RUNable Race Review: Cowtown Marathon Weekend

This video, courtesy of a Fort Worth news station, is a great overview of The Cowtown Event and its history. 

RACE STATS:

  • DATE OF RACE: February 23rd & 24th
  • DISTANCE(s): 5k, 10k, Half, Full, Ultra
  • REVIEWED: 5k & Half
  • LOCATION: Fort Worth, TX
  • DIFFICULTY: Level 3
  • CAUSE: The Cowtown C.A.L.F. Program
  • RUNscore: 4.2 STARS

A Running Glance:

Things I loved

  • Awesome swag
  • SUPER organized
  • Fun on-course experience
  • Large event but with a hometown feel

Less than loved

  • Finish-line food line-up – why am I always so hungry?
This video, courtesy of a Fort Worth news station, is a great overview of The Cowtown Event and its history.  https://youtu.be/3n8bGChXYxc RACE STATS: A Running Glance: Things I loved Awesome swagSUPER organized Fun on-course experienceLarge event but with a hometown feel Less than loved Finish-line food line-up - why am I always so hungry? Visit Cowtown's Site RUNable Review: Price I registered several months before the race and paid $146.53 for the “Cowtown Challenge” which included registration for the 5k on Saturday, the Half Marathon on Sunday and any additional fees incurred to process my registration online. (For an additional…
The Cowtown Marathon is the largest multi-event race in North Texas. With distances for everyone, this event guarantees participants miles of memories in the great city of Fort Worth!

Running Tally: Cowtown 5k & Half Marathon

Price/Value
T-Shirt/Swag
Expo/Finish Line
Medal/Awards
Volunteers
Course Scenery
Aid Station
Parking/Access
Race Management

4.2 STARS

The Cowtown Marathon is the largest multi-event race in North Texas. With distances for everyone, this event guarantees participants miles of memories in the great city of Fort Worth!

User Rating: Be the first one !

RUNable Review:

Price

I registered several months before the race and paid $146.53 for the “Cowtown Challenge” which included registration for the 5k on Saturday, the Half Marathon on Sunday and any additional fees incurred to process my registration online. (For an additional $20 not included in that total, I also snagged this pretty coral Cowtown tank which I received in the mail just a few weeks later.) Considering I received THREE medals, THREE shirts, a Challenge tumbler, amazing support, and such a unique experience, it was worth every penny! Not to mention that the proceeds are used to help low-income children in North Texas receive a free pair of running shoes AND a reduced entry fee into the Kids 5k. *There were over 8,000 kids running the kids 5k on Saturday, and let me tell you, it did this Runner’s Heart all-kinda-good to see those kiddos out there making memories that will last a lifetime and possibly spark a love of running! (I just teared up a little typing that. Ha. Y’all know I love running!)

T-shirt/Swag

Like I mentioned before, I snagged a sweet tank prior to the race, but I also purchased this long-sleeved ¼ zippered pull-over at the Expo for $40. I LOVE the design, material and fit. (This particular one did run a little small, I upsized to the large when I’m usually a medium.) It is my new favorite pull-over! My registration included personalized bibs for both races, a “finishers gift” which was a fancy green tumbler, a cotton t-shirt (blue) for signing up for the 5k, a tech shirt (orange) for signing up for the Half and a tech shirt (teal) for finishing the Half. I opted for one unisex version and one women’s version in the two tech varieties. The women’s fit (teal) features a V-neck cut and very roomy style. Most women’s shirts are fitted through the middle, which I honestly can’t stand. Let me be free!!! However, not this baby. She fits like a dream and even dips a little lower in the front and back, offering nice coverage and a very flattering look. Score.

Expo/Finish Line

The Expo was great fun. There were probably 20+ vendors offering freebies and peddling their wares. They had plenty of Cowtown branded gear for sale, and all the race-day essentials available for those who forgot GU (I’m looking at you, Jules!) and plenty of awesome extras like these adorable Wonder Woman bib magnets I picked up for $20. I’m still getting the hang of using them though. FYI: don’t bend over while you’re wearing them to tie your shoes or they stick to themselves then pop loose when you stand up again. BUT, they’re adorable, right!? Fashion over function, just this once. I wear ugly running shoes. Give me this. 😉

The finish line was SUPER organized. This event should go around and teach other events how to event. (Please. Thank you.) We finished at the Will Rogers Stadium and they literally shuttled us through, LIKE CATTLE (pun intended) to retrieve our medals, finisher shirt, and post-race grub. Here is where my one and only tiny, teeny, baby complaint comes in. Wait for it. Wait for it. It may be because I’m from Mississippi where we use literally ANY excuse to celebrate with food. It may be because I’m a chunky monkey at heart. It may be because I had just run for two and half hours and I was starving. BUT I’d like to see some actual food at the finish line of the longer distances. The snacks were perfect for the 5k! But after finishing a Half/Full/Ultra, runners often need to refuel with items containing a little more sustenance. Literally, this is the only thing I have to say that even slightly feels negative about this race. I had such a wonderful time; I almost feel guilty for complaining about this one minute detail. I have run all over the country, and the Cowtown Marathon Weekend both exceeded my expectations and raised the bar for future events. Now, that’s “How the West was Run!”

Medal/Awards

The 5k medal features the colorful cow seen on the pull-over. (Did I mention I love this guy?)  The medal itself is a little small, but still super cool with its custom ribbon. The Half Marathon medal was #3 in a 3-part medal series, each highlighting a different landmark in the Fort Worth area. 2019’s event is the last in the series and features the Will Rogers Stadium. Each medal’s edge contains a magnet, so when the three are positioned together they form the image of the famous Texas Longhorn. (LOVE!) My favorite of the three I earned is by far the “Cowtown Challenge” medal; the ribbon is bold and vibrant and the medal itself is a cowbell. I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE WHAT THE RACE DIRECTORS COME UP WITH FOR THE NEXT SERIES DESIGN, KICKING OFF IN 2020!!

Volunteers

WOW! The volunteers were simply amazing. I’ve never seen so many volunteers genuinely happy to be volunteering. That speaks volumes to me about the heart of this race and the Fort Worth Community. These awesome folks truly gave a race of this size (30,000+ on Sunday) a unique hometown feel and made for such a pleasant race experience. My sincere thank you to each and every individual who worked to make this event a reality. Well done.

Course Scenery

So much to see! The 5k route wound through the lovely Trinity Park and a Botanic Garden too. The Half Marathon took us all over Fort Worth! We ran through Trinity Park again, the Historic Fort Worth Stockyards, which was the highlight for me, as well as the gorgeous Greenwood Cemetery. It was a very interesting and scenic run. I counted at least ten live bands, several DJ’s spinning classic tunes and one performing Elvis impersonator at mile 3! My only regret was that I didn’t stop to take a pic with this fella. But I did pull this one off the inner-webs for your viewing pleasure. I’m coming for ya next year, mile 3 Elvis!.

Course Difficulty: LEVEL 3

Both the 5k and Half courses were a great mix! Most of the Half Marathon course was moderate but let me tell you about the end of mile 8 and the beginning of mile 9. This is the portion of our program where you find out what you’re really made of! It’s all fun and games until you’re running across the Main Street Bridge, aka the longest worst hill in the history of hills. This hill goes on and on and on and up and up and up. This was by far the toughest, most challenging segment of the course…I can’t wait to run it again. <3

Click to read the RUNable Difficulty Key
  • LEVEL 1: NO PROBLEM – Mostly flat & even course that’s perfect for a first race or a PR.
  • LEVEL 2: EASY – Small hills or uneven terrain, but nothing too scary for most runners.
  • LEVEL 3: MODERATE – A few more or steeper hills or variable terrain: great training.
  • LEVEL 4: CHALLENGING – Multiple hills and rougher terrain that may take some mental pushing to get through.
  • LEVEL 5: DIFFICULT – Steep inclines and/or the type of terrain that makes your legs hate you, your feet beg for mercy, and your mind think “what were we thinking?”

Aid Stations

The 5k had one water stop, perfect for this distance. The Half Marathon had a minimum of eight water stops, and I counted at least four “fireball aid stations” and several “beer stops”! Great course support.

Parking/Access

You might think that trying to get 30,000 runners to the start line might constitute trouble, but not for Fort Worth, Texas. Another impressive feat: this city is more than prepared for their premier racing event! There was ample free parking available in multiple parking garages, all outlined in the handy dandy race guide, which made the parking experience much less daunting. (This part of the pre-race process always makes me nervous. Where to go and how to get there is always tough for my directionally challenged self!)

We arrived about 75 minutes prior to the beginning of the race and were able to park near the start line in a covered parking garage for free. Oh yeah, baby!

Big shout out to my #nemesis and friend, Julie, for inviting me to tag along with her to this race and chauffeuring me. Even bigger shout out to Julie’s mother, the lovely Mrs. Charlotte, for giving me shelter. AND FOOD! Everyone doesn’t know that chocolate pie is essential to race recovery. But Mrs. Charlotte does. 🙂

Race Management

I just can’t say enough good things about this race, especially one of this size. This race management team cares about the participants and it shows. From the Mayor’s start line pep-talk and send-off, (She ran the Half too!) to downtown streets flooded with cheering spectators holding signs and offering high-fives, to swag that I needed an extra suitcase to bring home, to “high-level fun” memories being made; this race is top-notch. If you run ONE race next year, #RunCowtown!

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