My Profile

@dansolera

Chicago, IL Raving since 2014 50 states aspirant/finisher Dan's Marathon active 1 month, 2 weeks ago

About Me

  • Running club(s):
  • Rave race:

    Chicago Marathon

  • Race that's calling my name:

    London Marathon

  • I run because:

    It gives me a tangible, measurable form of personal improvement; it allows me to see the world in a way that few people attempt; and it lets me re-connect with old friends and meet fascinating new people.

My races

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

Personal Bests (11)

Race Distance Location Date Result
50 Miler La Grange, WI May 14, 2016 10:19:57
50K Chicago, IL Oct 29, 2016 4:40:14
Marathon Fargo, ND May 9, 2015 3:16:07
25K Willow Springs, IL Mar 26, 2016 2:17:29
Half Marathon Chicago, IL Jun 7, 2014 1:29:42
11.5 Miler Highland Park, IL Aug 23, 2015 1:19:08
10 Miler Chicago, IL Apr 18, 2015 1:08:08
10K Chicago, IL Jun 27, 2015 40:12
8K Chicago, IL Apr 2, 2017 30:43
3.5 Miler Chicago, IL May 21, 2015 21:46
5K Chicago, IL Jun 11, 2015 18:52

Future Races (0)

Race Distance Location Date Paid

Past Races (67)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
8K Chicago, IL Apr 2, 2017 30:43
50K Chicago, IL Oct 29, 2016 4:40:14
Marathon Newport, RI Oct 9, 2016 3:44:40
Marathon Omaha, NE Sep 18, 2016 4:23:16
Half Marathon Chicago, IL Jul 17, 2016 1:34:48
Marathon Waitsfield, VT Jul 10, 2016 3:42:19
50 Miler La Grange, WI May 14, 2016 10:19:57
25K Willow Springs, IL Mar 26, 2016 2:17:29
8K Chicago, IL Dec 13, 2015 32:46
Marathon Columbia City, IN Nov 14, 2015 3:17:22
Marathon Berlin, Germany Sep 27, 2015 3:31:28
11.5 Miler Highland Park, IL Aug 23, 2015 1:19:08
5K Carpentersville, IL Aug 15, 2015 19:35
10K Chicago, USA Jul 25, 2015 41:41
Half Marathon Chicago, IL Jul 19, 2015 1:39:12
Half Marathon San Jose, Costa Rica Jul 5, 2015 1:34:37
10K Chicago, IL Jun 27, 2015 40:12
5K Chicago, IL Jun 11, 2015 18:52
10 Miler Chicago, IL May 23, 2015 1:09:16
3.5 Miler Chicago, IL May 21, 2015 21:46
Marathon Fargo, ND May 9, 2015 3:16:07
10 Miler Chicago, IL Apr 18, 2015 1:08:08
8K Chicago, IL Mar 29, 2015 31:39
Marathon Apache Junction, AZ Feb 15, 2015 3:41:08
Half Marathon Miami Beach, FL Jan 25, 2015 1:34:36
Marathon Indianapolis, IN Nov 1, 2014 3:22:14
Half Marathon Portland, ME Oct 5, 2014 2:14:05
Marathon Bristol, NH Oct 4, 2014 3:37:54
Marathon Wright-Patterson AFB, OH Sep 20, 2014 4:47:34
Half Marathon Chicago, IL Jul 20, 2014 1:32:33
50K Dayton, WY Jun 20, 2014 7:27:51
Half Marathon Chicago, IL Jun 7, 2014 1:29:42
Marathon Wilmington, DE May 11, 2014 3:37:59
Marathon Shiprock, NM May 3, 2014 3:28:03
Marathon St Louis, MO Apr 6, 2014 3:31:53
Marathon Miami Beach, FL Feb 2, 2014 3:55:57
Marathon Philadelphia, PA Nov 17, 2013 3:25:28
Half Marathon Moab, UT Nov 2, 2013 2:19:22
Marathon Portland, OR Oct 6, 2013 3:48:51
Marathon Leavenworth, WA Oct 5, 2013 3:56:41
50K La Grange, WI May 11, 2013 5:16:45
Marathon Olathe, KS Apr 20, 2013 3:46:18
Half Marathon Escazu, Costa Rica Apr 14, 2013 3:07:31
Half Marathon Charlotte, NC Mar 24, 2013 1:31:13
Marathon New Orleans, LA Feb 23, 2013 3:23:12
Marathon Lake Buena Vista, FL Jan 13, 2013 3:38:40
Marathon Boulder City, NV Dec 15, 2012 3:35:47
Marathon Tulsa, OK Nov 18, 2012 3:27:01
Marathon Des Moines, IA Oct 21, 2012 3:25:12
Marathon Crazy Horse, SD Sep 30, 2012 3:54:38
Half Marathon Geneva, IL Aug 26, 2012 1:36:14
Half Marathon Madison, MT Jul 22, 2012 2:08:30
Half Marathon Idaho Falls, ID Jul 21, 2012 1:47:22
Half Marathon San Jose, Costa Rica Jul 8, 2012 1:40:57
Marathon Two Harbors, MN Jun 16, 2012 3:45:46
Half Marathon Fredericksburg, VA May 20, 2012 1:32:01
Half Marathon Indianapolis, IN May 5, 2012 1:32:19
Half Marathon Louisville, KY Apr 28, 2012 1:30:47
Half Marathon Lynchburg, TN Apr 7, 2012 1:33:58
Marathon Little Rock, AR Mar 4, 2012 3:39:05
Half Marathon Birmingham, AL Feb 12, 2012 1:34:39
Half Marathon Miami Beach, FL Jan 29, 2012 1:40:26
Half Marathon Pomona, CA Dec 11, 2011 1:37:18
Marathon Staten Island, NY Nov 6, 2011 3:54:00
Marathon Chicago, IL Oct 9, 2011 3:57:16
Marathon Tupelo, MS Sep 4, 2011 4:31:30
Half Marathon Columbia, SC Jul 10, 2011 2:34:43

My Raves

Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K

Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K

Billed as the start of spring, the Shamrock Shuffle is a 5-mile tour of Chicago's Grant Park, River North, the Loop, and Financial District. Though its 30,000+ crowds can mean … MORE

Billed as the start of spring, the Shamrock Shuffle is a 5-mile tour of Chicago’s Grant Park, River North, the Loop, and Financial District. Though its 30,000+ crowds can mean serious congestion for slower runners, it is typically a fast course. Registration usually comes with a bevy of freebies, such as a tech t-shirt, hat, scarf, always green and high-quality. Late March and early April in Chicago provide no guarantees with the weather, as race-day conditions have varied from white-out snowstorms to clear skies in 70 degrees over the last ten years. Be prepared for everything!

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Chicago Lakefront Fall 50/50

Chicago Lakefront Fall 50/50

This is likely the flattest 50k you will ever find. Run on Chicago's lake front path, the course is three 10.35-mile out-and-back segments with three stations. Runners can expect Chicago's … MORE

This is likely the flattest 50k you will ever find. Run on Chicago’s lake front path, the course is three 10.35-mile out-and-back segments with three stations. Runners can expect Chicago’s beautiful autumn, cool temperatures, plenty of non-racers on the path (the course is not closed), friendly volunteers at aid stations, and an excellent tech shirt. It’s a very quiet operation and for $55, it’s one the cheapest races ($/mile) that you will encounter.

Also, did I mention it’s super flat? Given it’s late October date, the only reason this race shouldn’t be your 50k PR is that you haven’t signed up yet.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
My Report
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

Was this review helpful?

 

Newport Marathon (RI)

Newport Marathon (RI)

Although it rained on me during the entirety of this race, I did not need to squint too hard to enjoy the beautiful scenery provided by this impeccably run seaside … MORE

Although it rained on me during the entirety of this race, I did not need to squint too hard to enjoy the beautiful scenery provided by this impeccably run seaside event. Packet pickup was available the morning of the race, there was plenty of shelter to shield us from the winds and rain, and the weather had not dampened the volunteers’ spirit.

The first half is admittedly much more scenic and varied than the second, but any 50-stater should already be used to that. Many of the areas’ storied mansions are featured during the first 13 miles, which also feature several miles along the Atlantic coast. If you take one picture during the entire race, I’d recommend you do it here.

The second half is run through neighborhoods, which, though green and dew-drenched, rarely screamed “Rhode Island.” The last miles also threw in several short hills to keep things interesting. The t-shirt was forgettable, but the sailboat-shaped medal was the first I’ve ever received to feature fabric as one of its primary materials.

A HUGE perk of this race is that race photos are included in registration courtesy of GameFace Media. Any race that does this is automatically bumped a full letter grade in my book.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
My Report
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Omaha Marathon

Omaha Marathon

This review will be inherently biased because I ran my second worst time this year on this course. While I am capable of running between 3:20 and 3:30 on a … MORE

This review will be inherently biased because I ran my second worst time this year on this course. While I am capable of running between 3:20 and 3:30 on a good day, I can typically phone in a 3:45-3:55 marathon under regular circumstances. In Omaha, I ran 1:45 for the first half and then a disastrously awful 2:38 second half.

The course begins in Omaha’s downtown, which is just like any other small city in the United States (Birmingham, Little Rock, Tulsa, etc.), and eventually makes its way into new and old neighborhoods, with the occasional park thrown in. This part of the race was actually pleasant until. But around mile 7 it becomes a bike/running path along the river that affords absolutely zero shade. The entire race is a 13-mile out-and-back, so the lack of shade is a near certainty until about mile 19.

I was dead by that point and could barely run. However, had I been confidently striding, I would have been slightly annoyed at the lack of creativity or effort in planning out the race course. That said, aid stations were evenly spaced out and staffed with friendly volunteers. The medal is large and bears a colorful ribbon, though the t-shirt wasn’t anything special.

Although it is unfortunate that my performance tends to bleed into my opinion of any race, it’s not always the case. I fondly remember Shiprock (3:28), Route 66 (3:27), and Des Moines (3:25), but also smile when I look back on Crazy Horse (3:54) and Tupelo (4:31), the latter of which was also a gruesomely warm out-and-back.

For any aspiring 50-staters, I’d look into the other marathons Omaha and Nebraska have to offer before signing up for this one. At the end of this race, I was not only dehydrated, I was underwhelmed.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
My Report
SCENERY
2
SWAG
4

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago 1/2 Marathon

Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago 1/2 Marathon

The RNR race series is known for a polished, tried-and-true organization that yields the respectable race experience that everyone has come to expect. However, with their typically high race fees, … MORE

The RNR race series is known for a polished, tried-and-true organization that yields the respectable race experience that everyone has come to expect. However, with their typically high race fees, runners eventually expect something extra, an additional X factor that sets the organization apart from its peers. It used to be a singular focus on music, or at least using the musical theme in creative ways.

But in 2016, I’m running out of praise. This year’s race, while a perfectly acceptable race in its most base terms, has lost most of what made the RNR brand so popular in the first place. Not only was there a huge lack of actual rock & roll, but the fun innovations of years past (strobe lights in the McCormick Tunnel, coordinated speakers playing the same song for a motivational 1/2 mile stretch) were nowhere to be found.

With the twelve other half marathons that Chicago offers, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to justify paying $100-150 for a running experience that offers nothing above what is expected. I worry about the race’s future. There are fewer finishers every year and the trend seems to point toward cutting services or lowering costs. I hope they can start the turnaround in 2017.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
My Report
SCENERY
2
SWAG
5

Was this review helpful?

 

Mad Marathon

Mad Marathon

I was fortunate to run in 2016, as the entire northeast was beset by a fall-like chill, with pockets of light rain. But that didn't mean there weren't any hills … MORE

I was fortunate to run in 2016, as the entire northeast was beset by a fall-like chill, with pockets of light rain. But that didn’t mean there weren’t any hills to contend with. The half marathon has two similarly sized hills, while the marathon extends the second one for a solid eight miles. Be ready for a steady climb followed by a long downhill.

In between, take in the serene beauty of the northeast’s mountains and forests, farmlands and livestock. Aid stations were appropriately placed and stocked, and the post-race party was lively even for the small field of approximately 800 runners. Waitsfield is pretty remote, but if you fly into Boston, it’s a pretty 3-hour drive away. Afterward, eat at either the Mad River Barn & Restaurant Barn Inn & Restaurant or the Mad Taco, both highly recommended, and pair your meal with a Heady Topper.

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

Was this review helpful?

 

Ice Age Trail 50

Ice Age Trail 50

This is not a fast 50-miler, as it provides a relentless series of hills. But the woods of the Kettle Moraine State Forest will provide enough variety of terrain and … MORE

This is not a fast 50-miler, as it provides a relentless series of hills. But the woods of the Kettle Moraine State Forest will provide enough variety of terrain and scenery to keep any runner entertained and inspired. The organization is top notch, with plenty of aid stations and volunteers to deliver a world-class trail event. The race is divided into three sections: the Nordic Loop (9.5 miles), which starts and ends at the finish; an out-and-back to Rice Lake (about 20.5 miles); and an out-and-back to the Emma Carlin aid station (about 20 miles). The first and last sections have the most elevation change, with plenty of runnable stretches to keep an honest pace. Held in mid-May in Wisconsin, the weather can be cool or warm, so be prepared for anything. If you’re interested in running any of the distances (which include a 50k and a half marathon), be ready to sign up the minute registration opens, as this race routinely sells out in hours. As a 50k and 50-mile finisher, I can’t recommend this event enough.

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

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Paleozoic Trail Runs – Silurian Spring

Paleozoic Trail Runs – Silurian Spring

This race starts in a large open field, then ushers runners to a wide dirt path, which has a few gradual hills, then becomes single-track, with a few technical patches … MORE

This race starts in a large open field, then ushers runners to a wide dirt path, which has a few gradual hills, then becomes single-track, with a few technical patches to spice things up. The way you run it makes it feel like an introduction to trail running with the terrain challenge increasing as you go along. The 25K is an out-and-back with 50K runners repeating the course. The course is inside the Chicagoland Palos Forest Reserve, whose paths are varied, though don’t absorb water very well. If it’s rained at all in the last week, expect marshy sections. The organization is great, the race fee is cheap, and the post-race spread this year included local homebrews.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
My Report
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

Was this review helpful?

 

Rudolph Ramble 8K

Rudolph Ramble 8K

Usually, this race is run in the bitter cold of Chicago's December, often over snow-caked trails in the urban Lincoln Park. However, largely thanks to El Niño, it was in … MORE

Usually, this race is run in the bitter cold of Chicago’s December, often over snow-caked trails in the urban Lincoln Park. However, largely thanks to El Niño, it was in the upper 50s for the Christmas-themed Rudolph Ramble. I ran this race in 2009 and signed up in 2015 because instead of the typical participant shirt, organizer Fleet Feet gave all runners knit caps in their choice of blue or red. These days, that’s enough to get me to sign up. Fleet Feet puts on a ton of races in the area so the organization is masterful, and the event itself went off without a hitch. Local vendors were present for the after-party with cider, donuts and coffee for all participants. Whether in sub-zero climes or the surprising turn of weather, this race is a great way to end the calendar race season.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
2
SWAG
4

Was this review helpful?

 

Veterans Marathon (IN)

Veterans Marathon (IN)

After a process of elimination, I decided to run this race. I needed a marathon in mid-November and it had to be driving distance from Chicago. Since the marathon season … MORE

After a process of elimination, I decided to run this race. I needed a marathon in mid-November and it had to be driving distance from Chicago. Since the marathon season dies in early November in the midwest, I didn’t have many options.

Between the 13.1 and 26.2 mile distances, there were about 450 runners. The course is a 13.1 mile circuit through Columbia City and its surrounding farms, with marathoners running it twice. Aid stations were appropriately spaced and full of friendly volunteers. The medal is a small cutout of Indiana with the name printed on it and all runners got a navy blue long-sleeve tech shirt and a pair of Brooks gloves (a surprise).

It was exactly what I expected from a tiny race in the middle of nowhere. It was somewhat hilly, there were no crowds, but it was well organized and the locals were very friendly. Given the absence of other options in mid-November, if you’re aching to race (as I was), and are relatively close to Fort Wayne (the closest “city”), by all means, join the denizens of Columbia City and salute the troops.

Otherwise, opt instead for Indianapolis Monumental the week before.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
My Report
SCENERY
1
SWAG
4

Was this review helpful?

 

Berlin Marathon

Berlin Marathon

Despite my incredibly high expectations of the Berlin Marathon, I loved this race. I knew that the Expo would be enormous (it was), and that the streets were a bit … MORE

Despite my incredibly high expectations of the Berlin Marathon, I loved this race. I knew that the Expo would be enormous (it was), and that the streets were a bit too narrow (they were), and that the post-race spread was surprisingly meager (it was) and that participants have to pay extra for a t-shirt (they do). In spite of all these significant hindrances to perfection, I loved my time in Berlin, though not my RACE time.

Performance-wise, I went too fast and blew up around mile 16 before dragging myself to the finish in one of the worst positive splits in history. But that aside, the race was impeccably organized, with an almost stereotypical German adherence to efficiency. Runners have to go through FOUR checkpoints to reach their corrals and each one is strictly manned. The course is as flat as advertised, though there are about three small hills in the first six miles that call into question whether it is truly flatter than Chicago.

Berlin’s denizens were out in full force. Though they weren’t as vociferous as the average American cheer squad, they were supportive and friendly. Aid stations weren’t loudly advertised as they usually are in stateside marathons, but they were properly spaced, stocked, and each cup was very full. The plastic cups did become a nuisance, even for me, and I finished in the first fifth of participants. I can easily imagine the discarded cups becoming an unmanageable pile with another hour of runners.

The medal is simple, just as ornate as it needs to be. The lack of a participant t-shirt is definitely confounding, but we’re all there to run fast, not to collect more tech shirts. It’s a definite bucket list race, one to be experienced on its own. Though it’s made for elite PRs, it’s not the most PR-friendly course I’ve experienced – that honor still belongs to Chicago.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
My Report
SCENERY
3
SWAG
2
My Media

Was this review helpful?

 

Fort2Base

Fort2Base

Given its late August date, the weather can be unpredictable. This year, it was in the upper 60s and overcast, with the occasional threat of a thunderstorm. In other words, … MORE

Given its late August date, the weather can be unpredictable. This year, it was in the upper 60s and overcast, with the occasional threat of a thunderstorm. In other words, to my liking. This race starts in Highland Park’s Fort Sheridan and finishes in Waukegan’s Great Lakes Base, hence the name “Fort2Base.” It is billed as a 10-nautical miler (with a shorter, 3-NM distance), which translates to about 11.5 miles.

The race is mostly run on a bike path surrounded by trees, with the occasional train station to bypass and main road to cross. Aid stations are approximately 1.5 miles apart and the organization is pitch perfect … with one exception. The first mile was, by all accounts, very long. This isn’t normally an issue unless it throws everyone’s pacing into a tailspin because they believe it’s a Nautical Mile (about 1.15 miles). If you don’t have a GPS watch, you’ll likely spend the entire race thinking you just have to stop at 10. Until you don’t. So, a note to the organizers: please fix the distance of your first mile. While a deviation of 0.1-0.5 is expected, seeing the first mile marker at 1.18-1.2 miles across multiple devices is an error.

Besides that, I can see why this race has a small, but devoted following. With about 1,200 finishers, it was the perfect balance of large event and intimate gathering. Its point-to-point course and mostly flat course can allow for very fast times. I myself PR’d at 10 miles and then continued chugging along past Hero Hill at 10.5 miles to reach the finish.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5

Was this review helpful?

 

RaceWay 5K

RaceWay 5K

Raceway Woods houses what used to be a racetrack in Carpentersville, Illinois, about a 45-minute drive west of Chicago. No longer a racetrack but a forest preserve, the area still … MORE

Raceway Woods houses what used to be a racetrack in Carpentersville, Illinois, about a 45-minute drive west of Chicago. No longer a racetrack but a forest preserve, the area still has a 3.17-mile track that now hosts local walkers, bikers and runners. In its third year, the Raceway 5k attracted almost 200 runners ready to tackle the many turns and hills of the once famous track. The first mile is mostly downhill, with the biggest hill cropping up right in the middle. The last mile is mercifully flat. However, its mid-August date all but guarantees a warm, muggy day. If you like running through forest but have weak ankles and can’t handle trail runs, this is an excellent substitute.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

Was this review helpful?

 

BTN Big 10K

BTN Big 10K

I don't usually run 10ks, and I certainly don't run them if they take place on Chicago's Lakefront Path, where I train for free four to five times a week. … MORE

I don’t usually run 10ks, and I certainly don’t run them if they take place on Chicago’s Lakefront Path, where I train for free four to five times a week. However, the Big Ten Network’s Big Ten Big10k, sponsored by the Big Ten Network and the Big10 Conference, is one of few exceptions. The biggest reason is that every runner gets to choose the university t-shirt that they want to rep and the vast majority them show up on race day wearing it. So one look across the crowd and you can see a veritable rainbow of colors as each school is represented (albeit not evenly). The event production is pitch perfect, from the start line corrals to the raucous post-race party. Sure, it’s in the middle of July, so you won’t necessarily be gunning for a PR, but the course is near flat and the three aid stations are evenly distributed. Plus, you get a totally sweet tech shirt to wear during the warm tailgate season … while it lasts.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

Was this review helpful?

 

Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago 1/2 Marathon

Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago 1/2 Marathon

The Rock 'n Roll Chicago Half Marathon is typically held in the middle of summer, which means you're likely to get some challenging conditions. This year, the race began with … MORE

The Rock ‘n Roll Chicago Half Marathon is typically held in the middle of summer, which means you’re likely to get some challenging conditions. This year, the race began with an 80-degree morning drenched in 80% humidity. So we all adjust our time goals and enjoy the race anyway – especially since the organizers had brought the legendary Meb Keflezighi to pace the 1:30 group to victory. The course was 90% the same as last year, with only a small, mile-long out-and-back detour changed. However, there was visibly much less ROCK this year. There were only a few bands out on the course, none of which were thrashing or rocking but swinging and jazzing, and the mile-long stretch of speakers around mile 11 were blaring a remix of Whitney Houston’s very un-rock-like “I Wanna Dance with Somebody.” Oh, and the headlining act for the show was Andy Grammer.

So needless to say, I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed, especially after last year’s race really brought out the devil fingers. Maybe it was bad timing. But regardless, with the exception of the “selfie station” (which, really?) blaring the Offspring’s “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)” this event was completely devoid of rock. Even the expo felt like an EDM concert with a neverending soundtrack of repetitive beats.

The race production itself was near impeccable, as usual. I’m just worried that they’re quickly losing their brand.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

Was this review helpful?

 

Correcaminos Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K

Correcaminos Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K

This race is a point-to-point running tour of Costa Rica's capital of San José. It begins in the cooler climes of Tres Ríos and descends four miles toward Curridabat before … MORE

This race is a point-to-point running tour of Costa Rica’s capital of San José. It begins in the cooler climes of Tres Ríos and descends four miles toward Curridabat before cutting towards the main city. In between, it runs through Zapote and through several civic landmarks in San José, such as la Asamblea Legislativa and el Museo del Niño before making a beeline for the metropolitan park of La Sabana. Once there, it runs around the perimeter of the park (approximately 2.4 miles) before finishing inside the verdant park. Along the way, there are aid stations every 1.5-2 miles with friendly volunteers and spectators. The middle 4 miles can be an eyesore if your eyes drift from the majestic mountains in the background to the streets themselves. However, the start and finish are appropriately beautiful areas and will encourage you to block out that middle slog. The finish party was festive, though a bit chaotic given that medals are handed out in a separate tent and not in the finishing cute. Post-race fruit and gallo pinto (rice & beans) give the race a literal flavor all of its own.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4
My Media

Was this review helpful?

 

Proud to Run

Proud to Run

I signed up for this race for two reasons: it fit perfectly with my program and I wanted to enjoy the festive race atmosphere. I was going to run it … MORE

I signed up for this race for two reasons: it fit perfectly with my program and I wanted to enjoy the festive race atmosphere. I was going to run it alone until the Supreme Court ruling on Friday, June 26, which prompted a lot of my friends to sign up as well. Although there was a surprising lack of big announcements during the race itself, I had a great time. The course takes place on the park paths of Chicago’s Lincoln Park, which meant that it was still open to the public. Its 8 AM start time on a beautiful day meant that we had to be cognizant of walkers and cyclists on the path. However, with two aid stations, friendly volunteers and a festive post-race party that included cheerleaders and the Windy City Cowboys, we all had a great time. In my case, I had literally my best time (at the 10k distance). As the event benefits the Chicago LGBT community, the swag colorful but not over the top – the race T-shirt was green with the race’s rainbow insignia.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

Was this review helpful?

 

The Original 5K

The Original 5K

There is no shortage of races in Chicago, especially in summer. It seems like every weekend between May and September features at least two races in the city's many parks. … MORE

There is no shortage of races in Chicago, especially in summer. It seems like every weekend between May and September features at least two races in the city’s many parks. The Original 5k has an 80s theme, where runners are encouraged to wear tube socks, short shorts and cotton singlets. Many runners go the distance and don mustaches to resemble Prefontaine. The race begins and ends at Diversey Harbor in Chicago’s Lincoln Park and it never leaves its tree-lined confines. Though the path is still open to recreational runners, the registration was $19, so I was thrilled. With race fees skyrocketing in recent years, it’s great to run a well-executed race in the city for a bargain price. The 7 pm run time in Chicago’s unpredictable June weather also guarantees more than one surprise.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
2

Was this review helpful?

 

Soldier Field 10 Mile

Soldier Field 10 Mile

This annual race marks the true start of summer for many Chicagoans. Held on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, it runs down and up the Chicago Lakefront, first on … MORE

This annual race marks the true start of summer for many Chicagoans. Held on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, it runs down and up the Chicago Lakefront, first on outer Lake Shore Drive and then on the popular bike path. It begins just outside the famous Soldier Field and ends on the 50-yard line. In between, it’s a pretty standard out-and-back with five aid stations and trees for shade. Since half of it takes place on a path that I run every week, I haven’t ever really justified paying for it. But for anyone who doesn’t live near Museum Campus, it’s a fun race. Plus, I had never been inside Soldier Field, so for my first exposure to be running through the field in the very center of the glass and steel enclosure was surprisingly awe-inspiring. Most runners were sprinting the finish, but I was too busy staring wide-eyed at the majestic structure that enveloped me.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
2
SWAG
4

Was this review helpful?

 

JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge – Chicago, IL

JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge – Chicago, IL

There are many reasons to dislike this race. For starters, it's a 3.5-mile race, so you're running at a breakneck 5k speed the entire time but you have to keep … MORE

There are many reasons to dislike this race. For starters, it’s a 3.5-mile race, so you’re running at a breakneck 5k speed the entire time but you have to keep it up for an additional, painstaking 0.4 miles at the end. Most of the course takes place in the sewer-like tunnels of lower Wacker Drive, and before you even start, you have to listen to an announcer try and get the crowd excited about a financial conglomerate’s Regional Director of Consumer Bankinggggg!!!! However, this is a race that is usually subsidized by the firms participating in it, so I’ve always gotten a free bib. I’ll never say no to a free race, no matter how much corporate back-patting is involved. Plus, the course starts and ends on Columbus Drive, which is Chicago’s racing core.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
1

Was this review helpful?

 

Fargo Marathon

Fargo Marathon

For those who don't like shivering at the start or end of any race, the Fargo Marathon is perfect. It begins and ends in the Fargodome, then traces a bipolar … MORE

For those who don’t like shivering at the start or end of any race, the Fargo Marathon is perfect. It begins and ends in the Fargodome, then traces a bipolar path around the city’s neighborhoods (sometimes straight and neverending, then suddenly windy and erratic). With only one meaningful, albeit short climb, this race is basically as flat as it gets. With plenty of aid stations, pace groups every 5-10 minutes and enthusiastic locals ready to cheer, it’s a great spring race that may challenge your PR. They offer high-quality tech shirts, quirky medals and all the staples of a well-run race. Plus, they had Deena Kastor speaking at the Expo and making pre-race announcements, so that’s always a huge plus.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
My Report
SCENERY
2
SWAG
4
My Media

Was this review helpful?

 

Wintrust Lakefront 10 Miler & 5K

Wintrust Lakefront 10 Miler & 5K

Just above North Avenue in Chicago is a series of parks, from Lincoln Park, to Belmont Harbor and up to Montrose Beach. They are all connected by a series of … MORE

Just above North Avenue in Chicago is a series of parks, from Lincoln Park, to Belmont Harbor and up to Montrose Beach. They are all connected by a series of running paths that allow for a training run of any distance. The CARA Lakefront 10-miler creates an incredibly windy spaghetti trail through many of these paths, showing why it’s such a runner’s paradise. Not only is it very flat and only rarely requires runners to watch out for cars, but it’s incredibly green and right by Lake Michigan. This race is typically run by just over 1,000 locals and the field at the front can be very competitive. However, it’s also a favorite of casual runners and walkers alike, as it takes place on a public path that is never closed. The weather can be unpredictable, but the beautiful course is guaranteed. At around $40 for early bird specials, it’s also one of the cheapest long-distance races in the city.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

Was this review helpful?

 

Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K

Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K

This race, which has become a Chicago running tradition, is basically an abbreviation of the city's famed marathon course. It features the same opening 2 miles and finishes with runners … MORE

This race, which has become a Chicago running tradition, is basically an abbreviation of the city’s famed marathon course. It features the same opening 2 miles and finishes with runners climbing Mount Roosevelt before finishing on Columbus drive (without the middle 23 miles). Usually held toward the end of March, it’s supposed to portend the coming spring running season, but race day is usually beset by freezing temperatures. But that doesn’t stop 30,000 runners from showing up and attacking their 8k PRs in this perfectly flat and fast time trial course. Afterward, Grant Park becomes a party with plenty of food and drink. I’ve run this race eight times (2008 – 2015) and don’t plan on stopping.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5

Was this review helpful?

 

The Lost Dutchman Marathon

The Lost Dutchman Marathon

This is a race that, like the Flying Pig and Grandma's, has a certain allure to it that makes its way through running groups. Everyone seems to know about this … MORE

This is a race that, like the Flying Pig and Grandma’s, has a certain allure to it that makes its way through running groups. Everyone seems to know about this race, even if it’s not a large one. Drawn by that mystery, I ran it and left with a mixed opinion. The start is gorgeous, at a sandy camp under the desert sky with various campfires to keep runners warm. After 10k of running on a rocky trail beneath the Superstition Mountains, runners end up on the highway and then alternate between long stretches of uninterrupted asphalt and winding through neighborhoods. If the entire race had been like the fist 10k, I would have been in love. Sadly, that was not the case. However, the production was spot-on, with incredibly friendly volunteers and race-day logistics that deserve accolades. Lastly, the medal was beautiful this year, already one of my all-time favorites.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
My Report
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4
My Media

Was this review helpful?

 

Miami Marathon & Half Marathon

Miami Marathon & Half Marathon

There's a reason I have run this half marathon more than any other race of its kind, and I don't even live in Florida. For the everyday runner, there are … MORE

There’s a reason I have run this half marathon more than any other race of its kind, and I don’t even live in Florida. For the everyday runner, there are two big reasons to run Miami: 1.) It’s 80 in Miami in January, when most of the country is shivering or buried under snow, and 2.) this race has nailed race production. Not too demanding, but not too loose, they simply know how to put together a well-oiled event that features a stunningly beautiful course. While the marathon does have its share of long, unchanging stretches of neighborhoods, the half marathon is constantly changing and always gorgeous (except for maybe 1 mile of city running near the end). The hardware is always ostentatious and colorful, the t-shirts are made to wear all the time, and you may easily find yourself registering for the next year just days after finishing. Can’t recommend this race enough.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
My Report
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

Was this review helpful?

 

Indianapolis Monumental Marathon

Indianapolis Monumental Marathon

This race is normally held in the beginning of November in Indianapolis, which means you're all but guaranteed cool to cold temperatures. The course is flat with many long, uninterrupted … MORE

This race is normally held in the beginning of November in Indianapolis, which means you’re all but guaranteed cool to cold temperatures. The course is flat with many long, uninterrupted stretches of road to keep your legs moving quickly. It begins in the city, then gradually stretches out towards urban neighborhoods and local landmarks. It was surprisingly pretty, with many of these sections flush with trees shedding the last of their autumn colors. Though not 100% flat (there are a few hills in the middle), this course is perfect for a PR attempt. I ran it with a tight, rebellious IT band and still somehow pulled a 3:22, even with strong winds and frigid temperatures. In 40-degree perfection, this could be a BQ for anyone.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
My Report
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3
My Media

Was this review helpful?

 

Maine Marathon & Half Marathon

Maine Marathon & Half Marathon

I was originally slated to run the full marathon but woke up with searing knee pain thanks to the New Hampshire Marathon's banked roads and steep hills. Decided at mile … MORE

I was originally slated to run the full marathon but woke up with searing knee pain thanks to the New Hampshire Marathon’s banked roads and steep hills. Decided at mile 1 to drop to the half and finished in a very slow time for me. Despite that, the course was very pretty, tree-lined and occasionally seaside. Great organization, which included a great t-shirt, a large and colorful medal, and a swag bag full of snacks (and even a can of baked beans). Perfect weather and seamless organization too.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
My Report
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5
My Media

Was this review helpful?

 

New Hampshire Marathon & Half Marathon

New Hampshire Marathon & Half Marathon

This is a runner's race in that there's very few bells and whistles to the organization. The start has no timing mat, the medal is a tiny, copper trinket, and … MORE

This is a runner’s race in that there’s very few bells and whistles to the organization. The start has no timing mat, the medal is a tiny, copper trinket, and the t-shirt’s neon green tint was a bit gaudy. However, I really enjoyed the race nonetheless because of the gorgeous fall colors all around me. The course is hilly, so be prepared for some elevation change, but it’s not the worst. Enjoy the flatness of miles 10 – 16, because before and after that you’ll be dealing with constant incline. Post-race showers were available and they were a blessing.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
2
My Report
SCENERY
5
SWAG
1
My Media

Was this review helpful?

 

Air Force Marathon

Air Force Marathon

This race is a big draw for veterans and those seeking their coveted medals. Great production, lots of aid stations and very generous swag (including hats, great t-shirts, stickers and … MORE

This race is a big draw for veterans and those seeking their coveted medals. Great production, lots of aid stations and very generous swag (including hats, great t-shirts, stickers and badges). But aside from the last 800 meters, there wasn’t much to see during the race itself. I paced my father-in-law, an Air Force veteran, to a successful 4:47 finish, but if it weren’t for having him next to me to talk to, I wouldn’t have had much in the way of distractions. There are some hills at the start and the very end, so make sure to bank some energy if you want to finish strong.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
My Report
SCENERY
2
SWAG
4
My Media

Was this review helpful?

 

Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago 1/2 Marathon

Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago 1/2 Marathon

Chicago boasts many, many half marathons. Some of them start in the city but leave soon thereafter or use free park paths for 90% of their course. The Rock & … MORE

Chicago boasts many, many half marathons. Some of them start in the city but leave soon thereafter or use free park paths for 90% of their course. The Rock & Roll Half Marathon is the ONLY half marathon to run at least 50% of its course through Chicago’s downtown area (that is, until the 2014 Women’s Half Marathon took runners onto Michigan Avenue). Although it takes place in mid-July, it’s early enough to keep temperatures relatively cool. The course is as flat as it gets, the aid stations are evenly distributed, though there was definitely a galling lack of bands. A continuous stream of speakers set up around mile 10 made up for this dearth of music. Overall, a great race.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
My Report
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4
My Media

Was this review helpful?

 

Bighorn Trail Run

Bighorn Trail Run

I'm sure if I had trained appropriately for this race and done some real downhill trail running, I wouldn't have melted down in such spectacular fashion. But I didn't train … MORE

I’m sure if I had trained appropriately for this race and done some real downhill trail running, I wouldn’t have melted down in such spectacular fashion. But I didn’t train and instead slogged through this race unceremoniously for about 3/4 of it. However, it was definitely gorgeous, well organized and extremely well-marked. The weather was perfect, the aid stations stocked with all kinds of delicious, energy-packed foods, and though I bemoaned the lack of a medal, the light hooded long-sleeve they gave to finishers is one of my favorite shirts.

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

Was this review helpful?

 

Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 10K

Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 10K

This is a beautiful half marathon run on Chicago's south Lake Front Path. It is a free public path that is used by walkers and cyclists, and it isn't very … MORE

This is a beautiful half marathon run on Chicago’s south Lake Front Path. It is a free public path that is used by walkers and cyclists, and it isn’t very wide, so it can get a little congested. It is also where I log 90% of my training runs, so I have a slight bias against it (why pay for a path I can run for free?). However, I do realize that I take this beautiful path for granted — not everyone has access to it so easily. But if you’re a middle- or back-of-the-pack runner, I imagine it can get pretty congested. That said, great medals, awesome post-race party and convenient shuttles to the start earn this two eager thumbs up from me. Also, it’s my standing PR.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
My Report
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4
My Media

Was this review helpful?

 

Delaware Marathon Running Festival

Delaware Marathon Running Festival

I ran this race the day after a half marathon, so the rolling terrain tired me out more than usual. I'm not a big fan of two-looped courses because they … MORE

I ran this race the day after a half marathon, so the rolling terrain tired me out more than usual. I’m not a big fan of two-looped courses because they generally mess with my head — at the start of the second loop, I felt far more tired than I should have been. However, it was a very nice course, which went from riverwalks to neighborhoods, zoos and downtown Wilmington. The medal was so-so, but the t-shirt and pint glass made up handily. There are only two big marathons in Delaware that I know of, though I would probably recommend that 50-staters try the HALF marathon in Wilmington. Double loops are the worst.

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

Was this review helpful?

 

Shiprock Marathon

Shiprock Marathon

This net downhill, point-to-point marathon begins close to the Arizona border and ends at Shiprock High School. Everything in between is mostly gorgeous, endless desert. Don't run this race if … MORE

This net downhill, point-to-point marathon begins close to the Arizona border and ends at Shiprock High School. Everything in between is mostly gorgeous, endless desert. Don’t run this race if you like your scenery to change. Run this race if you like the feeling of running, pure and simple. You will feel like you’re not going anywhere, but in the ethereal, almost poetic infinity of the desert, I ran happily. Though the elevation hovers around 4,000 feet, the gradual downhill and bone-dry air should boost you to a fast time.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
My Report
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3
My Media

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

GO! St. Louis Marathon

GO! St. Louis Marathon

The first 2 miles of this race are a sight for sore eyes, but immediately after that, it only gets nicer. It runs through downtown St. Louis, then the Anheuser-Busch … MORE

The first 2 miles of this race are a sight for sore eyes, but immediately after that, it only gets nicer. It runs through downtown St. Louis, then the Anheuser-Busch brewery, back downtown, through Forest Park, Washington University in St. Louis and Delmar Boulevard. The course is almost constantly a false flat, so be sure to get some hill training. The t-shirts and medals are almost always consistently of top-quality, and the early April date means it shouldn’t be too warm. There’s also a separate competition for who can run “Holy Hill” the fastest, which even includes separate timing mats.

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

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Miami Marathon & Half Marathon

Miami Marathon & Half Marathon

The Miami Marathon is absolutely gorgeous. It starts by the Miami Heat's American Airlines arena, runs over the MacArthur Causeway by cruise ships, over Ocean Drive, back on the Venetian, … MORE

The Miami Marathon is absolutely gorgeous. It starts by the Miami Heat’s American Airlines arena, runs over the MacArthur Causeway by cruise ships, over Ocean Drive, back on the Venetian, all the way to Coconut Grove with a quick detour over the Rickenbacker Causeway before taking palm-tree lined Brickell Avenue to the finish line. However, it is Miami, so it will be at least humid, if not warm. The medal is routinely selected as a prized finisher’s token and the t-shirts are always top-notch. If you live in a city usually beset by snow in January, this is the perfect getaway.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
My Report
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
My Media

Was this review helpful?

 

Philadelphia Marathon

Philadelphia Marathon

This was my second attempt in 2013 to PR at the marathon, and I came pretty close. However, the course's insistence on rolling up and down slowed me down in … MORE

This was my second attempt in 2013 to PR at the marathon, and I came pretty close. However, the course’s insistence on rolling up and down slowed me down in the second half. It begins and ends in downtown Philadelphia, runs through college campuses, picturesque neighborhoods, and then a painfully long out-and-back along the Schuylkill river. It does feel like the organizers put most of their efforts into a fun half marathon, with the ENTIRE second half being an out-and-back. Although I can’t fault them for this, it made staying strong in those latter miles very challenging. But if you have a stronger mind than mine, it’s a great place to chase a PR.

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

Was this review helpful?

 

Moab Trail Marathon & Half Marathon

Moab Trail Marathon & Half Marathon

I wasn't ready for what this race would throw at me. There were parts where I was climbing up rocks on all fours, shimmying down another section practically sitting, skipping … MORE

I wasn’t ready for what this race would throw at me. There were parts where I was climbing up rocks on all fours, shimmying down another section practically sitting, skipping over dry bushes like a mountain goat, and wading through a stream very much against my desire. But it was all part of the otherworldly Moab experience. Every single part of this race was absolutely beautiful. At no point did I look around while running and not feel completely breathless, overtaken by the majestic sandstone sculptures that watched over me. This is a race for anyone who loves the great outdoors. It’s not easy, so prepare to finish 30 – 50% slower than your usual half marathon time. That said, the medal is awful and the coffee mug all finishers get isn’t very useful to someone who doesn’t drink coffee.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
3
My Report
SCENERY
5
SWAG
2
My Media

Was this review helpful?

 

Portland Marathon

Portland Marathon

This was the second marathon I ran in one weekend, so I might not have enjoyed it quite as much. But I can be objective about it. With the exception … MORE

This was the second marathon I ran in one weekend, so I might not have enjoyed it quite as much. But I can be objective about it. With the exception of having the course blocked by a passenger train for about a minute, the race was executed flawlessly. The course is varied and scenic, but there’s a good 3-mile stretch through a trainyard that could use a make-over. The second half was a little hillier than expected, so be prepared to soldier through that part on tired legs. But what makes this race stand out is the crazy amount of finisher goodies everyone gets. In addition to a standout medal, finishers get pendants, coins, roses and even a POTTED PLANT. Oh, and everyone got two t-shirts in 2013. Definitely a must for anyone wanting to journey to the Pacific Northwest.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
My Report
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5
My Media

Was this review helpful?

 

Leavenworth Oktoberfest Marathon & Half Marathon

Leavenworth Oktoberfest Marathon & Half Marathon

The first 10 miles of this marathon are all downhill, which can make the latter 16.2 a little harder than you expect. It will also hit your quads a little … MORE

The first 10 miles of this marathon are all downhill, which can make the latter 16.2 a little harder than you expect. It will also hit your quads a little more than you want, so be prepared for it to feel more challenging. That said, the Icicle Creek Canyon is a beautiful place to start and Leavenworth is a charming, secluded mountain town. At times you feel like you’re getting all of the mountain-running action without having to deal with the thin air. The surrounding area is equally beautiful, which makes this race a nice perk for a fun getaway. I also wear the t-shirt around quite often, and the hunky medal doubles as a bottle opener.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
My Report
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4
My Media

Was this review helpful?

 

Ice Age Trail 50

Ice Age Trail 50

This was my first ultramarathon and I'm thrilled to have run it in the woods of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. The race consists of a 13-mile out and back, … MORE

This was my first ultramarathon and I’m thrilled to have run it in the woods of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. The race consists of a 13-mile out and back, followed by two 9-mile loops around the Cross Country course. The first segment is varied and technical, while the two loops are a little more open but contain the majority of the race’s elevation change. Held in early May, you can bet on beautiful, verdant forests, mostly dry trails and cool temperatures. The event boasts a half marathon and 50-mile distance as well.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
My Report
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Garmin Marathon in the Land of Oz

Garmin Marathon in the Land of Oz

I ran this race as a training run leading up to my first 50k, so I ran it conservatively and with no time ambitions. In hindsight, I would have preferred … MORE

I ran this race as a training run leading up to my first 50k, so I ran it conservatively and with no time ambitions. In hindsight, I would have preferred to run this as a PR attempt because at least then I would have had something to focus on. The race runs through mostly flat neighborhood roads, and then on a narrow bike path through a park. There’s one aid station that is flush with Wizard of Oz costumes and references, but it’s far from enough to really give this race the quirk it promises. They do give good medals and t-shirts, and I got to see Desiree Linden, Scott Jurek and Josh Cox at the finish line, but other than that, it’s difficult to get swept away by this race.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
My Report
SCENERY
1
SWAG
4

Was this review helpful?

 

Cerros de Escazu Trail Run

Cerros de Escazu Trail Run

I signed up for this race thinking it would be a trail run in Escazú, a posh neighborhood in Costa Rica's capital of San José. However, I didn't do the … MORE

I signed up for this race thinking it would be a trail run in Escazú, a posh neighborhood in Costa Rica’s capital of San José. However, I didn’t do the necessary diligence, because it started out with a gut-busting climb. The first 5k is mostly all uphill in sweltering heat and high humidity. There are sections that you cannot run because you are literally running on large tree roots upwards of 30 degrees. Once topped off, the downhill is no easier as it is extremely technical, forcing runners to navigate loose rocks, streams, roots and dirt. The views are beautiful though, and are definitely worth the arduous effort. This race doesn’t seem to exist anymore, but it was worth the pain.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
1
My Report
SCENERY
5
SWAG
1

Was this review helpful?

 

NC Half Marathon & Twilight 5k

NC Half Marathon & Twilight 5k

Many races run through speedways and try to make that the signature draw for their runners. However, even the largest speedway can only offer about two miles of terrain, which … MORE

Many races run through speedways and try to make that the signature draw for their runners. However, even the largest speedway can only offer about two miles of terrain, which is a small percentage of a half marathon. This is where the NC Half Marathon excelled. By adding several speedways, including a run around a moto-cross style dirt track and a drag-race strip, the entire race experience felt consistently themed. Sadly, I don’t know if this race exists anymore because their website and Facebook pages are both defunct. It’s sad because I genuinely loved this race, with its multiple racetracks, quality t-shirts and original medals (with LED lights to boot!).

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
My Report
SCENERY
2
SWAG
4

Was this review helpful?

 

Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Marathon & 1/2 Marathon

Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Marathon & 1/2 Marathon

Though some might dislike Competitor's Rock & Roll race series, they do know how to put on a world-class race event. Usually held in February, this race boasts mild temperatures, … MORE

Though some might dislike Competitor’s Rock & Roll race series, they do know how to put on a world-class race event. Usually held in February, this race boasts mild temperatures, a mostly flat course (with a few hills between miles 18 and 22), excellent aid station distribution and course that explores an iconic city. From St. Charles avenue to the French Quarter and the endless greens of City Park, the landscape is constantly changing. This is a great place to aim for a new PR.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
My Report
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

I had wanted to run this race since before becoming a runner. I've always been drawn to the magic of Disney theme parks, even as an adult. Once I became … MORE

I had wanted to run this race since before becoming a runner. I’ve always been drawn to the magic of Disney theme parks, even as an adult. Once I became an experienced marathoner, this race became a no-brainer. Though not cheap, you can see where every dollar goes. The parks are shut down exclusively for runners and spectators, characters are out every mile, music is piped in at every corner, and you can’t help but feel like the organizers want you to smile the entire way. If I’m nitpicking, I would have asked for less Wide World of Sports and more Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios, but really, they already give you such an amazing race experience, it’s almost petulant to peeve about it. The t-shirts are great, the expo is amazing, the medals are a must in any serious runner’s collection — definitely worth the price of registration.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
My Report
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
My Media

Was this review helpful?

 

Hoover Dam Marathon

Hoover Dam Marathon

The Hoover Dam Marathon, Half Marathon & 10k is put on by Calico Racing, who organize several long-distance races in Nevada. This one takes place in Boulder City, on the … MORE

The Hoover Dam Marathon, Half Marathon & 10k is put on by Calico Racing, who organize several long-distance races in Nevada. This one takes place in Boulder City, on the shores of Lake Mead, about 30 minutes outside of Las Vegas. The course is a single out-and-back for the half marathon, which involves running to the Hoover Dam observation platform, and back to the finish line. It’s mostly two climbs. The marathoners do it twice, which I was not thrilled with. However, the course goes through several tunnels and has a constant, rocky landscape, which I very much love. The weather was pretty cold, even for Nevada, and the organizers put enough into the event to make it worthwhile. The post-race spread included homemade chili, which is an instant crowd pleaser. I still wear the long-sleeve tech shirt they gave out, but I was a little disappointed with the medals, which didn’t include the distance or the year. However, if you’re yearning for a marathon in December, you can’t go wrong with this one, especially since you get a great view of one of the great engineering feats of the 20th century.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
My Report
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

Was this review helpful?

 

Williams Route 66 Marathon & Half Marathon

Williams Route 66 Marathon & Half Marathon

The Route 66 Marathon takes place in Tulsa. That's right, TULSA. Why would you ever want to visit Tulsa, Oklahoma? I'm guessing this went through the organizers' heads because they … MORE

The Route 66 Marathon takes place in Tulsa. That’s right, TULSA. Why would you ever want to visit Tulsa, Oklahoma? I’m guessing this went through the organizers’ heads because they really do a lot to bring in runners. Not only are their race materials top-notch and very well designed, but they have so many unique medals for different kinds of finishers, that you can’t help but WANT to participate. They have special medals for their 50-states runners, Marathon Maniacs, and even first time marathoners. On top of that, they have a silly “Center of the Universe” detour that adds 0.3 miles to the distance and comes with a commemorative coin. It can turn into a carnival very quickly, which makes an otherwise boring race quite charming. The course itself starts in the city, winds through neighborhoods, along a river, back downtown, and through a college campus. There’s nothing particularly special about it, but you still feel like it was a unique race upon finishing.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
My Report
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5

Was this review helpful?

 

Des Moines Marathon

Des Moines Marathon

When you think "Iowa" you think cornfields as far as the eye can see. So it was a little surprising to discover that the first half of the Des Moines … MORE

When you think “Iowa” you think cornfields as far as the eye can see. So it was a little surprising to discover that the first half of the Des Moines Marathon was a hilly affair. However, with most of the elevation in the first half, you are set up for a negative split. The first half runs through the city and nearby neighborhoods, with the second winding through parks and forest preserves. There wasn’t a single shred of cornfield in the entire race and its late October date means that most of the course is decorated in golden fall colors, which can make for a beautiful experience. The t-shirt and medal weren’t the best (in 2012 anyway), but it’s a great event for anyone looking for a fun, fast marathon.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
My Report
SCENERY
4
SWAG
2

Was this review helpful?

 

Run Crazy Horse

Run Crazy Horse

This race begins at the Crazy Horse memorial, which will one day make Mount Rushmore look like a middle school art project. However, it's still under construction and will not … MORE

This race begins at the Crazy Horse memorial, which will one day make Mount Rushmore look like a middle school art project. However, it’s still under construction and will not be finished for many decades to come. The first half is mostly all downhill, on the Deadwood Mickelson trail that runs along the highway. It’s soft dirt and it is very easy to cruise confidently down it. The second half is an out-and-back past Hill City, where the finish line is, where things get difficult. It’s a 6-mile climb followed by a descent, but at 5,000 feet, it’s far from easy. Though you’re running through wooded trails, it’s not as scenic as the first half. The medals are made of clay and a leather strap, very much like Big Sur, which means they will stand out in anyone’s collection.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
My Report
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3

Was this review helpful?

 

Half Madness 13.1

Half Madness 13.1

I ran this race for two reasons: a friend had raved about it, and I needed an August race to avoid going cold turkey. It didn't disappoint. Although the time … MORE

I ran this race for two reasons: a friend had raved about it, and I needed an August race to avoid going cold turkey. It didn’t disappoint. Although the time of year means that it will likely be a little muggy at the start, the heat was manageable. There are some hills to contend with but the last two miles are a slight downhill, which should make for a fast finish. The post-race party also features pizza and craft beers, and the medal doubles as a bottle opener.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
My Report
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

Was this review helpful?

 

Madison Marathon (MT)

Madison Marathon (MT)

This race bills itself as the highest road marathon in the country. The road itself is crushed gravel, so it's a far cry from asphalt or concrete, but the organization … MORE

This race bills itself as the highest road marathon in the country. The road itself is crushed gravel, so it’s a far cry from asphalt or concrete, but the organization has the hallmarks of a barebones trail race. The logistics are challenging and will require lots of time. Buses pick up from Ennis, Montana and drive about an hour to the finish line, then drive another 45 minutes to the start. The half is a point-to-point and is always either climbing or descending. But the views you get in the process, including some excellent panoramas of the imposing Black Butte, are worth the thin air. Generic medals and not much of a post-race spread though.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
2
My Report
SCENERY
5
SWAG
1

Was this review helpful?

 

Idaho Falls Marathon, Half Marathon/5K

Idaho Falls Marathon, Half Marathon/5K

This race starts by a wind farm up above the sleepy town of Idaho Falls. From there the first five miles are a pretty steep descent. If you're not trained … MORE

This race starts by a wind farm up above the sleepy town of Idaho Falls. From there the first five miles are a pretty steep descent. If you’re not trained for downhills, this is the kind that can really stomp your quads. The views during this portion are fine, but once you get into town, you’re running through strip malls and forgettable terrain before finishing in a nice community park. The medal was forgettable but they did have Jimmy John’s at the finish.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
My Report
SCENERY
3
SWAG
2

Was this review helpful?

 

Correcaminos Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K

Correcaminos Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K

This is a point-to-point, net downhill tour of Costa Rica's urban capital. It starts in Tres Ríos, crosses Curridabat on its way to San José Centro and ends in the … MORE

This is a point-to-point, net downhill tour of Costa Rica’s urban capital. It starts in Tres Ríos, crosses Curridabat on its way to San José Centro and ends in the urban park, La Sabana. As a Costa Rican, it was fun to run on roads that are normally filled with cars in peak traffic hours. Finishing in La Sabana was great and made for easy pickup from family members. The course, though net downhill, can be challenging. Costa Rica is warm yearround and the capital nests at around 4,000 feet of elevation. Sea-level dwellers would benefit from arriving a few days early to acclimate.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
My Report
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

Was this review helpful?

 

Grandma’s Marathon & Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon

Grandma’s Marathon & Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon

If you've ever wanted to run a marathon in what is basically a straight line next to a giant lake, then Grandma's Marathon is the race for you. It begins … MORE

If you’ve ever wanted to run a marathon in what is basically a straight line next to a giant lake, then Grandma’s Marathon is the race for you. It begins in Two Harbors and cuts southwest toward Duluth. Held in late June, it can be either warm and muggy or cool. The production is top-notch, with buses shuttling runners from various local hotels to the start, aid stations well stocked and a post-race party with a smorgasbord of local offerings. Expect small-town charm from Duluth, but aside from that, there’s not much else going for it. Stay in Minneapolis and drive up if you can.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
My Report
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Marine Corps Historic Half

Marine Corps Historic Half

Although the Marine Corps Marathon is its bigger, more famous event, the Historic Half ... well, the Historic Half simply exists. It's a spring half marathon held yearly in Fredericksburg, … MORE

Although the Marine Corps Marathon is its bigger, more famous event, the Historic Half … well, the Historic Half simply exists. It’s a spring half marathon held yearly in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and the course runs through neighborhoods, next to commercial strips, and through a hospital. The start is officiated by marines and many of the volunteers helped out in fatigues. There were also actors dressed in colonial garb entertaining runners as they cut through historic, downtown Fredericksburg. But aside from that, it could have been any other race held in any other small town. I did enjoy the race and I ran a fast time, but aside from that, I wouldn’t travel far for it.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
My Report
SCENERY
2
SWAG
3

Was this review helpful?

 

OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon (Indy Mini)

OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon (Indy Mini)

Although the standout feature of this race in all its marketing materials is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it only amounts to about 2 miles of the course. The remaining 11 … MORE

Although the standout feature of this race in all its marketing materials is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it only amounts to about 2 miles of the course. The remaining 11 miles is filled with all kinds of musical acts from the Indianapolis area, from dancing septuagenarians to cloggers and heavy metal bands. It’s almost like the organizers realized how ugly some parts of Indianapolis can be, so they chose to fill it with as much entertainment as possible. That said, it’s such a fun event. Plus, it’s the flattest possible race I’ve ever run, and its early May start time is very conducive to PRs. Lastly, if you’re among the top 500 finishers, you will earn a special “500 Club” commemorative medal for your speedy efforts. In order to do that though, you have to run around a 1:30, and its gender neutral, so those who earn it are disproportionately men.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
My Report
SCENERY
1
SWAG
3

Was this review helpful?

 

Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon & miniMarathon

Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon & miniMarathon

This is one of the flattest, fastest half marathons out there that isn't a point-to-point, downhill run. It has remarkably few turns, has almost zero hills or elevation change, and … MORE

This is one of the flattest, fastest half marathons out there that isn’t a point-to-point, downhill run. It has remarkably few turns, has almost zero hills or elevation change, and takes place in late April, allowing for cool temperatures. It starts in the city and heads to the famed Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, before running back in almost a perfectly straight line on city streets. Additionally, the t-shirts and medals are very well designed and worth displaying. So if you’re within a 3-hour driving distance of Louisville (5 hours if, like me, you’re from Chicago), put in some speedwork and let that equine, Derby magic be the carrot for your next PR. I have heard that the marathon distance has a very hilly second half though.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
My Report
SCENERY
2
SWAG
5

Was this review helpful?

 

Oak Barrel Half Marathon

Oak Barrel Half Marathon

I don't remember how I found out about this race, but I do remember what made me sign up: the medals. They're made of wood and very detailed. I wasn't … MORE

I don’t remember how I found out about this race, but I do remember what made me sign up: the medals. They’re made of wood and very detailed. I wasn’t disappointed. It begins in the sleepy town of Lynchburg, Tennessee and enters the woods on paved roads. Around mile 5, you’ll crest Whiskey Hill, and from there it’s mostly downhill back to the start. You’ll run on hilly, country roads and see a spectator or two before finishing. Age group awards are pieces of whiskey barrels and the Jack Daniels museum is right in town. Very southern, very charming.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
My Report
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

Was this review helpful?

 

Little Rock Marathon

Little Rock Marathon

The giant race medals are how they get you. That's how they got me. Flash an enormous, ever growing hunk of swag in front of me and I'll sign up. … MORE

The giant race medals are how they get you. That’s how they got me. Flash an enormous, ever growing hunk of swag in front of me and I’ll sign up. Fortunately, the race itself delivers on production. While Little Rock may not sound scenic, there was a surprising amount of variety on the race course, from downtown stretches to beautiful neighborhoods. There is a disappointingly long out-and-back in the last 10k that traverses a golf course though, but at that point it’s so flat that your legs will thank you for it. Watch out for a mean hill at mile 25 and then you’re home free. Did I mention the medals are enormous?

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
My Report
SCENERY
2
SWAG
5

Was this review helpful?

 

Mercedes-Benz Marathon Weekend

Mercedes-Benz Marathon Weekend

Once again, I was drawn to this race by their medals. Every year they offer the classic Mercedes logo / hood ornament to runners for finishing, and I couldn't help … MORE

Once again, I was drawn to this race by their medals. Every year they offer the classic Mercedes logo / hood ornament to runners for finishing, and I couldn’t help but want my own. However, if you travel for this event, please be aware that Birmingham doesn’t offer much in terms of entertainment. The course, for that matter, takes a while to leave the city. Once it does, you will find yourself with a welcome change of scenery, but it takes a climb to do so. You’re rewarded with a speedy downhill back into the city, where the post-race party is stocked with food. I’d only recommend this race if a.) you want to hit up all 50 states, b.) you live in Birmingham. It should also be noted that the marathon is a two-looped course, which I do not like.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
My Report
SCENERY
2
SWAG
2

Was this review helpful?

 

Miami Marathon & Half Marathon

Miami Marathon & Half Marathon

Although the full distance is much more challenging in Miami's heat and humidity, the half marathon is one of my all-time favorites. Runners will enjoy colorful cruise ships along the … MORE

Although the full distance is much more challenging in Miami’s heat and humidity, the half marathon is one of my all-time favorites. Runners will enjoy colorful cruise ships along the Macarthur Causeway, art deco restaurants and hotels in Miami Beach, soft waves lapping at the Venetian Causeway and the thrill of thousands of denizens cheering downtown. The race t-shirt and medal is always a winner and you can bet that this January getaway will provide warm weather for a perfect winter escape. I can’t talk this race up enough. It’s the only out-of-state race I’ve run three times, soon to be four.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
My Report
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

Was this review helpful?

 

Holiday Half Marathon & 5K

Holiday Half Marathon & 5K

I honestly ran this race because I found incredibly cheap flights to LAX from Chicago. I was drawn by the website, the medal and the theme. The race starts in … MORE

I honestly ran this race because I found incredibly cheap flights to LAX from Chicago. I was drawn by the website, the medal and the theme. The race starts in Pomona, which is about 30-40 minutes east of Los Angeles. Runners begin in a carnival, race through Pomona Speedway, through hilly parks and back to the start via the flat speedway. Despite the hills, I managed a fast performance, fueled by the cool 40-degree weather in December and the allure of burning a PR onto the snowflake medal. I still use the 2011 technical t-shirt and remember this race pretty fondly. I wouldn’t necessarily travel for it, but if you’re in the area around this time of year, it’s worth your time.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
My Report
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

Was this review helpful?

 

New York City Marathon

New York City Marathon

From the moment you start the New York City Marathon until you cross the finish line, you are guaranteed an unforgettable experience. Journeying through the iconic City that Never Sleeps … MORE

From the moment you start the New York City Marathon until you cross the finish line, you are guaranteed an unforgettable experience. Journeying through the iconic City that Never Sleeps through each of its five boroughs is nothing short of exhilarating. Each neighborhood has its own vibe and the skyline is never too far away. With mile markers at every mile starting at 3, you will have reliable splits and your loved ones can easily track you from home. Well-stocked aid stations and millions of supporters make this a truly special event. HOWEVER … you will have to wake up five hours before your start time to get to Fort Wadsworth, and there you will wait for upwards of two hours in the cold to start. Then once you’re done, you will find yourself in the middle of the city with nowhere to rest up and relax from your 26.2-mile journey. It feels like you get kicked out of a party too soon without a chance to kick up your feet. But that aside, the race is one-of-a-kind and worth the high price of admission.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
My Report
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

Was this review helpful?

 

Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Bank of America Chicago Marathon

This was my first marathon in the city I call home, so I can't help but be biased. But absolutely anyone else running it would find few faults with it … MORE

This was my first marathon in the city I call home, so I can’t help but be biased. But absolutely anyone else running it would find few faults with it (except, maybe how pricy it has become). The course showcases 29 distinct Chicago neighborhoods, it’s flat as a pancake, you are always surrounded by thousands of screaming spectators, the weather is (usually) perfect, it starts and ends in Grant Park, which is incredibly easy to reach, the medals are always detailed, the Expo is enormous, the souvenir shirts are worn for years to come … honestly, everything I can say about this race is an accolade. Race director Carey Pinkowski knows how to put an event together, and the consistently deep elite field shows it too. DVR’ing the race and watching it afterwards is a treat because it makes you feel like you raced twice, once for you, and twice to see the lithesome East Africans go for the crown.

Chicago is hands down the best big-city marathon out there. I haven’t run all of them (that would take forever but I’m excited to try), but so far, it’s the cream of the crop. For a first-timer or a veteran, this is one race you cannot miss.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
My Report
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

Was this review helpful?

 

Tupelo Marathon & 13.1 Miler

Tupelo Marathon & 13.1 Miler

There's one big reason to run this race: the skull-themed medals. It's a small race in rural Mississippi with a course that doesn't offer much to look at. It's also … MORE

There’s one big reason to run this race: the skull-themed medals. It’s a small race in rural Mississippi with a course that doesn’t offer much to look at. It’s also held around Labor Day weekend, which usually means temperatures flirting with the 90s and oppressive humidity. It’s not an easy race at all, but every year a few hundred runners gut it out to earn a truly badass medal. I started slow and slowed down as the race went on. It’s the slowest marathon I’ve ever run, but I wore the golden medallion with pride. A definite for runners seeking additional cred.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
2
My Report
SCENERY
2
SWAG
3

Was this review helpful?

 

XTERRA Harbison Half Marathon

XTERRA Harbison Half Marathon

This was the first trail run I ever ran, and it happened to be in July in South Carolina. It was already in the 80s when we started running and … MORE

This was the first trail run I ever ran, and it happened to be in July in South Carolina. It was already in the 80s when we started running and the constant up and down of the technical single-track trail made for an unforgiving beatdown on my legs. I was inexperienced and unsure as to how to tackle the heat and humidity, but slowly but surely, I made it to the end. There were three aid stations during the entire race, so runners are encouraged to bring their own hydration. Orange slices around mile 8 were a godsend. The hardware is pretty generic, but worth the challenge.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
1
My Report
SCENERY
5
SWAG
1

Was this review helpful?

 

My Followers