Two-part spring race series, circling 5k of riverside trails, building up to the Cap City Half in April. High-value swag but low-key event.
Posted Mar 28, 2023
  • High value of race swag
  • Scenic course
  • Choose your distance
  • Great training race for the Cap City
  • Free kids' race before the adults begin
  • Trail can get congested
  • Multiple laps can feel monotonous
  • No after party
  • Generic shirts / medals

Scioto Miles Spring Race Series Review

Each year in April, Columbus hosts the Cap City Half/Quarter/5k—and, to help racers train for the event, Fleet Feet sponsors the Scioto Miles two-part race series in March.  Racers can choose to sign up for one or both Sunday morning events, with 5k, 10k, and 15k options.

The Swag

The biggest draw for the Scioto Miles this year was the swag.  Everyone who registered for both races received a pair of Karhu Ikoni running shoes—the value of which was more than the cost of the races—as well as a shirt and medal for each race.  The shirts were a soft cotton—not the tech shirts that I tend to prefer, but a quality cotton shirt that I’ll definitely wear often—and the medals were generic instead of distance specific.  Shirts and medals were different colors for each race.

The Course

The Scioto Miles race offers three distances: 5k, 10k, and 15k.  They loop around the same well-marked 5k course, which means that slower runners and walkers will have to look out for passing speedsters.  It also means that the race can feel monotonous after a couple of laps.  The course is scenic—along the city’s riverfront trails—with a couple of aid stations along the way.  But the fact that it’s run on paved trails instead of the roads means that it can get incredibly congested—especially during the first lap.  That can be frustrating for those who find themselves stuck behind a pack of people who are too busy chatting to be aware of the faster racers around them. 

This is a good race for walkers—and there are a lot of them!  Most racers, however, appear to choose the 5k option because the crowds drop significantly after the first lap.  That makes it much easier to navigate the narrow sidewalks—but, admittedly, it makes for a pretty lonely experience.  For the first race, I walked the 10k with a friend, and almost everyone had checked out by the time we crossed the finish line.  Not long after we finished, even the photographer left his post.  It made for a pretty anti-climactic finish.

For the second race, we built up to the 15k, which meant three laps around the course.  Fortunately, there were a handful of others fighting their way to the finish line in the end, but the only people left to greet us were a few friends and a couple of long-suffering volunteers, standing beside a couple of bottles of water and a small box of granola bars.  The DJ was still there, but the race photographer was long gone.  I’d planned ahead and grabbed my medal after the second lap, unsure whether anyone would be left when I finished. 


After the race, once you’ve got your medal around your neck, you can grab some water and one of a few granola bar options from a nearby tent.  Admittedly, though, that’s about it.  Fortunately, the DJ keeps playing upbeat race tunes, but there’s not much of a party here, so racers don’t really stick around once they complete their race.  

The Experience

This is one of the smallest races I’ve done—and it’s all pretty low-key. Really, it’s listed more as a training race for the upcoming quarter/half than a big race.  The day starts with a free kids’ run, which is pretty adorable to watch—and it’s fun cheer on the little ones.  Then the adult racers line up.  I was surprised that, for the first race there wasn’t any fanfare at all—no National Anthem, no one on the loudspeakers.  Suddenly, the crowd was just moving, and off we went.  For the second, there was definitely more fanfare—including a National Anthem recording—but it was still pretty low-key.  The participants were all pretty laid-back and friendly—especially once the 5k crowds cleared out.  Volunteers along the way consisted of a handful of people handing out water and Gatorade and one woman sitting on a ledge, playing songs on her phone as racers passed—but I have to give credit to one of the remaining aid station volunteers, a shy young man who humored my request to tell my friend that she was awesome when she passed by.  The end of the race, however, was a letdown.  Finishing a race is a big accomplishment—whether you’re the first across the line or the last—and finishing this race felt anything but exciting.


Overall, the race series was…decent.  The course is scenic, and it’s always fun to join in the excitement of a race instead of doing all of your training on your own.  The swag was worth much more than the entry fee, which made it worthwhile.  But the energy and enthusiasm just weren’t there—and, in the end, it probably would have been just as fun to sleep in a little later in the morning and meet with some friends for training in the afternoon.  And that’s probably what we’ll choose to do next year instead.


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Kristin Kramer
Columbus, OH
5 Following

I get out there and get my miles in every day - sometimes on my own, sometimes with my favorite walking buddies. I tend to be...

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