Strider Road Trip was a blast!

Posted by Donald Cramer    

The Badgerland Striders traveled to St. Louis this year for their annual destination run. Go! St. Louis offered three events from which to choose: a marathon, a half-marathon, or a 7k. The busload of runners left Milwaukee early on Saturday, April 8th, led by Scott and Angie. In between catching up with old friends, we were assigned the task of meeting new people – a task made easier as we passed cookies and bloody marys around the bus.
After a lunch stop at Culvers we arrived at the expo around 2 pm. There were 30-40 vendors but most of us rushed through the university’s athletic center so that we could get back outside to enjoy the warm weather. Our hotel was downtown, under the Gateway Arch and close to the race start/finish. For dinner, we had many local options to choose from, but many people enjoyed the complimentary happy hour and appetizers at the hotel. When they are free; nachos, hot dogs, and salad bar are excellent pre-race preparation.
Saturday morning’s weather promised a beautiful day. We only had to walk a few blocks to the race’s start so I enjoyed a little more sleep than I usually get on a race day. Thousands of people lined up along the Mississippi River for the pre-race ceremonies. Several people spoke, but the only one I recognized was Jackie Joyner Kersee.
The race began, and within the first half mile turned up a steep hill. It was brutal – and an indicator of what was yet to come. The day’s forecast was warm, but the first three hours of overcast skies helped keep temperatures down for a while. We ran through the neighborhoods of St. Louis, usually with enthusiastic crowd support. I ran alone, though due to some out-and-backs along the marathon course, I was able to see some friendly Striders faces such as Eric, Roy, and Mike. At mile 2, I was also approached by a West Allis man who recognized my BLS shirt. The end of the race was beautiful weather for spectators, if a little hot and sunny for runners.
After my water and ice cream sandwich at the finish line, I looked for the after-party and the other Striders. Of course, when I found the first, the latter was not far away. A great combination of a sunny day in a grassy park, a high-energy cover band, and post-race endorphins led to cheerful singing and dancing. We ran into some other Wisconsinites, who were identified by their beer selection. (A special shout-out to Scott for putting himself out there in a new city.)
People found different ways to spend the afternoon around St. Louis. Some walked to Busch Stadium to see the Reds defeat the Cardinals. Some went on a Budweiser Tour to see the Clydesdales and how “beer” is made. However, everyone ended up back at the the hotel for happy hour and appetizers. In general we were in good spirits as we walked to dinner at The Best Bar in the World (who knew it was in St. Louis?). Not only did TBBitW host the BLS that night, they were also throwing a dance party for the cosmetologist convention being held in the city that weekend. That was interesting. I am concerned for anyone who received a haircut in St. Louis on Monday morning.
We gathered on Monday morning for a group photograph under the Arch before getting back on the bus for the trip home. People had a great deal to say about the weekend and already plans were made for the next spring. Hopefully, you can join us.