The Plano Balloon Festival 5K is ranked as one of the Top 5K’s in Texas by Texas Runner and Triathlete as seen featured in their Winter 2019 issue. Their list includes 34 races within the Lone Star State to receive recognition. If you’re wondering how many there are in Texas each year, then you might want to note that Running In The USA had 1,068 5K races on their calendar for 2018. Only five of those are in the City of Plano.
“This race is worthy of being one of the top five 5K’s in Texas for several reasons and from varying perspectives. For some participants it is all about the bling and our finisher medals are bright, colorful, big and feature a hot air balloon for each year of the race, so in 2019 we will have nine balloons on them. For others it is about the festival atmosphere, there is so much to do and experience at the race plus it is very family friendly. For everyone it is about seeing hot air balloons launch above you as you are running/walking the course. These are just some of the things you can’t get at any other 5K in Texas.” – Eric Lindberg, Chief Running Officer of On Your Left! Marketing & Events.
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.
Good news! The 10K race for 2018 is officially sold out with a maximum registration of 750 runners. Even better news is that the finish line for the 10K ends back at the festival. The course originally had a route that started at the festival, north on Jupiter Road, southeast on Los Rios Blvd, and then a zig zag of more than 10 streets, to finish at Bob Woodruff Park and wait to be shuttled back to the festival.
“We are fortunate to discover a new section of trail that allows the 10K finish at the festival with the half marathon runners. The benefit is the 10K participants finish directly at the festival and don’t have to ride shuttles. They’ll have immediate access to the food, entertainment, and a chance to see the folks who came to cheer when they cross the finish line,” says Eric Lindberg, Chief Running Officer with On Your Left! Marketing & Events.
General runner registration for the Plano Balloon Festival Races officially ended on August 31, 2018 but this is the last discount offer and it is available this weekend only. Runners can save $5.00 on the Half Marathon, 10K, Sky High Challenge, Elevate Challenge, 5K, and 1K distances with code PBFLABORDAY starting September 1 thru September 3, 2018.
Commemorative finisher medals have been designed for each race and they feature eight colorful hot air balloons to mark the annual race held at the InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival at Oak Point Park. New this year, runners can also choose to have their finisher medals personalized on-site by “Engrave My Medal.”
Go the distance September 22-23, 2018 at the Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon, Sky High Challenge, Elevate Challenge, 10K, 5K, and 1K races to receive dazzling commemorative finisher medals featuring eight hot air balloons! Registered runners also receive two tickets to the InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival plus parking on race day. #PBFRaces #PlanoBalloon www.pbfraces.org | The Sky High Challenge includes the 5K on 9/22 and the Half Marathon on 9/23. The Elevate Challenge includes the 5K on 9/22 and the 10K on 9/23. Challenge races include a third bonus finish medal and we hope to you at the starting line!
The Plano Balloon Festival Races continues to welcome thousands of runners to the starting line and therefore all registration must be done online in advance. Registration is not available in-person at packet pick-up or on-site prior to the races. All runners must register online: www.pbfraces.org Groups of 10 or more adults are eligible for a discount and should contact email@example.com for registration information.
Have you registered for one of the Plano Balloon Festival Races? If not, you’ll want to sign-up soon before your spot is gone. If you have registered and live in the metroplex, you can pick-up race packets from the Plano Running Club at the Plano Event Center at 2000 E. Spring Creek Parkway in Plano. They will be in the Spring Glade room on the east side of the building at these times:
Thursday, Sept 20 – 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM Friday, Sept 21 – 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM Saturday, Sept 22 – 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM
“We try to participate in as many local events as possible,” says Plano Running Club member Shirley Barbaro. “Plano Balloon Festival is the biggest and most well-known event taking place in Plano each year. I cannot think of a better opportunity to serve our community than volunteering in some way.”
Camp Gladiator has partnered with the Plano Balloon Festival Races to help runners when they pick-up race packets on September 15 and 16 at Academy Sports and Outdoors at 4045 N. Central Expressway in Plano. Runners who are already registered for the Plano Balloon Festival Races can pick-up race packets from Camp Gladiator representatives between 11:00 am and 6:00 pm.
There is no race day registration or packet pick-up. Additional packet dates are as follows:
Thursday, Sept 20 – 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Friday, Sept 21 – 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Saturday, Sept 22 – 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Plano Event Center, Spring Glade Room, 2000 E. Spring Creek Parkway, Plano, TX 75074
Camp Gladiators will work alongside the Plano Balloon Festival Races to promote health, fitness and being outdoors. Camp Gladiator is a four-week outdoor group fitness program. Each workout or “Camp” is a 60 minute, full-body workout incorporating both cardio and strength training. The mission of Camp Gladiator is to positively impact the physical fitness and ultimately the lives of as many people as possible.
“Exercising outside has so many benefits to exercising inside. When you’re outside, your body is having to work with so many external elements – temperature, wind, dynamic surfaces, etc.,”says Camp Gladiator partner trainer Becky Leverett. “When you challenge your body with an unstable environment, your muscles and brain are constantly having to react and re-adjust which makes it hard for the body and brain to ever become complacent and bored.”
Runners and walkers of every fitness level will have the opportunity to connect with nature, get some fresh air, and see the soaring balloons festival weekend. The 1K fun run and 5k are on Saturday, September 22 and the 10k and Half Marathon run on Sunday, September 23. Registration is online only. Camp Gladiator trainers are prepared to lead the pre-run warm-ups both days, and be on site all weekend at the festival to connect with the Plano community and encourage active lifestyles.
“Our bodies are capable of so much more than we give it credit for,” says Leverett. “I challenge every person to step outside of their comfort zone and run that race or attend a camp.”
Camp Gladiator is the largest adult outdoor fitness program in the Nation and DFW Metroplex. Those ready for more outdoor fitness opportunities can find more than 50 Plano-area Camp Gladiator programs at CampGladiator.com for all local camps or connect with Leverett via email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
General registration for the Plano Balloon Festival Races ends August 31 and online registration for the Challenges closes at Noon on Friday, September 21 and the Half Marathon and 10K race registration closes at Noon on Saturday, September 22. The InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival is a three day weekend starting September 21 and continuing until Sunday, September 23, 2018 at Oak Point Park in Plano, TX. Advance tickets are available online at www.planoballoonfest.org or at participating InTouch Credit Union locations starting September 1. #PBFRaces #PlanoBalloon
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.”
Free Live Tracking and Progress Alerts on Race Day
The Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon, Relay, 5K and 1K is sponsoring RaceJoy to provide participants and spectators these features for free (normally a 99 cents upgrade fee for both the participant and spectator). September 23-24, 2017 the PBF Races will be held at Oak Point Park in Plano, Texas the weekend of the InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival. General registration ends 9/16 and all race courses and run information is detailed on the website: www.pbfraces.org. #PBFRaces
Download the RaceJoy mobile app for live phone tracking at the Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon, Relay, 5K and 1K. The RaceJoy app is available on Apple and Android devices. All participating runners must turn disable WiFi settings on race day or the tracking will disengage.
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