Overall Rating
Overall Rating (1 Review)
4
(1 Ratings)  (1 Review)
DIFFICULTY
1
SCENERY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SWAG
5
Come join us for the 3rd Annual Run Viva Calle 5K! A great way to start a fun filled day of activities. Bring the family and tell your friends. Due to covid-19 concerns and participant congestion this year’s Run Viva Calle 5K will be SELF SUPPORTED* and allow participants to … MORE
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    PeteSinCA FIRST-TIMER '21

    Event & Course Description: The Viva CalleSJ 5K is run in central San Jose, starting and finishing by the SAP Center (where the San Jose Sharks hockey team plays). The … MORE

    Event & Course Description: The Viva CalleSJ 5K is run in central San Jose, starting and finishing by the SAP Center (where the San Jose Sharks hockey team plays). The course is basically two different out-and-back legs. From the start on Barrack Obama Blvd., between the SAP Center and the Arena Green West, runners turned onto The Alameda, toward Santa Clara. The turn-around for this out-and-back leg was at Lenzen Ave., a couple of blocks past Race St.. Runners then went back through the starting arch and turned onto W. St. John St., followed a little jog left then right, and turned around at N. 1st St.. Runners then returned by the same route to the start/finish arch.

    The course is mostly through older small business areas, not especiallyscenic, but interesting to see how modern businesses have adapted older buildings. Runners went under (and back through) the SR 87 freeway at two points along the course.

    Organization & Production: I think the two best adjectives for this event would have to be quirky and very low key. The event was not chip timed, so runners received bibs sequentially according to how they checked in. They had packet pick-up the day before at the Sports Basement in Campbell (which I did) the day before the event and at Arena Green before and during the event. Even though I checked in an hour into packet pick-up, I was the first “runner” and received bib number 1 (I’ll take “Things That Will Never Happen Again” for $10, Art).

    The largest part of the event was bike rides, a 20 miler and a 40 miler. They started half an hour before the runners. There was no officiated run start. 8:00 AM came and one of the runners said “Go!” Other runners started their run as they arrived and checked in, donned their bib, and got otherwise ready. I remember seeing bib number 63 out on the course, and after I finished I saw bibs with numbers in the 70s being given out.

    There were no porta-cans near the start area (you know, for those last-10-minutes-before-start pit-stops). Eventually I found there was a whole line of them … nearly quarter of a mile from the start area, on the second out-and-back leg. In the event’s FAQs webpage it said, “along the Viva CalleSJ route and at Activity Hubs”. As best I could tell, they were just in the one location. IMO, at least some should have been near enough to the start/finish area to be visible in the area. There was a one-stall set of restrooms in the Arena Green.

    Bib: So, very low key … bibs given out sequentially … that means plain white bib, right? Nope! It’s one of the cooler bibs I’ve received. The background is dark blue, with an orange stripe across the top that has the event logo and name. The artwork shows a business district with a mix of tall and not so tall buildings and palm trees, with a Day-of-the-Dead-style skeleton couple riding a bicycle through the area. The woman is carrying a banner that says, “Viva!”, and the bicycle frame and front wheel spokes are the words, “Calle SJ”.

    T-Shirt: The event T-shirt is dark blue cotton. It has artwork similar to the bib, except that it adds a bike-helmeted skeleton-child riding their bike in front of the bicycling adult skeleton-couple. There is an orange ring around the artwork, and the date is added below the event logo. I’ve given up on having favorites, but this event Tee is that kind of nice!

    Finisher’s Medal: The medallion has the same artwork as the T-shirt, and adds a blue outer ring concentric with the orange ring. It’s a spinner within a spinner! The date spins within the artwork, which spins within the blue outer ring. As with the T-shirt, it’s “that kind of nice”!

    Finish & Recovery Area: Meanwhile, back in LowKeyville … Arena Green West is a park with picnic tables (no pic-a-nic baskets, sorry Yogi) and LOTS of mature shade. A perfect recovery area. I did see a table with fruit near the pavilioned tables for check-in and and for receiving finisher’s medals, but there were no signs making obvious from a distance what the tables were.

    My Results & Opinion of the Race: For this event and last week’s Bad Bass 5K I had a goal, a finish time under 50 minutes (yeah, I’m not fast). The course for Bad Bass was too rolling for a finish time goal, but I achieved the goal at Viva CalleSJ. A flat streets course with the most challenging “hills” being going under a freeway twice was ideal.

    Viva CalleSJ is the oddest combination of very low-key with high-end elements I’ve seen. I should add that it’s very family-friendly – not tightly scheduled, nice wide course. I saw several youths running the course, and at least one tandem stroller. Taking it as an intentionally low-key event, locate some porta-cans near the start/finish, have signs for the check-in, snacks, and medals tables, and have a few volunteers telling people what’s where and where to go, and it’d be near-perfect.

    Would I do Viva CalleSJ again. Well, maybe. It’s on my 2022 list of possibilities, but I did it this year because there were few Bay Area running events in September 2021 that were suitable for my current capabilities. The June lifting of Covid shutdown plus parks having to reorganize their staffing plus organizers having to cherry-pick from their backlog of events made for fewer doable (for me) events in September 2021. I expect 2022 will be closer to the full pre-Covid array of choices, and my capabilities are improving. On the other hand, I know that for what it intends to be, this is a very well done event, and close to my home. I’d definitely consider doing Viva CalleSJ again.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    5
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