My Profile

@bioprofsd

Mitchell, SD Raving since 2014 50 states aspirant/finisher, Marathon Maniac #7665 active 1 day, 4 hours ago

About Me

  • Running club(s):

    Marathon Maniacs, 50 States Marathon Club, 100 Marathon Club North America

  • Rave race:

    Siskiyou Outback Ultramarathon

  • Race that's calling my name:

    Snowdrop 55 hour ultramarathon

  • I run because:

    It keeps me healthy and it gives me a great sense of accomplishment.

My races

Organize, track & review your races and personal bests here.

50 States Map
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Half Marathon

Marathon

Ultramarathon

(Marathon &/or Ultra) + Half

Marathon + Ultra

Other

Personal Bests (8)

Race Distance Location Date Result
# of hrs = your age Manchester, TN Aug 31, 2017 105 mi
50K Rockford, MN Apr 12, 2014 5:18:10
Marathon Yankton, SD 2013 3:42:50
30K Canton, SD Oct 28, 2017 4:22:29
Half Marathon Keizer, OR 2013 1:39:21
10K Fargo, ND Nov 23, 2017 54:09
24 hr Stoddard, WI Sep 22, 2017 33 mi
8 hr River Falls, WI Nov 7, 2015 28 mi

Future Races (7)

Race Distance Location Date Paid
55 hr Missouri City, TX Dec 30, 2017
50K Moulton, AL Feb 10, 2018
12 hr Green Bay, VA Mar 31, 2018
12 hr Terre Haute, IN May 19, 2018
50K New Gloucester, ME May 26, 2018
12 hr Fairbanks, AK Jun 2, 2018
50K Olympia, WA 2018

Past Races (90)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
24 hr Spartanburg, SC Dec 9, 2017 34 mi
10K Fargo, ND Nov 23, 2017 54:09
50K Las Vegas, NV Nov 11, 2017 6:39:39
30K Canton, SD Oct 28, 2017 4:22:29
Marathon Mankato, MN Oct 22, 2017 4:56:25
12 hr Dayton, OH Oct 7, 2017 34 mi
24 hr Stoddard, WI Sep 22, 2017 33 mi
Marathon Sioux Falls, SD Sep 10, 2017 6:21:09
# of hrs = your age Manchester, TN Aug 31, 2017 105 mi
50K Hot Springs, SD Aug 19, 2017 7:20:13
Marathon Rapid City, SD Aug 5, 2017 8:06:00
50K Saint Joseph, MO Jul 22, 2017
Marathon South Sioux City, NE Jul 20, 2017
Marathon Baltic, SD Jul 18, 2017
Marathon Frenchtown, MT Jul 9, 2017 5:27:46
Marathon Tigard, OR Jul 3, 2017 6:27:47
Half Marathon Astoria, OR Jul 1, 2017 2:45:53
Marathon Kailua-Kona, HI Jun 25, 2017 6:13:32
50K St. Regis, MT Jun 10, 2017 7:08:57
Marathon Valentine, NE Jun 3, 2017 5:43:36
50K Van Meter, IA May 27, 2017 7:35:39
Marathon Holdingford, MN May 13, 2017 5:20:42
Marathon Yankton, SD Apr 22, 2017 4:57:12
Marathon Abilene, KS Apr 8, 2017 5:12:36
50K Macleod, ND Mar 18, 2017 6:54:00
11 hr Lithia Springs, GA Mar 5, 2017 32 mi
Marathon Piedmont, AL Feb 26, 2017 4:50:55
Marathon Northfield, MN Jan 8, 2017 5:36:21
Marathon Norwalk, WI Nov 6, 2016 5:23:57
Marathon Dover, DE Oct 22, 2016 4:56:44
Marathon Des Moines, IA Oct 16, 2016 5:26:48
Marathon Schenectady, NY Oct 9, 2016 4:54:14
Marathon Mandan, ND Oct 1, 2016 6:56:17
Marathon Sioux Falls, SD Sep 11, 2016 5:17:52
Marathon Juneau, AK Jul 30, 2016 5:27:36
50K Ashland, OR Jul 23, 2016 9:04:05
Marathon Vernonia, OR Jul 16, 2016 5:24:39
50K Clackamas Lake, OR Jul 9, 2016 7:21:08
Marathon Portland, OR Jul 4, 2016 4:53:31
Marathon South Williamson, KY Jun 11, 2016 5:45:56
Marathon Roanoke, VA Jun 5, 2016 6:35:05
Marathon Waterbury, CT May 30, 2016 6:56:23
Marathon Great Barrington, MA May 29, 2016
50K Coventry, RI May 19, 2016 8:13:32
50K Springfield, VT May 17, 2016 8:01:09
Marathon Greenfield, NH May 16, 2016
Marathon Kennebunk, ME May 15, 2016 4:56:31
Marathon Toledo, OH Apr 24, 2016 4:36:25
Marathon Wamego, KS Mar 26, 2016 4:32:45
Marathon Cape May, NJ Mar 20, 2016 4:50:09
Marathon Jackson, MS Jan 9, 2016 4:58:06
50K Fountain Hils, AZ Dec 5, 2015 7:59:05
Marathon Seattle, WA Nov 26, 2015 4:38:50
Marathon Tulsa, OK Nov 22, 2015 4:42:30
Marathon Nashville, TN Nov 14, 2015 4:26:41
8 hr River Falls, WI Nov 7, 2015 28 mi
Marathon Raleigh, NC Nov 1, 2015 5:19:51
Marathon Greenville, SC Oct 31, 2015 4:47:02
Marathon Des Moines, IA Oct 18, 2015 4:49:039
Marathon Kansas City, MO Oct 17, 2015 4:58:01
Marathon Roscoe, IL Oct 10, 2015
Marathon Cumberland, MD Sep 27, 2015
Marathon Keyser, WV Sep 26, 2015 4:57:21
Marathon Boulder, CO Sep 19, 2015 4:50:46
12 hr Reading, PA Sep 6, 2015 31K
Marathon Indianapolis, IN Aug 1, 2015 6:55:18
50K Hot Springs, AR Jul 25, 2015 8:32:10
Marathon Lamoille, NV Jun 20, 2015 4:46:15
Marathon Wallsburg, UT Jun 13, 2015 4:36:06
50K Fish Camp, CA Jun 6, 2015 6:44:46
Marathon Boise, ID May 30, 2015 4:53:43
50K Los Alamos, NM May 23, 2015 11:17:10
Marathon Fargo, ND May 9, 2015 4:260:23
Marathon Brookings, SD May 2, 2015 4:53:54
50K Jacksonville, FL Apr 5, 2015 6:52:30
Marathon Savannah, GA Apr 4, 2015 4:55:49
Marathon Lincoln, NE Mar 14, 2015 5:38:39
Marathon Lafayette, LA Mar 8, 2015 4:47:00
Marathon Beaumont, TX Mar 7, 2015
50K Kansas City, KS Feb 14, 2015 7:56:12
Marathon Northfield, MN Jan 11, 2015
8 hr River Falls, WI Nov 8, 2014 36 mi
Marathon Wakefield, MI Sep 13, 2014 4:37:50
50K Baldwin, CO May 17, 2014 8:24:20
50K Rockford, MN Apr 12, 2014 5:18:10
Half Marathon Keizer, OR 2013 1:39:21
50K Omaha, NE 2013 6:05:50
Marathon Deadwood, SD 2013
50K Sundance, WY 2013 7:57:04
Marathon Yankton, SD 2013 3:42:50

My Raves

One Epic Run

One Epic Run

This was a 24-hour fixed time run on a 5K loop course along mountain bike trails of Croft State Park near Spartanburg, SC. I'm glad the weather cooperated enough that … MORE

This was a 24-hour fixed time run on a 5K loop course along mountain bike trails of Croft State Park near Spartanburg, SC. I’m glad the weather cooperated enough that I was able to get into the Greenville-Spartanburg airport as there was a winter storm warning this year. Fortunately, the snow stayed mostly to the northwest of the race venue, and I had no problems driving to the park. There was enough rain the day before to make the trails slippery though, which helped the run to live up to its namesake. The trails were in good shape, which is to be expected for mountain bike trails, but there was enough hills, roots, and rocks to make it interesting. Temperatures this year hovered in the mid 30s, which made for comfortable running weather (but doesn’t explain the two people I saw running without a shirt, lol). The course started heading down a steep slope to the bank of Fairforest Creek. It then crossed over a long footbridge, and then up a steep bank, followed by a continuous climb of about a mile. Along the back of the loop, the course bordered a firing range which was being used during much of the day (protected by a high berm), which made for an interesting distraction. The second half of the loop was mostly a fast, gradual downhill along the banks of the river, then back to the bridge, and up the steep bank to the start. The course was almost completely runnable, but only if you trained a lot on hills. There was only one well stocked aid station at the start/finish, but it was well supplied with the usual aid station fare, plus a wide variety of drinks, and a good selection of “real food.” Some of the food items that were available included vegetable broth, meatballs, hummus wraps, pretzels, candy, pickles, beef jerky, donuts, pizza, pb and jelly sandwiches and much more. All entrants were given a heavy duty hoodie, but there were no finisher’s medals. I completed a total of 34.1 miles, and wished that I could have stayed longer to do a few more laps. Unfortunately, I had an early flight out on Sunday morning, so it wasn’t feasible to run all night.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4
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Burn the Bird 5K & 10K

Burn the Bird 5K & 10K

For most runners in the USA, the idea of running a turkey trot in Fargo, ND is probably absurd. However, late November weather in ND is not always frigid. This … MORE

For most runners in the USA, the idea of running a turkey trot in Fargo, ND is probably absurd. However, late November weather in ND is not always frigid. This year, temperatures were hovering around freezing for the 8:30 a.m. start. One nice thing about this race is that you can stay inside the Cass County YMCA prior to the start and stay warm. The race was chipped timed, but I found out afterwards that the chips were only used to set the finishing times and no net time was recorded. Because I started in the middle of the pack, I ended up losing about 30 seconds of time before I crossed the starting line. The course headed south on a street for about a mile when the 5K runners separated from the 10K course. The 10K course then turned onto a bike path along the Red River for about a 1.5 mile out and back. We then went back up to the streets to head back to the finish. The race is fairly flat with just one 5 foot drop to go onto the bike trails along the river. No age group awards were given out, although age group placing was recorded on the results. Swag included a cotton t-shirt, a finisher’s medal, and the usual coupons in the swag bag. This is probably one of the bigger turkey trots in the Dakotas, so has plenty of competition.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

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Las Vegas 3 of a Kind

Las Vegas 3 of a Kind

This race was part of a series that appears to cater to serial marathon and ultrarunners, much like the Mainly Marathon series. In fact, I think it was intentionally scheduled … MORE

This race was part of a series that appears to cater to serial marathon and ultrarunners, much like the Mainly Marathon series. In fact, I think it was intentionally scheduled to coincide with the end of the Mainly Marathon Southwestern series, so that marathoners could do 9 races in 9 days if they chose to do so. I ran the first race of this series which was held in Sunset Park in Las Vegas, not too far from McCarran International Airport. The course was conveniently located, easy to find, and surprisingly scenic. The whole Las Vegas area is flat, so you can see the mountains on the horizon from just about anywhere, and this park was no exception. The course was a 5K loop, which was repeated 10 times for the 50K runners. It was a small race, but many of the runners knew each other from doing other races. The course was kind of shaped like an 8, with one larger paved loop around a dry, desert ecosystem, with saltbrush and other desert plants, and a shorter loop on crushed limestone around Sunset Lake. I saw numerous wildlife including cottontail rabbits, jackrabbits, birds, and even a lizard. The course was flat and fast, so is a good placed to try for a personal record. The medals were large and nicely done. The course could have been marked a little better with larger arrows, but everyone seemed to find there way around the first couple of times without a problem. There were generous overall awards and age-group awards for such a small race. Overall, I really enjoyed this race.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4
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Newton Hills Ultra

Newton Hills Ultra

Newton Hills is a hilly oasis in an otherwise mundane agricultural region with thick deciduous trees and steep hills along Sergeant Creek that cuts through this portion of the Couteau … MORE

Newton Hills is a hilly oasis in an otherwise mundane agricultural region with thick deciduous trees and steep hills along Sergeant Creek that cuts through this portion of the Couteau des Prairie region. The Newton Hills Ultra races are small, inexpensive, no-frills trail runs. Currently they have 20K, 30K, and 50K distances. Registrants are given a cotton t-shirt and a swag bag, but there is no finisher award, except for the top 3 at each distance. All distances are run on a hilly 10K loop, so the 20K runs it twice, the 30K three times, and so on. I ran the 30K this year with a co-worker, and my Garmin watch showed that there was approximately 2850 feet of elevation gain for the 18 miles, which would come out to 4,750 feet for the 50K. There was just one aid station at the start/finish line, which was well stocked, but there was no hot meal served after the finish, which is becoming a tradition at many ultras. The 50K runners started at 6 a.m., so had to run in the dark for the first two hours. The 30K started at 7 a.m., so we ran the first loop in the dark, so be sure to bring a headlamp if you run this race. Most of the leaves have fallen off of the many oak trees by this time of the year, but it is still a picturesque park and a nice diversion from the usual monotony of southeastern South Dakota.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
2
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Mankato Marathon

Mankato Marathon

I was glad that this marathon was held on Sunday, rather than the day before, because Saturday was wet and windy. The weather on race day was about perfect though. … MORE

I was glad that this marathon was held on Sunday, rather than the day before, because Saturday was wet and windy. The weather on race day was about perfect though. It was dry with little wind and the fall colors were still at their prime. There were a couple hills in the first half of the marathon that were long enough to slow you down, otherwise it was pretty flat with a long downhill in the second half. We had to take a shuttle to the start from the finish area, apparently so there would be enough parking and to allow for a downhill finish, but the shuttles were on time and plentiful for the short ride. It was a long wait at the start, but I had planned ahead and brought a credit card so I could walk across the street and drink a cup of coffee in the warm environment of the Caribou Coffee shop. I started out behind the 5 hour pacer, but very quickly caught up and moved ahead to just behind the 4:30 pacer. I stayed within view of the 4:30 pacer until just before the half mark, and then gradually slowed to a 4:56:25 finish. There were about the number of spectators that I would expect for a medium size marathon, and the post race amenities were above average. Plenty of food, free massages courtesy of the Mayo Clinic, free beer (if I hadn’t lost my ticket attached to my bib), and live music. It was well worth the short drive and registration cost of this fall marathon.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3
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Outdoor X 12 Hour Endurance Run (fka MOX 12 Hour Endurance Run)

Outdoor X 12 Hour Endurance Run (fka MOX 12 Hour Endurance Run)

The course for this well-run 12-hour ultramathon was run around the perimeter of the 2017 Outdoor Experience festival in Dayton, OH. The course was very flat except for one or … MORE

The course for this well-run 12-hour ultramathon was run around the perimeter of the 2017 Outdoor Experience festival in Dayton, OH. The course was very flat except for one or two “speedbumps” and was relatively smooth except for a couple of roots on the far side of the course. There was one place along the course where the path ran between a lake and a water slide that was set up for the outdoor expo where there was only room for people to run single file, and it got kind of crowded with all of the people that were there. In general, all of the many events that were going on including live bands made for interesting distractions that kept me from getting bored on the course. I would rate the one aid station a 9.5 out of 10 because of the “real food” that was served including avocado and hummus wraps. The race differed from most 12-hour runs I’ve done before, as they required you to be moving on the race course at the end of the 12 hours in order to get a finisher’s medal. The large medal was a nice touch though, which is something that you don’t usually get in all ultramarathons. We are also supposed to get a personalized wooden finisher’s award in the mail, but I haven’t received it as yet. All in all, I had a very enjoyable day and would do it again if I have the chance.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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Goosebumps 6 & 24 hour Run/Walk

Goosebumps 6 & 24 hour Run/Walk

This event is obviously a labor of love for race director Richard Chrz. Richard has been putting this on for several years as a fundraiser for the Local Lupus Alliance. … MORE

This event is obviously a labor of love for race director Richard Chrz. Richard has been putting this on for several years as a fundraiser for the Local Lupus Alliance. He is also afflicted by Lupus himself, so puts on this race so that others can run when he can’t. Based on the amount of volunteers, food, and course markings, it appears that Richard spends almost the whole year in planning this event. He left nothing to chance, from the glow sticks that were placed every 5 feet on both sides of the entire length of the course, to the broad range of full meals offered at the aid station, to the multiple lap counters. I wasn’t able to stay for the full 24 hours, but I was amazed at the breakfast that was laid out for the runners. I ate thick-sliced pepper bacon cooked in maple syrup, rosemary seasoned roasted potatoes, and a cheesy egg bake. Participants who completed a cumulative total of over 100 miles or 200 miles over the years that they participated in this event were given a hoodie and a patch. All of this was for a free-will donation. This truly is a labor of love, and seems more like an extended family reunion than a race. I foresee that this event (it’s not just a race) will continue to grow in the future. Hopefully, it won’t outgrow the close-knit family feel and warmth that I saw at this year’s race.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

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Sioux Falls Marathon & Half Marathon

Sioux Falls Marathon & Half Marathon

This was the third time that I've run the Sioux Falls Marathon, but did not have too high of expectations for my performance. I had just come off of my … MORE

This was the third time that I’ve run the Sioux Falls Marathon, but did not have too high of expectations for my performance. I had just come off of my first hundred mile finish the weekend before, so just wanted to take it slow and easy, which I did. Everything went well right up until the last two miles. The weather wasn’t too hot, with a nice tailwind on the home stretch along the Big Sioux River, and I enjoyed chatting with a fellow runner for the first 21 miles or so. There was some lightning and light rain before the start, so the start was delayed 15 minutes. When I turned north to return back to the Sanford Premier center, most of the course markings disappeared. I saw one arrow on the right hand side of a median between the sidewalk I was on and a frontage road, so I continued straight ahead. I thought that the course turned south to return to the start, but I never saw another arrow or sign. After going quite a ways north of the Premier center, I saw one of the pacers who finished earlier and told him I was lost. He said to head back the way I came, and so I did. I eventually found my way into the entrance to the Premier center where we started, and finished with just 10 minutes to spare with the 6.5 hour time limit. After I finished, I discovered that there was plenty of Gatoraid, pallets of it, but no food and no beer. Apparently, the half marathon finishers cleaned up the post-race refreshments. I found out later that the reason that there were no course markings for the last 1.5 miles was that the local police removed the cones that marked the course before the course was suppose to close. I assume that this was because they weren’t informed that there was a late start, so they opened up the streets according to the original schedule. I let the race director know how disappointed in the situation, and she told me that she would share my concerns so that it wouldn’t happened again. I am going to be sure to ask questions before signing up again. Don’t get me wrong; I think it is a nice marathon, but it was ruined for me because of the events that transpired near the end of the race. On the bright side, the medal was a lot nice with more detail than I’ve seen in year’s past, although it was smaller compared to some.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
1
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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A Race for the Ages (ARFTA)

A Race for the Ages (ARFTA)

My head is so full of pleasant memories that I don't know where to begin. I picked this race for my first 100 mile finish attempt because of the long … MORE

My head is so full of pleasant memories that I don’t know where to begin. I picked this race for my first 100 mile finish attempt because of the long cutoff, and I wasn’t disappointed. The premise of this timed ultra is that you get to run the same number of hours as your age. This seems fair because runners naturally slow down as they age. What I learned at this race is that they may slow down, but they don’t necessarily stop. This race seemed more like a family reunion than a race. I was a little intimidated at first as I didn’t recognize many of the names, but I felt very accepted by the veterans. It looked like the majority of the participants either camped out in tents along the course, or camped out inside on cots that were set up in the dining area. I reserved a motel room for Saturday and Sunday, but this meant that I was losing time going back and forth from the course. Full meals were served every 6 hours with plenty of comfort food, and I couldn’t believe how much I was able to eat and still run. Surprisingly, instead of feeling full and uncomfortable, I found that I had much more energy after I ate. The timing was impeccable, with two independent timing systems used. We wore one chip on our bib and another on an ankle bracelet, so there was no worries about missing a lap from the total count. This seemed like more of a social run than a race, but I’m sure the top runners on the leader board were duking it out. The part that I appreciated the most was the friendliness and helpfulness of the veterans. Most of them will go out of the way to help you, even if it means they have to slow down or stop their own race. Yes, there were some that went into their “pain cave”, but I suppose everyone has their moments. I was afraid that once I finished this race that I wouldn’t want to do another 100 mile attempt again, but I think I fell in love with such longer timed ultras. I was thrilled to have completed a total of 105 miles, and am looking forward to setting many more distance PRs.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
2
SWAG
5
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Lean Horse 100 Ultra Marathon

Lean Horse 100 Ultra Marathon

This year the 50K was switched to a 30 mile run. I had finished the 50 mile run a few years ago, but this was the first time running the … MORE

This year the 50K was switched to a 30 mile run. I had finished the 50 mile run a few years ago, but this was the first time running the 30 mile. The race started on the Custer High School track, which actually was near the hospital and not the high school. I couldn’t find the address for the start anywhere on the website or in any of the pre-race emails, but fortunately I remembered where it was from a few years ago. Not everyone was so lucky. Anyway, the 30 mile, 50 mile, and 100 mile runners all started at 6 a.m. After circling 3/4 of the track, we then went onto the Mickelson Trail and headed for Hill City. Along the way, we passed a lot of beautiful granite cliffs, ran alongside Spring Creek, and were treated to a view of the Crazy Horse Monument (from a distance). We climbed up a gradual slope from the start to the road to Crazy Horse, and then it was downhill to Hill City. At the Hill City aid station, the 30 mile runners turned around and ran back to Custer. The trail was very smooth, with fine crushed limestone, but I didn’t have any problems with getting debris in my shoes. The altitude didn’t bother me at all, and it was very enjoyable except for a 5-mile stretch between miles 20 and 25 when my hip flexors tightened up. I think I need to work on leaning forward a little more on the uphills and shorten my stride to engage my gluteal muscles a little more. This is a great ultramarathon for both beginners and experienced ultrarunners.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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StoneMan Marathon and Hisega Half

StoneMan Marathon and Hisega Half

This was truly a trail marathon. Most of the course was run on single track on the Centennial Trail of the Black Hills. The trail first followed Brush Creek with … MORE

This was truly a trail marathon. Most of the course was run on single track on the Centennial Trail of the Black Hills. The trail first followed Brush Creek with beautiful wildflowers and wild raspberries, then climbed hill after hill through Ponderosa Pine forest, riparian zones, and the open meadows of the Bald Hills of the Black Hills National Forest. Total elevation gain was approximately 4,500 feet. Aid stations were located an average of 3.5 mile intervals. There was plenty of swag, although the medals were small, which isn’t surprising for a trail marathon. There was great food and beer at the finish, which was a plus.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4
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Mainly Marathons Prairie Series – Day 7 (MO)

Mainly Marathons Prairie Series – Day 7 (MO)

With an extreme heat advisory forecasted, the race director made the decision the day before to allow an optional, extra early start at 3:30 a.m. I accepted this offer gladly, … MORE

With an extreme heat advisory forecasted, the race director made the decision the day before to allow an optional, extra early start at 3:30 a.m. I accepted this offer gladly, and was so glad I did. The course was along a concrete path alongside the Missouri River. About a 1/4 mile from the start, the path went right by a casino. Due to the heat, the race director shortened the course and placed aid stations at both ends of the out and back so we would never be more than about 3/4 of a mile from fluids and ice. It worked well, and I was able to follow through with my plan to opt in to the 50K distance that is offered with each of their marathons. Shade became rather scarce near the end of my run, but there was a slight breeze blowing up the river that helped a little. Menu items at the aid station included berry smoothies, potato salad, and hot dogs, along with the usual ultramarathon fare. These races are a little bit expensive, but you get a lot of support for your money.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
2

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Mainly Marathons Prairie Series – Day 5 (NE)

Mainly Marathons Prairie Series – Day 5 (NE)

Day 5 of the inaugural Mainly Marathons Prairie Series was run around the Lake at Crystal Cove Park in South Sioux City, NE. The course consisted of a concrete path … MORE

Day 5 of the inaugural Mainly Marathons Prairie Series was run around the Lake at Crystal Cove Park in South Sioux City, NE. The course consisted of a concrete path that went three-fourths of the way around the lake to a turnaround and then back the same way to the start/finish. We had to do 12 out and backs for the full marathon. There was shade on about 50% of the course in the morning, but it became diminished as it got closer to noon. The hottest part of the course was in the final stretch just before the turnaround. I took advantage of the 4:30 a.m. early start and I am very glad I did, as the heat index was 101 degrees at the start. It then cooled off before climbing to a heat index of about 108. Plenty of ice water with towels was was available at the two aid stations, which were just a little more than a mile apart.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

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Mainly Marathons Prairie Series – Day 3 (SD)

Mainly Marathons Prairie Series – Day 3 (SD)

I think that Mainly Marathon races are an acquired taste. They put on marathon series where you can do up to 5-7 marathon in 5-7 states in 5-7 days. There … MORE

I think that Mainly Marathon races are an acquired taste. They put on marathon series where you can do up to 5-7 marathon in 5-7 states in 5-7 days. There are no overall or age-group awards, and the courses are usually repeated short loops or short out and backs. The on-course support is without rival. Their aid stations are stocked much like many ultramarathon aid stations and serve soups, potato salad, or sandwiches, depending upon the weather. They supplied ice water at this year’s Prairie Series, which was a life saver with the hot weather that was experienced. The Day 3 course was in a small park along the Big Sioux River. There was a nice view of a short waterfall that was the former location of a mill. The course consisted of two short out-and-backs, and was a little short for my taste. It allowed for a lot of interactions with other runners as you passed them running in opposite directions. During the summer, I would highly recommend the early start if offered, as it can be very hot and humid in the Midwest in July.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3
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Missoula Marathon

Missoula Marathon

The organization of this race is second to none. There was plenty of parking and easy access at the shuttle pickup, tons of porta potties at the start and along … MORE

The organization of this race is second to none. There was plenty of parking and easy access at the shuttle pickup, tons of porta potties at the start and along the course, generous aid stations, and above average spectator support. The temperatures were forecast well above normal, so the homeowners along the course setup sprinklers to help keep us cool, and had impromptu aid stations. I found the first 6 miles of the course went through hay fields and cow pastures which I found rather boring, but I am probably jaded as I am familiar with the area. The next section ran along the Clark Fork River which was spectacularly beautiful with many photo opportunities. The spectators along the last part of the route kept the course interesting too. There was so much additional adjustments for the heat that I didn’t even really feel it. All in all it was all it was made out to be and more.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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Cook Park Marathon & Half Marathon

Cook Park Marathon & Half Marathon

This marathon was part of a series of 4 marathons in 4 days over the 4th of July holiday, known as the Firecracker Quadzilla. I chose to only do the … MORE

This marathon was part of a series of 4 marathons in 4 days over the 4th of July holiday, known as the Firecracker Quadzilla. I chose to only do the Cook Park Marathon, as I had several other races around the same time. This marathon and half marathon started at 7 a.m. with the option of a 6 a.m. early start. I got there early, so went ahead and started a few minutes late after the early start group began. The course was mainly on a paved path, with about 50 yards of sawdust at the beginning. The first half was flat, but there were a few very short hills on the second half of the course. The start finish area was near the Tualatin River, and the 6-loop course went through woods, riparian areas, and a beautiful butterfly garden. There were some areas where you could forget that you were in a large metropolitan area. The race was chip timed, even though it was not certified. My Garmin watch showed that it may have been about a half a mile long, which was okay by me as long as it wasn’t short. The medals were rather underwhelming, but what can you expect for a $50 registration fee? We were also given a nicely designed technical shirt, which was a nice bonus. All in all, it was a great marathon bargain, and I hope to do it again some day to try to improve my time.

DIFFICULTY
2
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4
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5
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2

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Lewis & Clark Trail Run

Lewis & Clark Trail Run

This race wasn't advertised very well in advance, but boy am I glad that I discovered it. The entry fee was just the cost of an annual entry fee for … MORE

This race wasn’t advertised very well in advance, but boy am I glad that I discovered it. The entry fee was just the cost of an annual entry fee for the Lewis & Clark National Historical Park, which was $20. It started with a musket blast in the replica of Fort Clatsop where Lewis & Clark’s party spent the winter of 1805-1806. It then ran through dense coastal rain forest along the Fort to Coast trail. The course was a 6.55 mile out-and-back which went down one steep ridge with many switchbacks, which meant we had to climb back up them on the way back to the finish near the visitor’s center. Once we neared the coast, the trail meandered around some private property lines in open, grassy fields. This was my least favorite part of the course because the grass had overgrown the trail and there were a few blackberry vines that I had to dodge. There were also about 4 or 5 “cattle guards” that we had to go through which consisted of a wooden structure with tight turns so that cattle couldn’t get through. The turns were so tight that you needed to come to almost a complete stop to get through them. Everyone had to navigate them though, so it was a fair race. At the turnaround at the beach, we were met with a mascot dressed in a salmon costume. It was a tough course, but a scenic one that went through coastal rain forest and the beach zone. We were given a nice wooden finisher’s award at the finish and there was plenty of free food. Surprisingly, this race was organized and implemented entirely by National Park Service personnel. I believe this is one of the few such races anywhere in the United States. I would highly recommend this as a destination race for any history buff or runner with a family.

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4
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5
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Kona Marathon Events

Kona Marathon Events

I knew that I was going to struggle with the heat at this marathon, but I didn't think it would affect me as much as it did. The marathon started … MORE

I knew that I was going to struggle with the heat at this marathon, but I didn’t think it would affect me as much as it did. The marathon started in the Waikaloa Resort, and the course consisted of two out-and-back sections, one of which was done twice. Both of these had a section along the main highway bordered by nothing but black lava flows. Needless to say, there was no shade on the main highway. I didn’t get fried, but I did hit the wall pretty hard at mile 19. Fortunately, the nearby aid station had Coca Cola and ice, which revived me pretty quickly. The section of the course along the resort was very pretty, but the stark views of the lava fields were beautiful in their own way. I thought this race was very well organized, so I would recommend it, but just be prepared for the heat.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4
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Trail Rail Run

Trail Rail Run

I really enjoyed this mostly downhill 53K. The first part of the course was an out and back which went up and over a railroad trestle and then through a … MORE

I really enjoyed this mostly downhill 53K. The first part of the course was an out and back which went up and over a railroad trestle and then through a tunnel. The rest of the course was a gradual downhill along the St. Regis River. There were plenty of well-stocked aid stations spaced an average of 4 miles apart, with an opportunity to have a drop bag at about the half-way point. I wore a well-used pair of trail shoes for the first half, but switched to my more comfortable road shoes at the half-way point. At two of the aid stations, we had to take a detour into one of the small towns, which added an extra two miles to the “50K.” The 50K finishers received a custom Fruit-of-the-loom hoodie and the 50 mile finishers were given a Patagonia Houdini jacket. All finishers received a finisher’s award consisting of a railroad spike with an engraved plate commemorating the finish. There was plenty of food and free local beer at the finish which was at a city park. It is one of the few ultras in Montana that isn’t just for the advanced ultrarunners.

DIFFICULTY
1
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5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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Sandhills Marathon & Half Marathon

Sandhills Marathon & Half Marathon

It's too bad that this marathon is so far from major airports, because more runners should really experience it. On the other hand, I got the feeling that the race … MORE

It’s too bad that this marathon is so far from major airports, because more runners should really experience it. On the other hand, I got the feeling that the race director really doesn’t want this race to grow. My opinion is based on the fact that the main website of the race hasn’t been updated in years, registration closed early this year despite it not being full, and the race director took a hard line on late registrations and was extremely slow in responding to email communications. None-the-less, it was a well organized marathon run on a scenic and fast course. There was a free pasta dinner the evening before the race, there were plenty of well-stocked aid stations, the t-shirts were nice and well designed, and the finisher awards were real western spurs. Race morning started very early with a 40-mile drive to the shuttle pickup point. The bus took us uphill on Brownlee Road to the starting point. While waiting for the race to start, we were able to watch the beautiful colors of the sunrise over the prairie. The mainly downhill course was on a single-lane road that meandered down through a valley. There were some actual sandhills with native vegetation along part of the course, but most of it was converted to pasture. The course also took a detour through the tiny town of Brownlee, Nebraska, which added a little variety. One unique twist that was added by this race was the mobile porta johns. They had two of them on a flatbed trailer which was driven along the course in case anyone needed to use them. All in all it was well supported, and I would do it again.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5

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Booneville Backroads Ultra

Booneville Backroads Ultra

This ultramarathon is run on gravel and dirt (mud) roads in the "Bridges of Madison County" country. While scenic, the fog that was persistent on the day that we ran … MORE

This ultramarathon is run on gravel and dirt (mud) roads in the “Bridges of Madison County” country. While scenic, the fog that was persistent on the day that we ran made it a little more difficult to appreciate. I was also a little disappointed that we didn’t go through any of the covered bridges that makes this county famous. The 50K course starts out with a short segment heading south, and then roughly approximates a square on mainly gravel roads. I say mainly, because there was one mile-long stretch on one of the infamous “B” roads. These are roads that are not maintained, and not graveled. Because it rained quite hard for much of the time after the first two and a half hours, the B road was a sloppy, muddy, mess. I had a hard time staying upright on the slippery mud even when standing still, much less when trying to move. Thus, my goal of finishing under 7 hours was dashed when I hit that segment. Fortunately, there was an aid station right after the B road, which was aptly named the “mud station.” I tried to scrape off the 5 pounds of mud or so off of my shoes, but it was pretty fruitless, so I ended up running through the rain-soaked weeds along the road which did a pretty good job of washing off the mud, even though it saturated the inside of my shoes with water. If that wasn’t challenging enough, there were two other twists to this ultra. Yes, it was hilly with almost continuous rolling hills, but that isn’t one of them. Unlike most ultramarathons, the route was not marked at all. Not a single sign anywhere. We were asked beforehand to print out a cue card with turn directions. This worked pretty well for the first 2/3 of the race, but near the end when my GPS watch was off on the mileage, it added a little bit of doubt as to whether or not I was still on course. Fortunately, I was able to follow the footprints on the wet roads which gave me a sense of assurance that I was still on course most of the time. The second twist was that there were only three aid stations. The first at 10 miles, the second after another 11 miles, and the last just another 4 miles later. As a result, I wore a hydration belt with 2 bottles of water and an extra 20 oz handheld. Because of the nearly ideal cool conditions, I probably didn’t need the hydration belt, and only dipped into those bottles a couple of times. If it had been warmer, I might have used every last drop. Even with all of these challenges, it was enjoyable and I was able to keep a positive attitude. I would have liked to have seen more aid stations, but I guess that added to the aura of the race.

DIFFICULTY
4
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4
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3
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3
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Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon

Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon

For a smaller marathon, this was one of the better organized ones that I've run. The race swag was fantastic. For their 10th running, they gave out free hooded, lined, … MORE

For a smaller marathon, this was one of the better organized ones that I’ve run. The race swag was fantastic. For their 10th running, they gave out free hooded, lined, and vented jackets to the marathon registrants. We also received a finisher’s shirt, a pair of gloves, a nice medal, and a swag bag. The had a pasta feed the day before that didn’t appear to be very well attended, but it was a good value. The course did have a lot of gradual uphill inclines, but no steep uphills. The downside was that there weren’t very many downhills steep enough to really take advantage of gravity. It was scenic and we went through a covered bridge near the beginning of the course. All in all a great race.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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River Rat Marathon

River Rat Marathon

This race begins in a waterfront park and is run mostly along paved bicycle paths. Heading west, the course goes up a slight incline and then drops down a long, … MORE

This race begins in a waterfront park and is run mostly along paved bicycle paths. Heading west, the course goes up a slight incline and then drops down a long, steep hill. Once reaching the Gavins Point Dam, the course goes through the scenic Lewis and Clark State Park with views of Lewis and Clark Lake. Waterfowl and other birds are numerous in this peaceful stretch. After reaching the 10-mile mark, we headed back the way we came until we got to the dam. We then skirted the west side of Lake Yankton, then traveled back to highway 52 and up a long, steep hill to the city limits. We then turned north, then east and hit the Auld Brokaw Trail which follows Marne Creek. This trail goes underneath several road underpasses, which dip down steeply under the road and then climb short, but steep inclines onto the other side. The drop at these underpasses is only about 5 feet, but the steepness prevents you from maintaining a steady pace at this part of the race which is less than 5 miles from the finish. The trail circles around to the finish line which is at the scenic waterfront park. The medals were small and weren’t race specific, but nicely done.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
4
SWAG
2
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Eisenhower Marathon

Eisenhower Marathon

This marathon was on a 13.1 mile course that was repeated twice. The course started at the Eisenhower Visitor's Center and was basically shaped like a three-leafed clover, with two … MORE

This marathon was on a 13.1 mile course that was repeated twice. The course started at the Eisenhower Visitor’s Center and was basically shaped like a three-leafed clover, with two of the leaves repeated for each round of the course. It was a little confusing, but there were course monitors that made sure we went the right way. The volunteers at the aid stations were very helpful, and there were course monitors riding horseback along the far end of the course, which was along the old Chisolm Trail. The medals were a play on the “I Like Ike” buttons which were very nice. They had food at the finish, but I skipped that part because of the need to shower before my late check out time from my motel. All in all it was an enjoyable weekend, and the organizers asked for feedback from the runners so they could continually improve the experience.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5

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Extreme North Dakota Sandhills Ultra Run Experience (END-SURE)

Extreme North Dakota Sandhills Ultra Run Experience (END-SURE)

The 50K distance was a point to point course through the Sheyenne National Grassland via the North Country Trail. The first 6 miles of the course were very flat grasslands … MORE

The 50K distance was a point to point course through the Sheyenne National Grassland via the North Country Trail. The first 6 miles of the course were very flat grasslands intersected frequently with cattle trails. Fortunately, the race director marked this part of the course very well. The rest of the course was over short, rolling hills interspersed with aspen and oak trees. We were blessed this year with almost no snow and dry trails except for under some of the wooded areas. There were only 3 aid stations along the 31 miles of the course. The first one was at 6 miles, the 2nd was after 9 more miles, and the third was about another 6 or 7 miles. This was quite a bit fewer than most 50Ks that I’ve participated in, but added to the aura of the isolation out on the prairie. It seemed to add a little more of a challenge which made the run that much more memorable. I was pleased with my sub-7 hour finish, which is the best for me in the last couple of years. The weather was cool, but comfortable, and there was good food at the finish.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
4
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1
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Yeti 7-11 Hour Endurance Run

Yeti 7-11 Hour Endurance Run

This year's version of the Yeti 7/11 endurance run was on a shortened 4 mile loop. Packet pickup was in the visitor's center of Sweetwater State Park, and the start/finish … MORE

This year’s version of the Yeti 7/11 endurance run was on a shortened 4 mile loop. Packet pickup was in the visitor’s center of Sweetwater State Park, and the start/finish line was just outside the building. The trail was a mixture of single track, dirt road, and double-wide trail. Near the end of the loop, the trail ran along the edge of Sweetwater Creek, with the ruins of an old textile mill. Incidentally, the mill ruins was used in a scene in one of the Hunger Games movies. There was one short, steep single track section, but the trail was runnable in its entirety. The trail got a little congested with park visitors in the afternoon, but nothing that got in my way. There were no finisher medals or finish swag, but it was still an enjoyable day in the park.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
2
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Ladiga Marathon & Half Marathon

Ladiga Marathon & Half Marathon

This was run on a straight, picturesque, paved rail trail. The race started at the Piedmont, AL Sporting Complex, and then went on a short out-and-back along the road to … MORE

This was run on a straight, picturesque, paved rail trail. The race started at the Piedmont, AL Sporting Complex, and then went on a short out-and-back along the road to the Sporting Complex. It then jumped onto the scenic Chief Ladiga Trail. The first 2-3 miles went through the town of Piedmont, then out into the country. We did two 6 mile out-and-backs on the Ladiga Trail. The first 1/2 was pancake flat, with the second 1/2 a slight uphill. Overall it was an easy course, suitable for running a PR.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3
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Zoom! Yah! Yah! Indoor Marathon

Zoom! Yah! Yah! Indoor Marathon

Why would anyone want to run a marathon on an indoor track? If you like to meet other runners, and want a lot of personal interaction, this is the marathon … MORE

Why would anyone want to run a marathon on an indoor track? If you like to meet other runners, and want a lot of personal interaction, this is the marathon to do. Because the course is 150 laps, there are plenty of opportunities to see and encourage the other runners. The timers, who are members of the St. Olaf’s Women’s Track Team give a lot of encouragement and are constantly cheering. This is one marathon that you will want to go back to again and again, despite all of the “loopty loops.”

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
1
SWAG
4
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Rails to Trails Marathon

Rails to Trails Marathon

This was run on the scenic Elroy to Sparta rail trail. The course started in the town of Norwalk and included a short out-and-back to the west and then a … MORE

This was run on the scenic Elroy to Sparta rail trail. The course started in the town of Norwalk and included a short out-and-back to the west and then a longer out-and-back to the east. The second out-and-back included a 3/4 mile long tunnel. Because of hibernating bats, the tunnel was lit by red lanterns spaced at about 20-meter intervals, which made it a little hard to see. The trail goes through scenic, rolling farmland, although the trail is leveled out so that the grade is gradual. There were plenty of aid stations, and the race registration included a sphagetti dinner with free craft beer the night before, and lunch with free beer after the race. It was well-worth the price of the registration.

DIFFICULTY
2
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5
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4
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3
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Monster Mash Marathon & Half Marathon

Monster Mash Marathon & Half Marathon

The 2016 edition of the Monster Mash Marathon was cool, wet, but fast. The forecast was for early morning rain showers to stop about the time of the race start, … MORE

The 2016 edition of the Monster Mash Marathon was cool, wet, but fast. The forecast was for early morning rain showers to stop about the time of the race start, and they did taper off a bit, but didn’t completely stop until about 4. 5 hours into the race. The cool temperatures made for good racing conditions though, and the highlight of the marathon was the first mile on the Dover International Speedway. There were plenty of aid stations (almost to the point of overkill), and medics were visible patrolling the race throughout. The bling was excellent, and there was plenty of free pizza and beer after the race. Most runners reported that they had a lot of fun despite the damp weather.

DIFFICULTY
1
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5
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2
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5
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Des Moines Marathon

Des Moines Marathon

This is one of the more difficult road marathons that I've run in the midwest, but is one of the better ones. There were lots of well stocked aid stations, … MORE

This is one of the more difficult road marathons that I’ve run in the midwest, but is one of the better ones. There were lots of well stocked aid stations, plenty of first aid workers along the course, and quite a few musicians playing live music along the route. They changed the course this year, which made it a little more difficult in my opinion. They added a loop around the state capitol building in the last six miles, which added a pretty significant uphill portion. All in all I was very impressed by this marathon and would do it again.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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Mohawk Hudson River Marathon & Half Marathon

Mohawk Hudson River Marathon & Half Marathon

This marathon was run mainly on bike trails along the Mowhawk and Hudson Rivers from Schenectady to Albany, NY. There were some nice fall colors in the leaves, but I … MORE

This marathon was run mainly on bike trails along the Mowhawk and Hudson Rivers from Schenectady to Albany, NY. There were some nice fall colors in the leaves, but I was a little disappointed that there weren’t more views of the rivers. The course had a couple of gradual uphills in the first half of the race, but it was mainly downhill clear to the finish. I didn’t think the multi-colored medals were anything special, but overall I thought it was a well-managed race.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3
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Harmon Lake Trail Run – Fall (fka RunND Trail Run)

Harmon Lake Trail Run – Fall (fka RunND Trail Run)

This was a very small marathon with only 11 finishers. The course consisted of two loops on mountain bike trails around Lake Harmon. The course was scenic with trees in … MORE

This was a very small marathon with only 11 finishers. The course consisted of two loops on mountain bike trails around Lake Harmon. The course was scenic with trees in the draws showing their fall colors. There were a lot of short out and backs around the draws that fed into the lake, and at the back of the lake, the trail looped back and forth several times away from the lake and uphill. I would describe the course difficulty as moderate for a trail marathon. I took it easy as I had a more important marathon the following weekend, and it was definitely reflected in my finish time.

DIFFICULTY
3
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5
SCENERY
3
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4
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Sioux Falls Marathon & Half Marathon

Sioux Falls Marathon & Half Marathon

This was the second time that I've run this race, and the organization and course was much better than the first time. This year's version featured a single large loop … MORE

This was the second time that I’ve run this race, and the organization and course was much better than the first time. This year’s version featured a single large loop mainly on the meandering bike trails along the parks of Sioux Falls and the Big Sioux River. I particularly enjoyed the detour through beautiful waterfalls of Falls Park. Towards the end of the course, the bike trails passed the portion of the Great Plains Zoo where the Bison were resting in their pen, and I saw a bald eagle flying overhead near one of the last rest stations. The aid stations were located as expected and the volunteers were friendly and helpful. This marathon has improved a lot since it first began.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
2

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Frank Maier Marathon & Douglas Island Half Marathon

Frank Maier Marathon & Douglas Island Half Marathon

This was a small, low-key marathon with a home-town feel. The course was a 13.1 mile out and back along the edge of Douglas Island, across the inlet from Juneau. … MORE

This was a small, low-key marathon with a home-town feel. The course was a 13.1 mile out and back along the edge of Douglas Island, across the inlet from Juneau. Most of the course bordered the steep, forested slopes of the island, but the last few miles of the out and back were right along the shores of the inlet with panoramic views of the Mendenhall Glacier as well as small waterfalls. I saw numerous bald eagles, ravens, fishing vessels, and huge cruise liners. The race director allowed 1 or 2 hr early starts, which would be a good idea for slower runners if you want to partake of the post-race grilled salmon. The medal was small, but of a nice design.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3

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Siskiyou Out Back Trail Run (SOB)

Siskiyou Out Back Trail Run (SOB)

I'll be honest; this one had me scared before the start with a starting altitude of over 6,000 feet and 31 miles on the Pacific Coast Trail. It was definitely … MORE

I’ll be honest; this one had me scared before the start with a starting altitude of over 6,000 feet and 31 miles on the Pacific Coast Trail. It was definitely difficult and tested me to the limits, but it was worth it. There were areas filled with multi-colored wildflowers, some endemic to the Siskiyou Mountains, and beautiful vistas of Mt. Shasta and the Southern Cascades. Well stocked aid stations were about 5 miles apart. Despite the warnings on the website, the cutoffs for the 50K were not enforced. Aid stations and the finish were left open until all of the 50 mile runners finished, so the 50K runners had plenty of time to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Despite this one pushing me to the limit, I think I would do it again.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4
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Oregon Marathon & Summer Half Marathon

Oregon Marathon & Summer Half Marathon

Because this was just up the road from my mom's house, running this marathon was a no-brainer for me. I've always wanted to run a marathon on the Vernonia to … MORE

Because this was just up the road from my mom’s house, running this marathon was a no-brainer for me. I’ve always wanted to run a marathon on the Vernonia to Banks trail, and the move this year to the trail gave me the opportunity to do it. It starts out at the Vernonia High School, then loops around picturesque Vernonia Lake. It then goes onto the Banks to Vernonia trail for most of the rest of the route. The first third of the trail gradually slopes upward with an increasing gradient, then goes gradually downhill and flattens out about 5 miles from Banks. There is one downhill on the paved path that is steep enough to have switchbacks.

DIFFICULTY
3
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4
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5
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Mt Hood 50

Mt Hood 50

This course started at the historic Clackamas Lake Ranger Station, went downhill to Timothy Lake, went around the east side of the lake, then went up on the Pacific Crest … MORE

This course started at the historic Clackamas Lake Ranger Station, went downhill to Timothy Lake, went around the east side of the lake, then went up on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). At the turnaround, we ran back on the PCT, then around the other side of Timothy Lake. The trail was relatively soft and smooth in most places and the hills were mostly gradual. I would say it would be a good 50K for beginners. Unfortunately, Mt. Hood was covered in clouds this year, so I wasn’t able to get any pictures from the PCT. There were no finisher medals, but we did get a glass with the Mt. Hood 50 logo on it at the finish. Shirts could be purchased separately from the race registration.

DIFFICULTY
3
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5
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4
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3
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Foot Traffic Flat

Foot Traffic Flat

This is a great race if you want a PR without "cheating" by doing a downhill point to point course. It is about 98% flat and the only hills are … MORE

This is a great race if you want a PR without “cheating” by doing a downhill point to point course. It is about 98% flat and the only hills are short and not very steep. It is mainly though agricultural land, so might be refreshing for city slickers, but could be boring if you’re from a rural area. It’s still a great course if you want a fast time. The only possible downside is the time of year. It can get hot, even in NW Oregon in July. I lucked out this year with near perfect weather though. It was nice and cool with no real rain. The medals are large and well designed, and they didn’t run out of strawberry shortcake this year.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5

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Hatfield McCoy Marathon

Hatfield McCoy Marathon

This is a marathon with a reputation for being a difficult course run under difficult conditions, and the Hatfield McCoy Marathon did not disappoint. I started the weekend by taking … MORE

This is a marathon with a reputation for being a difficult course run under difficult conditions, and the Hatfield McCoy Marathon did not disappoint. I started the weekend by taking the tour of the Hatfield McCoy historical sites and I highly recommend this, as you may not have time to notice them when running the race. I stayed at the Williamson Fire Department the night before the marathon, which was a little awkward, but I did get some sleep. I’m glad Blackberry Hill, the largest hill on the course was in the first half. I didn’t think the hills on the second half were very bad at all, but the heat got to me at the end. It was probably 92 to 93 degrees by noon of race day. We received a nice medal at the finish, a white lightning jar with the HM logo, and a set of ear buds in the race packet. All in all a fun-filled weekend and I highly recommend.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
My Report
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
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Conquer the Cove

Conquer the Cove

The course is described on the race website as challenging, which is almost an understatement. There is almost 3,500 feet total elevation gain on the course, much of it in … MORE

The course is described on the race website as challenging, which is almost an understatement. There is almost 3,500 feet total elevation gain on the course, much of it in one climb up Brushy Mountain. To complicate things, there are two very strict intermediate cutoffs. If you don’t make the cutoffs, then you are diverted onto a shorter course and aren’t allowed to finish the marathon, so this is not a race for the velocity challenged. Registration includes a modestly sized medal for finishers, and a picnic lunch at the finish. I would only recommend if you are up for a challenge or want to get the feel of what an ultramarathon is like.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
2

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Oh Boy Marathon

Oh Boy Marathon

Overall I liked this marathon, but there could be a few minor changes that would make it better. My likes include the violin accompaniment for the national anthem before the … MORE

Overall I liked this marathon, but there could be a few minor changes that would make it better. My likes include the violin accompaniment for the national anthem before the start, the scenery which included a stretch along the Mad River with small waterfalls (rapids), and the electronic timing which included a display that told you how many laps you completed. This is a relatively new marathon, so I’m sure the race director will make the needed improvements which include an elevation profile on the marathon website, as several runners were surprised at the amount of hills on the course, and a nicer medal design. Overall, I enjoyed the marathon even though we ran under rain and clouds from the remnants of tropical storm Bonnie.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3
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Mainly Marathons New England Series – Day 5 (RI)

Mainly Marathons New England Series – Day 5 (RI)

This was my least favorite of the 3 New England series races that I did in 2016. It was kind of a cloverleaf shaped loop with several hairpin turns. The … MORE

This was my least favorite of the 3 New England series races that I did in 2016. It was kind of a cloverleaf shaped loop with several hairpin turns. The course was completely flat, but the sharp turns made it difficult to maintain speed. I actually did the 50K option that is available for all of their runs as well as the race in Vermont in 2016. Excellent support though from the whole Mainly Marathon crew and nice camaraderie.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
2
SWAG
3

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Mainly Marathons New England Series – Day 3 (VT)

Mainly Marathons New England Series – Day 3 (VT)

This is a fun marathon to do if you like to see other runners and wave hello. The course was a relatively straight, tree-lined, out and back along the Black … MORE

This is a fun marathon to do if you like to see other runners and wave hello. The course was a relatively straight, tree-lined, out and back along the Black River in NH. The weather in May was pleasant, and an easy drive to the next marathon in the series. The runners that frequent these series are a tight-knit group, but very welcoming to newcomers. It is difficult not to find a new friend when doing a Mainly Marathon run. In all of their series, you just get one t-shirt per series, one series medal and a medal shaped like the state for each race in the series. It makes a rather unique and distinctive finisher’s medal collection. They usually have just one aid station unless it is hot, but prepare special entrees every few hours and are well stocked with treats.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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Maine Coast Marathon

Maine Coast Marathon

This was a point to point course from Wells to Biddeford, Maine, providing a thorough tour of the working class village of Wells to the upper-class resort community of Kennebunkport … MORE

This was a point to point course from Wells to Biddeford, Maine, providing a thorough tour of the working class village of Wells to the upper-class resort community of Kennebunkport Maine. There were a few priceless views of the coastline , as well as good examples of summer vacation mansions near Kennebunkport. If you are thinking of running a marathon in Maine, this one should be given serious consideration.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3
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Glass City Marathon

Glass City Marathon

This was a really well-run marathon on a flat and fast course. The only hiccup was that there was a row of porta potties in front of the starting line, … MORE

This was a really well-run marathon on a flat and fast course. The only hiccup was that there was a row of porta potties in front of the starting line, and when it came time to start, the line for the porta potties was blocking the street. Other than that, it was a really great marathon, scenic sections through the Wildwood Metro Park, and lots of great race swag. It was really a fun event.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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Wicked Marathon (KS)

Wicked Marathon (KS)

I was pleasantly surprised with this marathon. The organizers put on a very nice pre-race spaghetti feed at the packet pickup, and provided shuttle transportation just a short distance to … MORE

I was pleasantly surprised with this marathon. The organizers put on a very nice pre-race spaghetti feed at the packet pickup, and provided shuttle transportation just a short distance to the start. The course was well marked and had a few groups of enthusiastic spectators despite the rain. There were plenty of aid stations, good selection of hydration and energy gels, and they even provided shuttles for the three block distance from the finish to the parking at the high school. The medals and other bling was also very nice. The only suggestion that I have is that it would have been nice to have porta potties at the start.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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Ocean Drive Marathon

Ocean Drive Marathon

With fair weather, this marathon would be fast and scenic. We weren't so lucky in 2016 though. A stiff NE wind buffeted us all day on the course. Combined with … MORE

With fair weather, this marathon would be fast and scenic. We weren’t so lucky in 2016 though. A stiff NE wind buffeted us all day on the course. Combined with temperatures near 40 degrees F made for a tough race. The course was well marked up until we reached a residential area near the end. It may be that one of the 40 mph wind gusts blew the traffic cones away. Most of the turns were very well marked though. The t-shirts were well designed without the usual sponsor logos, but the medal was rather cheap looking. Food at the finish consisted of bagels, mini pastries, coffee, chicken broth, and water. Race officials did allow for an early start, but then closed the course early due to the weather and waves splashing over a bridge approach. You can’t blame them for the weather though.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3
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Mississippi Blues Marathon & Half Marathon

Mississippi Blues Marathon & Half Marathon

I have to admit that because of the short time that I had available as a result of my flight, I wasn't able to fully appreciate all of the festivities … MORE

I have to admit that because of the short time that I had available as a result of my flight, I wasn’t able to fully appreciate all of the festivities associated with this marathon. The course was basically one continuous figure eight, with rolling hills most all of the way. I was disappointed that there weren’t more bands along the course, but the heavy rain may have had something to do with this. The course went through some very nice, upper-income neighborhoods, with huge mansions and beautifully manicured yards. You couldn’t ask for nicer bling and finisher medals. All in all, I would do it again if I had the chance.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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McDowell Mountain Frenzy Trail Runs

McDowell Mountain Frenzy Trail Runs

This race has gorgeous scenery, mix of smooth and semi-technical trail, and generous cut-offs. The first part of the course lulls you into a false sense of security, with its … MORE

This race has gorgeous scenery, mix of smooth and semi-technical trail, and generous cut-offs. The first part of the course lulls you into a false sense of security, with its relatively flat grade. The second half is much more difficult though, with some long climbs and rocky terrain. The temperatures weren’t very extreme this year, but I wasn’t prepared for the effects of the dry air on my hydration. Not an extremely technical course, but just enough to make it interesting.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
2

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Wattle Waddle Marathon & Wittle Waddle Half Marathon

Wattle Waddle Marathon & Wittle Waddle Half Marathon

This was a small, no-frills marathon with a lot of really friendly people. The course was along the Burke-Gilman bike trail, which was open to the public during the race. … MORE

This was a small, no-frills marathon with a lot of really friendly people. The course was along the Burke-Gilman bike trail, which was open to the public during the race. There was no one directing traffic at the road crossings, but we were told this was going to happen and were warned to yield to traffic. I thought the course was fairly scenic, except for the last 2-mile out and back which had trash from homeless people strewn along the path. Don’t get me wrong though, this was a fun marathon, but don’t expect too much and you won’t be disappointed. All in all I had a great time.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
2

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Williams Route 66 Marathon & Half Marathon

Williams Route 66 Marathon & Half Marathon

This was a fun, party atmosphere. The race administrators really laid out the red carpet for the Marathon Maniacs and members of the 50 States Club with special VIP tents … MORE

This was a fun, party atmosphere. The race administrators really laid out the red carpet for the Marathon Maniacs and members of the 50 States Club with special VIP tents before and after the marathon. The race started out with confetti canons as each corral started. There were several groups of homeowners who set up festive rest stops. There was also a Center of the Universe detour near the end, which added an additional 0.3 miles, for which we were rewarded with a special medallion. Times were not adjusted for this additional distance. All in all it was a blast.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5

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Nashville Marathon & Half Marathon

Nashville Marathon & Half Marathon

I really liked this marathon, but mainly because I had a very good run. It did have some hills at the beginning, but flattened out in the second half of … MORE

I really liked this marathon, but mainly because I had a very good run. It did have some hills at the beginning, but flattened out in the second half of the 13.1 mile loop that we did twice. Very little in the way of crowd support, but there was a lot of beer and pizza at the finish. There were also free massages at the finish, but the lines were kind of long. Not much in the way of scenery except for the usual sights of Nashville. I was kind of disappointed that there wasn’t any music along the route, not even street musicians. I would give it a grade of B.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
2

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Icebox 480

Icebox 480

Main course is a 7 mile loop on single track mountain bike trails. No long hills, but a lot of little ones. The aid station at the start/finish area was … MORE

Main course is a 7 mile loop on single track mountain bike trails. No long hills, but a lot of little ones. The aid station at the start/finish area was well stocked with the usual ultramarathon fare. The other aid station at the 5 mile mark of the loop was pretty basic with just water, Hammer gels, and HEED.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
1

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Raleigh City of Oaks Marathon & Half Marathon

Raleigh City of Oaks Marathon & Half Marathon

This course started out with the 10K, half marathon, marathon relay and marathon runners all starting at the same time, which made for a congested start. After a 10K loop … MORE

This course started out with the 10K, half marathon, marathon relay and marathon runners all starting at the same time, which made for a congested start. After a 10K loop through the city, the course went along a paved bike trail for most of the race. The course was pretty, but there was an occasional sewer smell along the bike path. The course was very hilly for a marathon.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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Spinx Run Fest

Spinx Run Fest

The marathon started out with a 10K look through the city, then went out on a bike trail for a long out and back stretch. The the end of bike … MORE

The marathon started out with a 10K look through the city, then went out on a bike trail for a long out and back stretch. The the end of bike trail, the course made a loop through the beautiful Furman University campus. The fall foliage was beautiful. The course was somewhat hilly.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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Des Moines Marathon

Des Moines Marathon

The course was well-supported with more than enough aid stations, plenty of medics on the course, and nice scenery. We went through a beautiful neighborhood, ran along a river, and … MORE

The course was well-supported with more than enough aid stations, plenty of medics on the course, and nice scenery. We went through a beautiful neighborhood, ran along a river, and then went on a trail through a wooded area that led to a park where we ran around a small lake. I thoroughly enjoyed this marathon and finished strong.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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Kansas City Marathon

Kansas City Marathon

This course did have some hills, but none were particularly long or steep. It wasn't as nearly as bad as the Heart of America Marathon in Columbia, MO. It started … MORE

This course did have some hills, but none were particularly long or steep. It wasn’t as nearly as bad as the Heart of America Marathon in Columbia, MO. It started in downtown and went through some nice neighborhoods. All in all a very nice event.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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Cumberland C&O Towpath Marathon & Half Marathon

Cumberland C&O Towpath Marathon & Half Marathon

I love these small events where the race director remembers you and calls you by your first name at the aid stations. Also, the volunteers were able to remember my … MORE

I love these small events where the race director remembers you and calls you by your first name at the aid stations. Also, the volunteers were able to remember my name and greeted me when I arrived at the aid stations. This marathon was not quite as scenic as the Barnum Rail Trail marathon, but was on the historic C&O Cumberland Towpath, which has unique characteristics of its own including a barge like they used to tow up the canal. Interesting course, but a more suburban setting.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

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Barnum Rail Trail Marathon & Half Marathon

Barnum Rail Trail Marathon & Half Marathon

This marathon was run on a short, but beautiful out and back course along the North Branch of the Potomac River in rural West Virginia. Fall colors were just starting … MORE

This marathon was run on a short, but beautiful out and back course along the North Branch of the Potomac River in rural West Virginia. Fall colors were just starting to form. Everyone was really friendly and I was able to make new friends almost instantly. It wasn’t a very large marathon, but sometimes nice things come in small packages.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

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Labor Pain 12 Hour Endurance Run

Labor Pain 12 Hour Endurance Run

I enjoy timed events because there seems to be less pressure to finish at a set time goal. The objective isn't to see how fast you can go, but just … MORE

I enjoy timed events because there seems to be less pressure to finish at a set time goal. The objective isn’t to see how fast you can go, but just to keep running. This was a very fun event with a party-like atmosphere. The aid stations were wonderful and the bling was great (embroidered sweatshirts with your finishing distance.) The trail was mostly single track and just challenging enough to keep it interesting. I would definitely do it again if I was in the area.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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Eagle Creek Trail Marathon

Eagle Creek Trail Marathon

Mostly single track through forested park around Eagle Creek Reservoir. About 90% of the course is extremely runnable, but there are a few sections with steep, but short hills with … MORE

Mostly single track through forested park around Eagle Creek Reservoir. About 90% of the course is extremely runnable, but there are a few sections with steep, but short hills with lots of roots. It allows you to open up your stride on the flat sections, yet has just enough technical sections to make it interesting. One thing that could be improved is to make the medals specific to the distance and the year; the half marathon runners received the same bling as the marathon runners. I thought it was a very fun course though and would do it again if I was in the area.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3
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Nevada Marathon & Relay, Lamoille Canyon Half Marathon & 5K

Nevada Marathon & Relay, Lamoille Canyon Half Marathon & 5K

It's a real shame that more runners don't get to experience the stunning scenery of this race. The first half of the marathon descends down through the Lamoille Canyon scenic … MORE

It’s a real shame that more runners don’t get to experience the stunning scenery of this race. The first half of the marathon descends down through the Lamoille Canyon scenic byway, complete with peaks speckled with snow, spruce, and aspen trees. The second half was down in the valley with rolling hills, some rather long. It was really a tale of two races. Now for the bad part: in this year’s race, aid stations were three miles apart, which got to be somewhat long after it warmed up, and half of them only had water, with no Gaterade or Powerade. Feedback was provided to the race director though, so hopefully these lapses will be remedied in the future. If you decide to do this race, spend some time to explore the trails in the canyon. I saw marmots, chipmunks, lots of birds, and mountain goats on one of the side trails the week before the marathon.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3
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Utah Valley Marathon

Utah Valley Marathon

This was a point to point downhill course, so we had to catch a shuttle bus by 4:15 for a 6:00 a.m. start. I'm not sure why we had to … MORE

This was a point to point downhill course, so we had to catch a shuttle bus by 4:15 for a 6:00 a.m. start. I’m not sure why we had to leave so early because we had to wait around for over an hour before the start. The organizers had set up campfires for the runners to warm up before the start, which was a nice idea, but the smoke was terrible. There weren’t very many spectators along the route, but the views of the Wasatch Mountains made up for it. The course started out with a steep downhill section and then flattened out for about the last 4-5 miles, which were through city streets in Provo. I thought the expo was very nice with Ryan Hall as one of the first speakers. If I had to do it over again, I’d still do it.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY