2/25/23 Kristi Gunyula and Scott Orlando Chili Bowl Classic 5K Cleveland, Ohio


Chili Bowl Classic 5K

Cleveland, Ohio

Kristi Gunyula

Finish Time 22:08

Overall Place:  35th Place / 519

Gender Place:  3rd Overall Female

Division Place:  1st Place / 47

Scott Orlando

Finish Time:  24:38

Overall Place:  83rd Place / 519

Division Place:  7th Place / 20

Race Recap By Scott Orlando:

This was my first time competing in the 36th annual Chili Bowl Classic 5K in Cleveland, Ohio.  The race was put on by Hermes Road Racing and hosted at the Hofbrauhaus in Cleveland.  The morning started with a white knuckle drive into Cleveland.  Ice covered roads would quickly become the theme of the race.  There was plenty of easy to find paid parking near the Hofbrauhaus.  Registration and pre race gathering took place inside the Hofbrauhaus.  Once inside registration was fast and efficient.  Pre race festivities included breakfast specials and the polka band was already playing to get runner pumped up.  It was a nice pre race staging area with plenty of bathrooms and a large open space to accommodate the gathering of runners trying to stay warm as they prepared for the race.

The race start and finish line was just outside the doors of the Hofbrauhaus.   As I began to warm up running up and down the street near the start I quickly realized that the roads of the course were covered in a sheet of ice.   Typically I tend to overthink races and fill my car with clothing and shoe options.  I never considered the potential for ice covered roads in my race planning and left my trail running shoes and Yak Tracks at home.  The only running shoes I brought with me were my standard road running shoes.  The more I warmed up the more I slipped on the ice.  My shoes had no traction at all.  As the race began I tried to get a quick start to find some running room in the crowded race field of over 500 participants.  The faster I tried to run the more I slipped on the ice which covered most of the road.  About a half mile into the race I decided out of an abundance of caution to stop racing and just run meaning I slowed down out of a race pace and just cruised the rest of the race.   There were stretches of road where the ice had melted in the sun which made a wet slushy mix to run in.  I saw many runners use the strategy of trying to speed up on the slushy parts where footing was better and slow down on the ice covered parts.   I think this strategy worked well for many runners including Team ER member Kristi Gunyula who was the 3rd overall female finisher and winner of her age division.  I finished with a time of 24:38 and placed 7th in my age division.  Not the outcome I had hoped for but as much as I was slipping I felt it best to slow down to reduce the risk of injury and live to run another day.  In the end it was the right decision.  The course itself was basically a large rectangle with just a few turns and was mostly flat.  I would like to try this course again under better running conditions.

After the race runners were treated to a chili cook off provided by local police and fire stations.  There were several styles of chili from mild to wild.  The Hofbrauhaus quickly filled with runners eating chili, drinking beer, and listening to the polka band play.  We tried for over 90 minutes to get a beer but eventually gave up.  They would not serve food or beer from the bar only from seated tables.  We eventually got a place at a table and asked the server 4 times to take our order but for some reason she would not serve us.  Seems almost sacrilegious to go to a Hofbrauhaus and not have a beer.  We tried but I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.

Runners left with long sleeve t-shirts, race logoed mugs, chili shaped stress balls, and age group winners earned logoed wooden spoons.  All and all it was a really nice well organized event.  I wish the running conditions had been better or I had planned better and brought better shoe options.  This is a race I would certainly register for again.