My Profile

@cassidymegan3

Kissimmee, FL Raving since 2019 50 States hopeful/finisher, World Marathon Majors Six Star hopeful/finisher active 1 week, 2 days ago

About Me

  • Running club(s):

    Lake Nona Run Club

  • Rave race:

    Dublin Marathon (Ireland)

  • Race that's calling my name:

    Big Five Marathon, South Africa

  • I run because:

    It’s my thing.  This is something that makes me appreciate what I have rather than to keep dwelling on what I don’t have.  Running has taken away my excuses for a lot of things -not everything – but a lot of things.  It helps me build self-confidence.  It helps me to open up to more people.  Running gives me a reason to visit new places.  It gives me a reason to eat well (other than the simple fact that I should be eating well anyway.)  I’ve learned an awful lot about myself since I started running and I’m eager to learn more.

My races

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

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Half Marathon

Marathon

Ultramarathon

(Marathon &/or Ultra) + Half

Marathon + Ultra

Other

Personal Bests (1)

Race Distance Location Date Result
Marathon Virginia Beach, VA Mar 17, 2019 3:49:20

Future Races (16)

Race Distance Location Date Paid
Marathon Seattle, WA Dec 1, 2019
Marathon Folsom, CA Dec 8, 2019
Marathon Chadron, NE 2020
Marathon Sterling, CO 2020
Marathon Sundance, WY 2020
Marathon Belle Fourche, SD 2020
Marathon Bowman, ND 2020
Marathon Baker, MT 2020
Marathon Bosveld, South Africa 2021
Marathon Coeur d'Alene, ID TBD
100 Miler Petoskey, MI TBD
100 Miler Kennesaw, GA TBD
Marathon Arlington, VA TBD
Marathon Milwaukee, WI TBD
Marathon Staten Island, NY TBD
Marathon Las Vegas, NV TBD

Past Races (16)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
Half Marathon Cocoa Beach, FL May 12, 2019
Marathon Ormond Beach, FL Mar 23, 2019 4:29:17
Marathon Virginia Beach, VA Mar 17, 2019 3:49:20
Marathon Ft. Lauderdale, FL Feb 17, 2019 4:25:17
Marathon Melbourne, FL Feb 10, 2019 4:30:26
Marathon Celebration, FL Jan 27, 2019 4:28:07
Marathon Indianapolis, IN Nov 3, 2018 3:52:41
Marathon Berlin, Germany Sep 16, 2018 3:58:32
10K Cocoa Beach, FL May 6, 2018
Marathon Canton, OH Apr 29, 2018 4:24:47
Marathon Ormond Beach, FL Mar 24, 2018 4:30:17
Half Marathon New Smyrna Beach, FL Jan 14, 2018 1:59:22
Marathon Dublin, Ireland Oct 29, 2017 3:52:52
Half Marathon Paris, France Sep 25, 2016 2:03:58
Marathon Virginia Beach, VA Mar 20, 2016 4:16:29
Marathon Little Rock, AR Mar 4, 2012 5:34:34

My Raves

Tomoka Marathon

Tomoka Marathon

I was a pacer at this event this year again. I really recommend this race. The course is lovely - we run through two state parks and along the Halifax … MORE

I was a pacer at this event this year again. I really recommend this race.
The course is lovely – we run through two state parks and along the Halifax River. The weather was perfect for Florida running this year. (about 50ºF at race start) The course is mostly flat. There is a bridge at the end, so if you are pacing yourself, I would pace at at least 3-4 seconds faster per mile as you lose a bit of time on the sand in the Tomoka State park and on that last bridge in the final mile.
After the parks, we have to go through some neighborhoods – which can be pretty boring, but since I had bonded with my little group for the last 3 hours, I told jokes to them to help pass the time. Then, they shared some jokes, and we all had fun.
**
Expo/Packet Pick-up
I did not attend the expo this year, but my friend who picked up the packet said that he didn;t notice safety pins.
**
Parking
There is plenty of parking, but people who are dropping off their fellow runners cause unecessary traffic delays. We got there at 5:30 and the start line was less than a mile from where they had parking. There is plenty of time to park, walsk to the start line, and use the portapotty if you needed to. I did all of that plus met up withthe pace team to get my stick and say hello.
***
Portapotties
I only noticed one “bank” of portapotties at the start of the race- there were 25 of them there, but the lines were moving quickly and they had an entire pack of Costco-sized TP “on deck” in case someone needed to refill. Both of the potties I used (before and after the race) were well-stocked with hand sanitizer.
**
Water Stations
Water stations were frequent, but short, so look your volunteer in the eye, point and tell them what you want if you want to grab it on-the-fly. The stations were consistent in that they were all WATER – GATORADE -WATER and the Gatorade was mixed to perfection. ☺ I always carry a water/Gatorade mix with me and I never even opened it until mile 19. After mile 13, it seemed like they had BOOM (or Zoom- something like that) gel packets at every other water stop. That was nice. REALLY NICE. They were good flavors, too and most of the volunteers called out the flavors that they were offering (which, for me, is always appreciated. Beggars can’t be choosers but I just don’t like when textures and flavors mismatch. I love coffee, but coffee gel …. not so much.)
Every water station seemed to have a portapotty, too, and the areas were kept tidy by the volunteers manning them.
***
Not a lonesome run ♥
What I love about this race is that it’s a good size and the marathoners get a head start; so while we’re running: what is around us is what we can expect for the rest of the race. I hate when 60% of the people running split off at mile 6 and I feel like I’m the only one out there for 20 more miles.
**
A Green Race
Another thing that I like about this race is that they have paper goody bags, not plastic, and this year, our t-shirt was made of recycled polyester. ☺
I wish that they could push this as a “selling point” for the event.
If I could recommend anything to the race directors it would be this: While it’s nice that they have the gels for us so frequently after the half-way point, I wish that they had a few more trash cans in-between the stops. I know that the athletes should be more respectful and mindful of this, but I was upset to see so many people had discarded their used packets on the ground when we were running in such a pristine, natural setting. Perhaps even mentioning it to the runners at the start would cut back on the litter. I don’t know.
**
After Party
The party after the race is just beautiful. There’s not a lot to do other than get a massage, drink beer, and eat pizza, but the venue is really nice. We hung around and cheered people in while we stretched out. The medal was a beast as usual. The same medal for the full and the half, but the full marathoners had blue print on the lanyard.
**
Also – congratulations to Glenn (424) who ran with me for a bit. He ran his 100th and, allegedly, final marathon. ♥ ☺
*** Congratulations to Chris (196), the 17 year-old who held with me until mile 19 before I told him to slow down until he could sing SpongeBob Square Pants without huffing and puffing. He PR’d his marathon by about an hour and a half.
*** Congratulations to Joe (376) who stuck with me from the beginning until Mile 23½ when I told him to go and never see me again – he PR’d with a 4:28. He told me that he never ran so far without walking in his life. (He ran the entire race. ☺)
*** Amending this post – apparently, pictures are free downloads after the race. ☺

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3
My Media

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Yuengling Shamrock Marathon Weekend

Yuengling Shamrock Marathon Weekend

I won this entry from a Facebook contest so to get a free race on St. Patrick's Day that turns into an unanticipated PR is really frickin' awesome! (This was … MORE

I won this entry from a Facebook contest so to get a free race on St. Patrick’s Day that turns into an unanticipated PR is really frickin’ awesome! (This was my 30th Marathon, too. Dublin, Ireland was my 20th, so I wanted to be sure that this was #30.)
___
(and forgive me if this review seems a bit out-of-it. I drove back to Orlando, FL after the race and am on about 4 hours’ sleep.)
__
This is the 2nd time that I have run the Shamrock Marathon. I ran it in 2016 as part of the Whale Challenge (8k and Marathon) and PR’d my marathon by 7 minutes. I attributed that awesome time solely on the temperature.
Now, 3 years later, I went in with the hope of simply either maintaining a sub-4 marathon or (at best) shaving off the 41 seconds on my 3:52:41 PR that I set in Indy back in November.
*** EXPO***
I arrived on Saturday afternoon to Va. Beach and we got to the expo around 2:00 p.m. Packet pick-up was pretty easy. The shirts for the Marathon and Half marathon were the same design – just one said HALF MARATHON on it. I collected my bib and went to get my ID verified for post-race drinks (just in case.)
The expo was large and there were many local and mom-and-pop boutiques set up. I have 20/20 vision, but the Lasik people had free sunglasses and I’m a sucker for cheap give-away sunglasses, so I took the survey. It was the only booth that really had anything in which I was interested.
The line to meet Meb was about 100 feet long so we decided that we would just wave to him if we saw him on the course (he was pacing the half marathon this weekend.)
~ this isn’t really about the race, but we went to Murphy’s Irish Pub for lunch. They are the restaurant that provides the stew after the race and I like to support local places. Their steak and potato pie is deeeeeelicous! I recommend it. (And if you went there on Saturday and got a rhinestone sparkly Irish Flag sticker: you’re welcome. Years ago, I fancied myself an entrepreneur and had a bunch made — far too many, so I “donated” them to the staff to give away. **SUPPORT THE LOCAL BUSINESSES – they are the ones who make a lot of our races happen.**
**REVIEW**
We stayed at the Holiday Inn on Atlantic Blvd, which put us almost exactly half-way between the start and finish lines. The race started at 7:30, so I set my alarm for 6:45 but woke up before then.
**PORT-A-POTTIES**
Since we were really close to the start line, I didn’t have to use them, but when I got to the lobby of my hotel, I realized that I left my water bottle up in my room, so I went back up. There were a few people on the elevator who made note that it would take less time to just go back to their rooms to use the restroom than to wait for the port-a-potties. When I got back down to the street level, I saw why: although there were plenty (and it seemed like they had them on several streets that ran perpendicular to the corral areas) the lines were long.
**RACE COURSE**
I lined up by the 3:50 pacer “Speedo Mike” and it was chilly – just the way that I like it. We noticed that the 2:00 half marathon pacers decided to line up in the corral ahead of us. I thought that it would have caused a lot more trouble, but it didn’t.
The race heads north and it was really windy at some points where hotels and their “skywalks” to their garages created wind-tunnels for us, but it was OK. When I ran this in 2016, we did this part of the race on the 2nd loop, so I was surprised when we were on the leprechaun trail* because that was where Team RWB had given me the delightful PB&J sandwich at mile 17. (*they have little signs with leprechauns on them that have St. Patrick’s Day riddles and facts about Virginia Beach on them).
From the Leprechaun Trail (a gorgeous tree-lined street, by the way), we head into the 1st military Base: Ft. Story. It is on this base, that we see the 2 lighthouses that are used as course icons. After we leave the base, we head south to where the race started and the half marathon break s away.
One thing that I debated whether or not I liked about this race was that they had a 4-person marathon relay. In the end, I decided that not being lonely on the course highly outweighed running next to someone who was joyfully frolicking on the course with a fresh pair of legs – so I’ll run my race, they can run theirs and we’ll all be happy. ☺
**WATER STATIONS **
Great volunteers!
The stations were kept very clean considering the volume of people passing through.
There was one stretch of the course where I really REALLY wish that they had another station in between (it was after the bridge but before the turn-around – which is very vague) but it seemed like a long distance between stops.
As great as the volunteers were, there were two things that I did not like about the water stations: (1) a fair amount of them were not tangent-friendly (2) some of them only had “left-side” pick-up. I usually accept that a course is not going to be 26.2 miles on the dot due to the tangents and weaving but with every mile, my watch beeped for the mile sooner and sooner each time. At the end of the race, I had 26.37 miles.. my watch time and my official chip time matched exactly, but the average pace looked 5 seconds per mile faster on my watch due to that added length.
*** SWAG ***
You get your SWAG after you cross the finish line. You get your medal, a blanket, shamrock cookies, a bag of Lay’s potato chips, water, Gatorade (your choice of colors/”flavors”, too), a banana, granola bars, a tech hat, and then, the nice volunteers helped you to stuff all of that into a nice cinch bag before you make your way to the beach.
** after party**
I made a bee line to the tent to get my Murphy’s Irish Stew (which was more of a soup, but it was 40ºF outside so warm and hearty anything hits the spot.) I met my friend, grabbed a Yuengling Lager and made my way to the PR Bell. I rang that thing like it was dinner time because I shaved 3 minutes and 21 seconds off my best marathon and I grabbed a sticker, too.
***OVERALL***
I love the J&A team that puts on these races. Since I have PR’d this race twice now, this should be my favorite course, but the crowd support is a tittle light. People are out there, but only waiting for their people to pass (and that is OK). It seemed like the runners were hyping up the crowd more than the other way around. … and the water station placements made tangents a little tough. Other than that, I really can’t complain. I told 2 of my friends here in Orlando that I better see that they have signed up for this next year. Miracles happen on this course.
GOOD LUCK TO YOU IF YOU RUN THIS! (You won’t need it, though. You just need cold weather, Cheez-Its, Gatorade, and Irish food the day before. ☺)
♣ Happy running! ♣

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5
My Media

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Fort Lauderdale A1A Marathon & Half Marathon

Fort Lauderdale A1A Marathon & Half Marathon

I always start with this: if you are from up north, bring salt tabs. I live and train in Florida, so I always have them on me but I gave … MORE

I always start with this: if you are from up north, bring salt tabs.
I live and train in Florida, so I always have them on me but I gave some to a struggling runner and realized that I didn’t leave enough for myself.
I signed up for this the Thurdsay before the race because the Dublin (Ireland) marathon was my 20th and I really really wanted the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach to be my 30th, so I needed to get another one in before March 17th. Since I had a friend going to this one already for the half, I tagged along and told her that I would help pace her to a sub-2 half (up to mile 10) and go back to finish the marathon. It wasn’t her day, so she told me to go after mile 3.
•EXPO•
They always have lots of vendors with lots of free stuff. I am a sucker for free sunglasses so if there is a wheel to spin, a plinko to play, or a brief survey, I’ll do it. We walked over from our hotel about an hour and a half before the expo closed so vendors were practically giving us boxes of snack bars and other little tchotchkes because they didn’t want to pack them all up. Michelob Ultra was handing out free beer, too, if you were of-age. Our weekend chauffeur indulged (I mean, we walked to the expo anyway.)
•Goody Bag•
The goody bag was a non-woven cinch bag with the Publix logo on it and it had TONS of stuff in it: coconut water, protein pancake/flapjack mix, some snack bars, a little first aid kit, and the usual fliers that you expect in a race packet.
•Shirt•
This is the first time that I got a shirt from this race that I didn’t put into my donation box as soon as I got home. (I ran this in 2014 and 2015 – both shirts were gray and terrible.) It was a nice slate blue color with the mermaid from the medal.
•Start line•
They did a rolling start this year which I liked. We were standing at the 9:00 mile point since we were shooting for a 9:04 average. The half and full marathons kick off at the same time. We were in the 2nd “wave”.
I didn’t have to get there super early since our chauffeur (my friend’s husband) dropped us off and we were really close to the start anyway. I always assess the portapotty situation because whenever people ask me about a race, they always want to know their pre-race plans. I didn’t have to use them but they had LOTS of them near the start. They didn’t have any trash cans/boxes, though which kind of bothered me because a lot of people fuel up before the start and their rubbish was thrown on the ground. I went on a search for a bin and found one in a parking garage.
•The course•
The rolling start helped to alleviate bottlenecks but unless you have assigned corrals with vigilant volunteers, you’re never going to get rid of the people who walk a 17-minute mile and stand up at the front of the pack or people who run/walk and stop in the middle of the road with no warning.
At the beginning of the course, we go through a really cute shopping district and head over a bascule bridge that takes you to Seabreeze Blvd., where most of the course takes place. Overall, the course is very flat. There’s a point where we run through a little park where it is shaded (not that it matters because it is still early) but passes along a very pretty inlet where you can see the nice houses with their boats tethered to the docks. ☺ So pretty.
Once we’re out of the park, we travel north on A1A for about 2 miles before the half-marathoners turn to finish their course.
•Water Stations•
The water stations were well-stocked and we had some surprisingly enthusiastic volunteers this year. I think that is awesome.
They served something called “Body Armour” for the electrolyte drink. It was very sugary and made my teeth feel gross. I wasn’t happy with its alleged electrolyte content because – as I said – I went through all of my salt pills and gave some to a struggling runner I saw along the way.
I stopped at a Medical Tent and asked if they had any salt packets, salt pills, etc. (I think that I did this in 2014, too) and they looked at me as if an arm was growing out of my forehead. I didn’t think that it would be unlikely for a person running in 75ºF + heat to be asking about salt -especially in South Florida.
•The search for electrolytes•
Since I knew that the Body Armour drink wasn’t cutting it and that I had no more salt pills on my person, I started to keep an eye out for gas stations or fast food restaurants who might be open early enough for me to run in and grab some packets off their condiment bar. No luck, so I stopped and asked a neighbor if he knew if any locations like this were along the course and he told me, “no, not on the strip, but I can have something on the way back- what do you need?” I told him “Salt.” He said “like, SALT salt?” “Yep – just table salt. Whatever you have. I’d take road salt at this point.” Them, another runner reached into his pocket and offered me a salted prune. I was intrigued so I took it. WOW! it was definitely salty. He told me that he got them from Trinidad (where he came in from). That thing held me over for 2 miles. (Too bad we were only just past the 13 mark where the Marathon Maniacs were handing out Popsicles and had Swedish Fish and Rold Gold pretzels set up on a table. HALLELUJAH, PRETZELS! I grabbed a few and sucked the salt off of them.)
As we made our way into Pompano Beach, the sun was getting to the point where the seaside hotels no longer provided shade, but the run along Pompano is very nice and the sea breeze was a delight. The course winds around a neighborhood and there’s an awkward section where those running out have to cross over the path where returning runners are coming back. If you’re thinking of cutting the course and just turning around – think again. There is a mat at the point where we head back, so you don’t want to miss that checkpoint.
I tried to alert oncoming runners of the pretzel table because I could see runners stopping to massage their muscles, I saw a guy in front of me who had swollen hands- it looked like he had no wrist, he was so swollen. As we came up to mile 20-ish at El Prado Park (I looked it up), there was a little market set up and a guy was grilling up some REALLY good-smelling BBQ. I stopped and asked him if he had any salt. My savior! He poured a generous amount of table salt into my hand an I got a funny look (or two, or three, who cares?) as I started licking my palm to get every grain of it, but I’ll tell you what: as soon as it made its way into my system, I was good to go.
The last 5 miles was just about trying to stay cool because there is no shade. I ALWAYS run with a washcloth so I can wipe whatever salt that I lose off my skin, so I just kept getting it wet a the water stations and wiping myself down. A few years ago, I used one of those beach-side showers to cool off. As I passed people on the way in and saw a lady being attended to by the Fire Department, I felt bad for not carrying more salt tablets with me, but there were about 1,000 marathoners on this course and you can’t help them all.
•Finish line•
As I’ve noticed is typical with events sponsored by Publix, they always put their inflatable arch about 400 ft from the finish line, so if someone says “you’re almost there, you can see it,” no, you;re not. You might see the Publix arch in the distance, but don’t sprint yet. You have another ¼ mile to go. You can’t even see the finish line until you are practically by the arch anyway because you have to make a slight turn.
The medal was beautiful. The lanyard was beautiful. The volunteers had ice, water, more Body Armour sugar water waiting at the finish line. Zephyr Hills water had more free sunglasses. I know that there is always LOTS of stuff at that finish line area, but – alas- when your half marathon friends have been waiting around for you to finish, it’s had to ask them to stay longer so you can enjoy what there is to offer.

I know that I griped about the electrolyte situation a lot but I really do like this race. This is the 3rd time that I’ve done it and the course is beautiful. It’s a nice size. The event production is nice. The expo is awesome, and Ft. Lauderdale is really pretty. I said that I wasn’t doing any more races in Florida unless I was pacing it but I’m sure that I can get talked into this one again.
Sorry for the long-winded review, but:
Happy Running!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Publix Florida Marathon & 1/2 Marathon Weekend

Publix Florida Marathon & 1/2 Marathon Weekend

Yes - it rained this year but the race director has no control over the weather. in 2018 it was blazing hot so I'll take the rain any day. • … MORE

Yes – it rained this year but the race director has no control over the weather. in 2018 it was blazing hot so I’ll take the rain any day.
• Packet Pick-up •
I picked up my packet the morning of the race. It was pretty simple – stand in the MARATHON line, state your last name, and get your bib, T-shirt, hat, and goody bag.
• Parking •
There is plenty of parking along the road near the park where the race ends. A lot of people try to park in the actual park, but it is blocked off and -even if they managed – you would be stuck until the end of the race. We parked 2 blocks away in a parking lot. When we came back to drop off our bags in our car, we saw that they were charging $7.00 for event parking.
• Port-a-potty situation •
There were 4 rows (2 rows back-to-back) of port-a-potties near the start line. I used one at 5:30-ish (race started at 6:00) and it looked like I was the first one who had used it (all of the TP was still wrapped up.) Since no one was waiting, I sort of used it as an opportunity to stay out of the rain, adjust my belts, and hat, take inventory of my supplies (salt pills, GUs, etc.)…and really just stay out of the rain. Why not?
•The course•
The course starts at a small park on the Indian River in Melbourne, FL. You go up a small hill and make your way to US 1. With the exception of a (maybe) 1-mile stretch through some neighborhoods and a park’s parking lot, you are running on highways with the right-most lane closed for runners. At mile 5.5, you approach the first bridge with is the Eua Gallie Causeway – it is an inter-coastal bridge that crosses over the Indian River and is just about a 1-mile climb and I read that the elevation change is only about 30 feet. They usually have a white grand piano at the top and a pianist playing music, but due to the rain this year, they could not. After you descend the bridge, there is a series of tents that looks like it could be a water/aid station, but it is not: it is the exchange point for half-marathon relay participants. The aid station is about a half a mile past that and there was severely potent Gatorade at that stop this year. Both me and a lady I was running with spat it out, it was so sour. I asked a passerby (who looked like a spectator) if she could go back and ask them to water it down a bit.
After the Eau Gaille Causeway, we turn down Riverside drive and they have musicians along the road and volunteers from the local schools to sheer you on and pass out water. I tried the pickle juice – not bad, especially after the undrinkable Gatorade at the previous stop, I needed some electrolytes. If you can run where the road is flat, I always recommend that because this road does bank a lot as it winds a bit and if you have hip issues, it can hurt if you run on the slope.
After this long road (about 3 miles with the little side-step into a neighborhood), you come to the next bridge, the Melbourne Causeway, which is a lot like the other bridge and if you are lucky, you can see dolphins. The half marathon splits off and you repeat the loop a 2nd time.
•Finish line•
There is a green inflatable archway with the Publix Logo on it that they tell you at the start is NOT the finish line. If you are listening to music or ignoring the pre-race announcements, you will be disappointed if you think that this is the finish line. The finish line is about 400 ft past that arch.
I paced the 4:30 marathon group at this event so I was freaked out as I approached the finish line and saw that the clock said 4:22:something, even though my average pace on my watch said 10:16 and I saw it click to 10:17. I stopped in a panic and a spectator told me it was 10:30a.m. so I should have been good. Once I crossed, another person told me that the clock was displaying clock time for the half marathon start which bothered me a lot because (this is snobby, but) someone taking 4½ hours on a half marathon probably does not care about his or her time. Imagine the elation of someone striving for a BQ, and seeing – let’s say – 3:30 as they approach only to find out that they really finished at a 3:37 or a 3:40. How heartbreaking.
•AFTER PARTY•
I went to go get pizza at the after party and they were all out, but one of the Vendors hooked me up, so that was nice. They served pancakes and donut holes inside the pavilion at the end of the course. The Florida Strawberry Council (sponsors this year) had a little table where I picked up some cute strawberry sunglasses, a little strawberry plush toy, and a coloring book (that got soggy from the rain – oh well.) Since I drove in with the 5-hour pacer, I hung out near the finish line and waited for her. I didn’t bother to check the results because I was pacing but found out the next day that I actually placed 3rd in my age group! So this could be a nice race to podium! (I missed out on my pint glass – I love a good pint glass from a race. Dang it.)
•Pacing•
As a pacer, I am happy to announce that all of my “pacees” finished well ahead of me. I had 4 first-timers (2 of whom were from up north) so I tried to gauge how they felt and decided that we were holding a nice rhythm at a 10 – 10:05 pace. I knew that I should slow down, but it was such a nice group and I didn’t want them to slow down just because I had to, so I asked “are you all OK, here? because we’re on pace for a 4:25 right now.” They all agreed that this was comfortable so I told them that I would pull back at 21 and if they wanted to go ahead of me, please do, and they did. One lady finished at a 4:21, 2 from out of state said that they got the 4:25, and I saw the guy who was running with us but didn’t have a chance to find out how he did. He started with a 4:30 pacer and finished before her so I guess he exceeded his plans for that day.
•PROS•
• Good chance to get on the podium for the marathon
• Bridges give you a nice chance to switch up your muscle groups – something we don’t get a lot of in Florida
• Nice, local race
• They have a marathon option. It’s tough to find full marathons anymore.
• Even though people may not have shown up due to the rain, it still didn’t feel like a lonely race. I like that. (I’m sure pacing helps.)
• The medal is cute
• The hat was nice
• The shirt is comfortable (Long-sleeved tech shirt. Great for yard work in the summertime to shield you from the sun.)
• Well-stocked water stations this year (not so great in 2018 when they ran out at the stop at 20-21)
•CONS•
• I’m sorry but I could not get over the race clock at the finish.
• I didn’t notice medical stations along the way. I’m sure that they had them but they weren’t well-“advertised.” With the rain this year, I would have liked to have dried off and re-applied some Vaseline to my arms and legs on the second loop, but I didn’t see any medical stations.

So, there’s my long-winded review.
Happy Running!

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
2
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3
My Media

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Town of Celebration Marathon & Half Marathon

Town of Celebration Marathon & Half Marathon

I love this race because it is a race for runners hosted by runners to raise money for scholarships in the community. They always have great SWAG, the finish line … MORE

I love this race because it is a race for runners hosted by runners to raise money for scholarships in the community. They always have great SWAG, the finish line party has fantastic food, and the course is beautiful (even though the full marathon can get lonely after the half marathoners split off.) It rained this year (which the race directors have no control over), so a lot of the usual neighborhood spectators did not come out but, luckily, we got a hat or visor as one of our pieces of SWAG, so a lot of people were wearing them.
It’s a very flat race – almost like running down-hill the whole time – with the exception of a tiny 20-ft long bridge within the first half mile.
The race director is very accommodating to his runners: he allows transfers up until the expo and, this year, because of the rain, he allowed runners to exchange bibs for medals at the expo and run it virtually or switch from the full to the half on race day.
The volunteers on the course are always helpful and they keep the stations well-stocked. Extra “props” for hanging out in the soggy conditions this year.
I mentioned that the SWAG is always good. I don’t remember what we got the first year but in:
• 2016 we got a nice, plush beach towel.
• 2017 we got a nice YETI-style cup
• 2018 we got a super-soft, fluffy sherpa blanket for the 5-year anniversary
• this year, we got a lot of things:
▪a hat or visor
▪a heavy-duty bottle opener
▪a nice, insulated lunch bag
▪obviously, our finisher medals
▪a nice shirt. They always have nice “wear out-and-about” shirts. I hardly ever wear any of my tech-style race shirts, but I wear my Celebration ones a lot.
As long as they have this race, I will run it.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5
My Media

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Indianapolis Monumental Marathon

Indianapolis Monumental Marathon

This was my 26th full marathon. I trained my butt off in the summer in Central Florida for the Berlin Marathon with the hopes to BQ and race day was … MORE

This was my 26th full marathon. I trained my butt off in the summer in Central Florida for the Berlin Marathon with the hopes to BQ and race day was a disaster, so as soon as I got home, I registered for this… then 5 days later, they changed the qualifying times again and I said, “you know what? Go enjoy it and get another state on your list.”
I…LOVED…THIS…RACE! I loved it. As a Midwesterner who’s been in Florida for the past 13 years, it was so nice to be back to “autumn.” I know that race directors have no control over the weather but it was absolutely perfect: I think that it was in the upper 30ºs F at the race start. The sun was shining, the leaves were changing, the neighbors were out cheering us on. I had a blast. I started with the 3:45 pacer and had to use the portapotty (even though I did less than an hour before the start) and I could not catch back up to him. Oh well. I still PR’d by a whole 11 seconds, but I loved the course and a PR is a PR.
The expo was very nice. Lots of vendors. Lots of small “mom & pop” boutique-y type of vendors which I always like to see. Unfortunately, I flew in and flew out with a carry-on bag only so I couldn’t get a lot. I did get the poster, though, and it was weird because my sisters did not run this race but all 3 of our names were on the poster and printed – not alphabetically – but in the order in which we were born. I thought that was awesome.
I was fortunate to get an Air BnB close enough to the start and finish so I walked there in the morning and was pleased to see that there were plenty of portapotties and the nice warm hotel lobby to sit in while we waited for the start. I was positioned in corral A but made my way back to B because I could tell that I was not where I should have been.
The water stops were well-stocked and well-manned. I loved the “rolling hills” (for a Florida girl, all hills are rolling hills.) It was just such a beautiful course. I wish that I would have written this sooner but I’m sure that I would have been gushing even more about it. I was so happy that there were a lot of marathoners on the course – I hate lonely marathons. Oh! Such a good race. I tell all of my friends that they need to run this one. It might not be glamorous like NYC, Vegas, or Chicago but if you actually want to accomplish a goal, Indy is the place to do it. Bravo and well-done race directors!
P.S. I love my hat and I get a lot of compliments on the star on the sleeve of the shirt (as if I designed it. ☺)

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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Berlin Marathon

Berlin Marathon

It simply was not a good day for me. If I can pass on any information to my fellow US runners it would be this: there is no Gatorade, Powerade … MORE

It simply was not a good day for me.
If I can pass on any information to my fellow US runners it would be this: there is no Gatorade, Powerade (which they have here and in France), Lucozade Sport drink (they have that in Ireland), Cytomax (which is not my favorite), on the course. There is beet juice and hot tea. There is plenty of water at the station, but the volume of people running the race make it impossible to keep the roads clear and since the cups were plastic, they did not crush well. A guy brushed against me just enough to knock me off my balance and I slipped at the 17K mark: I lost my mojo after that.
I always carry salt tablets, but I went to grab an energy gel from my belt and I dropped my salt pills around the half-way point.
It was warm that morning and only got hotter as we were running on blacktop. I trained so hard in Central FL all summer with BQ dreams in my sight, but I was cramping up so bad and I could feel the salt that I was losing on my face.
Another thing that I would point out: The first arch after your watch hits mile 26 is not the finish line…and it’s not the Brandenburg Gate… and it’s not the red one after that. I think I went through 5 inflatable arches before I finally crossed the finish line and I was at a full-out sprint for ½mile because I thought that I was almost there….but you know what? I freakin’ ran the Berlin Marathon! That is awesome.
•PROS•
º The course was gorgeous! Architecture, history, tree-lined streets. Beautiful
º The race was HUGE! I love big races and I know that this was an Abbott World Marathon Major, but it was still just so awesome! (and, no – I haven’t run NYC yet.)
º The expo was huge. Lots of vendors – big and small.
º There were plenty of portable toilets and portable urinals which I thought was awesome.
º Train transportation was free to runners as long as they were wearing their bibs.
º Everything about the event was extremely well-organized as expected.
º Communication with the team was great. I had several questions about the event since I was running through a charity partner and got better response from the actual marathon than the charity.
º The post-race area and nutrition was great. A nice, open park. Free beer (if you chose), free massages (if you chose and were willing to wait). I think that we got fruit, water, maybe some snack bar.
º The race directors have no control over the weather so I can;t blame them for the heat, I can give the Fire Departments “props” for hosing us down (they took the hoses up on the ladder and let it rain down on us – that was so nice.)
•CONS• (These may all be non-elite,”American” things to gripe about but:)
º If you wanted a shirt, you had to buy it. I think that it cost €30 or €35 at the expo
º The medal was not substantial. It felt lightweight and of poor quality. (But – again – it’s from the Berlin Marathon, so who cares?)
º No electrolytes on course except for some super-sticky Gu-type something that they gave to us at the half-way point.
º (Be warned this will gross you out, but I survive to tell the tale) They gave us reusable, collapsible, silicone cups at the expo to use along the course for water as they try to move toward being a no-cup race. I used this thing and it wasn’t until I saw the first series of spigots with free-flowing water before I realized that the troughs in which I had been dunking my cup was actually for people to dip their sponges in. :p Oh well – it may have been the only salt that I ingested along the course after I dropped my pills into the sea of people around me.

All-in-all, me and my giant race bib had an interesting race day experience. I fell well short of my goal for the day but at the end of the day: I was in Berlin. I was in another country. I had just run one of the World Marathon Majors. I had participated in a race where the guy who won broke the world record – and his face was on our medal, too. If I went with the expectation of just finishing the marathon, I probably would have taken the time to really enjoy the scenery, the architecture, and allow myself to submerge myself into the experience. Would I go back? Yeah- probably – but I have other races to make off my list first.
Happy Running!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
5
SWAG
1

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USA Beach Running Championships

USA Beach Running Championships

I participated in this as a pacer for the 10K. I remember my watch having a difficult time finding a satellite signal which really freaked me out as a pacer. … MORE

I participated in this as a pacer for the 10K. I remember my watch having a difficult time finding a satellite signal which really freaked me out as a pacer. The course seemed short to me as I approached the line and saw that I had some time to spare. I thought that my watch was on the fritz or had lost satellite along the way, but chronologically, it still looked good.
The course could have used at least one more water stop along the way.
(This was an out-and-back on the sand course on the sand.)
As I watched the pacers for the half marathon come in, I saw them looking puzzled as they approached the finish line, too. I actually saw the 2-hour pacer stop with a puzzled look on her face and I called out to her saying “I really think that the course is short.”
They had LOTS of food at the finish line and a nice seahorse-shaped medal (which I think both distances received.) So- the after party was good. The shirt as pretty simple and we usually get a hat, too.
I’ve paced a number of races with this series and their finish line clocks drive me bonkers- during The Florida Marathon (Melbourne), I ran a marathon and the clock at the finish line displayed the time for the half-marathon finish. Maybe that is what happened for the half-marathoners, too. This is why I give them 2 sneakers in the “Race Production” rating. Sorry, folks. the clock matters to me. In the mean time… Happy Running!

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
2
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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Pro Football Hall of Fame (HOF) Marathon

Pro Football Hall of Fame (HOF) Marathon

The finish line party is AWESOME! and the DJ was "on fleek" as the kids are saying these days. First of all: I was born and raised in Northeast Ohio … MORE

The finish line party is AWESOME! and the DJ was “on fleek” as the kids are saying these days.
First of all: I was born and raised in Northeast Ohio so I was prepared for this – potholes. The streets are riddled with them so watch your footing.
It was very chilly this year (it threatened to snow, but it didn’t).
I was the 4:25 pacer at this event so I decided to volunteer at the expo- and since I was volunteering at the expo, I decided to run the Draft Day 5K, too. If you can: do it! The medal is spectacular!
•EXPO•
The expo is at the Stark County Fairgrounds – it’s also where the start line is for the Marathon and Half Marathon. There were plenty of vendors and local businesses at the expo. There was a huge booth where the race directors were selling SWAG from the previous years’ races and I picked up a shirt from 2016 and a blanket because I liked the design of them (Plus, I didn’t know that we got one at the finish line). As a pacer, we usually have to sign up late in case of changes to commitments, etc. so I got a cotton shirt instead of the tech shirt and that was fine with me. I wear “walk around the house” shirts far more than I do tech shirts, so the event gets a little more advertisement out of me when I have something comfy to wear. At the expo, I also bought a really cool medal display made from recycled license plates I hope I’m allowed to give them a “shout-out” because I really like it and I try to support local small businesses (unlimitedstridedisplays.com).
•RACE MORNING•
It was chilly, but they opened up the vestibule at the place where the expo was held so if you wanted to huddle inside, you could stay warmer.
I loved the way that they did the National Anthem. A first-responder held up the flag, the race director started singing and encouraged the runners to join in. It was amazing!
The race started a little late but that was OK. It was sunny and cold which is a nice combination for me. You start out around the fairgrounds before taking to the streets of Canton. I’m writing this almost a year later but I remember passing President William McKinnley’s gravesite, running along a little creek, and at one point (I think that it was mile 11), for one mile, volunteers were spaced about every 5 feet holding full-size American flag and photos of fallen soldiers and first-responders were lining the streets. It was so heart-warming to see that.
•TERRAIN•
I live in Florida now, so I say that everything has a rolling hill unless it is mountainous (like Morgantown, West Virginia) or flat (like the Town of Celebration, FL Marathon). The biggest thing to look out for were the potholes and uneven roads. We are running on asphalt and barely out of winter/snow plow season, but I can’t fault the race director for weather or potholes.
•OVERALL•
♦What I remember most was that the weather was perfect. There were some times when I though that it might rain, but it didn’t. Those gray Ohio clouds just stopped by to wave Hello to me and were on their merry way.
♦ The DJ at the stadium had good music with a beat playing – not singalong folk music that some races try to do. I’m here to get pumped up and run a race, man. I’m not here for karaoke! ☺ I even shook his hand from the track after I crossed the finish line.
♦ There was plenty of food, plenty of space to stretch out, and plenty of good tunes at the finish line. I took my blanket and sprawled out in the middle of the football field, enjoying the day as I cheered in runners. It was a good day.
♦ They had plenty of buses to take us back to the fairgrounds.
♦ There was plenty of parking at and around the fairgrounds
♦ I didn’t need them but they had plenty of port-a-potties at the fairgrounds for the race start. I think that they had flushable toilets at the stadium to use for post-race needs.
♦ Water stations were well-socked and well-manned. I had no issues at any of them. They were always ready with full cups and smiling faces.
This was a great race. Bravo to the race management team.
Happy Running!

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5
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Tomoka Marathon

Tomoka Marathon

•IF YOU ARE NOT USED TO RUNNING IN FLORIDA•F I want to start with this because if you only read a bit, read this - If you are coming in … MORE

•IF YOU ARE NOT USED TO RUNNING IN FLORIDA•F I want to start with this because if you only read a bit, read this – If you are coming in from another state, bring salt pills. Even though it is March and it is cooler in other parts of the world, it’s still pretty mild in Florida. I was a pacer at this event, leading the 4:30 troop to the finish line. I always bring spare salt pills or even salt packets with me, but it’s hard for some people to ask for help along the course because they are so determined to power through. If/when your pacer asks how you are doing, speak up if something’s wrong. I lost a runner from Maryland who cramped up at mile 17. I thought he just slowed down but I saw him at the finish line relaxing when I crossed and he told me he DNF’ed due to his legs cramping up. 🙁 I could see how much salt he lost on his face.
•General review:
Since I was pacing and to save a little time in the morning, I picked up my race packet on Friday evening and manned the pacers’ table at the expo for a few hours. Don’t be shy! We are of service to the runners and as a rule, we have to have so many races under our belt in order to do this. It’s OK to ask us questions, and please don’t be intimidated by us. I’ve had a few runners ask me, “how are you NOT out of breath?!” to which I respond “do you really want your pacer to be struggling?” I don’t ask it to be rude or disrespectful, but they assign us to our slots 10-20 minutes slower than the average of our last 3 half marathon and 20-30 minutes slower than our last 3 full marathons.
•PACKET PICK-UP•
Packet pickup was held at a cute, little local brewery. We picked up our bibs and they tested them over the RFID scanner to make sure that all was well, then we picked up our shirts, and small, local vendors and sponsors were in the area. Unfortunately, I didn’t look around too much, but I saw plenty of people walking out with full bags, so they must have enjoyed what they saw. The shirt is very comfy – it was a nice heather gray tech shirt with lime green piping along the sides and matching lime green print. I don’t wear a lot of race shirts with short sleeves but I like this one because of the way that the side panels make you look slimmer.
•RACE MORNING•
I had a 2-hour drive in with a friend who was running the half marathon. We parked at what appeared to be a school parking lot or a park. Parking was free and it was maybe a 3-block walk to the start line. We could have parked closer, but we rationalized that getting out may be difficult so this park was perfect (and it was.) I usually use the portapotty before a race and they had plenty – plenty of TP, too, so no issues there. I remember that Dunkin’ Donuts was there handing out coffee, which was nice because it was a little chilly before the race.
•The Race Itself•
The race starts at this gorgeous little park nestled on the Halifax River. Vendors and sponsors were set up in the park and the music was pumping to get everyone hyped up for the race. The first mile is very dark so if you like your headlamp, waist lamp, or shoe lights, bring them: better to be safe than sorry.
We run through some neighborhoods that are right on the river and I don’t recall a lot of neighbors being out, but it was still pretty dark and the houses were nice to look at. After the neighborhoods, we run along some beautiful “Natural Florida” areas – you might call them wetlands or swamps but I didn’t see or hear any alligators: we just saw a lot of birds and just about the most beautiful sunrise since the Atlantic Ocean is only about a half a mile due east of us until the 10th mile.
Once we get off the peninsula (I don’t think that it’s an island), we head through a bit of a state park and SHADE, GLORIOUS SHADE! for the next 10 miles or so. I also remember on this main road, people were driving along to cheer us on and play music for us which was nice but it’s also nice to hear nature, too.
•APPROACHING THE FINISH LINE•
There is a steep bridge as you approach the finish line. It looks much larger than it is, but be sure to train for your downhills, too. This bridge is devious because you can see the finish line from the top of it, but you have to go to the left, run through the park’s parking lot, go under the bridge and then cross the finish line…. but it’s worth it. A lot of people hang out in this park after the race or just in their daily out-and-about Saturday stroll, so there are usually people cheering you in; and THE MEDAL IS A BEAST! You will not be disappointed. Both the half marathoners and the full marathoners get the same medal, but I know that there are minimums and casting fees that happen when you design a custom medal, and with everything else being on-point for this race, I love it. Overall:
•PROS•
• Friendly volunteers
• Water stops were well-stocked
• Most of the water stations had basic first-aid (at least the 2 that I stopped at (I ran ahead to get bandages and Vaseline for a runner feeling blisters.)
• Fantastic Medal
• Nice, comfy shirt (if you like short-sleeve shirts)
• Repeat-runners got a pint glass
• Free Pizza at the finish line
•CONS•
• Not really a con but the race is on Saturday so if you’re used to Sunday races, be sure to mark your calendar properly.
• SWAG was not memorable. I remember shirt, medal, and a pint glass for repeat runners but that was it. And that’s all you really need but if there was something else – I don’t remember it.
Happy Running!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3

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Shark Bite Half Marathon

Shark Bite Half Marathon

I was a called on as a last-minute fill-in as a pacer for this one. (The race was Sunday, I was asked on Wednesday) and while I knew that I … MORE

I was a called on as a last-minute fill-in as a pacer for this one. (The race was Sunday, I was asked on Wednesday) and while I knew that I could run the pace, pacing it was another story. (I did well, but weather had a lot to do with that.)
**RACE MORNING
It was chilly but parking was easy and there are stunning views of the Atlantic ocean where many runners huddled up and took pre-race selfies before the start of the race.
The DJ and emcee were very good. They did a great job “dropping the beats” and keeping the runners pumped up before the race which is really helpful when it is chilly – no joke- it was probably in the mid-to-upper 30s (ºF) at race start.
The start line area is a little huddled in that people were trying to stay on the road because there was a short amount of pavement before the road ended and turned into sand.
I picked up my packet that morning with no issues and took my goody bag back to the car. Vendors were already setting up for the post-race area.
I usually give a portapotty report so here it is: there were plenty but no hand sanitizer in any of them. (TP was sufficient). Luckily one of the vendors was handing out little packets of wet wipes so I took one and put it on top of a pylon or barrel for others to use.
**THE COURSE
The course was really pretty. It is all along the Atlantic ocean and the roads were clear from heavy traffic which is nice for a “share the road” race. There are two bridges on the course – one is a bascule bridge (which one of my runners told me actually opened for a passing sailboat in a previous year’s race) and the other is an intercoastal bridge near the end of the race.
I’ve paced a lot of races but I’ve never had so many friendly, chatty “pacees” with me as I did at Shark Bite. It was really nice to have people to talk to because it makes the time go by quickly – and many of them had been veterans of the race and were able to let me know what to expect on the course.
There was one point on the course that was a bit of a problem: there is a hairpin turn on the course where you start to head back – they put a water stop on that turn. Not 50 feet before or after it, but right at it which makes it really hard to grab if you’re trying to get your tangents and it’s hard to grab-and-go on a curve anyway.
The bridges were fine but in the last 1½ miles it got really windy – and, unfortunately, it was not a tailwind; but me and my pacees powered through and – as I normally do – I told them to leave me and finish their race as I saw the final turn approaching.
When I came to the finish line, the music was pumping and the emcee came out and did a little boogie with me before I crossed the line. I was a little early but wind gusts make it hard to maintain an even pace: it’s like someone’s pushing you and then letting go- you just take off.
**POST RACE
First things first. I think that sharks are awesome and this beast of a medal did not disappoint me at all. It’s my favorite half marathon medal to-date.
Next: I LOVE a good pint glass. I accidentally dropped mine on the way back to the car and it didn’t break. (I’m sure that was sheer luck) but I use it all the time.
Next: FOOD – real food not just bananas and bagels. I remember pizza and if you wanted it- beer.
Finally: you know mechanical bulls in little honky-tonk bars? Well, they have a mechanical shark. That’s right. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to do it because my Dad came to the race with me then decided it was too cold when we got there so he waited in the car and snuggled up with the blanket that I still had in there from a previous marathon.
This may be a pre-race thing, but I love the shirt, too. My boss calls it “the elusive Shark Bite shirt” because I told him that this is one that I just can’t get enough of. I love the color, I love the fabric. I just love it.
**OVERALL
I was very impressed with this race being as small as it was. The event production was great. The volunteers were good. The water stops were well-stocked and ready for the runners. The weather was perfect for running (which race directors have no control over, but I was grateful for anyway.)
*** In short – do this race. ***
Happy Running!

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5
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Dublin Marathon

Dublin Marathon

This race exceeded my expectations. I was blown away by the crowd support. I was really impressed with how organized the start and finish line areas were. I always make … MORE

This race exceeded my expectations. I was blown away by the crowd support. I was really impressed with how organized the start and finish line areas were. I always make note of the portapotty situation and (1) there were TONS of them (2) they FLUSHED! Why doesn’t America have this technology yet?
The expo was held at the Royal Dublin Society. I brought my parents with me because I love them and I wanted them to have a proper vacation outside of the States at least once. We had hop-on, hop-off tours so I told them to go look at the book of Kells and I would go to the expo (since I had already seen the book the year before.) I was trying not to look like a tourist when I was getting there. I got a little lost, but a helpful man at one of the hotels pointed me in the proper direction. The Expo hall had a lot of exhibitors; but I only really had time to look around and pick up my bib because I had to meet back with my parents. I bought a mug and a jacket. The mug was really cheap-looking, but I didn’t care. I told myself that I was walking out of there with a mug.
**Race morning**
Daylight Savings Time ended and I didn’t realize that it happened that night so when I woke up, I was in a great panic! “I won’t have time for a proper breakfast, I need to get there! I’m going to miss the race.” But when I went down to breakfast, the place was loaded with marathoners, so I then realized that the switch was made. (It was when I got back from the race, that I saw signs that said “remember, we turned the clocks back last night!”… go raibh maith agat, hotel! I appreciate it! ☺)
**Race Start **
I was on a mission for this race. This was my 20th Marathon and I decided that this was the one – this is when I am going to break 4 hours. So I found my pacer (the pacers are all attached to giant balloons with their anticipated finish time on them, so you can’t miss them), I got in line, and the race began. The race starts (I think it is near St. Stephen’s green) but the streets are lined with beautiful Georgian townhomes. (again – the crowd support!) I think that the only time the crowd thinned out a bit was when we were in Phoenix Park, but the park was simply stunning in the autumn: the bright green grass, the orange leaves, and the bright blue sky! (I love autumn. We don’t really get “autumn” in Florida, so I miss it. And I know that the race organizers cannot control the weather but if all races had the kind of weather that we had that day, it would be perfect. It was about 38ºF to start. The sun was shining and the sky was so blue. ☺ )
There were some points on the course where we were just running through areas that are just utilitarian – shopping centers, petrol stations, just normal areas, but at the same time: we’re in Dublin and that means that there is an old stone church right behind these places and – what’s more – “we’re in Dublin!” (For a girl who lives in hot, humid, Florida USA and came from the Midwest USA, this was heaven for me.)
I “lost” my pacers somewhere in the park, but I never saw them again and I tried to keep it that way. There was one point after the 20-mile mark when I was desperate for water and one of the bike riders went ahead and brought some back to us. That was really nice.
One part that will always stick with me is that, at around mile 18, we were coming up a hill and this guy decided to tie his shoe. He didn;t move over. He didn;t signal that he was going to slow down or stop. He just stopped to tie his shoe right there inthe middle of the road. (…and the Dublin Marathon is a BIG race. I think that they said there wer about 20,000 runners in it so it’s not a thin field.) So this guy stops to tie his shoe and boy, did the lads let him have it! I thought to myself “ahh! I’m HOME! ♥ These are MY people!” I wanted so badly to join in but they had it pretty well covered. ☺ ♥ … the lads. I love them.) That pretty much carried me through the rest of the race. After that, I didn;t pay too much mind to my miles or my pace – I was just sight-seeing and I felt good. I knew that I was meeting my goal since I was ahead of the 4-hour pace team so I just stuck with that.
I always say “you’re not ‘almost there’ until you can see the finish line,” so I saw it, and I gave it all that I had, but the road was ever-so-slightly uphill. That made it a little tough, but I was “almost there” even 1/3 of a mile away. I crossed the finish line, stopped my watch, and immediately went into tears. I got my finisher’s shirt (which is a 1/4-zip tech shirt in royal blue with lime green accents.) I got my medal (it had Jonathan Swift’s bust on it, but my sister calls it my “Sloth from the Goonies Medal.”) paying no mind to them whatsoever. I was outright sobbing.
My previous personal best marathon time was 4:16 and I was on a mission to run 3:59:59.
**Result** 3:52:52
All of the “clean eating”, food measuring, extra time at the gym, yoga, and foam rolling that I had done had paid massive dividends and I had no one there to rejoice in my post-race euphoria … until some nice volunteer came up, wrapped her arms around me, and said “ah, darlin’ you’re grand!” I hugged her back and said, “I’m more than grand! I did it! I did it by a lot!” It felt like we hugged for a solid minute while I stood there sobbing, just letting it all out while trying to let it sink in that I really did it.
** and that’s why this was my favorite race so far. Irish people are super, super nice. They are funny, they are witty, and they are so welcoming. That volunteer, though- she was the icing on the cake for me at that marathon.
Sorry that this wasn’t my usual thorough review, but I would run this race every year if I had the funds to travel there and still run all of the other races that I do. Any race where you set a personal best by more than 20 minutes gets a 5-sneaker rating. (I loved it so much, that I signed up for their half marathon since it was a week after the 2018 Berlin Marathon.)
If you can afford to: **Run the Dublin Marathon** don’t hem and haw about it, just do it.
Happy Running!

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
My Media

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Disneyland Paris – Val d’Europe Half Marathon Weekend

Disneyland Paris – Val d’Europe Half Marathon Weekend

Living in Orlando, FL, I've run a LOT of RunDisney events. The Walt Disney World Marathon was my first race EVER and - if not for its production - I … MORE

Living in Orlando, FL, I’ve run a LOT of RunDisney events. The Walt Disney World Marathon was my first race EVER and – if not for its production – I probably never would have run another race again…but after a while, I grew tired of them, especially as every race seemed to get less and less exciting. Pay more for fewer perks, and the courses all became the same routes over and over again.
…. but then “Run Disneyland Paris!”
Say what now?
I had never been out of the country. I had never used my passport. I had not even given thought to ever going to France until this was announced; so me, my sister, one of her friends, and one of her friends all decided that we were going.
***Before you sign up ***
If you are living in the USA, just note that if you compete in a race in France, you have to have a signed note from your physician stating that you are in good health and can accomplish the race without harming yourself. This is also true for the Paris Marathon, not just a Disney requirement.
I had some difficult getting my forms sent over to the Run Disney team, but in the end, it all worked out.
** Getting to DLP**
oh… Megan arrived in Paris without a problem… Megan’s luggage????
Good thing that I wore running clothes on my flight and packed an extra set in my carry-on.
Getting to DLP is not a problem. There is an express train that goes directly from the Paris Airport to the Downtown Disney area of the Disneyland Park. The train ride is about 45 minutes.
My group of people stayed at the Newport Beach Hotel on the DLP Property. It was right by the expo and finish line… except that they put up barricades so we had to walk around the lake every time.
Not having my luggage really bummed me out and put me in a funk the entire trip, so I’m glad that I am writing this now – in hindsight, I really loved this race.
**EXPO**
Picking up the bibs seemed a bit chaotic. I’m not exactly sure what the confusion was but it seemed that for as few people who were actually at the expo at the time, the lines should have been moving a little more quickly.
Many vendors who were at the expo were out of stock and had either packed up already or only had 1 item on-hand to display, and a hand-held point-of-sale system linked to a website for later delivery.
I did manage to get a mug and pamphlets for other races in Europe. (none of which I have run, but the pictures were nice and it’s nice to dream about travelling anyway.)
**Course **
I ran the 5K the day before, so the start and end of the half marathon were the same as the day before — but those unique 10 miles were STUNNING! I took a lot of pictures along the way because when Disney bought Marvel, they waived their rights to use Marvel characters in properties east of the Mississippi River (i.e. WDW) for 99 years (because Universal Studios has Marvel characters in their Universal Orlando theme park.) .. but Disneyland was exempt from that rule, so I got my pictures taken with as many Marvel characters as I could (really weird to hear Captain America speaking French, by the way ☺). They had other characters who I never see at WDW, too, like Roger Rabbit (one of my favorites) and -at the time – Emile & Linguine from Ratatouille.
The Cast Members were fantastic! They were far more enthusiastic than their American counterparts who work the Run Disney events. I guess that they were caught up in the race-day euphoria, too. ☺
**4 things that I vividly remember about this race **
(1) they were doing all that they could to keep as much of the race on DLP property as possible and some of the turns were really tight. I saw a person dressed as Nemo in a wheelchair and a Dory accompanying her – Nemo toppled over on one of the turns. Some of the other runners helped Nemo get back on her wheels by the time I got up there, but I felt bad that the turn was too tight.
(2) I’m not sure what mile it was but there was a part when we were off-property and running through this little village. It was just like the opening of “Beauty and the Beast” (Provincial Life song) except instead of everyone throwing open their windows and yelling “Bonjour! ♫ Bonjour! ♫ Bonjour! ♫ Bonjour! ♫ Bonjour! ♫ !” they were hanging out of their shuttered windows yelling, “Allez! Allez! Allez!” ☺ ☺ ☺ It was adorable!
(3) there was a stretch of the course, just past the real castle, where there was a field of wheat (or maybe just tall grass). A little thatched cottage was in this field. On the right ride of the road were some deciduous trees (not sure if Elm or Maple); but the sun was just coming up over the dew that was settling on this gorgeous French countryside. I wish that I could draw a picture of this – I really wish that I had taken a picture of it – but it was so beautiful that whenever I recount this race experience, I always tell people about it. I’ll never get that image out of my head. It was the most peaceful part of any run of my life.
(4) The post-race food distribution was cute. I remember some of the food items being propped up in crates like you would see in a little farmers market. It was so adorable. I don’t know. That little touch was nice. It made me feel like I wasn’t just another entity getting slop from a trough.
Thinking about that finish line area, I also recall how environmentally-friendly/conscientious RunDisney in France is. They had bins for separating everything: paper, plastic, food waste, general waste; and they gave us paper bags instead of plastic for carrying all of our post-race goodies in. I wish more races would move toward that. I end up donating so much of my race stuff anyway, I’d rather have it be disposable and biodegradable.
** Would I do it again? **
Although I am not big into half marathons, I would like to do this again because (1)I would like to see how it has evolved over the years. (2) I would because I would like to go and NOT be grumpy about only having 2 outfits with me (I washed my clothes in the sink every night because I refused to go shopping. I hate shopping in real-life: the last thing that I want to do on vacation is shop.) (3) I also really enjoyed DLP park. It’s nice to visit Disney that is not super-crowded or ridiculously hot. It was certainly a nice change-of-pace from the USA RunDisney events.
Happy Running!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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Yuengling Shamrock Marathon Weekend

Yuengling Shamrock Marathon Weekend

I PR'd my marathon by more than 7 minutes here. This was my 18th Marathon and my 5th for the 2016 calendar year. I am an American of Irish decent … MORE

I PR’d my marathon by more than 7 minutes here.
This was my 18th Marathon and my 5th for the 2016 calendar year.
I am an American of Irish decent so I had been eyeing this race for a long time. I bought my sister the Dolphin Challenge for her birthday (I did the whale challenge). The weather was not ideal. It was very cold and rainy, but that is perfect running weather for this girl. (The race director has no control over the weather, so as long as there is no lightning, the show must go on.)
♣ Expo♣
The expo was amazing. It was a lot bigger than I had expected it to be. There were loads of vendors and they had a lot of merchandise – lots of green and Shamrock/Irish-themed items available. I picked up a pint glass (because I love my race pint glasses) – it says TWENTY-SIX POINT FREAKING TWO and in tiny, little letters it says “Yuengling Shamrock Marathon” and the bottom of the glass is sprayed green, too. It’s perfect.
My sister went all-out: she bought shamrock arm sleeves, a skirt, a visor and I’m not sure what else (and she still rocks them at most of her other races, too.)
I like that the bibs are personalized to whatever we want. I have a friend who was born and raised in Dublin who calls me “Nutmeg” so that is what I put on the bib. I wasn’t a fan of my age being on the front, though.
For the marathon, we got a Leslie Jordan two-tone long-sleeve shirt that I don’t think was gender-specific. I really wanted to love the shirt, but I didn’t. It was a lime green body with heathered military green sleeves. It’s comfy, but I was expecting bright kelley green – which was what the cotton 8K shirt had and that’s the one that gets worn a lot.
♣ Pre-race ♣
I stayed at the host hotel and they bused us to as close as they could to the start line. It may have been a block or two, but it wasn’t anything strenuous. Since I was staying at a hotel nearby, I did not drop a bag. I didn’t have to use a port-a-potty so I paid no mind to them. Many of the businesses that were near the start line allowed/tolerated the runners huddling inside while we waited for the race to start. It was cold, but I was prepared for it: My mom is a pharm tech who works in a clean room, so whenever they switch vendors for their Tyvek coveralls, she brings the “old styles” home for me to take to my races. (We call them “bunny suits”.) If you have access to these – they are perfect for keeping warm before a race.
♣ THE COURSE ♣
I’m a little biased because I LOVE VIRGINIA and I really, really love Virginia Beach. I don’t know if it’s the architecture style or that we’re by the sea but something about the “13 Colonies” Atlantic coast gives me the warm-and fuzzies. ♥ With the wind that day, the waves were rolling in and it sounded so nice.
I ditched my “bunny suit” at mile 3 when I had finally warmed up and the crowd thinned enough for me to safely take it off. By then, it had stopped raining for a bit, but it was still a little windy. I remember climbing one bridge and seeing lots of sailboats tethered to their docks within the first few miles of the race but the rest of the course was flat.
It wasn’t a lonely race by any means. Thankfully the rain ended within the first 30 minutes or so. The first 10 miles of the race were great. We headed south, out of town through a military base and headed back toward the town. Once we got back, we headed north on the boardwalk, and the wind picked up again. It was challenging, but we’re marathoners and we persevere! At mile 17 we started down a gorgeous tree-lined street and team RWB gave me a PB&J sandwich! Oh- it was delightful! (I love the volunteers! Go Eagles!) Those trees helped to cut back on the wind a bit so as we went through those few miles in the trees, it was absolutely perfect. Around 19 or 20, we came to a second military base and the wind was really strong. I am a costume runner (yep, I’m one of those) – I wore a leprechaun costume with a foam leprechaun hat and a buff to keep my ears warm – that buff became something to secure my hat to my head and several people yelled out to me, “I love your bonnet!” and I had to laugh – yep – it sure would look like a bonnet, huh? From Mile 21 on, we are heading back to the beach and we had a nice tailwind for most of it. It’s a little tricky as we approach the finish line – I remember a lot of turns, but when I crossed the finish line and stopped my watch I went – WHHHAAAAATTT!?? I FRICKIN’ PR’D!!! BY A LOT! 7 minutes! That’s HUGE! Especially after doing 3 fulls in January and 1 in February.
When I finished this race, I was absolutely buzzing, They gave me my medals (for the marathon and the challenge), my hat, and towel, then I made my way into the finish line tent and had a big (well- the size that they give you) bowl of the Irish Stew from Murphy’s. Nomnomnom. Ohhh- nothin’ mo betta than a nice hot stew after a damp, chilly race.
My sister’s half didn’t go as well as she had expected. She hates cold and rain and was waiting at the hotel for me, so I didn’t hang out too much at the end. The bus for the hotel was further away from where they could drop us off due to the course still being open, but I passed a Dunkin Donuts so I was able to get a nice piping-hot coffee as I made my way to the pick-up point.
♣ OVERALL ♣
I absolutely loved this race. This PR put into my mind that I could break 4 hours. (and I did- at the 2017 Dublin Marathon- a PR of more than 7 minutes again. – Luck o’ the Irish, huh?)
The water stations were well-supplied and had plenty of enthusiastic volunteers.
The course support was much better than I had expected provided the weather conditions.
Team RWB and that PB&J: ♥ ♥ ♥ Go raibh maith agat! (thank you, in Irish)
I said that once a state was marked off my list, I was done with it and when 2019’s race popped up as actually being ON St. Patrick’s Day, I was tempted, but said “no- Virginia’s done” but I entered a contest and won; so back to VA Beach, I go! If I PR by 7 minutes again, that will be awesome and I’ll enjoy the post-race festivities this time, too. I hope I have another raving review in a few weeks!
Do this race!
Happy Running!

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5
My Media

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Little Rock Marathon

Little Rock Marathon

This was nearly 7 years ago but - until I ran Indianapolis in 2018 - this was my favorite Marathon in the USA. This was my 4th Marathon and my … MORE

This was nearly 7 years ago but – until I ran Indianapolis in 2018 – this was my favorite Marathon in the USA. This was my 4th Marathon and my first out-of-state marathon, too. The weather was beautiful that day – it was probably in the high 30s (ºF) at the start. There was no wind and not a cloud in the sky. I didn’t know what time the race started, but they said that bag-drop opened at 5:30am so I went at that time. They had “early start” at 6:00am (which I did not sign up for but took advantage of anyway because I could already feel my pre-race was not enough to keep me going. They said that it was for anyone anticipating a finish time greater than 6 hours.)
The course was gorgeous. Who knew that Arkansas was a pretty place? I remember a race-walker who was next to me for a lot of the race warned me around mile 17 that there was a “downhill” coming up — it was more like a “tuck and roll”. I wondered how elite runners could make it done this thing and have knee-caps to finish the race.
At mile 20, I was at the 4-hour mark and I started walking. My race-walk guy asked me if I was OK and I told him, “yeah, but I started with the early group and I don’t want to be disc qualified or something because I took less than 6 hours.” He told me that that wouldn’t happen – they just wouldn’t let me use my time to qualify for another race if I took less than 6 hours. I was there for the medal, so I took off after that. L’Oréal was one of the sponsors and had a little make-up table at mile 26 so ladies (or men, too, I guess if they wanted to) could freshen up before the finish line photo. Nothing short of a change of clothes, a shower, and a hairbrush was gonna improve the mess that I had going on, so I skipped the table and finished my race. I looked like a total ragamuffin after shedding all of my layers and I didn’t care – I was doing this one for the medal and it did not disappoint.
I told my friends that if they ever wanted to do this one, I would go back. I enjoyed this.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3

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