In the land of Excalibur, Game of Stones series: Quest for the Holy Grail ended the 2019 series at the spectacular Diamond Castle finish line. It’s our third year running this race. This year we earned our King Arthur Crown. The crown has four stones embedded on the top: Emerald, Sapphire, Ruby, Diamond, this piece of my latest collection of bling is my most prized possession. We wish we knew this race existed in 2016, we would have also earned the Holy Grail Chalice. This is one of our favorites races even though the course is not as scenic it’s still one of the best races in Florida. Ten miles instead of a half marathon (13.1) is the perfect distance.
Let’s talk about this year’s race day and some changes made. The change came about because beer could not be served on school grounds after the race. Since the start of this race Series the start/finish line was at Viera High School. Conveniently located with tons of parking (where we didn’t have to walk an extra mile after the race to get back to our car). I also thought the wide open space of the school provided much maneuvering to get food and drinks after the race. Instead of the entire race being on school grounds it was now at the park next to the school. This change confused runners with long lines of traffic in the dark. It was hard to find a spot to park, and hard to find the start line too. The parking near the finish line was limited and other spots were not as close as years previous, it made start time run late. Runners hustled to the start line. The show ran late as well. It even seemed the sword fight show was hurried (still good and fun, but rushed). Honestly, it didn’t seem as organized as the past few years.
Once the gun went off runners charged through the land of Viera, Florida on to the quest to the Diamond Castle Finish line. The weather was almost perfect with 66 degrees and cloudy. At about mile 2-5 a steady rain hit this was the sandy dirt road portion of the race. We were soaked and muddy and by the time we hit the pavement again rounding mile 6 the rain stopped. It was a nice change since the past two years of running this race was hot, sunny, and over 80 degrees. There were also some noticeable course changes. The relay runners at mile 5 had to run through and catch up with their relay partner and then walk back about a .25 of a mile to catch their bus ride to the finish area. That was a little different and confusing. The half way point (mile 5) used to extend to the end just before we were back on the pavement again, but since the start/finish line changed course adjustments were made.
The finish itself was interesting as we ran under the tunnel and the last little stretch was uphill. That piece was tougher and interesting. The after party at the park was different too as we had to walk around to find the food and they ran out of cream cheese for the bagels (Kinda a bummer, however I didn’t need a bagel). The park was crowded and hard to move around and bathrooms were not close by. All races have some challenges but in the end even with all the changes, parking, traffic issues, and late start it was a great race. I’m looking forward to the next series in 2020.