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RUNable Race Review: WellsFest

RACE STATS:

  • DATE OF RACE: September 28, 2019
  • DISTANCE(s): 5k, 1-Mile Fun Run
  • REVIEWED: 5k
  • LOCATION: Jackson, MS
  • DIFFICULTY: Level 3
  • CAUSE: Extra Table
  • RUNscore: 3.7 Stars

A Running Glance:

Things I loved

  • Held in conjunction with the WellsFest music festival
  • Unique hand-painted trophies
  • Pet-friendly!

Things I less than loved

  • Tough, challenging course -GREAT training!
A Running Glance: Things I loved Held in conjunction with the WellsFest music festivalUnique hand-painted trophiesPet-friendly! Things I less than loved Tough, challenging course -GREAT training! RUNable Review: Looking for some “Peace, love and music” with a little running first? Well, I’ve got just the 5k for you! Held the last Saturday in September each year, WellsFest is “Jackson’s Original Music Festival.” In its 36th year, WellsFest is still serving up a good time through food, fellowship and family-friendly fun. This year’s festivities kicked off with a 5k, pet parade, plant sale, nonstop music all day across two stages, a…
Here is my overall RUNscore, averaged from the individual categories above. Did you run the race? If so, click the stars next to USER RATING to rate this race yourself! Then read my full review below!! PS - I *LOVE* reader comments, so feel free to give me your opinion. But just about this race or my blog. Let's leave religion, politics, and parenting to the professionals. 😉

Running Tally: WellsFest

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

3.7 STARS

Here is my overall RUNscore, averaged from the individual categories above. Did you run the race? If so, click the stars next to USER RATING to rate this race yourself! Then read my full review below!! PS - I *LOVE* reader comments, so feel free to give me your opinion. But just about this race or my blog. Let's leave religion, politics, and parenting to the professionals. 😉

User Rating: Be the first one !

RUNable Review:

Looking for some “Peace, love and music” with a little running first? Well, I’ve got just the 5k for you! Held the last Saturday in September each year, WellsFest is “Jackson’s Original Music Festival.” In its 36th year, WellsFest is still serving up a good time through food, fellowship and family-friendly fun. This year’s festivities kicked off with a 5k, pet parade, plant sale, nonstop music all day across two stages, a silent auction, the children’s area (with pony rides!) and more local vendors than you can shake a stick at.

Price

Registration for the 5k was $30, but teams of 4-8 could catch a $5 break and participate for only $25 each. They also offered family-four-packs for $90. Plus, the money raised benefited Extra Table, a nonprofit organization committed to ending hunger in Mississippi by providing food pantries and soup kitchens with the healthy food they need to feed their communities. Since its inception, WellsFest has raised nearly $1.5 MILLION for LOCAL nonprofits. Talk about good vibes! Just wow! A huge thank you to Wells Church for all the good they do in our community and for continuing to use running to advocate on the local level.

T-shirt/Swag

This year’s shirt is my favorite design yet! First of all, the brand was “Comfort Colors” and just the softest 100% cotton t-shirt around. The last several designs have featured a beautiful watercolor image, and I was happy to see that this year they put the image on the front of the shirt. The gorgeous image they chose was of a “flower child” holding a peace sign, heart and music note to represent the festival’s slogan, #PeaceLoveAndMusic. I should also note that the back of the shirt was blank, which is basically a unicorn when it comes to race shirts. Most are littered with sponsor logos! Not WellsFest! This year’s shirt was pretty groovy.

Expo/Finish Line

The finish line itself offered water, Gatorade, cookies, and bananas. I was in a rush to make it over to the Pet Parade after the race, so I forgot to snag a pic. But allow me to set the scene for you: there was a table with two large coolers, a box of cookies and a box of bananas. Ha. It’s almost like you were there! Just across at the festival there were multiple food vendors, with lots of savory and sweet options for sale. My family and I grabbed some grub, threw down a blanket, and took in some of the sweet sounds WellsFest offered.

Medal/Awards

In lieu of traditional race medals or trophies, the WellsFest 5k offers ceramic shoes custom painted by members of The Mustard Seed, or “Seedsters,” as they’re called. The Mustard Seed is a local community 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 inspiring story behind it! I placed SECOND this year, earning my third-lifetime shoe. #Collector <Side note> This month’s RUNable $5 5k will benefit The Mustard Seed! Check out the event here and make plans to join us on October 24!

Volunteers

I liked that they moved the start line across the parking lot. This change put us much closer to the entrance of Jamie Fowler Boyll Park and much closer to all the ACTION! Packet pick-up tables were also stationed here pre-race, with plenty of helpful volunteers getting registrants checked in or signed up. This was the first year I’ve brought my little JRT Nora to the race. I did so with the intention of also entering her into the “Pet Parade” that began at 9:30 a.m. Another great change this year: they presented the awards from the “main stage,” and the “ceremony” just so happened to take place right as the parade was ending. Nora and I walked up just in time to snag our beautiful Mustard Seed treasure! We were very proud we placed second on our “middle-aged-lady” age group. (Nora is 42 in dog-years!)

Course Scenery

This year’s route was similar to last year’s, the only change being the start/finish line was moved across the parking lot closer to the park. The route was otherwise the exact same as the “Watermelon Classic 5k” course. We start on Lakeland Drive and pass in front of the Ag Museum, then we take a right onto the I-55 frontage road, then a right into the Eastover subdivision. There’s quite a hill that greets you in Eastover! #HelloQuadBurner From there we continue straight, eventually taking a right onto Ridgewood Road. Participants then experience some serious elevation changes that continue when we FINALLY take another right back onto Lakeland Drive. To me, this is the toughest part of the course, because not only is it the “home stretch” so you’re pretty well spent, but there are several hills and direct sun exposure. Thankfully, it’s over pretty quick (or maybe you just blackout?) and before you know it, you’re finishing on the little road adjacent to Jamie Fowler Boyll Park in front of Smith Wills Stadium.

Course Difficulty: LEVEL 3

This 5k route is notoriously tough and definitely presents a challenging course. However, I always enjoy this race, and this year I was extra excited to have my favorite four-legged friend running with me. Even coming off a sinus infection and holding my lifetime membership card to the Sloth Running Club, I still managed a decent time and that glorious runner’s high that comes – when you’re done!

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 were two water stops along the way with plenty of friendly volunteers handing out H20 and an encouraging word.

Parking/Access

Again, the start/finish line change was great! We were able to leave our car in the museum parking lot and immediately cross the little wooden bridge into the park for the festival. Nora and I had fun participating in the pet parade too. It was clearly rigged, we were both dressed like Wonder Woman and didn’t win “Best in Show,” “Best Dressed,” or “Cutest.” Now, I understand why we didn’t win “Most Congenial!” (Nora can be a grouch, sometimes. Not me, I’m always a ray of sunshine! Ha.) The award for most agreeable went to the fella ironically dressed as a jailbird! All the pets were adorable, and it was fun to see everyone dressed up.

Race Management

Wells Church: thanks again for a race “WELL-done,” and for all that you do for our community! I also commend your partnership choices. MS Race Timing is one of the best local timing companies, and of course, if you don’t have Jack Ward from the Mississippi Track Club talking you through the finish line on his bullhorn, is it even a 5k? Not to this runner! <3 I’ve already got WellsFest 2020 on my calendar for next year. Until then: peace, love, music … and RUNNING.

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RUNable Chris
Once an average, everyday single mom who couldn't run to the mailbox, Chris was struck with the love of running while searching for a stress-relieving way to get in shape. Now Chris can run half-marathons with a huge smile and has no shame bragging about her quirky water-bottle obsession. But there's nothing she loves more than helping those new to running or those who aren't sure how to start!