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Los Angeles Marathon (LA Marathon)

M_Sohaskey REPEAT RUNNER '18

Los Angeles Marathon (LA Marathon)

I’ve lived in Southern California for 5 years, and 2018 was my third time running the LA Marathon. I’d recommend my 2016 review and blog post for more details, but … MORE

I’ve lived in Southern California for 5 years, and 2018 was my third time running the LA Marathon. I’d recommend my 2016 review and blog post for more details, but the TL;DR version is: I’ve run Boston, Chicago, Houston and New York City, and from both a scenery and production perspective, Los Angeles is as good an urban marathon as I’ve run in the US.

If you’re a marathoner (or would-be marathoner) who lives outside SoCal, I’d love to convince you to give my hometown race a chance. The Stadium-to-the-Sea course is among the most scenic urban routes in the country, starting at Dodger Stadium with the playing of Randy Newman’s “I Love LA” and culminating in Santa Monica just steps from the Pacific Ocean. Along the way you’ll see the City of Angels in a way that few of its residents ever do, with your foot tour including the Golden Dragon Gateway of Chinatown, City Hall, Little Tokyo, Hollywood Blvd and the Stars Walk of Fame, Sunset Blvd with its hillside view of the Hollywood sign and iconic nightclubs like the Whisky-A-Go-Go, plus Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive, to name a few of the route’s many sightseeing opportunities. It’s an inspiring course that will happily distract you from the fact that 26.2 miles is a long way to run. If you’re in it for the scenery, LA won’t disappoint.

Not only is the Stadium-to-the-Sea course one of the best in the nation, but the Conqur Endurance Group’s hefty, classic-looking medals are consistently among my favorite. If you’re in it for the bling, LA won’t disappoint.

On a normal day, Ocean Ave in Santa Monica is tourist central with a small footprint and a lot of foot traffic, so you can imagine what it’s like on race day. With that in mind, the post-race festival is held in a parking lot just off Ocean Ave and isn’t much to write home about. But there were a few food trucks along with the Angel City Brewery beer garden offering one free beer to runners. Plus, the Skechers Performance tent was a cool opportunity to get some great gear/apparel — much of it created specifically for the LAM — at 50% off retail (and I happily took advantage). All the while you’re a short walk from the beach, the Santa Monica Pier and the Pacific Ocean.

LA weather on race day tends to be on the warmer side, but this year was perfect: clear skies and starting temps in the high 40s, rising only into the mid-50s with a comforting sun by the time I reached the finish in Santa Monica. In other words, a perfect day to run a marathon.

One other notable that sets LA apart from other marathons: the course profile. With a few rolling (but manageable) hills in the first half and a 2.7-mile downhill to the finish, this is the ideal course to negative split. In fact, in 31 marathons I’ve run only two negative splits, and both happened in LA (2016, 2018). There are few more feel-good accomplishments as a runner than finishing a marathon faster than you started it. And doing so enabled me to hit my “A” goal of 3:39:59 and improve my corral seeding at the upcoming Comrades Marathon in June.

So do yourself a favor: set aside any preconceived notions of LA and give its marathon a shot — you’ll be glad you did. Hope to see you at the Stadium or the sea in 2019!

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5
My Media

6 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Los Angeles Marathon (LA Marathon)

M_Sohaskey REPEAT RUNNER '16

Los Angeles Marathon (LA Marathon)

BOTTOM LINE: I love LA, and Los Angeles should be high on any serial marathoner’s list. California has something for every road runner – the breathtaking beauty of the California … MORE

BOTTOM LINE: I love LA, and Los Angeles should be high on any serial marathoner’s list. California has something for every road runner – the breathtaking beauty of the California coastline in Big Sur, the classic SoCal beach vibe of Surf City, the enchanting allure of San Francisco. LA in turn shines with its unique mix of big-city energy, iconic attractions and laid-back SoCal ambience. If preconceived notions of smog and plastic people are all you know of LA, then you don’t know LA.

Aside from San Francisco, Los Angeles is start-to-finish the most interesting road marathon course I’ve run. Don’t let the net downhill profile (789 ft up, 1,192 ft down) fool you though – most of that downhill is at the very beginning and very end. Nor is the rest of the course particularly flat, so be prepared for several uphills, particularly in the first half.

Another positive note from this year’s race: the number of spectators seemed much greater than I recall from 2012. So if spectator support is important to you, don’t let the LAM’s reputation as a spectator-sparse event dissuade you from running. Sure it’s no Boston, Chicago or New York, but then again not every race can be a World Marathon Major.

LA isn’t a cheap race (I paid $160 on opening day of registration), but it’s reasonable relative to other big-city marathons, and you definitely get what you pay for. And weather-wise, the year-round warmth that draws so many visitors to SoCal is a double-edged sword for runners, since it means temperatures on race day tend toward hot. Just a word of “warming” for those hoping to chase a personal best at LA.

PRODUCTION: Aside from the usual expo chaos in downtown LA (with suggestions for its improvement noted in my blog post), the entire weekend – from the Olympic Trials to the marathon itself – was a seamless production. As staging areas go Dodger Stadium is among the best, and parking there is relatively easy. Post-race snacks were abundant, and any post-race festival with a free beer garden (+ short lines!) is a sure winner.

That said, I was admittedly disappointed by several aspects of the production & marketing:

1) that on a course with so many iconic landmarks, the organizers didn’t do a better job of calling attention to those landmarks during the race;

2) that pre-race emails lacked personality and were used primarily for sponsor messaging, rather than taking the opportunity to highlight the Stadium-to-the-Sea course

3) that the organizers haven’t done more to #UniteLA, to embrace the community and rally the locals around their event – the truth is that the LAM simply doesn’t resonate with many Angelenos.

4) that the organizers don’t seem to treat their race with the respect that it deserves. Case in point: rather than pre-race communications focused on the course and getting me excited for the marathon, one dedicated email let me know that by running both the LAM and another SoCal relay race, I’d earn a kitschy-looking double medal in the shape of the state of California. How this odd partnership stands to benefit the LAM or its brand is unclear.

Plus, no other heavyweight race would move its date up a month for no good reason, much less for an event like the Olympic Marathon Qualifying Trials which few recreational runners even notice. In 2012 when Houston hosted the Trials, the Houston Marathon didn’t budge from its traditional mid-January weekend slot. By moving this year’s race so it fell a week after the nearby Surf City Marathon (which is always run on Super Bowl Sunday), the LAM organizers cannibalized their own audience, including runners who usually run Surf City as a warmup for LA. And that’s not just my opinion – the race failed to sell out this year, and with just 20,627 finishers, this was the first year since its inception in 2010 that the Stadium-to-the-Sea course boasted fewer than 21,000 finishers. That number is down 6% from just one year ago.

So let’s hope the organizers stop treating their marathon like a small-town race and start marketing it like the world-class event it is – you’re Los Angeles, not Omaha!

All that said, these are behind-the-scenes details that don’t affect the actual runner experience, and overall race production was impressive by any standard – so much so that I happily used the discount from my virtual event bag to buy a pair of Skechers LAM model running shoes after the race. Turns out Skechers makes a comfy running shoe!

SWAG: Keeping with the Valentine’s Day theme, both the short-sleeve tech tee and finisher’s medal are a nice shade of red. The shirt lists course highlights on the front, though in small dark font that sort of defeats the purpose. The medal, though, is the real keeper ­– it’s a shiny round keepsake with the year & downtown LA skyline emblazoned on one side, along with the race logo & iconic LA scenery on the other. It’s among the most substantial medals in my collection, with a heft similar to Chicago or New York.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
My Report
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4
My Media

5 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

REVEL Big Bear

dana.0212 FIRST-TIMER '18

REVEL Big Bear

This was a beautiful route (while in the mountains). The race started right on time (thank you!). Runners were advised to line up based on anticipated finish times. The first … MORE

This was a beautiful route (while in the mountains). The race started right on time (thank you!). Runners were advised to line up based on anticipated finish times. The first nine miles had a few uphills, but nothing too difficult. During this time we were in the shadows of the mountains. Around mile 11 we could see the clouds in the valleys of the mountains, eventually we were running in the clouds, and then running under the clouds. I know this couldn’t be planned, but it was an amazing experience. Miles 14-20 were fast downhill as promised. The end of the race went through the City of Mentone which isn’t very scenic. The last mile was mostly flat, which was difficult for me after all the downhill momentum. I finished the race with a 21 minute PR!
I appreciate aid stations every two miles starting at mile 3. Water, powerade, and bathrooms at ideal locations along the route are always appreciated. Volunteers at the aid stations were fantastic! All were so encouraging & supportive.
The finish line included water, cold towels, bananas, donuts, pizza & beer. I appreciate a local brewery having the opportunity to participate. Family and friends were able to easily find us after the race and enjoyed hanging around for a while.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
My Media

5 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Jack & Jill’s Downhill Marathon & Half – Washington

ExtraCat FIRST-TIMER '16

Jack & Jill’s Downhill Marathon & Half – Washington

There is a creepy long unlit tunnel in the first mile. Wear a headlamp and watch your footing. The ground is uneven in the tunnel and there are puddles. The … MORE

There is a creepy long unlit tunnel in the first mile. Wear a headlamp and watch your footing. The ground is uneven in the tunnel and there are puddles.
The course is gorgeous! Not a car or building to be seen the entire 26.2 miles. Since the course is remote there are not enough bathrooms (but plenty of bushes!) and not enough water stations. Carry water and wear sturdy soled shoes, the gravel will take a toll on your feet. And then just enjoy the blissful downhill grade!

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3

5 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Jack & Jill’s Downhill Marathon & Half – Washington

Profile photo of Karen Be
padgtnbear FIRST-TIMER '16

Jack & Jill’s Downhill Marathon & Half – Washington

The first 13 miles are better than the last 13 miles. There were more "small rocks" on the second half as opposed to gravel. I had a very hard time … MORE

The first 13 miles are better than the last 13 miles. There were more “small rocks” on the second half as opposed to gravel. I had a very hard time with the perception of the trail having a slight rise but having miles splits faster than my normal split times. Marathons are a very mental game to me and I could not conquer the challenges thrown my way. The scenery was beautiful. I loved the bridges and tunnel, but the gravel/rocks (especially at the end of the race) was not what I expected for a hard packed dirt/gravel course

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

5 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Tunnel Vision Marathon

Lani FIRST-TIMER '16

Tunnel Vision Marathon

QUICK BITS - USATF-certified marathon is eligible as Boston Marathon qualifier. - Gentle downhill course offers a chance for faster times (with some caveats) - Small race with friendly organizers … MORE

QUICK BITS

– USATF-certified marathon is eligible as Boston Marathon qualifier.
– Gentle downhill course offers a chance for faster times (with some caveats)
– Small race with friendly organizers and volunteers
– Unpaved bicycle trail course puts less shock on the body, and is not technical
– Most famous for the 2.5-mile pedestrian tunnel at the start of the race; you won’t run through anything like this on any other marathon

EVENT INFO

[If you want to run this race specifically to qualify for the Boston Marathon, scroll down to the section labeled “COURSE CAVEATS”.]

The Super Tunnel Marathon is the newest sibling in the Tunnel series; added in 2016 in response to popularity of the Light at the End of the Tunnel (held in June) and Tunnel Light (held in mid-September) races.

This is a popular course and in the last few years, has seen the addition of the Jack and Jill Downhill Marathon, put on by a different race organization. [This review is for the Tunnel race only, and does not reflect any evaluations of the Jack and Jill race, which I have not run.]

Although Super Tunnel is brand new, since the race director has been offering the Tunnel races for many years, this has a feeling of a seasoned race. The race website looks like it came straight out of the 1990s, but is perfectly functional and you can register for the race just fine.

One of the pluses for this race is that it’s USATF-certified, so your official time is valid as a Boston Marathon qualifier. If you don’t want to wait until right before the registration for Boston opens in mid-September, running this race versus its later offering (Tunnel Light) is a good option. For those who can manage two marathons within a month, you could run this one, then run Tunnel Light a few weeks later to see if you can improve your time (to either qualify for Boston, or to improve your placement for Boston if you already qualified).

The focus is not just on Boston hopefuls, however. This is a beautiful and scenic race that offers a wonderful view. If you are a slower runner or walker, the gradual downhill means you can enjoy the distance without completely wearing yourself out from going uphill. If you think you might take longer than five hours, this race offers an early start option; start one hour earlier, and you get an extra hour on top of the 6:30 time limit (that means you get 7 hours 30 minutes to hike this downhill course).

The starting area is a nice little open parking lot by the course trailhead, but race organizers strongly discourage participants from going there directly. Instead, you are encouraged to park at a lot near the finish line; they offer a free shuttle bus ride to the start line.

The finish area in North Bend has limited hotel options–what we did was to stay in the Seattle/Bellevue area and drive to the parking area early in the morning. The early start was at 7:00, and we caught the 6:00 shuttle from the finish area and got there in plenty of time to watch the early folks take off (this meant we left our hotel at 5:30; not terrible for a morning race). The regular race start is 8:00.

The shuttle bus from parking lot to the race start was around half an hour.

PRE-RACE DETAILS

This is an extremely low-key trail race. There’s no fitness expo or early bib pick-up. You don’t even get your bib before the shuttle ride. You just catch the shuttle, show up at the starting area, and get a bib. In fact, they don’t even assign you a bib number until you show up; it’s that low-key.

Race organizers are very good about communicating all this information, and as race day nears, you will get a couple of emails providing last-minute details.

THE COURSE

The most unusual part of this course is the beginning, where you run through almost two and a half miles of the Hyak Tunnel, a narrow tunnel wide enough to fit a car. There are no lights in this tunnel, so you will be running through pitch blackness; race directors strongly urge you to bring some form of light.

I wore my baby headlamp that clamps onto my visor bill, as well as a $1.00 WalMart light, and these sufficed ONLY in lighting the runners ahead of me–and I used the runners in front of me to guide me forward. Had I been the only one running, my lights would have been pretty weak.

Once you leave the tunnel behind you, the rest of the course is all on an unpaved bicycle path that’s on a gradual downhill. Think of it as essentially a fire road with mostly packed gravel. There are a few slightly looser spots but nowhere is there anything remotely technical on this trail course, unless you count the inside of the tunnel (since you can’t see where you’re going, and you’ll be stepping through some puddles and such).

The course is beautiful, and there were three bridge overpasses you run over. The whole area is just magnificent, with lots of tall green trees. Coming from Northern California with its years-long drought, seeing so much green (and breathing the fresh air) was just spectacular.

The course is not closed for the race, so you’ll periodically come across other hikers, mountain bikers, and even some rock climbers.

Mile markers looked like they were laminated cardstock sheets posted on orange safety cones, but there are so few distractions on the course that the markers were always very visible and easy to read.

The Tunnel races always have official pacers (people who hold up signs of what time they expect to finish by, so that if you stick with them, you can finish at around that time).

AID STATIONS

Aid stations are small and spread out, but very very friendly, with always a smiling face, always helpful; just not a lot of extras. Some had porta potties. A few official bathrooms along the trail. The race website lists 10 aid stations; they are roughly 2-3 miles apart. The site also spells out exactly what to expect at each one (water, gatorade, Clif Shot Enery Gel, etc.).

If you don’t want to slow down too much to hydrate at the aid stations, consider bringing your own water source, whether it be a bladder backpack or a bottle in your hand. I relied just on aid stations and I’m sure I was dehydrated by the end of the race.

BLING

Goodies are plain but solid. You get a finisher’s shirt at the finish line, and they are gender-specific tech shirts. You also get a nice smaller finisher’s medal with a custom lanyard. They do not give out age group awards, but you can view the results to see how you placed. It’s a small race so if you’re relatively fast, you have a good shot at placing in your age group.

POST-RACE INFO

The post-race area included plenty of water bottles, volunteers handing out medals, a big spread of food, a tent to pick up finisher’s shirts, an area to get your gear bag, plus the best area for me — the massage tent. They actually had three massage therapists set up, and Todd, who helped me, was fantastic. They charged $1 a minute.

For a small race, these folks put out a pretty good spread at the finish line. In the shadows of Seattle and the headquarters for Costco, the smorgasbord is thanks to a trip to the warehouse store. We enjoyed lots of watermelon and cut up fruit, sheet cake, potato chips, cookies, sodas, water, and much more. The highlight was hot chili! OK so may they came from big cans at Costco, but after running a full marathon, a cup of chili feels much more substantial than just sweet or salty snacks. It’s something you’ll find at an ultra-marathon race, but not often for a marathon. For me it was a welcome treat (and they provided all the fixins as well; sour cream, chives, tortilla chips!).

COURSE CAVEATS (BQ RUNNERS: READ THIS!)

If you are running this race to BQ and every second counts, heed these caveats.

#1: Pacers: There are inherent issues with the pacer time offerings, because unlike some BQ-focused races, times butt right up to actual qualifying times, rather than giving you a cushion of a couple of minutes (that is, 4:00 instead of 3:58, etc.). Offered for this race were 3:15 (BQ for M40-44), 3:30 (BQ for M50-54), 3:40 (BQ for M55-59; W35-39), 3:50, 4:00 (BQ for W50-54), 4:15, 4:30, 4:45, 5:00.

As you can see from this list, only four of nine pacers were tapped to meet exact Boston qualifying times. These pacing times are fine for those who simply wish to meet these finish times, but seeing as this is prominently marketed as a Boston qualifier, be mindful that your desired pace may not be offered.

For example, my BQ time is 4:00, but I did not want to finish *AT* 4:00 because that would not be fast enough to meet the cutoff. For me, the optimal pacer would have been 3:57 or 3:58. Without one, my next option would have been a 3:55, but that pace was not offered at all. This meant that in order to stay ahead of the bare minimum, I would have needed to stay with the 3:50 pacer, considerably faster than anything I would normally be able to keep up with.

This may just be a matter of pacer availability, but having more pacers would have been helpful (for example, more BQ-time pacers and fewer slower pace times).

#2: GPS: Do not rely on your GPS watch to keep track of you while you run in the tunnel. If your GPS watch has the ability to track you via shoepod or you can mark the miles manually on it while in the tunnel, do so. Make sure you start your watch when you start the race, and verify, before you turn around the corner and head into the tunnel, that it’s found the GPS satellites and that it’s working.

Even then, expect your GPS mileage to be considerably off. This course is heavily shaded, with lots of turns around mountainsides.

The only TRUE thing you should rely on, is your TIME ELAPSED stat. If seconds matter in your finish time, wear a pace band (or write the times on your arm) that shows mile markers with total time passed. This is the best way to rely on whether you are on track.

#3: The TUNNEL: This course is not technically difficult, but the tunnel is disorienting, and it will be very hard for you to keep track of your pace. If at all possible, find other runners (or a pacer) going around your pace, and stick with them through the tunnel. The darkness of the tunnel could cause your pace to vary.

You are given the option to check your flashlight in with a separate gear bag at the end of the tunnel. Should you choose to check your light here, you can put it in your bag in the dark while you run, and volunteers will catch your bag as you toss it to them–but my recommendation is to you wear a headlamp and keep it on your head after the tunnel so you don’t have to stop to drop off your bag.

Also, aid station #1 is at this same location. It’s immediately outside the tunnel, so if you aren’t expecting this, it’s easy to miss your chance at getting some water. Just be ready; the tables are to your right.

#4: “GRADUAL DOWNHILL COURSE”

The race describes it as a “fast downhill course” and with the combo of prompt notification to the BAA of race results, this course is designed for the BQ runner in mind. That said, this downhill course is deceptive.

Yes, it’s a wonderful gradual decline. The course is never technical, the downhill never steep. There is maybe a 20-yard stretch that’s a very slight rolling uphill, but everything else outside the tunnel is a downhill.

But.

The course isn’t paved. While unpaved and compact gravel means less wear on your joints, it also means you need to be mindful where you step so you don’t take a gravely misstep.

You also can’t afford to stop to take pebbles out of your shoes, so gaiters are a must. The race website recommends Dirty Girl Gaiters; while I like them, I prefer UltraGam gaiters from Etsy. They offer a wider range of prices, and their down-facing hook is much easier to remove than the up-facing hook Dirty Girl uses.

The gravel takes a toll on you. That, with the added extra speed of a downhill course, means you MUST train for hills. This course is gradual, but still. Train for the downhills–your quads will get a definite workout.

TIPS — Based on my experience, here are my personal suggestions:

– Bring your own water to help augment what’s offered at the aid stations.

– Bring your own fuel if you want something other than Clif Shot Energy Gels.

– Wear a headlamp for the tunnel, then leave it on your head and don’t bother checking it in so you can avoid slowing down your pace if you’re trying to meet a finish time goal.

– Wear a pacing wristband or write down key mile splits on your arm; do not rely on your GPS to track you after the tunnel correctly.

– Wear a pair of gaiters around your ankles to avoid pebbles from getting into your shoes.

GENERAL THOUGHTS

This race is all it’s cracked up to be. It’s both a trail race, but not technical–and also fast. That downhill course is deceptive, though; definitely train for it. I wound up with a severe charley horse on my left calf that almost incapacitated me in the last five miles of the race. I stopped a few times to massage it out and was able to keep running, but at a much slower pace. I was fortunate to have enough of a cushion from earlier in the race that I was still able to make my BQ time, but my finish time was considerably slower than had I not had a calf that seized up on me.

I’ve never raced with a cramp that bad before, and I suspect it was due to an angry piriformis (pain in the glute for me) and my leg compensating for this with a slightly altered gait, and pushing for a faster-than-normal pace because the downhill course let me push myself. Add to that, that I was probably dehydrated, and I consider myself fortunate that I still BQed.

If I run this race in the future, I will know a lot about what to expect. Without the charley horse, I’m sure I would’ve finished at least a few minutes faster.

All in all, though, this is a wonderful and unusual race. The tunnel is a real experience, and different from anything I’ve run before. The volunteers were all friendly and supportive, without exception. Things were low-key but run very smoothly.

I would definitely recommend this course. If you’re trying to find a small certified Boston qualifier that’s fast point-to-point course with a gentle downhill, definitely give this a consideration.

On the other end of the finish clock, this is also a very hiker-friendly race. With the early start option and the gradual downhill, you can really enjoy the scenery and you should be able to make the cutoff time as long as you keep moving at a reasonable clip.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4
My Media

4 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Utah Valley Marathon

pkroon FIRST-TIMER '18

Utah Valley Marathon

This race has a sunrise start in the mountains, meaning a super-early arrival at the boarding zone for the shuttles. Plan accordingly for the cold morning, but realize it will … MORE

This race has a sunrise start in the mountains, meaning a super-early arrival at the boarding zone for the shuttles. Plan accordingly for the cold morning, but realize it will be hot at the end of the race down in the valley (there was about a 45 degree difference). I was glad a booth at the expo gave away space blankets which I had brought with me to the waiting area. There were campfire pits where the runners could huddle around to stay warm.

The scenery is something else. The first 20 miles are all coming down the mountain, and the final 10K is through the urban sprawl around BYU. Aid stations were set up every couple miles, pretty much at every other mile marker, so it was easy to know when to expect water. The course is pretty much all downhill, so I elected to restrain my pace. I wasn’t able to ring the BQ or PR gong at the end, but I did complete my first a negative split marathon. If you do qualify for Boston, the race gives you another t-shirt celebrating this achievement. In the week leading up to the race, I sustained a strain on my knee. I feel fortunate I was able to complete this event without being 100%. After the race, the massage tents were worth the wait!

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Williams Route 66 Marathon & Half Marathon

SlowJuan REPEAT RUNNER '18

Williams Route 66 Marathon & Half Marathon

The Williams Route 66 Marathon is my "Home Field" and you'd think after running it 12 times, I'd be tired of it. To quote Lee Corso, "Not so fast, my … MORE

The Williams Route 66 Marathon is my “Home Field” and you’d think after running it 12 times, I’d be tired of it. To quote Lee Corso, “Not so fast, my friend!’ Despite the cold, blustery weather, the 2018 edition went smoothly and a good (but frigid) time was had by all. The “pros” for the race, and there are a lot of them, include; a great Expo, participant jackets, a confetti-cannon start, exceptional finisher’s medals and special recognition medal versions for 1st-Time Marathoners, Maniacs, Fanatics , 50-Staters and the welcome addition of Black Girls Run. Don’t bypass the Center of the Universe detour at Mile-25 (an additional 0.3 miles), even if you do feel like roadkill. You’ll receive a commemorative coin and can boast that you’ve completed the world’s shortest ultra-marathon. (Yes, I realize that’s not really all that impressive……but it just sounds cool.) The Tulsa course reverted back to Riverside Drive in 2018 and now runs right past The Gathering Place, Tulsa’s new $465 million public park. Be sure to allow time after the marathon to limp through this incredible addition to the Tulsa community. And even with the challenging weather, scores of the Tulsa-faithful held yard parties along the course offering a variety of “anti-freeze” options. R66 still has the dubious distinction of offering more alcohol opportunities per mile than any other marathon in the nation. For the “brewies” (and you know who you are), check out; Welltown Brewery, Dead Armadillo Brewing, Cabin Boys Brewing, Prairie Brew Pub or Marshall Brewing. Plenty of après-marathon choices in case you failed to imbibe sufficiently on the course. Run swiftly and stay thirsty, my friends!

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Pacific Northwest Marathon

Profile photo of Bonnie Wilson
bonnie REPEAT RUNNER '17

Pacific Northwest Marathon

Bonnie Wilson's thoughts: I have been a pacer for this race since their first year in 2015 so I have seen how much this race has grown since day 1. … MORE

Bonnie Wilson’s thoughts:
I have been a pacer for this race since their first year in 2015 so I have seen how much this race has grown since day 1.
Now let me be flat out honest. If you are looking for a race with a bunch of frills, lots of swag, tons of people and flash this is not your race. This is a small, budget friendly, all-abilities race that caters to a different crowd. Your entry fee gets you your race, your choice of t-shirt color and styles (this is a rarity and the shirts are always my favorite every year) and your medal.
Packet pick up is a small affair at Dicks Sporting Goods. One thing that got my attention when I first started running this race is because this race is so small the race director greeted a lot of runners by name as they came in. His team is invested in you, and invested in your story. It was a simple and well organized process to pick up packets which consisted of your shirt, number and a couple coupons.
Race morning starts with an early start at 6am for the slower paces. This course is one of the few in the Northwest that is open for 7 plus hours for the marathon giving everyone a chance to reach for their unicorn moment. Once you arrive you can check your bag with the registration volunteers and do what you need to start.
This race is small enough there is zero need for corals. You line up by following the pacer closest to your pace and we all went out as one group.
For me, the course is one of the biggest highlights. You get to travel through Springfield from the city streets and nicer houses all away back into the Springfield backcountry. This course is extremely flat with a few gentle inclines spread out here and there.
This course is also well supported by both runners and volunteers a lot. This is the one race a year that feels like the elite runners are pulling for those of us who wish we could be faster, there had been so many high fives and nice comments out there. Also the volunteers truly had been excited even through the rain. They made it a point to share a smile with you.
The course is well marked (though the GPS had it run long) and had water stops just about the right intervals that had been well stocked with everything that you possibly could need.
Once you finished you had been met by a small party atmosphere. You collected your medal to the roar of the crowd at Crescent Village and got a chance to refuel with a home made buffet including sandwiches and burritos. The MC interviewed first time runners and runners who PR’ed on the course to share the inspiring and motivating energies.

As I write this, the perfect way to look at this race is think about running with some of your best most supportive group running friends while still getting your medal. Add to the fact that you are celebrated no matter the pace or ability. This has turned into one of my favorite races every year.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3

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Fort4Fitness Fall Festival

jrohlede REPEAT RUNNER '16

Fort4Fitness Fall Festival

1st time Fort4Fitness - Fort Wayne's major race - has added a marathon. Previous versions of the race have included a 4 miler, 10k, half marathon, 19.2 miler or 23.2 … MORE

1st time Fort4Fitness – Fort Wayne’s major race – has added a marathon. Previous versions of the race have included a 4 miler, 10k, half marathon, 19.2 miler or 23.2 miler. They decided to drop the 19.2 miler and the 23.2 miler and add a full marathon.
So to start at the beginning.

Registration and package pick up – easy and no problem. About 10,000 people participate and all went well.

Race parking and start – no problems. Marathon started a half hour before the other races so parking was easy and close.

Now for the problems…..
1) prerace problems – as usual 90% of the attention was on the 10k and half marathon. About 6,000 people between the two and only about 350 people in the marathon so marathon seemed to be treated as an after thought. Very common in multi distance races – big and small. Las Vegas is a prime example.
There was basically no prerace advertisement done for the marathon except in the local area. Not even listed on marathonguide.com or any other marathon calendar.
They need to decide if this race – by race I mean all the races – is for fun for the local community and meant to raise local enthusiasm for general fitness and cater to the walkers / joggers / lets have fun crowd or have it that way and also cater to the serious runners.
The course – this was the worse part of the whole thing and I can’t see any serious marathoner wanting to run it in it’s current iteration.
The marathon course is basically 4 loops around the somewhat same area. Boring and flat.
The first loop was a 3 mile loop. Then back to the beginning then a 10k loop (same a the 4 mile loop with a couple of miles added) then back to the beginning then a half marathon loop, then back to the beginning then a four mile finishing loop. Same parts of the 10k loop. then we finish – wait for it…..
back at the start that we have now passed 4 times
Marathon started at 7 a.m and then the next race (4 miler) started at 7:30. Well guess what?? If you are running the marathon at a 9 mile pace you run right into the rear of the slow runners and walkers from the 4 miler. Then the half marathon started at 8:30. So guess what?? If you are running a 9 mile marathon pace you run right into the back of the slow runners and walkers from the start of the half marathon. Garmin clocked 26.65 from all the weaving and bobbing to avoid 4 across walkers.
The reason given for the 4 loops was logistics and police cost. Okay how about we run the half course twice. All the police and water stops already there.
So basically the course sucked. Either drop the marathon or fix the course.

The finish and bling – Happy to have it over. Medal was small and same size as the half, 10k and 4 mile race medals. Don’t really care but once again shows the commitment to the marathon as opposed to the other races.

Final thoughts – fix the marathon or drop it.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
2
SWAG
2

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Marin County Half Marathon

Solupia FIRST-TIMER '16

Marin County Half Marathon

There are a few races that are in my bottom of the barrel To-Run list. This is one of them. I shall explain why in a few moment. But let … MORE

There are a few races that are in my bottom of the barrel To-Run list. This is one of them. I shall explain why in a few moment. But let me try to recap some of the pros of this race, then some of the critiques.

Scenic Course:
Marin County Half Marathon is located in San Rafael, CA where runners will run through part of the China Camp State Park. In the course of running through the state park, runners get to enjoy a spectacular view of the San Francisco Bay. The scenery is breathtaking.

Race Support:
This is a community event, which means many locals come and cheer on the runners. You get shuttles to accommodate the parking issue at start lines. It’s not easy to find parking here.

Backward Logic:
It’s a 50:50 trail/road race with a 1200 ft elevation climb. For most races, the inclines are either during the 1st half of the race or simply series of rolling hills, which allows runners to recover during the downhill stretch. This race devise its backward logic, by having a 3+ miles of downhill in the beginning of the course, leaving majority of the inclines happen during the second half of the race. Not to mention, the downhill portion is along the road, while the uphill is along the trail. This may not be a poor strategy, except most inexperienced runners may end up running too fast during the downhill portion and jeopardized their quads for running back uphill to finish now. With less to say, It’s not a beginner-friendly course.

Collection pooper:
As an amateur competitive runner, I run to collect race souvenirs, finisher medals and T-shirt. To my utmost disappointment, this race sucks in both production.

Starting with tech tee at the bib pickup, all participants of all races (5k, 10k and half marathon) can get a decent backpack and a free shirt. Yay for backpack, but Nay for tech tee. Not only was the design generic, the sizes were supposed to be “unisex”. I generally wear men small. so naturally I grab a small shirt. But when I try the shirt on after the race, it was super uncomfortable and especially tight around the shoulder. It’s a women cut, not unisex as the shirt claims. I ended up donating the shirt to the charity.

Okay, the shirt ain’t fit, that’s not a biggie. I have tons of race shirts, I don’t really care to have an extra one or not. But my heart broke when I came through the finish line only to find a generic key-chain-sized medal just like a dog tag passing out to everyone finishing their races. That’s slightly demeaning when half marathon participants have to pay $75+ for the race. I feel like they should have been more thoughtful for people who made the effort to run the extra miles in the race.

So if you are here for a challenge and a good view of the SF Bay, this is a great run for you. But if you are here to collect another finisher medal, this race is a complete downer. Just find a different race.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
2

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REVEL Big Bear

runwalksarah FIRST-TIMER '18

REVEL Big Bear

The first thing to know is that although this race is called "Big Bear," at no point does it actually run IN Big Bear. The Full Marathon course starts on … MORE

The first thing to know is that although this race is called “Big Bear,” at no point does it actually run IN Big Bear. The Full Marathon course starts on State Route 38, approximately 18 miles from Big Bear City limit. The Half Marathon course starts on Valley of the Falls Dr., approximately 33 miles from Big Bear City limit. The Half Marathon quickly joins the Full Marathon course on State Route 38. The course runs down the mountain and finishes in the city of Redlands, which is around 44 miles from Big Bear City limit.

The expo was at Sylvan Park in Redlands from 10 am – 6:00 pm on Saturday. The race organizers can’t control the weather, but it was unfortunate that it was an outdoor expo on a rainy day. For an additional fee, you could have had your packet mailed to you or picked it up on race morning.

If you aren’t looking for a “racecation” weekend in Big Bear, on race morning the most practical thing to do is to take the free shuttle from the base of the mountain in San Bernardino up the mountain to the race start. The Full Marathon bus boarding time was between 4:00 – 4:45 am and the Half Marathon bus boarding time was between 4:30 – 5:15 am. All of my friends who took advantage of this option had no difficulty getting to the race start. After the race, there were continuous shuttles transporting runners from the finish line the 8-ish miles back to their vehicles. A few of my friends reported getting lost trying to find their cars because the bus dropped them off in a different location from where it picked them up. This was also a problem at Mt. Hood earlier this year.

For those wishing to stay in Big Bear, the race offered roundtrip transportation to/from Big Bear High School for $30. This turned out to be impractical and in need of massive improvement. Half Marathoners were told that our bus loading time was between 4:00 – 4:30 am. The Full Marathoners were told that their bus loading time was between 4:30 – 5:00 am. Our confirmation e-mail stressed not to be late. I like to arrive to races very early, therefore I was one of the first people on the 4:00 am bus. The buses then sat, and sat and sat some more. I overheard our driver asking for clarification on where he was supposed to take us. The buses FINALLY left for the race at 4:52 am!!!! As I was on the first bus, we were the lead bus. Our driver had to stop at the Full Marathon start line to ask for further clarification on where the Half Marathon starting line was located. They also double checked to make sure no Full Marathoners accidently got on the Half Marathon bus (probably a good idea). I got off the bus at the Half Marathon start at 6:00 am on the dot. Since the race started in only half an hour, I did not have adequate time to wait in the long portapotty lines and go through my full warm-up/stretching routine. There was limited cell service at the race start, so I didn’t bother trying to find my friends as I was so short on time.

I was in a bad mood at this point. We weren’t allowed to line up until right before the race was scheduled to start because the road was still considered open at this point. The race started around 10 minutes late. There was no national anthem. We just simply started moving forward. I overheard someone say, “I guess we are starting.”

The course was mostly as advertised — downhill and fast. It was significantly less scenic than the other Revel races I have run, Canyon City & Mt Hood. The best views were all in the first half of the Full Marathon. The course was rather boring once the Half Marathon joined the party. I was originally registered for the Full, but transferred to the Half due to ongoing foot injures. I believe I would have enjoyed the Full significantly more than I enjoyed the Half.

The aid stations and volunteers were great. They provided runners with water and Poweraide. Two of the aid stations had Honeystingers, my favorite fuel.

Upon crossing the finish line, runners were provided with bottles of water, bananas and towels soaked in ice water. As it was a cooler day, mylar blankets would have been much more practical than cold towels. Upon exiting the finisher’s chute, runners could use tear-off vouchers on their bib to receive a slice of Papa John’s pizza (cheese or pepperoni), a donut and Hangar 24 beer (bonus points for it being a local brewery, negative points for it being an IPA). There were a variety of photo backdrops for runners to take finisher photos. The website advertised that massages would be available, but I did not see this.

I did not spend much time partaking in the finish line festivities as the bus returning to Big Bear High School only ran once an hour. I was prepared for this. I was not prepared for how long it would take to get back to Big Bear High School. As it was about 44 miles, I budgeted that it would take a little more than an hour. I did not factor in that the bus would be taking the race route back up the mountain. It ended up taking us two hours to get back to Big Bear. Several people on the bus missed their hotel check-out time because the bus ride back took longer than they anticipated. As we drew close to Big Bear, the bus driver asked passengers to use their phones to help navigate him back to Big Bear High School. He had absolutely no idea where he was going! He told us that it was dark in the morning and that is why he didn’t remember where to go.

If I do this race again, I will likely not try to turn it into a weekend racecation in Big Bear. Unfortunately the poorly executed $30 transportation to/from Big Bear really soured the entire race experience for me. To add insult to injury, the lettering on my medal came out slightly warped.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
2
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4
My Media

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Buckeye Marathon

Raena.king FIRST-TIMER '18

Buckeye Marathon

This was a small race that seemed to attract runners from all over. Despite having fewer than 150 finishers they did provide pacers. The course has a steady downhill grade. … MORE

This was a small race that seemed to attract runners from all over. Despite having fewer than 150 finishers they did provide pacers. The course has a steady downhill grade. Because of desert hypnosis you will sometimes feel like you are running uphill when you really aren’t. The course isn’t exciting but it is a good place to set a PR with its gentle downhill slope. The course is mainly on a highway but there were no issues with cars. It just got a bit boring looking at the desert for hours. It is Arizona in December which gets warm and dry once the sun comes up. Drink way more water and Gatorade than you think you need. I could have done much better had I known that. It is also a Boston qualifier for those capable of that. There wasn’t much crowd support to the point that I saw the same spectators 3 times and recognized them. You ride a bus back to the start line after completing the race. And you are riding for almost the full distance as the course is nearly a straight shot down the highway. The town of Buckeye generally has no idea that there is even a marathon in their town. At a restaurant bar the night before I mentioned to locals that I was running the Buckeye marathon the next day. None of them knew about it, but they also asked me if it was a 5 mile marathon. I met a lot of great people at the race and the race shirt is my new favorite running shirt.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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Grandma’s Marathon & Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon

TroyMiller FIRST-TIMER '18

Grandma’s Marathon & Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon

All of my running friends that had run Grandma's told me "You'll love it!" "You'll likely PR" "It's a beautiful course". All of these were true! It was a beautiful … MORE

All of my running friends that had run Grandma’s told me “You’ll love it!” “You’ll likely PR” “It’s a beautiful course”. All of these were true! It was a beautiful course, although the fog was heavy and rolling in and out the entire race. At some points it was like something out of a movie scene with the runners ahead of me disappearing into the fog! All of that aside, it was a great course, perfect weather, great aid stations and wonderful crowd support!
I set my mind on hitting a BQ pace which would be a PR for me. This was the most consistent marathon I have run. I hit my BQ PR even with two, count them, two porta potty stops!! My wife was there, on our anniversary, mind you, cheering me on and telling me to keep it up as I was on pace to hit my BQ! She ran (and she is NOT a runner) from somewhere around mile 24 or 25, across the course to see me finish. She said I almost beat her to the finish!
I highly recommend this one whether you are a first timer or have many under your belt, you too will not be disappointed!

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5
My Media

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Crater Lake Rim Runs

Evwatkins FIRST-TIMER '18

Crater Lake Rim Runs

Overall - this race is just a race. The PLACE is what makes this race spectacular! If you treat this race as an in and out weekend and don't spend … MORE

Overall – this race is just a race. The PLACE is what makes this race spectacular! If you treat this race as an in and out weekend and don’t spend time here, you are severely missing out!

The TRIP: I flew into Portland on Thursday and drove down (4.5 hours). I stayed at the Union Creek Resort, a quaint little campground/cabin area near one of the park entrances. I was traveling alone, so I stayed in the lodge in one of the cheaper small rooms. (Shared Bathroom) Luckily I had the room at the end with a window overlooking the creek. I slept with the window open and could hear the creek down below. Very relaxing. Although this place was about 40 minutes from the park, it was well worth it. (Other places in the park are too expensive or booked up). When I checked out on race day and they allowed me to shower there before heading home. Very nice folks!

On Friday, I spent about 10 hours in the park. Be prepared! There’s a lot to see! Before the trip, I took a map and marked all the hikes/sights/and areas I wanted to see. I worked my way around the lake, stopping at each spot and even a few extras. They were all wonderful, but my top picks are Garfield Peak and Plaikni Falls!
This year there were a few wildfires nearby that caused a smoky haze to cover the area. In the morning I could barely see the other side of the crater. But by mid afternoon, the smoke cleared up enough to pair perfectly with the timing of my hike up to Garfield Peak! The water was amazingly blue and the colors of the trees with the blue sky made the perfect ending to a perfect day!

The RACE: The race started at Watchman Point and ended at a campground near the Pinnacles. The park closed one lane of Rim Drive and made the road one way only during the race. They encouraged runners to use the shuttle buses. I parked at Rim Village and took the bus to the start. There was some confusion about where to go beforehand. (FYI- the race has no Packet Pickup. They mail bibs and an information sheet to you). The info sheet said “board your assigned bus” but there were no indications of bus assignments. Basically you park in one of two areas and catch the bus there. There’s one start line for all races. If you get on the first busses you can watch the sunrise at watchman’s point! The race itself was hilly and beautiful. You run about halfway around Rim Drive with an out and back at Cloudcap and then a 2 mile out and back near the finish. The race is almost always at 8000 feet elevation. Luckily that morning the smoke layer was below us. We had some nice views all around the lake that morning! The course is 100% road except for maybe 100 feet into the campground to the finish line. Aid stations are plentiful, however porta-potties were only located at the 10K, half finish and full finish lines. Nature stops might be necessary.

The FINISH: The finish is very rudimentary. A clock, a finish banner and a few tents. But VERY friendly and happy volunteers! Results are done by hand and your bib tab is posted on a board. The medal is plain and age group awards are blue/red/yellow ribbons.

BOTTOM LINE: You don’t come to this race for the bling. You come for the views and to visit the park. And it’s totally worth it!
RaceRaves included this race on their ”Toughest Road Marathons in North America” last year: https://raceraves.com/toughest-road-marathons-us-canada/
After 63 marathons, I can testify that making this list was well deserved. This is the only race I’ve run that’s listed on this countdown. However, I honestly think that the Mad Marathon in Vermont would be a VERY close 2nd to Crater Lake on my list of Toughest Road Marathons.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
5
SWAG
2
My Media

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Eugene Marathon

Donnald69 FIRST-TIMER '15

Eugene Marathon

The Eugene Marathon is run on a great course. A combination of city side streets, bike and walking paths, one gets to enjoy plenty of scenery. The marathon itself is … MORE

The Eugene Marathon is run on a great course. A combination of city side streets, bike and walking paths, one gets to enjoy plenty of scenery. The marathon itself is for the most part flat, although a few tiny hills, but nothing to slow the runner.
EXPO: The one negative to the marathon was the Expo, or that is, the lack of an Expo. Maybe 20 vendors, not even sure what they were selling, but wasn’t what one would expect at Track Town USA.
Check In: Easy, walk in, pick up your number and T-shirt and out of the Expo in a minute. T-shirt was a decent tech shirt, but……. white.
Course: Beautiful course. I would say it is one of the nicer courses I have run, mostly because you run on bike and running trails as well as side streets. Lots of turns, meaning you don’t look out 2 miles down the road which to me gets cumbersome.
Post race party: A nice party. After receiving your medal, you are then given a cloth swag bag, filled with a few simple food and drink items. A bagel, an orange, peanut butter, nuts, water and an electrolyte drink. Shortly thereafter, you are offered pancakes, HOT pancakes. Not a big eater immediately after running, but it was a nice touch. A few vendors selling beer and advertising future races, actually a better expo than the expo itself.
The medal was nice sized, heavy and well designed.
I would definitely recommend this marathon for others. Just don’t expect a big expo.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

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Utah Valley Marathon

Profile photo of Derek Helbert
djhelbert FIRST-TIMER '17

Utah Valley Marathon

The race starts early in the morning. Be prepared for cold weather because the start is higher in elevation than the finish. The course is mostly downhill with a few … MORE

The race starts early in the morning. Be prepared for cold weather because the start is higher in elevation than the finish. The course is mostly downhill with a few moderate climbs. The medal was nice and they included a light jacket for their 10th anniversary. Aid stations every 2 miles a big plus.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3
My Media

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Utah Valley Marathon

janetharshman FIRST-TIMER '15

Utah Valley Marathon

My first FULL and not a disappointment. I wasn't truly ready as I had been sick and trained little due to an injury but I ran it any ways and … MORE

My first FULL and not a disappointment. I wasn’t truly ready as I had been sick and trained little due to an injury but I ran it any ways and I am so glad I did. I FINISHED and that was all I expected of myself. Wasn’t pleased with the start due to where we had to wait but once we started it was great. Beautiful neighborhood and met a runner to keep pace with until mile 14. I am looking forward to running again.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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Utah Valley Marathon

Donnald69 FIRST-TIMER '15

Utah Valley Marathon

Run in Provo, Utah, which has to be one of the most scenic cities in America. It was gorgeous. This was a point to point course, and starts early enough … MORE

Run in Provo, Utah, which has to be one of the most scenic cities in America. It was gorgeous. This was a point to point course, and starts early enough in the morning that it was freezing! Wish I had taken plenty of warm clothing, but instead huddled up to one of the many bonfires the organizers had set close to the start line. I had read that it was a downhill, fast course, but this turned out to be a detriment to me. Did not train for so much downhill. The course itself was beautiful!! The whole way!! For 21 miles you run through some of the most scenic hills that Provo has to offer. The final 4-5 miles is pretty flat, right through downtown, people watching, so you don’t dare walk ( I did ). The expo was very small, but the few that were there gave out a few freebies. Although I have learned my lesson about downhill courses, I would love to return to this city and enjoy its beauty.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

PCRF Reaching for the Cure Run

dtm3000 FIRST-TIMER '17

PCRF Reaching for the Cure Run

19th year for this Half Marathon, 10K, 5K and Kids Run in Irvine, CA but the first time I've made it to this event raises money and awareness for Pediatric … MORE

19th year for this Half Marathon, 10K, 5K and Kids Run in Irvine, CA but the first time I’ve made it to this event raises money and awareness for Pediatric Cancer Research. Odd timing for me since just this year two good friends have young girls going through chemo. So this run meant a little more then usual.
This is a serious run and even includes a bike portion held the day before. Although serious there are plenty of walkers with their children and children end up the main theme.
The half started at 7 am and my 5k followed at 7:15am (the 10k followed at 7:45am). The course for the 5k is pretty flat (Not to my stroller moms – there is a small patch of gravel in the beginning and an occasional speed bump here and there.). The scenery is naturally pretty as this is the City of Irvine and the roads are lined with plenty of trees and greenery.
After the run there is a large amount of swag and a very large area for kids to play in that included rides, a petting zoo, games and free cotton candy. It was much larger then we expected. The kids run was at 11am which seems very late and would only make for a very long day.
Parking at Irvine Valley College was a bit tough but this may be due to a large amount of construction on the lots – should be better parking next year.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
My Report
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4
My Media

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Brew 2 Shoe

Profile photo of Katie Starling
starlingk2003 REPEAT RUNNER '18

Brew 2 Shoe

I had run this race before, but not on the current course. It was started 10 years ago from the Tallgrass brewery to end at the Manhattan Running Company. Both … MORE

I had run this race before, but not on the current course. It was started 10 years ago from the Tallgrass brewery to end at the Manhattan Running Company. Both were new! At this point, both have moved. So the course has changed to be a loop downtown instead of a point to point. There were no finisher medals which I am not a fan of. Instead there was a sili-pint (silicone pint glass) for all finishers (even the little kids??) They did have medals for age group awards and I got first in my age group so at least I DO have one medal from this race. Also, they had a miscommunication about prizes for Masters (40+) It was on the printed brochure, but not anywhere else. They DID honor the printed flyer awards after the fact! My biggest complaint was that I NEVER saw a port-a-potty at the start/finish. I don’t know if participants were supposed to use local businesses?? Or if I just came from the wrong direction? But this became a problem (which I didn’t let stop me) at about mile 4. Anyway. That’s it. I love my local running store, and they put on good races. This one could have been tweaked slightly to my liking, but I wouldn’t refuse to run it again. Well, I would if there wasn’t a medal. 🙂

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Utah Valley Marathon

wonderjess FIRST-TIMER '15

Utah Valley Marathon

This race is advertised as fast and breathtaking. It is a net downhill of about 2000 ft, and the views are pretty. It's also pretty damn hot in Utah in … MORE

This race is advertised as fast and breathtaking. It is a net downhill of about 2000 ft, and the views are pretty. It’s also pretty damn hot in Utah in June.

As a destination race, they make this pretty easy. Provo, Utah is an adorable little town, and they are happy to have the runners of this race – I think now in it’s 8th year. We found great restaurants in town – although liquor laws can be tricky if you’re looking to drink. The race itself is somewhat small, but because of the course, it draws some fast runners.

The expo is tiny, but sufficient. Ryan Hall was the keynote speaker. Race swag is okay. The race shirt is gender specific – the additional branded gear was all by greenlayer, and pretty thick material. They also give you a nice bag that can be used for bag drop.

Logistics. This is a point to point race, so you get bussed up to the top of the course. The only downside is that you have to catch the bus at 3:45-4:15 for a 6 am start. And woooo, is it chilly at the top! All other race administration went well – the volunteers are super, the aid stations were plentiful (every 2 miles till 23 and then every mile) and well-stocked. We got icees at mile 23 too!

As for the course, it’s pretty. I’m spoiled, I live in CA, run in Marin. This is a different kind of pretty. I think I like the first half better. The roads were more residential, we saw horses, goats, cows, farms, people sat out on their driveway and cheered us on. The second half still had the beautiful mountains, but you are literally running on the highway – it’s divided and one whole side is shut down for the race. Then you run into Provo. You can see the finish when you’re about a mile and a half away. Which is tough!

Overall, not my worst race, not my favorite. I wouldn’t got back and run it again, but I enjoyed myself.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
My Report
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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New York City Marathon

cabrack REPEAT RUNNER '18

New York City Marathon

This is my 2nd time running this race and it was my 10th marathon. I ran this with a friend and kept with her pace. Everything about this race is … MORE

This is my 2nd time running this race and it was my 10th marathon. I ran this with a friend and kept with her pace. Everything about this race is complicated. Getting to the expo and around the expo is difficult. Getting to the start line is the worst experience ever. The wait for the bathrooms was unbelievable. The bus ride took forever and then the walk to the first toilet was forever. You spend so much time on your feet waiting in lines before the race even starts that you are tired before u start running. The race was so over crowded. There are a ton of spectators but they crowd the course and stand in the street. The finish is horrible. You walk forever to get the cloak and then u walk forever to get out of the park. I don’t understand why people like this race.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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Columbia Gorge Marathon & Half Marathon

Donnald69 FIRST-TIMER '16

Columbia Gorge Marathon & Half Marathon

This was an absolutely beautiful course. Run along the Columbia River (Oregon side), sweeping views up and down the river. Run on a paved road, you run amongst a old … MORE

This was an absolutely beautiful course. Run along the Columbia River (Oregon side), sweeping views up and down the river. Run on a paved road, you run amongst a old growth forest but still get glimpses of the views the majority of the run. It WAS hilly. Up and down, the entire course. A small race, I think around 225 marathon finishers, one never felt crowded. It was easy to visit with others because of the small number of runners, which made the run go by quickly.
START: 9 a.m. start, but they also offered an 8 a.m. early start. A surprising number of runners took the early start. Parking is plentiful, and then they bus you uphill to the start. Precisely 2.5 miles uphill. You will appreciate this start location around mile 24.
SWAG: A light 1/4 zip jacket and a beanie given to all runners.
POST RACE PARTY: If you like a taco bar, 2 types of home made soup, beer, water, and other drinks and a multitude of locally picked fruit, you will enjoy the food. The organization also allowed runners to sign up for other races that they sponsor at a nice discount.
MEDAL:. The medal was nice sized, heavy and showcased the autumn leaves falling around.

This was a beautiful course. Definitely one of the nicest I have ever run. Although a tough race, I ran a negative split (my second ever) and ran my best time for 2016. Speaks well for small crowds and conversation.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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