Totally Awesome Time at the Awesome 80’s 5K Run

Last Saturday, I had one final race before running at Disneyland…the Awesome 80’s Run 5K in my hometown of Pasadena, California at the Rose Bowl.


I was pretty excited about this 5K because of the finishers medal and it gave me another chance to run with my wife. We were both ready to go for this later than usual start time…


The race was set to start at 8:30am. On this hot, August day, that was not good news. Although we both enjoyed sleeping a little later than normal for races, we both agreed that a start time a few hours earlier would have been better. We arrived at the Rose Bowl at around 7:30am to give us plenty of time to take in the fun-filled atmosphere. As you can see, we were not alone…


While Brooke took advantage of the Rose Bowl restrooms (with no line), I wandered around and took a few photos…


Last time I was here, it was just after clearing my sun screen burned eyes, 3 miles into a 9.5 mile run from hades. This day was much better.


I’m a huge USC Trojans football fan. So, it was nice to be at USC’s unofficial home stadium. With so many Rose Bowl victories, this stadium has truly become a home away from home for my beloved Trojans.


Before we knew it, the DJ was calling us over to the starting line. So, off we went.




We were ready to go! In line we ran across these scary people…


They started us off with a DJ dressed like MC Hammer who lead us in some dance moves to get us warmed up.


While we were warming up, I caught a few pics of some totally rad costumes…


There were lots of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles around…


The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man was represented (along with some Ghost Busters). I saw this guy run by me during the race and wondered how hot it must have been to run in this costume.


Star Wars was well represented too. We had Jedi’s and Princess Leia…


…and Storm Troopers as well.


After the warm ups, we were off. The race started a few minutes late because we had to wait for Pasadena PD to give us the “all clear.” The reason you see the “finish” line is that race started and finished in the same spot.


We started off pretty much in front of the stadium and made our way to the loop around the stadium. As you can see, it was bright and sunny. For this race, I let my wife pace me. She goes a little slower than I normally go. But, this race was one to just have fun and enjoy an activity together. For my wife, this race represented a chance to see how she might do the following Saturday at the Disneyland 10K (we’re doing that race together as well). She’s been dealing with a lot of different physical ailments the past few months and was unsure of her conditioning. So, I really wanted to be there to help her in case she thought of quitting and encourage her to keep going (which I really didn’t need to do because she was fine).

Once we turned around this area, we eventually were behind the Rose Bowl and found many areas of shade. Neither my wife nor myself liked being in the heat very much. So, the shade areas were amazing! On the way to the first mile marker, we passed Smurfette and another Smurf…


One of the things that I didn’t like about running the Pasadena 10K back in June was that the mile markers were not even close to what my Nike Plus GPS watch was telling me. In this race, the Nike Plus was pretty close to what the mile markers indicated. I loved the mile marker signs. Here’s mile marker 1.


For me, one of the negatives of this race is that they advertised water stations at mile markers 1 and 2. However, the first water station actually came close to the end of the second mile. In a 3.1 mile race, this isn’t a big deal. However, when you are running in hot weather, the extra water might have been nice. One objective I had with this race was to master the art of drinking out of those cups while in a race. I lost entirely too much time taking in water at the Pasadena 10K. So, I actually looked online for tips on this. Those tips worked well. I think that I won’t lose nearly as much time at the Disneyland Half Marathon as I did in the Pasadena 10K! Mission accomplished! My wife was really pushing herself. So, that water stop couldn’t have come soon enough. Once we had our water, we both felt much better!

There were two bands along the course (playing 80’s music of course). I thought that was a nice touch for a 5K! Here’s the band at around mile 2…


Also, at around this point, we saw the race director (dressed as Michael Jackson) who was dancing to the music and high fiving us as we passed by. I wish that I caught this on camera. It was actually really impressive to see the energy this race director had. His enthusiasm was absolutely contagious!


When we passed the second mile marker, Brooke gained a lot of energy. It also helped that the last mile was largely downhill. She was really happy with how this race was going…


During the last mile, I overheard a lady talking with her friend about how these races are all about the bling. She sounds like a lot of runDisney runners. Since I was running this 5K for the bling, who was I to disagree?

Anyways, we made our way through the last mile faster than the other two. The decline in the course aided our speed, I’m sure. Also, I think my wife was happy to be nearing the end. I didn’t get a picture of the 3rd mile marker because, it was so close to the finish that I didn’t want to stop. We made our way to the finish with arms in the air, feeling great. The finish time 40 minutes, 54 seconds. It was an improvement over the last 5K we ran in by around a minute! Congrats to my wife on her 5K PR! Look at our Awesome finishing medals…




See why I wanted this medal?


After the race, there was an 80’s cover band cranking out 80’s music. There was also a dance floor if you wanted to dance.


They also had the car from the Back to the Future movies that you could get pictures with. The line for the picture was long. But, hey! It’s fun. So, we waited.

The Awesome 80’s Run was, in a word, Awesome and Fun. It wasn’t a perfect race. The negatives of the race included the following…

  • The race t-shirt was not ready at packet pick up and it wasn’t announced that they even had a t-shirt until they were lining everyone up for the start. So, by the time I got my shirt (after the race), they were out of my size and I had to get a smaller size.
  • The final instructions gave the impression that you could only pick up your race stuff on the day before the race (a Friday) when you could pick everything up on the morning of the race. I would have liked better clarification of this because I had to take my lunch break on Friday to drive to the Rose Bowl. Also, I would have had a better chance at getting a t-shirt in my size if I picked it up earlier.
  • Also, in the final race instructions, they said that there would be water stations at mile 1, 2, and the finish. Most 5K’s only have 1 water station. So, the fact that there was only one here isn’t really that big of a deal. It’s just that they announced one thing and did another.
  • The 8:30am start in August made for a hotter than needed race. If they had started at 6:30 or 7am, this would have been an even better race.

Positives for this race…

  • An energetic and engaging race director! To me, this was a HUGE part of why this race was fun.
  • Great costumes by the runners and workers!
  • 2 bands on the race course for entertainment (in a 3.1 mile race)!
  • AWESOME finishers medal!
  • Plenty of water at the water station.
  • Lots of positive energy by the race staff. Seriously, this was an 80’s party disguised as a 5K run!
  • Close to home

Would I do this race again? Yep. I read several blogs that talked up the negatives from last year’s Awesome 80’s run. It looks like the race staff took all those complaints seriously and improved upon the race from a year ago. If they make a few tweaks, this race could be a little better next year. However, I’d grade this race a B+.

3 thoughts on “Totally Awesome Time at the Awesome 80’s 5K Run

  1. Great recap! I would’ve loved to run it but was out of town. Hope they move the time to 7am next year. I feel that any race in August in SoCal should have an early start time. Good luck at the Disneyland 10k!

    1. Thanks! I hope they move up the start time as well next year. The Disney races are just a few days away! I can’t wait!

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