My Profile

@cassidymegan3

Kissimmee, FL Raving since 2019 Boston Marathon finisher, 50 States hopeful/finisher, World Marathon Majors Six Star hopeful/finisher Guinness World Record Holder Active 1 week, 4 days ago

About Me

  • Running club(s):

    Lake Nona Run Club, Beast Pacing

  • 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

Future Races

Personal Bests (2)

Race Distance Location Date Result
120 Mile Relay Lithia, FL Dec 2, 2022 23:38:21
Marathon Salt Lake City, UT Sep 9, 2023 3:25:14

Future Races (14)

Race Distance Location Date Paid
Marathon Chadron, NE Oct 1, 2024
Marathon Sundance, WY Oct 2, 2024
Marathon Belle Fourche, SD Oct 3, 2024
Marathon Bowman, ND Oct 4, 2024
Marathon Baker, MT Oct 5, 2024
Marathon Sterling, CO 2024
Marathon Bosveld, South Africa 2025
Marathon Coeur d'Alene, ID TBD
Marathon , Norway TBD
100 Miler Petoskey, MI TBD
100 Miler Kennesaw, GA TBD
Marathon Arlington, VA TBD
Marathon Milwaukee, WI TBD
Marathon Staten Island, NY TBD

Past Races (37)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
Marathon Celebration, FL Jan 28, 2024
Marathon Newport, RI Oct 8, 2023 3:58:46
Marathon St. Paul, MN Oct 1, 2023 3:52:54
Marathon Salt Lake City, UT Sep 9, 2023 3:25:14
Marathon Pittsburgh, PA May 7, 2023 4:01:36
Marathon Hopkinton, MA Apr 17, 2023 3:41:11
Marathon St Louis, MO Apr 2, 2023 3:52:37
Marathon Melbourne, FL Feb 12, 2023 3:53:03
Marathon Celebration, FL Jan 29, 2023 3:41:21
120 Mile Relay Lithia, FL Dec 2, 2022 23:38:21
Marathon Columbus, GA Nov 19, 2022 4:04:47
Marathon Canal Fulton, OH Oct 30, 2022 3:38:34
Marathon London, United Kingdom Oct 2, 2022 3:36:36
Marathon Hopkinton, MA Apr 18, 2022 3:46:54
Marathon Virginia Beach, VA Mar 20, 2022 3:58:54
Marathon Chattanooga, TN Nov 14, 2021 3:51:02
Marathon Indianapolis, IN Nov 6, 2021 3:33:21
Marathon Chicago, IL Oct 10, 2021 3:44:17
Marathon Seattle, WA Dec 1, 2019 3:53:59
Marathon Dublin, Ireland Oct 27, 2019 3:30:06
Marathon Wright-Patterson AFB, OH Sep 21, 2019 4:19:05
Half Marathon Cocoa Beach, FL May 12, 2019 2:12:00
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 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

They cancelled it but there were still PLENTY of people who ran anyway. All around there were parks and trails filled with runners wearing their bibs getting out to run. … MORE

They cancelled it but there were still PLENTY of people who ran anyway. All around there were parks and trails filled with runners wearing their bibs getting out to run. Some ran the actual course. I was from out of town and didn’t know the course so I just ran laps around a lake for 26.3 miles (I ran extra just in case.) I went to MSP to run a marathon so I ran a marathon.
Neighbors and friends of racers were sprinkled throughout the neighborhoods with makeshift aid stations.
I wish they would have left it up to the runners to decide what they wanted to do: we all signed waivers. We all trained in the heat over the summer. You’ve got to adjust your expectations when it’s warmer. Smart, realistic runners know this.
I won’t go back. I’ll find some other race in Minnesota to run. This race got my $135 already as did this town’s economy. I’m salty about this one.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
1
SCENERY
5
SWAG
1

3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

This race was a beast. I knew that it would be going into it. I live in Florida so my only hope for this was just to strength train my … MORE

This race was a beast. I knew that it would be going into it. I live in Florida so my only hope for this was just to strength train my quads and keep the mileage high. So lots of wall-sits. LOTS OF WALL SITS.
🛒EXPO: The expo was at a convention center that was attached to a hotel. It was easy to get to. There was a lot of paid parking lots nearby but there is also tons of available street-parking available just a block or two away. The shirts ran large this year. They are custom-made shirts so they design to runner feedback and I get it — it’s hard to please everyone. I usually get a Women’s Large when they have gender-specific shirts but I was swimming in the Medium. It’s OK. I don’t wear a lot of race shirts anymore. I have so many. (they were really nice, though and they gave you options: Tank, S/S, or L/S.) In addition to your personalized bib, you get a pair of gloves and a pair of arm sleeves. There were plenty of vendors at the expo both local and nation-wide.
🚌 SHUTTLES: I stayed at a studio 6 that was about a mile away from the Cottonwood High School where the busses shuttled us to the top of the mountain. I didn’t realize how dark it was in Utah (i.e. not a lot of street lights) so I ended up driving there and giving a fellow runner a lift there, too. there was PLENTY of parking at the high school. It took about an hour for the yellow buses to get us to the top of that curvy, winding mountain, but we got there.
🚽 PORTAPOTTIES: There were plenty of portapotties (which they called “Honey Buckets” – that made me laugh) but a lot of people were just standing at the start of the line for them. I walked down to the last one and there were only about 4 people waiting so take notice: move down. (there were plenty of people just dashing off into the woods on the side of the mountain — people much braver than I). the toilets were well-stocked with TP and sanitizer though they did have hand-wash stations outside as well. Be careful, though: because of the slope of the mountain and that they are on the side of the road: the potties are slightly tipped and a bit wobbly.
🛍BAG DROP: As soon as they let you off the bus, there is one lane closed off for runners and one lane open for vehicles coming up the hill so people were camped out in their Mylar heat sheets along the side of the road while others were walking around them trying to get to bag drop and/or portapotties. Bag drop came first so we also had to deal with people walking back up from the portapotties to drop their bags afterwards. I wonder if they should change that: Portapotties, bag drop, then race start. The point is that it is all linear. I thought that the bag drop would be at the high school where the shuttles picked us up and where the race ended but it all worked out so it was OK.
🏁 THE RACE: Miles 1-3 are a steep downhill. My advice is to not slow yourself down but also not to put a lot of effort into this. 95% of the race, I felt like I was simply keeping my feet under me. Usually, my heart rate is 156 – 162 on race day but I was cruising along at 146-148 for a long time despite the altitude. You don’t need a lot of effort so don’t push. At mile 4, you make a circle near the Brighton resort and there is an uphill there. I don’t waste my heart rate on uphills so I walked it – I knew that there would be plenty of downhill ahead of me so I took the walk break to get a GU packet, reapply some anti-chafing stuff, and get some water.
Miles 5 – 15 were pretty steady. All downhill. The spots that were “less downhill” felt like climbing Kilimanjaro but they were still downhill. then: mile 15.5: at 15.5, we picked up the tail-end of the half-marathoners: many of whom were walking side-by-side but my concern was that the course just got significantly (to me) steeper. I was wondering “should I try to slow this down or just keep doing what I’ve been doing and move my feet faster?” I did the latter: I figured if I tried to slow down, the next 11 miles would be torturous so just “keep your feet moving and don’t run anyone over!” There were a lot of 🤬 bad words coming out of my mouth for that half-mile. I could not wait for it to end but luckily, it did and until we reached the end of the road at mile 18, it was smooth sailing. It was at 18 that I caught up with the 3:20 pacer. (I started near the 3:30 guy though my goal was sub-3:26) I was doing all right until we lost the shade coverage…and then I needed water. The last 10K was the worst “last 10K” I’ve ever experienced in my more than 100-marathon career. The 20 miles I had just run were starting to catch up. I had averaged a 7’27″/mile pace by the time I hit mile 20, and I watched it drop: 7’31”, 7’34”, 7’38”. Going into mile 24, a spectator said “after this hill, it’s all downhill again!” GREAT!!! Come on, Megan. You have 26 minutes to get 2 more miles… But how long is this hill?!! It wasn’t steep by any means but it was just one of those long, gradual inclines and my average pace kept dropping: 7’42” . One more water stop: fill that bottle. Then glorious, glorious mile 25! 🌞 Oh! Mile 25, you beautiful downhill beauty, you! Mile 26! “Point 2 more!” I thought. turn the corner – 🤬🤬🤬🤬 Another uphill!!! But I had to dig deep. Even though we had that nice downhill, my mile 25 was a 9’56” pace overall. I closed my eyes and just kept yelling bad words to myself (we all have different ways of coping, I guess 🤷🏻‍♀️) The crowd was yelling. So much support. I was dying a little with each step but f f f f f f (like the little engine that could) and finally: DONE. ⌚ 3:25:15! 🎉🎉🎉🎉 Hooray!!!! I broke into tears! It was over. A volunteer asked “Did you qualify?” I said, “Yeah! FOR NEW YORK!” and I could barely stand. 2 volunteers held onto me as I tried to get my breath back, get my legs solidly under myself, and just process that I had finished the most difficult marathon of my life. (Even when I went to sleep that night, it felt like I was still going downhill – like trying to get your land legs back after being at sea. It was weird.)
💧💧WATER STOPS. I will say this – They had plenty of them (one every 2 miles) and the volunteers were excellent however: the water and Nuun tables were a little too close together. They had little cups (maybe a little bigger than mouthwash cups) and the 2 tables were pretty close together so if you are a grab-and-go runner like me, it was hard to get both at every station. If you managed to get both, you probably wasted a lot of Nuun trying to get that water, too. Also – they ran out of Nuun at mile 20. Thankfully, it was just at that one stop. I stopped to completely refill my bottle at 20, 22, and 24 because I just wasn’t able to get enough on the mountain. If I had relied on the course alone, I don’t think that this would have been a great race for me. Again — they had plenty of stops — they were just a little short. I believe in keeping my momentum on race day so that was really my only critique of this race.
🥳 POST RACE PARTY: I don’t drink but I was looking forward to something bubbly at the finish line. Since it was hosted at the high school, alcohol was not allowed. A vendor there had some sparkling water or something but the advertised flavors either weren’t brought or the half-marathoners got the good stuff, leaving the dregs for the marathoners. 🙄 One vendor had this snickerdoodle-flavored protein powder. I went back after the finishers were pretty much done and the lady let me have 4 more cups of it! 😋😋😋 That was totally awesome of her. There were people giving out popsicles. Someone had ice creak drumsticks if you signed up for whatever mailing list they had. There was a tent where you could get official times printed off and if you BQ’d (which I did because my BQ time is only 3:40) you got a little luggage tag. 😊 It was cute. I was really pleased with this race. I can’t believe I blew 22 seconds per mile off my pace in that last 10K but I made it: I got my time-qualifier for New York so my 6-Star journey can be complete.
❓❓❓ Would I do this again? Nope. Maybe the one in New Hampshire. I was fine walking around the rest of the day but as soon as I stopped moving I was toast. Unless I worked my wall-sits up to 3 hours 25 minutes each, I don’t think that I could have prepared myself well enough for this beast. I loved it. Who doesn’t love a PR? (Though I’m still going to try to hit that same time on another course.)
So – that was my experience. Train those quads. Train those soleus muscles, and be prepared to hurt. It’s worth it if you can dig deep.
Happy Running!

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4
My Media

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

I'll tell you what - this course kicked my 🍑, but I loved every minute of it. Let's do this! 👊🏼EXPO! The expo had a lot of vendors and a … MORE

I’ll tell you what – this course kicked my 🍑, but I loved every minute of it. Let’s do this!
👊🏼EXPO! The expo had a lot of vendors and a nice variety of them, too. I saw a lady selling pierogi across from a moonshine stand. Only one place selling gutters, too. 😄😄 (See my review for Boston for more on that.) Raw Threads had an awesome shirt (a few, actually) but the RUN STEEL CITY design was phenomenal. You should check them out at http://www.rawthreads.com .
The expo was easy to get to – it was at the convention center in downtown. Not a big fuss. The weather was gorgeous on Saturday when I went so it was a beautiful walk to get there.
Packet pick-up was simple – tell them your number, get your bib. T-shirt pick-up was behind them and they had a place to exchange shirts if you wanted to. (I did. I like baggy shirts.)
They had a stage for guest speakers but I didn’t hang around for them. It was so nice outside. They had a lot of places for photo ops around the expo, too.
The only critique that I had was that they didn’t give us a bag for the shirt and bib. The relay runners seemed to have them from the FedEx sponsor, but the rest of us had to buy something from someone or just stuff the bib in the polybag in which the shirt was wrapped (no handle.) A small gripe but just an FYI.
👊🏼 START LINE: We stayed at the Westin which is adjacent to the convention center. Signs for the corrals were right outside out door. We were in A but decided to run with friends in corral B. There was a massive line for the portapotties between A and B as we walked over. When I met my friend in B, he said “I’m in line for the bathroom.” I thought “great. It’ll be an hour before he’s here.” My other friend said “there’s portapotties over there, maybe he’s in those.” So fear not, my friends! there are plenty of portapotties if you spread out a little more.
👊🏼THE COURSE: From reading other posts here, I knew that this would be hilly. I just naively thought that my bouts in St. Louis and Boston would have prepared me for them. Nope. Not even close. I run a lot and am no stranger to endurance events but man- these hills are just relentless. 😄😄 It was flat once. Everything else: you’re either going up or down. Twice, we were doing downhill but the road was sloped in the opposite direction of an upcoming turn and I said to my friend “man, even the downhills are uphill!” Important notes: 🚨 Mile 12.5 is the beast hill. I swear it’s a solid mile of uphill but the race has this great thing: “HILL HELPERS” (or something like that.) These wonderful souls who run with you and try to keep you motivated as you climb this beast! How delightful! All day, they go up and down this thing. Isn’t that nice? 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 Bravo to these people and to the race directors for thinking about this! This was wonderful! 🚨 You will be rewarded for that climb at mile 22 or 23 on the most glorious downhill you will ever know. It’s not a quad-crushing, steep downhill like the first 10K at Boston – it’s just a really nice, fast (and long) downhill. Take what it gives you.
💧 Water stations were about 1.5 miles at the start. It seemed that they became more frequent as the race went on. That may have been my imagination. They have Nuun drink first, then water second. I love when the races stay consistent with this from table to table. I’m not a fan of the Nuun so I carry my BCAAs with me and refill my bottle at one of the water stations. (which probably cost me some time, but my thighs needed a little rest anyway.) They seemed to be a little light on volunteers in the first few stations but I usually skip those and volunteers are hard to come by. I was happier to have them at the end of the race anyway.
🍌🍊 Throughout the course, spectators, neighbors, local clubs and organizations, etc. were handing out treats. The race had some sort of gel packs about every 3 miles or so (don’t quote me on that) after mile 6 The crowd support was fantastic. The German club at mile 2 was great. Up on the hill playing their traditional music. I loved it.
🎽🏅 The shirt was a long-sleeved tech shirt. Ladies got a v-neck. I’m 5’7″ and weigh 140 lbs. I got a large shirt because I like them baggy. The medal is also a beast. It’s weighs 9 ounces (that’s more than a half a pound.)
👊🏼 I wanted to sub-4 every marathon that I run but I seriously underestimated these hills. And it’s all good – I had a blast at this race this weekend. I’m a sucker for architecture and industrial American history so I caught myself sight-seeing a couple of times on this course and had to remind myself that I was in the middle of a marathon. I loved it. If you want to challenge yourself, this is the place to do it.
Good luck to you and happy running!

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

Last year, I went to the corral where I was assigned and the first 10K obliterated my quads. By mile 10, I thought, "I never want to run this race … MORE

Last year, I went to the corral where I was assigned and the first 10K obliterated my quads. By mile 10, I thought, “I never want to run this race ever again.”
This year, I started one corral back and was able to just run as I felt comfortable (instead of just running way too fast to avoid being stampeded.) What a difference that made! My goal was just to sub-4 after my extremely disappointing run at Go! St. Louis 2 weeks prior. Imagine my surprise when I came in under 3:45!
The thing about Boston is this: if you can, you run it. No matter what the swag, portapotty situation, entry fee, etc. You run it. (and none of those things that I mentioned were bad, either. Everything is taken care of at the Boston Marathon. The SWAG is your shirt, a simple medal, and the Sam Adams Boston Lager bottle opener but- it’s the Boston Marathon. The clout/prestige that comes with those is enough.)
The expo wasn’t great this year unless you were looking for new rain gutters, wanted to get your hair curled, or happened to be in the market for air boots or a new percussion massager. After the big Boston Marathon/Adidas shop and the free Sam Adams booth, there really wasn’t much by way of the expo.
Here are my 2 favorite on-course things about Boston: (1) there are no bikes anywhere in sight. Not one (unless you are an elite and have a guide.) (2) There are water stops and medical tents-a-plenty! You don’t really have to keep anything on your person at all. It’s so well-equipped. [They’ve been doing this for 127 years so they know a thing or two.] So if you get accepted, run it. Enjoy it, Plenty of crowd support. Plenty of aid. Plenty of everything. Phenomenal experience.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

The "expo" was at Tower Grove Park. It's a beautiful park. You pick up your bib at one end then walk 1/4-mile to the other end to get your bag. … MORE

The “expo” was at Tower Grove Park. It’s a beautiful park. You pick up your bib at one end then walk 1/4-mile to the other end to get your bag. This helps to make sure that the vendors get some exposure. It was simple enough.
The race started at Forest Park in front of the visitor center. I was a pacer who came in from out of town so I took an Uber to the start but there was plenty of parking available. I had no issues with dropping my bag or portapotties at the start of the race- there were plenty in the parking lot and I did not have to wait. I *DID* see a lot of people asking volunteers where they could drop their bags. Since I happened to get dropped off right at the bag drop area, I knew where it was but they could have used a sign or a light to point it out to other runners.
I didn’t use the shuttles but I know that they offered them since this was a point-to-point race.
I guess some pacers have different styles. There were 2 of us per time. My style is usually to hold a steady pace throughout the race- not stopping at water stations, portapotties, or up hills. My copacer wanted to give people time to bank for an impending headwind and uphill at the end of the race. I wanted to show solidarity so I stuck with him but that wore me out. By mile 11, we were 6 minutes ahead of schedule. When he went to the portapotty at mile 14, I slowed down but I think that the damage was already done. There are many hills on this course. For an 8’47” min/mile pace, this should not have been a problem for me but blazing up them at 8’11” so early in the race was exhausting for me. I’m an experienced pacer and I’ve run more than 100 marathons – I should have just done my own thing and stuck to my plan the whole time. If anyone ran with me/us, I’m sorry if you ran out of steam, too.
Around mile 16, you head up a hill that takes you right by the arch. It’s really very beautiful. Lot of people stopping to take selfies. By this time, the half marathoners and 10Kers have sort of joined back up and the signs of where to run got a little confusing – so ask the volunteers which way to go. At mile 18, you head down toward the boring, pothole/gravel/puddle-filled part of the course along the river. It is out-and-back with not a lot to look at. It’s an old industrial area. I rounded the turn-around point at about 21.8 and my co-pacer met back up with me. On our way back, a runner was on the ground being attended to. I have learned that he survived but it shook me up at the time and we tried to warn oncomers that they needed to prepare to give them room (run in the grass, etc. so they could attend to the young man) it’s hard to do when people are tuned into their music. I lost my footing (slipped on some gravel on a downhill turn while trying to warn the oncomers) and overcorrected myself. I should have let myself fall but I twisted my ankle a bit, my hip went wonky, and I knew that I wouldn’t hit my 3:50 mark. I lowered my pace sign, flipped my shirt inside-out and finished the race. There’s a steep climb leading to the finish line (the same downhill at mile 17.5, just in the opposite direction.) Beware of that.
I really hate when I miss my mark in a pacing situation and I was so worried about that runner who was down. I think that I would have enjoyed this marathon if not for those things. I really loved St. Louis and its history. I looked forward to this race for a long time. I may try to run it again on my own. I loved the shirt. The medal was pretty, and they had a lot at the finish line by way of snacks (I didn’t see a medical tent- I could have used some ice) but overall, I was disappointed in my performance. Poor performance can kill the vibe of a race.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

The race directors have no control over the weather. This is my 3rd or 4th year running the marathon - I've had heat, rain, cold. This is the first year … MORE

The race directors have no control over the weather. This is my 3rd or 4th year running the marathon – I’ve had heat, rain, cold. This is the first year I’ve had 40mph wind gusts, though! 😄😄 It made for a very interesting uphill on the 2nd (and 4th) bridge! I expected the portapotty to be tipped over by the 2nd loop but it held in there.
🌞 The race expo is always quaint. Local vendors and sponsors are there to highlight items that may be beneficial to runners and/or introduce their services to the community. The DripBar had a spin-the-wheel where people could get a number of prizes including infrared light therapy, B12 shots, Salt Sauna Sessions, or $25-$50 off one of their IV drips. (They- obviously weren’t providing these services at the expo, but it was a busy booth. Everyone likes to spin the wheel (and apparently everyone was hoping for a B12 shot, too.))
🐝 This year’s these was the Year of the Honey Bee and I was so delighted to see a local bee keeper there selling honey and honey-derived products. They also brought a piece of the hive with them and I was mesmerized. I probably watched the bees for 5 minutes. I also bought some pepper honey. Pretty good stuff. **Support the local vendors.** (especially bee keepers. Bees are awesome.)
🎽 Packet pick-up is simple enough – show your ID, get your bib. I didn’t order a shirt. I have a lot of shirts and – sadly, I don’t wear a lot of them so save your money, race director.
🌞 The race starts right where they held packet pick-up. Parking is wherever you find it. I arrived 30 minutes before race start and found a spot less than a football field from the start line. Many locals carpool which helps.
🚻There are plenty of portapotties near the start line and there are flushing toilets in the nearby park. Lines were not long at all.
The Marathon begins about 20 minutes before the half marathon which I like because it thins the crowd a little and makes the 2nd loop feel less lonely and generally helps me to pace myself a little more slowly since I know I have to keep some in the tank for 13.1 more miles than those around me. I wish all races would stagger the marathoners and half marathoners like that.
🌞 The Wednesday before the race, I learned that I had received the Guinness World Record title for running the most consecutive daily ultramarathon distances by a female (23 days). The race director and emcee gave me shout-outs so I thought that was really nice of them. My friend was pacing 3:45 so I ran with him until the first bridge. Along the way, we were chatting with other runners. Some people were asking me for advice on staying motivated, pacing, and fueling. I was more than happy to talk to them.
💧 Water stations were well-placed (about one every 1.5 miles or so) Since it is a smaller race, the nice thing to do is to call out to the volunteers what you need “WATER” or “GATORADE” as you approach the station. This avoids lines and helps to assure that you will get the cup you want. It’s a great system and I had no issues on this course.
🏃🏼‍♀️ The course is very pretty along the water. There are some neighborhoods you have to go through to get the 26.2 miles but most of the time, you are along the water and it is beautiful. There isn’t much by the way of shade but we were lucky to have overcast skies this year for the most part and I wore the hat that they gave us for the first half. (it got too windy for it after a while)
🎶 Local musicians play along the course. This is nice because it is a smaller race and since most of this race is on main roads/highways with a river in between them, it can be difficult for spectators to get from spot-to-spot on foot or by car without disrupting the course.
🌉🌉 Obviously, there are 2 tall bridges. be prepared for them. Every uphill has a downhill, though, so power through then make up for it on the way down. That 2nd bridge was tough with that headwind. Everyone had to deal with it so I couldn’t complain it just made me realize “this won’t be a 3:40 marathon today.”
🌞 In a nutshell – this is a good race. They have lots of water and 32-oz Gatorade bottles at the finish line. Mr. Delicious Pizza 🍕had so much pizza that they were giving away whole boxes by the end of the race. I think that they had Coca-Cola at the end, too. The “kegged” beer was devoured by the half-marathoners and 10K-ers. I don’t drink anyway but someone (maybe the race, maybe some awesome bystander) put some cans of beer on a table at the finish line for the marathoners. That was cool.
🥈🏅 The medal was a beast and it had a honeycomb design on it. I came home with 2nd place in my age group. Since half marathoners make up the bulk of the race – it’s a good chance that you can take home an age group award as a marathoner. (I got 3rd place a few years ago as the 4:30 pacer and didn’t know it. I didn’t think 4:30 was ever fast enough for anything, so if you want to make the podium- give this marathon a try! It’s fun)

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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This is a race put on by runners for runners. The Marathon field is not very large but the course is fast! They always have plenty of volunteers. You never … MORE

This is a race put on by runners for runners. The Marathon field is not very large but the course is fast! They always have plenty of volunteers. You never ever have to wait for water – even in the 2nd lap of the marathon (and I’ve been running the Marathon here every year for 7 of its 10 years – long before I was a sub-4 marathoner. I’ve always had volunteers at-the-ready, waiting to hand out water.) That’s a big deal for me.
Speaking of water (and I will because it was a warm one this year), they have water and Gatorade every 1.25 miles. Perfect! You don’t need to carry any water unless you really want to.
👊🏼 they love giving out sherpa blankets. This year was the 10-year anniversary so the theme was photo reel/ looking back. The blanket had a film reel with all of the past years’ event logos on it. The medal was a working clap board with a filmstrip lanyard showing photos that runners had posted on the events Facebook pages over the years. I saw some of my friends on it and it brought back a lot of memories of past events, past SWAG items, the rain, the sun, the heat, they joy, the pain… you know? Memories of 10 marathons.
👊🏼 I love this race. I love love love love love the finish line party and I’m sure when I get my award, I’ll love that, too. (I came in 3rd in my age group but when I crossed it looked like 4th – someone had dropped from the marathon to the half so I didn’t know until my mom congratulated me when I got home.)
👊🏼 oh yeah! Free massages at the finish line if you’re willing to wait. There’s plenty of food to keep you busy while you so that: black bean soup, pasta salad, pancakes, coffee, coffee cakes, pizza, ohhhh pulled pork and Cole slaw. 😋 I kind of want to run it again right now for the food.

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I was asked on Tuesday if I could join a team and I have never run a trail race before so I didn't know what to expect. First off - … MORE

I was asked on Tuesday if I could join a team and I have never run a trail race before so I didn’t know what to expect. First off – I’ve never known of any event to service the portapotties and handwashing stations as frequently as this Ragnar event. I’d like to just let everyone know that right off the bat. that’s a major Kudos!
The trails were marked well – they were tough but I’m a road runner and didn’t know what to expect. The green loop was the easiest. I did it at night – I’m told that it is brutal during the day because there is no shade. I did the yellow one next (again at night) – lots of mug, BMX-style “jumps” and boardwalks along the way. I did the red one last and started at about 9:30 a.m. It was mostly shaded but the toughest physically because there are some steep climbs. I broke some palm tree “sticks” and made myself hiking sticks for it after the 3rd hill I climbed.
Overall, it wasn’t bad. Like most Ragnar events, your level of enjoyment is going to be influenced most by the people you have around you. I had a good group so it was a good time. The shirt was nice. The medallion was cool and we came in 1st place in our category (I’m not sure what the category was but it’s still cool to come in first place.)
Sorry for the weird review on this one but here’s a note for road runners doing their first trail: expect your pace to be about 1 minute slower than on the road (at least). I slowed down quite a lot to make sure I didn’t hurt myself and just to make sure I could see where I was going. It’s all good.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
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4

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I try to find some light in every race but the only thing I liked was that there were Doritos on course and there was a can of Pepsi at … MORE

I try to find some light in every race but the only thing I liked was that there were Doritos on course and there was a can of Pepsi at the finish line. (they had other pop, too, but I like Pepsi)
• The race website doesn’t give a lot of detail about what you get from it, where exactly the proceeds go, or the elevation profile. There was a note that it was the 10th running of this race (it had been under other names before but – 10 years running…. Wow.)
• no medals for either distance. I thought it may have been because we were pacers but no one got one. I got a plastic disc which some people suggested was a military challenge coin but (1) I’ve seen those before and they are usually metal (2) at a footrace, they are usually something you buy at packet pickup. you still get your medal at the finish line. (At the time I registered, registration was $135. As a pacer, my fee was waived but if I paid $135 and didn’t get a medal, I would be upset.)
• I highly doubt that this thing was USTAF certified as it stated and doubt even further that it is a Boston Qualifier. If you expect to BQ, you should get proof of that certification before you sign up.
• there are no timing mats along the course to record splits or to ensure that people are not cutting the course. There was nothing at the half-marathon turn-around. There was a mat for the marathoners at about 14.75 (volunteers called it “half way”, the course markers had it labeled as 15)
• I was a pacer. Ineligible for awards (I have had that before) but my results are not listed on the results page, either. It’s as though I didn’t participate at all. The result I have listed is from my Garmin.
• As a pacer – I rely on mile markers to ensure that my GPS (and therefore pace) matches what the course should be. Mile markers are usually a little off but these had such swings that we were picking up and slowing down constantly to hit the marks.
• As a pacer, your pacees sort of rely on you to know the course. They told us at the start of the race , “when in doubt, follow the cones.” There were no cones and we went straight at one of the forks when someone said “what are those cones?” across a field to the right. Since there was no penalty, one of our pacees cut across the field to get to those cones. We ran up to the road and turned around. The 3:50 pacers ended up doing an extra mile (thankfully, they had no runners with them.)
• water stations were every 2 miles. There is nothing wrong with this. Be prepared to grab from the table as there are not enough volunteers to hand it out. Have patience and kindness for volunteers. We are lucky to have them.
• some people don’t care about this but they didn’t sing the national anthem…on a military base. I thought that was odd.
Sorry, fellas. You really missed the mark on this.

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The shirt was the hook that got me to look at the race. Last year's results had me thinking "I can make the podium!" I think that everyone else must … MORE

The shirt was the hook that got me to look at the race. Last year’s results had me thinking “I can make the podium!” I think that everyone else must have caught wind of that notion, too! The thought of making the podium is why I signed up.
👊🏼 The race directors had the best Race Information packet I’ve ever received. No BS – just straightforward, succinct information. No fluff. No flowery language just “this is where you go for this. This is the time it starts. You can park here. Water will be here, here, and here. Spectators can see you here, here, and here. This is what the course is like…” spot-on.
👊🏼 The production company had another race that same weekend nearby so they had a dual packet pickup. It made sense. They also had a 4-mile race on Saturday (that gave a bonus medal if you did both races in the same weekend) so it made logistic sense to host the packet pick-ups in the same venue. Simple enough – produce ID, get your packet. (gear-check bags available on request and they had safety pins at the table if you wanted to grab them.) The shirt did not disappoint. I don’t regret flying from Florida to Ohio for a shirt. 😊 Since I came directly from the Cleveland Airport and wanted to check out how gravelly the course was, we got the the expo as they were packing things up. I didn’t see a lot of vendors (a guy selling event Merch (I bought a beanie. It was irresistible to me. I love in Florida– I don’t often need a beanie but it was cute.) There was also a guy selling some really nice medal displays that looked more like home décor than medal displays. If I can give a shout-out — prestigemedaldisplays.com — never would have thought of displaying my medals like that. Check them out.
👊🏼 Something clever I think that they did was they had a local school design the mile markers (so every mile had a marker, which was nice). They were all Halloween-themed and after the race, they sold them. The money went back to the school’s art department. I like that a lot. It gets the community involved. (and – hopefully – will get some kids hooked on running 😜)
👊🏼I didn’t pay for preferred parking. I parked at the field where they suggested and – like they suggested – I wrapped my feet in plastic shopping bags (shower caps will do, too) because it was a grassy field and dew was settled on the grass — keep your feet dry, my friends. No one likes cold, soggy socks. 💡 I liked that suggestion and will put it in my mental notes for future races. The bus ride was – maybe 5 minutes away. They dropped us off and we walked across the street to the park where the preferred parking, finish line, portapotties, and bag-drop area was. It is by no means a busy street so it was not a big deal to cross the street from the bus.
♥ Sometimes when I run, there are images that just stick in my mind forever (the sun rising over a field of wheat at Disneyland Paris half was one of them — gorgeous.) Well, I had one of those moments at this race, too. Now, picture this: it’s autumn. The leaves are changing. Dew has settled on the grass. You’re running along the Ohio/Erie Canal. It’s 40ºF. Steam is rising off the water. There’s a little fog. The sun has barely peaked over the horizon. Along the trail (probably every 25 feet or so) there is a tiki torch lit. It is perfectly quiet except the sound of your feet and – every once in a while – a crackle from one of those tiki torches. I wish I had gotten a video. It was beautiful. 🍁🍁🍁
🚽 They had 49 portapotties on course and at the start line — Neither at the beginning nor after the race did I have to wait. They were clean and stocked with both plenty of TP and hand sanitizer.
🛍 bag drop was not particular. If you had a bag (any bag) that you wanted to drop to have after the race, they had a covered picnic area with tables where the DJ was. you could drop your bag. Someone was there watching it but the race was so small, there may have been 25 people who actually dropped a bag. Everyone else probably just used their cars. I had a while to drive back to my parents’ house so I wanted to change before I left.
🛣 THE COURSE – the course is a mixture of blacktop and a finely-packed gravel. (kind of like running on kitty litter that had been run on for a few years.) there were enough little stones where I could see something may get into my shoes so when I did my recon mission the day before, I decided that I was going to wear my gaiters over my shoes. I’m glad that I did — they were quite dusty when I finished the race. There’s one hill about .25-miles into the race that may last for a 10th of a mile. That’s pretty much it until a few small rises where the trails meet the cross roads and a “boardwalk bridge” around mile 17.8 or so that you cross out and on the way back (at about mile 20-ish). That bridge is nothing compared to the first hill – you barely notice it.
1️⃣ The mile markers were a little haphazard. I mean, we WERE running in the woods. If there was a fallen tree, a log, a drop-off, etc., they had to put the sign as close as they could without putting it on the actual trail itself. Some were a little long. Some were a little short. In the end, I was sad that I crossed the finish line, stopped by watch and saved the data. When I loaded up my Garmin, I went to add my MARATHON BADGE — no marathon badge. 😟 It only recorded 26.17 miles. I think that the GPS was a little spotty in places as there were some places were my watch beeped “SLOW DOWN” and 1/2-second later it was beeping “HURRY UP!”
🚨🚨🚨 LOOK AT YOUR WATCH WHEN YOU CROSS THE FINISH LINE AND STOP IT AT 26.2 IF YOU WANT YOUR GARMIN MARATHON BADGE 🚨🚨🚨
💧Other than the course being a little short and me not getting another Marathon badge, I have only one gripe: I love volunteers. I love that they come out and support the race but water station volunteers should be handing out water. I always carry a bottle with me as supplemental water. I use what is on course but I carry a 0.5L bottle with me, too. Water stops can only be placed along this course where road intersections are and -if you read the race guide/instructions- you know that there are 2 stretches on the course where there are about 3 miles between water stops. 13.5 – about 16.5 and (on the way back) 22.5 – 25.5. As I approached the one at 22.5, I called out “water, water! I need water!” They were jumping up and down, cheering but no one grabbed a water to hand to me. I tried to grab one from the table, I missed it and knocked over a few more in the process. My throat got a huge lump in it. I was choking up. I wanted to cry I was on a mission — I had been counting the female marathoners on the turn-arounds – I had a chance to make the podium. I’m not stopping at water tables. So fighting back tears, I moved on with my life — about 5 miles without water since I missed that one. I was throwing blessings and kisses to the volunteers at 25.5. I didn’t care that I could have all the water in the world .7 miles from there. I took 2 cups at that station. 🌟Great volunteers at that table. 🌟 Mad props to the life-savers at mile 25 water stop! 🤜🏼🤛🏻
While I gave it everything I had, I didn’t make my goal that day. I can’t blame it on anything other than the fact that I didn’t train hard enough this summer. I managed to snag 3rd place in my age group. It was my first trophy that I ever thought I was fast enough to get (at 2 other races, I placed but didn’t think I was fast enough to warrant anything and didn’t find out until well after I got home 🤷🏻‍♀️) but I checked in at this one and she said “3rd place!” 😃😄😄😄 I GOT A TROPHY! (The medal was great, too. I was impressed that each distance got a unique design, too.)
❔❔Would I run it again ?? I always say I’d only ever run a race once but then – you know – sometimes they have a way of pulling you back in. Maybe I will. All-in-all, I loved it! (a little salty about not getting my Garmin badge but I have a trophy!)
Run this race! It’s fun! 😊

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I wasn't going to write a review because events like Boston, New York, Chicago, etc. are not usually races where you wonder, "Oh, should I do this?  Let's see what … MORE

I wasn’t going to write a review because events like Boston, New York, Chicago, etc. are not usually races where you wonder, “Oh, should I do this?  Let’s see what people have to say.” If you can do them- you do them. But I’m still buzzing from Boston so here it goes:
Nothing could have prepared me for what Boston was. The Boston Marathon is not just a road race.  It’s not just a “world class sporting event.” I’ve run Berlin.  I’ve run Chicago. Boston, though, felt like a hometown, community fun run (just surrounded by world-class athletes and some of the strongest, fastest amateur marathoners in the world.)  You don’t start in a huge metropolitan city- you start in front of a cute little church and some dude’s house.  The whole time, neighbors are out on the streets cheering you. (The whole time meaning- as you walk to your corral until after you cross the finish line.)
• People talk about Heartbreak Hill just after mile 20- no one tells you the the first 10k is like a downhill “running of the bulls.” 😆😆 my legs were done by mile 7. At 10, I thought, “I never want to run this again!” But once I sort of “leveled out,” I loved every minute! While Boston doesn’t offer pace groups or pacers, they do such a wonderful job placing runners in the corrals based on their (I can only presume) qualifying times that you don’t have to worry about being stuck behind that one runner who is walking 2 minutes into the race or the one from corral J who snuck up to B. The volunteers were diligent- “you can go back to another corral but not ahead.”  I think that that is part of the appeal, too: people weren’t even trying to.jump.corrals. Those who run Boston know this event is a big deal- it’s not a throw-away race where race etiquette is optional. There are rules, both spoken and unspoken, that you follow.
• I’ve been absolutely gushing about my time in Boston since I have been back yet, now that I am writing a review, I feel lost for words. It was the most amazing experience of my life so far- the shirt and medal are simple but they come with a lot of clout and are now my favorites.
• If I can give one piece of advice to Boston first-timers it would be this: work on your quads strength and/or downhill running. That first 10k is tough and can take a toll on your quads.
Good luck 🍀 and Happy Running

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My Media

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I told myself last time "twice is enough" but the song of the siren that is the Shamrock Marathon beckoned me, once again, to the shores of Virginia Beach. I … MORE

I told myself last time “twice is enough” but the song of the siren that is the Shamrock Marathon beckoned me, once again, to the shores of Virginia Beach. I wasn’t sure how this one was going to be: Starting December 4, 2021, I attempted the Guinness World Record for the most consecutive days to run a marathon distance for a female and my leg gave out 14 miles into marathon #42. That took me out of running for several weeks. But I invited a friend from an online running group to join me at this event (he came from Baltimore) and we ran it together…for the most part. He told me to go get my sub-4 at mile 23 so I took off.
☘ It was the 50-year anniversary of this race and it did not disappoint. The course can be a little light on crowd support but there are pockets of people cheering along the way. Running with a friend this year: I barely noticed. This course is flat, flat, flat except for the bridge that marathoners cross twice at about mile 15 and (maybe) 23.5 (the way “out” is much worse than the way back.)
☘ this is the first time that I’ve done the race where they gave a unisex shirt so when I got my Medium, I was swimming in it but I don’t mind. I have plenty of shirts. As usual, we get a hat and blanket after we cross the finish line as well as the snacks and the cinch bag to carry it all in.
☘ I say “no more Shamrock Marathon” but I’m sure I’ll be back again. It’s such a good course and there are enough marathoners after the half-marathoners break away that you don’t feel lonely or as if you’re the only one out there… who am I kidding? I’ll be back. This is the first time I didn’t PR without trying but under the circumstances: I’m more than happy with my sub-4!
☘Do this race. Swag, scenery, and after party are worth it.

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There were a lot of positives about the Erlanger Chattanooga Marathon but I could not get over how poor the water stations were. I always carry a bottle with me … MORE

There were a lot of positives about the Erlanger Chattanooga Marathon but I could not get over how poor the water stations were. I always carry a bottle with me because I supplement what I get on the course with what I carry with me. I want to make sure I’m covered in case I miss a stop. (I’m not wasting time in a race to wait in line: I like to grab, go, and grab again if I spill too much of the first one.) I was really disappointed that 2 of the stops were in the middle of downhill slopes after heavy inclines. At a point where you hope to make up some time, you have to “slam the brakes” to grab water.
not only does this kill your momentum, it obliterates your quads, too. Two stops were positioned like this which meant 4 water stops for the marathon. What’s more – the first 2 stops (when all runners (full and half) are all trying to get water) could have used a 2nd table about 10 yards apart from each other. When you only have one chance to grab water and 6′ to do it you either skip the stop or wait in line – neither option is ideal. Whether or not water was handed to you or just poured by a volunteer and pushed to the edge of the table for you to grab seemed to be up to the volunteers some tables handed it out – others just made sure cups were available for you. I don’t blame volunteers – volunteers are hard to come by for full marathons – but a little more instruction would have helped. We runners like consistency. — so that was my big “you should know” portion of my review.
• • •
The race organizers sent out maps and addresses for the packet pick-up and race-day parking; however if you are not from the area and needed to get there, some signage on the streets (due to road closures for the course) would have been helpful. I managed. It was a slight inconvenience but I made it work.
Packet pickup was easy enough. I love the shirt – I love shirts that I can wear around because I never wear shirts when I train. I absolutely loved the medal. I would have purchased a pint glass (I love a good pint glass) if it had anything about it being from the Erlanger Chattanooga Marathon – it was just the shoe logo which resembles a peanut.
They had a decent number of vendors – many sponsors of the race- but they had some give-aways that I picked up because I also love to spin the wheel for a prize (especially free sunglasses.)
• • •
RACE DAY
Getting to the race was easy enough. It started as the same place as the expo. In addition to the portapotties (of which there were plenty), there are also some heated bathrooms in the pavilion. Lining up for the race was odd. The “chute” was up but it didn’t say “START” or “FINISH” on it so we didn’t know which way to face and had to ask the MC. We lined up (pacers being sort of the “corral leaders” and they sent the runners off in 3 “waves”: the sub 9’00″/ mile group, the 9’00” – 12’00” group, and the over 12’00″/mile group (each starting one minute after another.) [The MC originally said “if you’re going to go all out and come across this line huffing and puffing, then we want you up front” ….um…. no. Endurance runners don’t do that. If there are runners who think that’s how it’s done, we want them at the very back.]
• • •
THE COURSE
The course was beautiful. It was my first time to Chattanooga and it’s a lovely town. You can see that they are trying to make improvements, too. After the half-marathoners go to finish, the marathoners start their second loop which is not exactly the same as the first – we get a nice bit of miles on the Chattanooga River Walk. Although it was concrete, it was nice because it was flat and the views from the path were absolutely stunning. I was expecting a water station when we got off the Riverwalk path but it was not there on the 2nd loop. the portapotties were still there but no water station and that really had me concerned for the back-of-the-pack marathoners.
• • •
Would I run it again? Yes. Now that I know I should probably rely on my own water more than what the course has to offer, I would run it again. The volunteers made great crowd support. The town was friendly. The course was beautiful with the leaves changing and that smell of bonfires. (now – this was in November – it may be different in Springtime.)

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For years, Indy was hailed as "my favorite race in the USA so far." Shamrock in Virginia Beach is a very close 2nd... my only complaint about Indy Monumental this … MORE

For years, Indy was hailed as “my favorite race in the USA so far.” Shamrock in Virginia Beach is a very close 2nd… my only complaint about Indy Monumental this year was that they were not checking bibs into the corrals. (Maybe they were in the beginning but when I got there, they were not. I had a B but I walked into A because I thought that you entered the corral at the back and moved forward to the front of your corral – not fight back to find a place in your corral: no one is moving back to the back of the corral.) I *did* move back to B because that was where I belonged but then, I was disappointed that my target pacer (3:25) was not in my corral. (I asked at the expo- they said that he or she would be in corral B). I passed people with Ds and Es within the first 2 miles. … why assign corrals if you’re going to let people go where they want anyway?
This is still a great race! I love it! I’ll always recommend it to other runners but for as large as this race is and as “fast” as this field is- I wish that they would check bibs as people enter the corrals and if you’ll sub 3:45, ask for proof of time. (I can’t remember if they do that.)
• • • BOTTOM LINE • • •
If you’re on the fence about whether or not to do this one — just sign up. You won’t regret it. It’s frickin fast and flat. The weather is always nice as long as you can keep your hands and face warm. (I got rid of my gloves too early and it played mental games with me until I finally wised up and picked up a pair off the ground.)

DIFFICULTY
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SCENERY
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This race was very boring for me. Most of it was long a running trail with not much to look at. (I saw signs that said "Lake Washington" but never … MORE

This race was very boring for me. Most of it was long a running trail with not much to look at. (I saw signs that said “Lake Washington” but never saw a lake.) There were few spectators on the course and the first few miles are on a “lower” road so GPS was spotty. When the GPS recovered, every mile was off – but not consistently throughout the race. the 4th mile marker read as 4.43 for me, then mile marker 5 read 5.1 for me. The field was not dense enough to have to consider weaving in and out of people, not was the running trail winding or wide enough to think that tangents were affecting the distance. It became discouraging towards the end of the race when you encounter out-and-back parts of the course.
The race didn’t seem to have enough volunteers – I carry water with me, but it seemed like they were racing to fill cups when I approached a water stop that was about a mile after the half-marathoners split away from us. This was not too large of a race and with it being the 50th year, I was under the impression that they would have known how many volunteers to put on the course. (there were plenty at the finish line handing out medals and blankets)
The shirt was nice. The medal was nice. My favorite parts of this event were the finish line area and the expo: after we crossed the finish line, we were able to go into a heated building where we got our post-race food and drinks. The vendors at the expo and the finish line area were super nice and the areas where they were held were tidy and well-organized.
My hotel was a 6-minute walk from the start and finish line, so I was able to wake up, get breakfast, go back to my room for one last pit-stop and be on my merry way.
***oh yeah – there was a massive hill at mile 23. Don’t waste your heart rate on that. Just walk it. You’ll make up for it on the downhill – your quads can hurt tomorrow ☺ ***
WASHINGTON STATE: ✓

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This is the 2nd time that I have run this race. I ran it in 2017 and PR'd (PB'd) my marathon by almost 23 minutes. It was the first time … MORE

This is the 2nd time that I have run this race. I ran it in 2017 and PR’d (PB’d) my marathon by almost 23 minutes. It was the first time I broke 4 hours and I had 7 minuted to spare.
My mission this time was to BQ. (My BQ time is 3:35:00 and my personal best so far was 2019 Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach, VA USA at a 3:49:21.
I finished Dublin this year at 3:30:06 (A BQ with 4 minutes, 54 seconds to spare) – and I stopped at one of the water stations to make sure that I filled my bottle with Lucazene (whatever their electrolyte drink is called – it’s good, I just can’t remember the name of it) and I also walked 2 hills. the crowd is excellent. the fellow runners are considerate. They give you full, flip-top squirt bottles of water at every other mile, so you can carry it with you if you wish or (if not) there’s enough weight in it to properly chuck it off-course. End result: you’re not stepping over 22,500 + cups at every station.
I will never ever ever ever ever have anything bad to say about this race. I really wish I lived there (or closer to there, or in a city where direct-flights are frequent and cheap) because this could very well become my annual adventure. I love this race. I love it. I love my shirt (which you get after you get your medal, not at the expo), I love my beanie hat (which we got at packet pick-up). I love it all. Plenty of portapotties. Well-organized bag drop. the volunteers are like no others
The best part of this year was that – when I crossed the finish line, I stopped my watch and threw my arms up in jubilation! 3:30:08 and I lost it. I just started crying. A nice Irish man asked, “are you OK?” and another guy said “ah – those are tears of happiness if I’ve ever seen them, lad!” When I could finally get my breath back enough to say “20 minutes! My personal best by 20 minutes!” both guys gave me a big hug and I got several pats on the back. I’ve cried at the end of a lot of races, but there’s something about Ireland – people are SO NICE.
They’ve changed this to a lottery system next year, but if you can find your way into this race – do it. It’s fantastic. (the half in September is good, too)
The best thing about this race: it will NEVER,(never ever ever ever ever) be “too hot.” I’ve signed up for autumn and winter races up north in the States and you’re never really guaranteed good temps (I think of my friends all doing Chicago in 2017 – it was 85ºF for them, while I enjoyed 38ºF in Dublin.)
P.S. Irish Stew and Mashed Potatoes is good luck the day before your race. it’s worked for me on my last 5 fastest marathons. ☺

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I pace a lot of races. I love doing it. It gives me the opportunity to go to new places and help others meet their goals. For someone who grew … MORE

I pace a lot of races. I love doing it. It gives me the opportunity to go to new places and help others meet their goals. For someone who grew up in Ohio and has “season withdrawal,” this race was perfect. I’ve been training all summer in Central Florida towards an 8’12” pace for my upcoming marathon in Dublin, IE, so when I looked back and saw that I signed up to be the 4:20 pacer, I panicked. (That’s going to be painfully slow.)
Well, the weather delayed the start of the race by an hour and the temperature was set to hit 88ºF that day. Luckily, we had overcast skies for the first half of the race and there was plenty of shade along the route, too, until about mile 20.
I usually give a port-a-potty report, so let me get that out of the way: not only did they have the stand-alone plastic stalls, they also had the 6-stall trailers with the lights in the ceiling (the lights weren’t on in the morning, but they had plenty of lavatories and they seemed to be well-stocked both at the start and finish of the race. ) Hand sanitizer was also full.
Due to the sheer volume of participants and the 10K early start-time, we had to meet our shuttle no later than 5:30 a.m. The 10K started at 6:00 or 6:30 and the full & half started at 7:30 (were supposed to).
The course was hilly for a girl whose normal elevation change on any given run is 10 ft, but the downhills were great. The streets were well-maintained and marked. (I grew up in Northeastern Ohio and when I ran the football Hall of Fame marathon, there were potholes everywhere and I said “oh yeah! I’m back in Ohio and Snow-plow season just ended.” I figured poor streets were an Ohio thing.)
The water-stations were heavily-manned and EXTREMELY well-stocked. They handed out cold sponges at 2 points on the route, but I only remember one gel hand-out point.
I thought that the course was beautiful. The homes on the Air Force Base are nice, old brink houses that I love and almost all of them had an American flag flying. ♥
I wish that I had more to say about this race. I had so much fun with my fellow pacers and the folks who were running with us that the miles just flew by…until around mile 23 when the hills started again and I lost 2 of my co-pacers and almost all of my “pacees.”
The marathon finished and started at the Air Force Museum. ~~ (If you are traveling from out-of-town, or if you live nearly and have never been: I suggest that you check it out. It’s free. I tried to do a quick 1-hour walk-through before my shift at the Expo but barely had enough time for one room – so plan a day or 2 to really take it all in.) ~~
Sorry about that sidebar: the marathon finished at the Air Force Museum on what I can only explain as a runway. Yes – it was hot – but they had misting fans and hoses along the way as soon as you crossed, bottles of water as you approached and after you crossed the finish line, and heat sheets to reflect the sun away from you. I went to the medical tent to get ice but they gave me a squeezable ice packet thing that “ran out” after about 2 minutes. We got a hat and a medal at the finish line and a bag to hold the water, Gatorade, potato chips, bananas, etc. that were handed out at the finish line. As a pacer, my shirt said “Panera Pace Team” and the back said “Follow me to the bagels.” They had regular bagels and some sort of delightful cinnamon/heaven combination bagel, too. Nomnomnom. Thanks for not running out, Panera!
I don’t usually drink, but I did grab a beer because the bubbles and frosty exterior of the cup looked so refreshing. I rubbed the cup on my forehead to cool down. 😀
This is not a great review, but I can say this: I would TOTALLY do this one again. I loved it. I think that this had the coolest finish lines because we could seek shade under giant airplanes and fighter jets. (Where else can you do that?) I also thought that the volunteers did a fantastic job: from Expo to Finish Line – they were top-notch.
Thank your veterans and your volunteers. We can’t do any of this without them.
Happy Running!

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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This was the 2nd time that I paced it. I didn't remember signing up but the coordinator said "I have you as the 2-hour pacer for this one." I asked … MORE

This was the 2nd time that I paced it. I didn’t remember signing up but the coordinator said “I have you as the 2-hour pacer for this one.” I asked to be moved because May in Florida on the beach where the sun beats down and reflects back at you is not fun; so she moved me to 2:10. I always carry water, but it was not enough. I had a hat, but could have used a sombrero or a robot to carry a parasol along side of me. There are only 2 or 3 water stations on this course and each one might have 2 or 3 volunteers working at them. I looked one of the volunteers right in the eye, pointed to him, called out “gatorade” and another runner swiped it right out of my hand. He tried to apologize but that was it: as a pacer, I can’t go back, I have to maintain a pace; so as I approached the next water station, I told my pacees that I was going ahead so I could refill my bottle at the cooler. I met back up with them and at the next stop, the volunteers were trying their best to keep up but the coolers were at the top of the dunes and the runners were along the shoreline. The 2-hour pacer handed me her sign and dropped out. I left my shoes with some strangers with a red umbrella at mile 12 and came back for them later. After I crossed (at 2h 12 min), I went back for my shoes but grabbed 2 bottles of water from the troughs, used my earrings to poke holes in the lids and “showered” the runners as they passed me. They thanked me but I felt really bad when there was no water at the end when I got back the 2nd time. Granted, most people were walking, but I still felt bad about that.
They have moved this to the end of March, when I normally pace another race, so I will not be doing this one again, but good luck is you choose to do this one.
I hope that the weather is much better for you.
Happy Running.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
2
SWAG
2

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

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

3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

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

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

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

3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

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

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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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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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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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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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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
My Media

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•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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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
My Media

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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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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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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?

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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