want after finishing a marathon.

    Worst race food? New York City marathon. Absolutely terrible. A bagel they should be ashamed of and an apple. I liked the apple but still, very lame.

  5. Rahn on February 8th at 5:56 pm

    The last race I did had pizza delivered. (Un)fortunately, they were running about a 1/2 past when we expected it at 10 in the morning, so almost everyone was gone. The few remaining of us got to gorge ourselves! I took a full pie home and ate all weekend.