In the 39 years of producing the beloved Plano Balloon Festival, we have steadfastly measured success on two fronts – the number of people we are able to wow with the beauty of hot air balloons, and the dollars raised by the non-profits who rely on the success of the festival to meet their annual fundraising goals. Sadly, mother nature took it upon herself to intervene, and 2018 will not go down as a banner year on either front.
A three-day outdoor festival in Texas is a wildly ambitious endeavor, but we are not deterred. Our mission is to provide nonprofit agencies an opportunity to raise funds and awareness for their programs and services, which ultimately enhances the quality of life for all North Texans. The Festival has circulated more than 3 million dollars back into the Collin County and Plano community. Supporters and friends of the Festival, people like you, choose to give through corporate sponsorship, ticket purchase or race participation so we can hold true to our mission year-after-year.
The InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival & Races include more than 3,000 volunteers that serve in various roles taking tickets, driving shuttles, crewing for pilots, and more. For the fourth year in a row the Craig Ranch Running Club has stepped up to go the distance in a capacity that includes 13.1 miles. This trained group of runners, led by Captain Rick Johnson, will provide on-site support as the Pace Team for the Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon participants.
If you’ve never run a half marathon then you probably don’t understand why other runners would need volunteers to actually run alongside you. However, there are thousands who started with a 1k and eventually find themselves at the starting line of a half marathon. They likely trained with a group and will be prepared for the challenge. But, maybe they have a personal goal in mind. Continue reading “CRAIG RANCH RUNNING CLUB LEADS HALF MARATHON PACE TEAM”
Previously known as DFW Runs, locally owned On Your Left! Marketing & Events is setting the pace in active lifestyle marketing. Since launching their business a decade ago, they have produced 324 events in 133 cities, including the Plano Balloon Festival Races in Plano, Texas.
Use discount code 10YEARSRUNNING and save 10% on the Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon, 10K, 5K, and 1K distances that will take place September 22-23, 2018 at the InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival located within Oak Point Park. #PBFRaces #PlanoBalloon www.pbfraces.org
Frisco resident Wim Schalken has an impressive collection of more than 50 finisher medals for marathons, half marathons 10k, 5k, and hiking. This dedicated runner also spent years working for a non-profit to organize running events to raise money for charities. In 2016, Schalken hiked the John Muir Trail that included 211 miles and a 47,000 ft. elevation gain within the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. The journey included 20 days of hiking.
“I was blown away by the beauty of this pristine wilderness. Because of the impact this experience had on me, I was looking for a unique keepsake to commemorate the accomplishment. You can buy a lousy shirt but instead I wanted a medal.”
My wife and I lost a close friend to a brain tumor in July of this year, and committed to run one half marathon a month over the next 12 months to raise funds for Marie Curie, a UK charity that provides care and support for people living with any terminal illness. More details can be found at www.justgiving.com/12halfmarathons. We are also substituting one of the half marathons for the 2018 London Marathon, the biggest in the world. So far, with the help of friends and business associates, Alisa and I have raised around £5554.50 for the charity, but with 10 more runs to go we are hopeful to raise more. Continue reading “TEAM MARIE CURIE FINISH THE PLANO BALLOON FESTIVAL HALF MARATHON”
This is going to be my race recap for the Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon…it’s pretty long…
A little background:
I never had plans to do the Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon until I saw a Facebook post on an old high school friend, Renee’s news feed. After our 2001 graduation, we parted ways and the last time I recall seeing her was in college back in 2005. We’ve kept contact here and there through social media over the passing years.
Renee posted that she had lost a tremendous amount of weight over the last year and had begun running and training. She wanted to be able to do her first half marathon. I’m inspired by people who are trying and wanting to stay healthy and be active. After seeing her post, I sent Renee a message asking when and what half she was planning to do. She wasn’t sure at the time, so I told her to let me know and I’d register and pace her if she wanted. She had decided on the PBF Half Marathon and I committed myself to this race with her, at her pace.
One Month til Race Day
Training, training, training is what should be done months leading up to race day. My training was and had been in full gear for months prior and I was going strong. I train with various run groups around South East Texas. After a 10 mile bridge training run with WCRunners, my friend Ana who is from Beaumont had said it was her longest run to date! Sweet! The first thought straight out of my mouth was “you’re ready for a half marathon!” Our friend, Tony threw out over coffee that she wanted to do a half before her 30th (Oct. 3). I sunk my race recruiting claws in deep and told her she should do the PBF with me and my friend on the 20th, exactly 4 weeks out. Hesitant at first about not really having trained for a half (she did just run her first 10 miler) and she would only have one more 10 mike training run before Plano, but she registered just two days later. Peer pressure at it’s finest!
Ana carpooled with me and we stayed at my in-laws in Athens the night before, which is about an hour and a half from Plano. We left Athens around 4 a.m. so we’d have plenty of time to get there and not feel rushed. Getting to a race super early is way better then getting there late and having to fight to find a parking space and find your way to where you’re supposed to be before the start of the race, plus we had to meet Renee at Starbucks for our packets since she picked them up for us the day before – no race day packet pick up.
We arrived at the runner’s parking by 6 a.m. meeting back up with Renee, as well as two ladies Jordyn and Lea Ann who came with her to do the race. We now I have four first time half marathoners rather than just one! Wowzers!!!!
As we made our way down a hill to the start, there were several people from my run group running the race. It’s always good to see familiar faces at the races. We discussed goal finish times. This was mine and Ana’s first year to run the PBF Half, so Jordyn and Ana had paired up as partners. Jordyn was aiming for a sub 2:05 and Ana a sub 2:30. They started with the 2:30 pace group while Renee, Lea Ann and I joined the 3:30 pace group. Their goal was to finish in 3:30.
The race started at 7:30 a.m. sharp and was really smooth getting out from the start. All the runners were courteous and didn’t try to trample over you like at some races.
And We’re Off…Mile 1-3
The weather was decent, not horrible but humid with NO cloud coverage! Renee, Lea Ann and I did run/walk intervals (1:1). We were able to see the hot air balloons for about the first three miles.
The course was a mixture of hills and neighborhoods with a few shaded parks. By now, Lea Ann had gotten well ahead of Renee and I. The hills and heat were taking a toll on Renee and she wasn’t happy. With every passing mile it was; “I’m done, I quit, or I’m finished!” I actually expected it and not because I thought she wouldn’t finish but because I said the same things when I did my first half marathon. I just didn’t have anyone to yell at. She needed the push and encouragement to keep going.
It’s about 2 hours into the course at mile 8 and the heat was still taking a toll on Renee. We still had 5.1 to go and we had just gotten on the Santa Fe Trail. She fueled and hydrated but started cramping and was hot. Still saying “I can’t, I’m finished” as we continued on to mile 11. I was dead set on not letting her quit! Quitting was not an option so if we had to walk the entire last half then that’s what we were going to do. The Santa Fe Trail we were on was wide open to NO shade and NO breeze. As we crossed over a small bridge on the trail, Renee once again, “I’m done, I’m tapped out!” as she leaned over the bridge rail for a little breather.
As I’ve done since 1.5 miles, I kept telling her she couldn’t just up and quit. “Look how far you’ve come! You’re going to finish!” As we started back to walking the Plano Volunteer PD guys came from behind us checking on everyone who was still on course. I’d asked for an ice pack and cold bottled water for Renee hoping it’d help.
It’s 10:52 a.m. with about a mile to go and 8 minutes til the cutoff. I text Jordyn to let her know where we were on course and to update her on Renee. “We’re at 12.25 miles and she’s quit on me ten times lol”. That was my text and she started walking towards us from the finish line.
Turning left onto E. Spring Creek Pkwy and the finish line is in sight. It’s 400 yards to the finish line! As we got closer, I asked Renee if she was going to have a walking or running photo finish. She wanted to run it in together, crossing together.
We finished in 3:48, just 18 minutes late of the cutoff but our times were included in the official results. Renee gave me EVERY opportunity from the start to leave her and run my own race. There was no way I was going to leave her and her not finish. I really feel that if I had left her, she would have quit and she would have missed crossing a huge milestone over that finish line.
Although we didn’t finish by the 3:30 cutoff which was our goal, she finished and she finished proud! PBF was not my race, it was Renee’s and I’m ever so grateful that I was able to be a part of it. To be a part of four friends doing their first half is priceless and if I had to do it all over again even with the rants…I would!
Lea Ann 3:21:15
It’s not about a finish time. It’s about finishing! Congrats to Jordyn, Ana, Lea Ann and Renee on completion of your first Half Marathon! You ladies are ROCKSTARS!!!
More information about the Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon being held September 23-24, 2017 is available at www.pbfraces.org #PBFRaces
This month we celebrate Global Running Day by offering 10% off runner registration throughout June. The discount code PBFGlobal expires on July 1st and may be applied to the Half Marathon, Relay, Sky High Challenge, 5K and 1K distances.
Did you know that all runners are also automatically entered into a drawing for a chance to win a private ride in a hot air balloon? More information is available online: www.pbfraces.org and if you’re curious about the routes be sure to check out the maps of each course. #PBFRaces
“Get Me Over The Finish Line” is a race recap by guest contributor: Donny Ray
The 2016 Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon was my second time to run this race and the 5k. It was actually my very first 5k in 2013 and my very first half marathon in 2014. As always, it’s a well-organized event with great swag and with a fun course with the highlight to be able to see the balloons fly overhead (weather permitting). The race is in mid-September, which gives a slight break on the Texas heat, but can warm up towards the end of the race.
Here is a recap of my 2016 half marathon experience. I trained last summer for the Chicago Marathon and this race was the perfect distance and race to do prior to Chicago so I could taper before that race. I arrived to the event early to be well prepared and not rushed. As always, there is plenty of parking and volunteers to get you where you need to go. There are many port-a-potties in the area and lots of room in the start line area.
Prior to the start, the balloons are being lit up on the field and it is definitely something different that a lot of races do not offer. It was very windy that day, so no launch was made due to safety reasons. The start began without any issues and lots of excitement in the air.
The first few miles were through the countryside and well condensed with runners. There was always elbow room even at the start of the race. There are some rolling hills for the first several miles, but none that are crazy. This is a good race for the beginner or the expert. I saw several friends throughout the first few miles, which is always a nice sight to see. The course has multiple water stations, hydration stops, and support for the participants from start to finish.
About half way the half marathon course becomes smaller, but runners have spread out by then and well on their set pace. I was able to keep a comfortable pace without any crowding throughout the entire race. I see the relay participants handing off for the 2nd half at mile 13.1 just when I’m setting into my pace. Around this time I start seeing clouds in the sky and just hope that they keep us dry in time to finish. Around mile 8, it starts to drop rain very slightly. It wasn’t bad at all and actually felt nice. Again, I was wishing the weather would stay good for us. At mile 10 it starts raining harder and I realize that it isn’t going to let up. Immediately after 11 miles it starts to downpour and gets interesting. No one can control mother nature.
At one point I had a mental thought that I was in the “hunger games.” It was a thought that I needed to get me over the finish line. I remember turning left on the final stretch and the rain was pouring so hard and water was up to my ankles. I’ll never forget that feeling at the finish line and the sense of accomplishment that came from finishing. There was a volunteer out in the pouring rain making sure everyone that crossed received their well-deserved medal. I see in the distance a group of my friends under a tent yelling my name. It was an awesome feeling.
The 5k participants received a t-shirt and half marathon participants received a tank. Both are great quality and I wear them around constantly. The medals are awesome. Each year, they add an additional balloon to the medal to commemorate their anniversary. The finisher medals have never disappointed.
Personally, the real race of a half marathon begins anywhere from mile 8 to 10 all the way to the finish. This is when you have to really dig deep and what makes running so fun. This race did have a lot of rain, but in hindsight, I wouldn’t change it if I could. That’s what makes running great. Snow, rain or sunshine!
The Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon and 5K are two fantastic races. I’m happy to give my personal review and help spread the word. www.pbfraces.org #PBFRaces #PlanoBalloon
This month we celebrate Mom with a special gift of 14% off runner registration fees for the Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon, Relay, Sky-High Challenge, 5k and 1k. Simply use the discount code RUNNINGMOMS between May 8-15, 2017 to receive instant savings off the general registration fee.
Saturday, September 23, 2017 is the 5k and 1k starting at 7:30 a.m. and Sunday, September 24, 2017 is the Half Marathon and Relay beginning at 7:00 a.m.
HALF MARATHON $ 85.00 – General Registration -> $73.10
HALF MARATHON RELAY
$130.00 – General Registration -> $111.80
Interested in running both days? Register for both race distances – Half Marathon and 5K. Includes a Bonus Medal!
Guest contributor: Mike Kohl, Race Coordinator and Board of Directors, Plano Balloon Festival, Inc.
The Plano Balloon Festival Races (PBF Races) include a 1k, 5k, Half Marathon, and Relay that match a runner’s love of a challenging course and family friendly environment, complete with hot air balloons. We are proud of the races this event offers for runners and it shows in the participation numbers. Over the past six years, the race has grown from less than 1,000 entrants in 2010 to over 4,000 runners in 2015. The PBF Races now represent one of the largest in North Texas and we estimate 1,750 half marathon runners this year.
With the coordinated efforts by the Plano Balloon Festival, Inc. and DFW Runs, Eric Lindberg, the team provides the experience, knowledge and passion to continue with a well-organized and competently executed Race Series. The success of PBF Races can be attributed to the total focus and value offered to runners and family members. This is reflected in the custom finisher medals, race shirts, capes for kids, catered food, tickets to the InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival, age bracket awards, water stations, volunteers, and the immense attention to detail provided by race coordinators.
The race course was changed in 2014 for three reasons: 1) Finish closer to the start to make it a true loop course, 2) Maintain close proximity to Runner’s Village, and 3) Better running experience. The Half Marathon Relay was added in 2016 as a direct result of the survey of runners from last year. PBF Races truly values the input and feedback from runners and this is one result of many in our collaborative efforts.
PBF Races attracts many first time half marathon runners within the metroplex and we are honored to have them at our starting line and proud to cheer them across the finish line. For those training we suggest that you join a running group from Run On!, Cooper Fitness, Frisco Running Club or any place that has others also training for PBF Races. Stick with the program and if you can’t do a short race during the week, make sure you extend to longer runs on the weekend. Don’t over-train. It’s just as easy to over-train as under-train and this causes injuries. Listen to your body and if you do become injured, avoid pushing yourself further until fully healed. Hydration is key because the Texas heat requires replenishing your body with a lot of fluids.
Incidents during the PBF Races are minimal because this is our #1 goal. Annual briefings are held to discuss the safety of the runners during the event and have an established evacuation plan in case of inclement weather. Plano Fire and Plano Police Department are onsite during the race to provide immediate assistance.
Prior participants have come from Ireland (a race team came over specifically for the event), Canada, Mexico and every contiguous state. PBF Races has become a part of people’s stories shown in race selfies, marriage proposals at the finish line, cancer survivors, Olympic Qualifiers, company sponsored teams, super heroes, tu-tus, and even a hot dog once ran in our race – truly a festival atmosphere. Lastly, we have award winning Finisher’s medals, which are given to all racers who complete the course. This year, the half marathon medal will be no exception – large, colorful and the center spins around making it a dazzling piece of bling.
Registration for PBF Races is available www.pbfraces.org and you can follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pbfraces/ for updates and conversations with other runners. Saturday, September 24, 2016 the 5K run will start at 7:30 a.m. and the 1K fun run will begin at 9:00 a.m. with the awards ceremony scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Sunday, September 25, 2016 the Half Marathon and Relay will begin at 7:00 a.m. and the awards ceremony scheduled for 9:30 a.m. More information about the InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival “Dazzling Autumn Skies” being held September 23-25, 2016 at Oak Point Park, may be found at www.planoballoonfest.org.