Friday, June 3, 2011

#196: The Sunburst

Need a reason to spend some time outside this weekend?  Head downtown, and you'll find the monthly bustle of activity for First Fridays.  Make sure you check out the big white tents around town -- one for the Meet Me on the Island event (look for a post in July highlighting this show series), the other for the Sunburst Races. 

"The Sunburst" is not one particular race; rather, it's a total of six events that range from a family fun walk tonight to a full marathon.  It has the largest draw of all area races, and the timing always matches up with the Notre Dame Alumni Reunion weekend.  For a sense of scale, event organizers are rallying to get 10,000 participants. 

The course starts downtown at the College Football Hall of Fame, which is a hub of activity tonight.  Pre-registered runners can pick up their packets; those still contemplating can be bold and register for any race up until 8:00 pm.  There is an expo with various running-related vendors, and four-time winner of both the NYC and Boston Marathon Bill Rodgers is speaking at 4:30 pm. 

Even if the majority of your runs are to the store for cigarettes, booze, or ice cream, you can still participate in the palpable race-day excitement.  Because the courses criss-cross much of South Bend and many streets around town are closed in the morning, take a lazy morning and come outside to cheer the runners.  (If you're still in your bathrobe, no worries -- trust me, that'll be the last thing on runners' minds.)  All events--except tonight's family fun walk, which traverses downtown and the East Race-- finish in the Notre Dame football stadium...aka the perfect venue for finishers and spectators alike.  Nothing compares to the feeling of running out of that revered tunnel.
Last year's race, at the famous finish line.
And while the official theme for tonight is "Race to Downtown", it appears that DTSB is embracing all forms of transportation: this month's celebration features a classic car show and BMX stunt show on either end of Michigan.

Read more about tonight's various First Friday events here, and the Sunburst course maps and answers a multitude of frequently asked questions about the event.

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