This year was the 25th running of the Joe Cain Classic, a 5K that takes place in Mobile AL. This race truly is a gem. It is billed as an ugly race. It passes a correctional facility, a garbage dump, condemned houses and even has sections of cracked and broken pavement. In other words, this race has character! It is also a very flat course, perfect for a PR attempt if you are shooting for one. Many people are not aware that Marti Gras actually got its start in the United States in Mobile, not at the much larger and notorious party held in New Orleans. I could go into a large divergent rant about who Joe Cain was, but all you need to do is google “Joe Cain wiki” to read all about him. But for short, he is widely credited with getting the modern Mardi Gras celebration going while the Union Army was occupying Mobile during the Civil War. Each year, the Sunday before Fat Tuesday is celebrated as Joe Cain day in Mobile. And the day’s celebration begins with the Joe Cain Classic before the parades start.
The after party alone to this race is worthy of your registration. This year’s participation netted you a Joe Cain Classic / Bay Area Runners wind breaker (special for the 25th year), a finishers medal, typical finish line amenities (bananas and water galore), and entry to the block party. The block party is held each year on the street where Joe Cain’s home was and has a great vibe. This party has great door prizes (the guy in front of me won $120 Nike shoes…), 2 full beer pours (not the stingy pours you get sometimes), sandwiches, chips, amazing cheese grits (while supplies last), and Domino’s pizza. There is a DJ for kids and adults alike to dance in the street and an award ceremony to follow roughly 2 hours after the race starts.
I give this race a 5 out of 5. It is a true treasure and makes for a great weekend trip to Mobile to celebrate Mardi Gras. If you are anywhere near this race you owe it to yourself to check it out. We have made it a family tradition and drive more than 4 hours each way! Even though we go for the whole Marti Gras experience, everyone who has to hear my blab on about running all the time knows this is definitely the highlight of the weekend for me. I cannot wait until next year to hopefully improve my finish time.