I can't say I was happy when my alarm went off at 5.am. Saturday, but you can't pass up an opportunity to run through a zoo - plus there was a beer garden included in the race entry fee (as well as admission to the zoo)!
Katie, Linda and I made our way to the starting line to show off our special bridal party tank tops (which, let's be honest, was the real reason we signed up for this race. And for beer and animals).
And check out the backs!
Since the zoo roadway was very narrow, organizers had runners start in waves, starting with a 7-min./mile pace. We, being slow, were in the 10+ minute milers. It took a while for our group to get to the starting line, and once we were off the little pathway was packed!
This was a casual, timed-but-no-chip race through a zoo with plenty of animal distractions, and it was incredibly hot and muggy already at 8:30 a.m. Katie and I pushed ourselves and finished in 35 minutes, which is the best I've done in a 5K lately so I was happy with it (one day I'll get a sub-30 minute 5K. One day).
Once everyone else finished and we got some grub at the finish line (there were bagels, oranges, bananas, and muffins) it was time to hit the beer garden! Before 10 a.m.!
It was small but hey, it was part of admission. The beer garden featured a mix of craft and mass-distributed beers – Coney Island Brewing Company, Saranac Brewery, Sam Adams, Modelo, Heineken and Coors – plus Angry Orchard cider and Truly Spiked & Sparkling seltzer.
I skipped the big breweries in favor of Coney Island, Saranac, and Truly (though I did have a pour of Angry Orchard just because).
Here's what I thought:
- Saranac Brewing Legacy IPA – hoppier than I like but it was quite thirst-quenching for my post-run parch.
- Coney Island Brewing Company Overpass IPA – not quite as hoppy as Saranac's, and smooth for an IPA.
- Coney Island Mermaid Pilsner – my favorite of the day, which isn't a surprise since pretty much everything else was an IPA. This pilsner was mild and mellow.
- Truly Grapefruit – hardly tasted like an alcoholic beverage so could be dangerous. It was delicious but you must remember that 's not just seltzer!
A stranger remarked on my collection of cups (they were small pours and I had to sample everything, of course!)
Once we had our fill of the beer garden and before we walked around the zoo, we were treated to free face paint. I asked for a tiger and I got a "fractured tiger," whatever that means.
We were pretty beat from the early wakeup, the drive, the race, and the extra hot temperatures, so we didn't make our way throughout the entire zoo. But we got to see this very majestic bear and a few other animals that I didn't take pictures of!
I highly recommend doing the Run for the Wild 5K next year, and it's definitely going to be a tradition that my friends and I will carry on! Great route, great perks, and great cause!
Have you ever run a race through a zoo before? What's your favorite New York brewery?