RUNable Race Review: WellsFest “Wells-Done Run” 5k

RUNable Review: In Mississippi, 68 degree weather on a late September morning is truly a gift! One the racers at the 2018 WellsFest 5k accepted with open arms. WellsFest itself turned 35 this year, however, in 2017 they renamed the associated 5k race the “Wells-Done” Run. Price The price increased this year from $25 to $30. I assume this increase was to cover the cost of the new timing company they used for the first time. In years past, the Mississippi Track Club has routinely handled the task of timing the race, but it is always nice to run a…
This well-organized event includes a fun post-race music festival, craft and food vendors, pet parade, silent auction, pony rides and kids’ area every year. (They also host an associated Golf Tournament and Art Night in the week leading up to the event, which is always held the last Saturday in September.

Running Tally: WellsFest "Well-Done Run" 5K

Price/Value
T-Shirt/Swag
Medal/Awards
Volunteers
Course Scenery
Aid Stations
Parking/Access
Race Management

3.8 STARS

This well-organized event includes a fun post-race music festival, craft and food vendors, pet parade, silent auction, pony rides and kids’ area every year. (They also host an associated Golf Tournament and Art Night in the week leading up to the event, which is always held the last Saturday in September.

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RUNable Review:

In Mississippi, 68 degree weather on a late September morning is truly a gift! One the racers at the 2018 WellsFest 5k accepted with open arms. WellsFest itself turned 35 this year, however, in 2017 they renamed the associated 5k race the “Wells-Done” Run.

Price

The price increased this year from $25 to $30. I assume this increase was to cover the cost of the new timing company they used for the first time. In years past, the Mississippi Track Club has routinely handled the task of timing the race, but it is always nice to run a chip timed race, with more accurate results being an added bonus. Wells Church chooses a different cause every year, and this year the beneficiary was “Growing Up Knowing,” the Mississippi Campaign for Teen Pregnancy Prevention. I know a lot of people work very hard to put on this huge event every year, and if by chance you are one of those people: “Wells-Done!” and thank you.

T-shirt/Swag

The t-shirt design this year again included a beautiful watercolor logo. However once again, they put a lovely, large image on the back and centered (sort-of) a too large, not-nearly-as-lovely image on the front. I personally prefer either a small image on the front left pocket area of t-shirts, or let’s do it up right and put something large-and-in-charge-awesome on the front. Own it! Commit! The shirt was white again this year, which, behind only black, is my least favorite shirt color. (Y’all know I can’t wear white. One word: BBQ.) As stated, the image on the back was brilliant which saved the shirt from scoring lower on my RACEable scale. The design is truly striking!

Expo/Finish Line

There wasn’t an expo, per say. But again, there was an awesome free festival full of people, pets, and FOOD. (Again, one word: BBQ.)

Medal/Awards

In lieu of traditional race medals, the Wells-Done Run offers ceramic shoes custom painted by members of The Mustard Seed, or “Seedsters,” as they’re called. The Mustard Seed is a local community that was created for adults with developmental disabilities. The organization’s mission is to meet the spiritual, physical, emotional, and intellectual needs of all Seedsters by providing a loving and protected environment with meaningful activities. It is quite an honor to be awarded a medal with such an inspired story behind it! I earned my first “Shoe” last year and was thrilled to win another one this year!

RUNable SIDENOTE: Keep your eyes peeled for a RUNable $5 5k benefiting the Mustard Seed in 2019! Woohoo!

Volunteers

There were volunteers manning the packet pick-up and registrations tables pre-race as well as a couple volunteer groups stationed along the course. Everyone I encountered was friendly and encouraging.

Course Scenery

In years past the race began from the baseball fields across from Jamie Fowler Boyll Park on Lakeland Drive, wound along the frontage road, across the interstate overpass into the neighborhood and back again. This year they used the Watermelon Classic 5k course. The route began on Lakeland Drive just in front of the Ag Museum, then turned right onto the Interstate 55 Frontage Road, then took a right turn into the Eastover subdivision, then another right out onto Ridgewood Road, then a right back on Lakeland Drive, and finally one last right turn to finish in the Museum’s parking lot.

Course Difficulty: LEVEL 3

If you’ve ever run Watermelon, then you are well aware this course is pretty challenging! When you turn into Eastover you are greeted with one of those hills you feel like you could reach out and touch, which is followed by a multitude of “rolling hills” that continue on Ridgewood and Lakeland. The only plus to running this course this past Saturday was at least it wasn’t July! We were very lucky to have been gifted a day of fair temps that made this tough course at least tolerable-ish.

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

There was one aid station stocked with cold water and smiling faces! And of course, Jack Ward from the Mississippi Track club was on hand of offer verbal “aid” with his handy-dandy-bullhorn.

Parking/Access

Parking was convenient and plentiful. We arrived at approximately 7:20 a.m. and parked 50 feet from the start line. We had plenty of time to grab our packets, visit with other runners, and even got a pre-race warm up in before the 8 a.m. start. We also particularly enjoyed that we could leave our car and walk right into the festival. Previously, we would have to drive from across Lakeland post-race to attend the festival.

Race Management

As always, the race went off without a hitch. The after-race party adds to its overall appeal and it was indeed a “Wells-Done Run!”

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