My Profile

@DrewNYC

New York, NY Raving since 2014 50 States hopeful/finisher, Seven Continents Club member, Marathon Maniacs #2236 active 1 week, 1 day ago

About Me

  • Running club(s):

    NYRR, Front Runners New York

  • Rave race:
  • Race that's calling my name:
  • I run because:

My races

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

50 States Map
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Half Marathon

Marathon

Ultramarathon

(Marathon &/or Ultra) + Half

Marathon + Ultra

Other

Personal Bests (5)

Race Distance Location Date Result
4-Way Challenge (35.5 Miles) Cincinnati, OH May 3, 2015 7:38:43
Marathon Virginia Beach, VA 2009 5:03:45
Dark Side Challenge (19.3 Miles) Lake Buena Vista, FL Apr 15, 2016 4:36:16
Half Marathon Transverse, NY Dec 11, 2016 2:37:28
5K St Louis, MO Apr 9, 2017 37:34

Future Races (7)

Race Distance Location Date Paid
Half Marathon New York, NY Jan 20, 2019
Half Marathon New York City, NY Feb 24, 2019
Half Marathon New York City, NY Mar 17, 2019
Marathon Oklahoma City, OK Apr 28, 2019
Marathon Hanga Roa, Chile Jun 2, 2019
Marathon Cedar Crest, NM Sep 14, 2019
Marathon Manchester, NH Nov 10, 2019

Past Races (81)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
Half Marathon New York, NY Dec 9, 2018 3:12:27
Marathon Queenstown, New Zealand Nov 17, 2018 6:40:46
Half Marathon Staten Island, NY Oct 14, 2018 3:05:54
Half Marathon Kona, HI Sep 19, 2018 3:42:01
Half Marathon Salt Lake City, UT Jul 24, 2018 2:59:46
Marathon Frenchtown, MT Jul 14, 2018 6:41:37
Marathon Burlington, VT May 27, 2018 5:59:40
Marathon Louisville, KY Apr 28, 2018 5:54:33
Half Marathon New York City, NY Feb 25, 2018 2:40:23
Marathon Jackson, MS Jan 27, 2018 5:55:11
Half Marathon New York, NY Jan 21, 2018 2:49:49
Half Marathon Phoenix, AZ Jan 14, 2018 2:50:22
Half Marathon New York, NY Dec 10, 2017 2:47:34
Half Marathon Las Vegas, NV Nov 12, 2017 3:01:33
Half Marathon Savannah, GA Nov 4, 2017 2:53:25
Half Marathon Brooklyn, NY Oct 14, 2017 2:51:52
Marathon Portland, OR Oct 8, 2017 6:21:13
Marathon Berlin, Germany Sep 24, 2017 5:56:59
Half Marathon Philadelphia, PA Sep 17, 2017 2:50:59
Half Marathon Virginia Beach, VA Sep 3, 2017 2:53:35
Half Marathon Dublin, Ireland Aug 13, 2017 2:56:44
Half Marathon Chicago, IL Jul 16, 2017 2:52:41
Half Marathon Seattle, WA Jun 18, 2017 2:49:57
Marathon Casper, WY Jun 4, 2017 6:50:50
Half Marathon Fort Lee, NJ May 7, 2017 2:49:26
Half Marathon Nashville, TN Apr 29, 2017 2:57:28
5K St Louis, MO Apr 9, 2017 37:34
Marathon St Louis, MO Apr 9, 2017 5:58:08
Marathon Washington, district of columbia Mar 11, 2017 5:56:16
Half Marathon New York City, NY Feb 26, 2017 2:42:20
Half Marathon Austin, TX Feb 19, 2017 2:55:39
Half Marathon New York, NY Jan 22, 2017 2:45:14
Half Marathon Mobile, AL Jan 8, 2017 2:41:26
Half Marathon Transverse, NY Dec 11, 2016 2:37:28
Marathon Des Moines, IA Oct 16, 2016 5:57:00
Half Marathon Brooklyn, NY Oct 8, 2016 2:38:45
Half Marathon New York, NY Oct 2, 2016 2:44:28
Marathon Idaho Falls, ID Aug 27, 2016 6:00:11
Marathon Anchorage, AK Jun 18, 2016 6:00:38
Marathon Wilmington, DE May 8, 2016 5:45:15
Dark Side Challenge (19.3 Miles) Lake Buena Vista, FL Apr 15, 2016 4:36:16
Marathon Little Rock, AR Mar 6, 2016 5:54:37
Half Marathon New York City, NY Feb 21, 2016 2:40:55
Half Marathon Philadelphia, PA Oct 31, 2015 2:41:21
Half Marathon Brooklyn, NY Oct 10, 2015 2:41:42
Marathon St George, UT Oct 3, 2015 5:27:03
Marathon Two Harbors, MN Jun 20, 2015 5:29:04
4-Way Challenge (35.5 Miles) Cincinnati, OH May 3, 2015 7:38:43
Marathon Lahaina, HI Jan 18, 2015 6:01:20
Rebel Challenge (19.3 Miles) Anaheim, CA Jan 16, 2015
Marathon Memphis, TN Dec 6, 2014 5:45:15
Marathon Charlotte, NC Nov 15, 2014 5:36:57
Marathon Crazy Horse, SD Oct 5, 2014 6:10:54
Marathon Myrtle Beach, SC 2014 6:13:35
Marathon Big Sur, CA 2014 5:48:46
Marathon Birmingham, AL 2013 5:33:22
Marathon King George Island, Antarctica 2013 7:17:45
Marathon London, United Kingdom 2013 5:48:56
Marathon Oceanport, NJ 2013 5:43:33
Marathon Baltimore, MD 2013 5:56:47
Marathon Huntington, WV 2013 5:44:59
Marathon Wichita, KS 2012 6:07:20
Marathon Dallas, TX 2012 6:04:14
Marathon Denver, CO 2012 5:50:57
Marathon Indianapolis, IN 2012 6:06:36
Marathon Phoenix, AZ 2011 5:48:18
Marathon Bar Harbor, ME 2011 6:22:56
Marathon Savannah, GA 2011 6:05:02
Marathon Philadelphia, PA 2011 5:55:28
Marathon Las Vegas, NV 2010 5:27:05
Marathon New Orleans, LA 2010 5:54:38
Marathon Lake Buena Vista, FL 2010 6:47:31
Marathon Hartford, CT 2010 5:52:43
Marathon Seattle, WA 2009 5:32:14
Marathon Lake Buena Vista, FL 2009 5:57:50
Marathon Chicago, IL 2009 5:19:11
Marathon Staten Island, NY 2009 5:28:23
Marathon Providence, RI 2009 5:21:16
Marathon Virginia Beach, VA 2009 5:03:45
Marathon Ashland, WI 2008 5:26:17
Marathon Staten Island, NY 2008 5:22:17

My Raves

NYCRUNS Big Apple Half Marathon (fka Frozen Bonsai Half)

NYCRUNS Big Apple Half Marathon (fka Frozen Bonsai Half)

This is my third time running this particular race. It's a decent race to finish out the year. Central Park is hilly (this route has you going up Cat Hill … MORE

This is my third time running this particular race. It’s a decent race to finish out the year. Central Park is hilly (this route has you going up Cat Hill 3x and Harlem Hill 2x). NYCRuns races are smaller in scale than NYRR. The race production has definitely improved over the years (it was not uncommon for NYCRuns races to start late and to be a bit chaotic). Long sleeve white technical shirt and decent medal are the swag. Packet pick-up is only 6 hours long on Friday in a store near Union Square. Other options are to pick up on race day and/or have the bib mailed to you (for a fee. The t-shirt would need to be picked up on race day). There is plenty of water and Gatorade and a decent number of port-o-potties.

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1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Queenstown International Marathon

Queenstown International Marathon

If you enjoy visiting new places for marathon, this race absolutely should be on your bucket list. Queenstown is absolutely beautiful and a fun place to visit. Traveling to New … MORE

If you enjoy visiting new places for marathon, this race absolutely should be on your bucket list. Queenstown is absolutely beautiful and a fun place to visit.

Traveling to New Zealand isn’t easy (or rather, it takes a long time to get there). Don’t let that scare you off. It isn’t that bad. Most likely, you will need to fly into Auckland first. Not a bad idea to spend a day or two there before coming to Queenstown.

Queenstown is an absolutely place with lots of options for active travelers. You can bungee jump off the bridge where bungee jumping was born. There is zip lining, rafting, luge, and gondolas plus wine tours and visits to beautiful locations used in Lord of the Rings, Mission Impossible, and other movies. You should visit Fergburger–well known for their burgers–it is worth the wait.

The expo is small (and a bit disorganized). The medal was better than I expected. Race morning there is a shuttle to the start. The start area (for bag drop, port-o-potties, etc) was surprisingly a bit away from the start line. I wish the race would have started earlier (the marathon goes off at 8:30am, after the 10k and half marathon start). The course is beautiful, but hilly. Don’t let the “flat out beautiful” slogan of the race deceive you! Decent finish area, though they were out of some things (including the beer I wanted!) but the time I finished.

It really was a spectacular running vacation. I enjoyed myself immensely and I would highly recommend this adventure for any runners who love traveling to new places.

DIFFICULTY
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1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Staten Island Half

Staten Island Half

Manhattan and Brooklyn Half Marathons get a lot of attention. Visit one of the other NYC boroughs-Staten Island-to mix things up. The best way to get to and from the … MORE

Manhattan and Brooklyn Half Marathons get a lot of attention. Visit one of the other NYC boroughs-Staten Island-to mix things up. The best way to get to and from the race is the (free) Staten Island Ferry. NYRR knows how to put on a race. Things run smoothly.

The course has some rolling hills, but nothing too awful. You get some nice views of the Bridge, Manhattan, and Governors Island.

Long sleeve technical shirt and a decent medal are the swag.

The Staten Island is one of the races you can do to get guaranteed entry into the NYC Half in March (you have to do 4 borough races).

Bottom line: I used to be wary of the effort to get to this race. It wasn’t that bad and it was an enjoyable day.

DIFFICULTY
3
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4
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4
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1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Hawaiian Running Cruise Kona Half Marathon

Hawaiian Running Cruise Kona Half Marathon

It's hard to write just about the race. This is a week long cruise with multiple events on four different Hawaiian islands. There were two 5ks, an Amazing Race style … MORE

It’s hard to write just about the race. This is a week long cruise with multiple events on four different Hawaiian islands. There were two 5ks, an Amazing Race style event that was a little over a 5k, plus a beautiful hike. On this particular race day, there were three race options–5k, 10k, and half marathon.

It was a hot day, with very little shade along the course. This covered part of the Iron Man course and it was beautiful. It was hilly at parts.

It was a blast running with a group of people that you had spent the week getting to know. The group was on hand for the final finishers and created a human archway for them to run through, cheering them along as if they were the runners to come across first. It was truly a special day.

DIFFICULTY
4
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4
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4
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3

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Deseret News Marathon

Deseret News Marathon

The first thing to note is that this race is raced on Pioneer's Day, which is always July 24th. So this year (2018) the race was held on a Tuesday. … MORE

The first thing to note is that this race is raced on Pioneer’s Day, which is always July 24th. So this year (2018) the race was held on a Tuesday.

Pre-race:
-Small expo, but nice volunteers
-Wasn’t easy to find a pasta dinner the night before (I actually skipped pasta for this race).

Race day:
-Early morning meet up for buses to the start (~4am).
-You wait at the start for a bit of time (one hour or more) so be prepared: something to sit on, extra layer (as it is a bit chiller), and if you have something with a light it helps (it was VERY dark and the buses were driving through the crowd in the pitch dark–it’s amazing there were no problems!)
-The course is mostly downhill and beautiful
-Roughly 1 mile is actually on the parade route. People are lined up on both sides of the street for the parade. For the back of the packers (like me) the crowds were a little bored by the time I came by! There were a few floats that went by–literally right next to me.
-Roads are open, but traffic wasn’t heavy so it wasn’t bad.

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1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Missoula Marathon

Missoula Marathon

First, I should note that this was a tough race for me--but that was because of an injury I was dealing with. So, my finish time doesn't reflect my opinion … MORE

First, I should note that this was a tough race for me–but that was because of an injury I was dealing with. So, my finish time doesn’t reflect my opinion of the race.

This was a three race weekend–a 3 mile (untimed) beer run on Friday night, a 5k race on Saturday, and then the main event (marathon and half marathon) on Sunday. This schedule provided an opportunity for fans of various distances and for families to participate in the events of the weekend. (Baby joggers/strollers were allowed on Friday night and Saturday’s 5k.)

The Missoula area is breathtaking and the area was more “hip” than I had anticipated (big farmer’s market, lots of craft beers, etc). Not easy (or cheap) to get there–took me 2 flights to get there. I’d recommend staying in the downtown area, which is near where the events of the weekend take place.

The expo is outdoors. Race shirts were nice as were the medals. For Sunday’s races, they provided free photos (you could get your picture taken and then they would provide you a printed copy then and there).

It was warm (especially Friday night). I believe they are moving the date up to June next year as they are concerned about forest fires they sometimes have to deal with (luckily none this weekend).

For those runners looking to cross Montana off your list–or those looking for a fun/scenic summer race–I would highly recommend the Missoula Marathon.

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Vermont City Marathon & Relay

Vermont City Marathon & Relay

This was a fun race weekend. The race was held on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend (so that made it convenient for travel--didn't have to use up vacation days!). … MORE

This was a fun race weekend. The race was held on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend (so that made it convenient for travel–didn’t have to use up vacation days!). The weather can be unpredictable (it’s been cold and rainy and they also had to stop the race for heat a couple of years ago). This year was good weather.

There are some hills on the course, but they are mostly out of the way by mile 15. From there it is mainly flat to downhill. There are plenty of spectators out and–due to the course design (multiple points of up and back)–friends can see you multiple times throughout the race.

The pasta dinner the night before was well attended and fun (though this is the first time I’ve experienced the pasta being in a cream sauce instead of tomato). The medal was a good size. The shirt design was just okay–but it was a good material and navy blue.

There are plenty of hotels near the start/finish. If you do, you can walk/run to the expo (it’s a couple of miles away).

I highly recommend bringing bug spray! I definitely got bit a lot during the race.

Burlington, VT is a fun town. Church Street-closed to car traffic-is filled with stores and restaurants. You can barely walk 10 feet with hitting another craft brewery! The people are very nice and the area is very pretty. It’s a nice weekend away for you and any non-runners you might be traveling with.

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Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon & miniMarathon

Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon & miniMarathon

This is a mostly flat course. Right before mile 12 is the only significant hill. Other than that, it was pretty much flat. A decent amount of the course is … MORE

This is a mostly flat course. Right before mile 12 is the only significant hill. Other than that, it was pretty much flat. A decent amount of the course is shaded, which helps on a sunny day.

Part of the race goes through Churchill Downs, which is really cool. I wish we had more of an unobstructed view of the track, but it was still pretty amazing.

Plenty of water and aid stops. Lots of nice volunteers and spectators. Several of the mile markers seemed off (I would swear there were two signs for mile 9 and miles 11 was definitely off).

Small-ish expo. Okay shirt. Great medal.

There was a shuttle that ran to/from the expo, which was great. Lots of hotels to choose from. Limited options (in my opinion) for pasta the night before–so the one place (Old Spaghetti House) was quite crowded! Lots of pubs to enjoy a post race beer (or bourbon).

For 50 staters, I would highly recommend this race for Kentucky.

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2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Central Park Half Marathon

Central Park Half Marathon

This is a small NYC half marathon (~1,000 runners in 2018). Central Park has rolling hills, and for this race, you go over most of those hills 3 times. There … MORE

This is a small NYC half marathon (~1,000 runners in 2018). Central Park has rolling hills, and for this race, you go over most of those hills 3 times.

There isn’t an expo, but a bib pick up at a sporting store (just one day-five hours) or you can pick up race morning.

The race starts later than most half marathons so–9am. NYCRuns has gotten much better about starting on time (I think they were actually early this year).

Blue long sleeve running shirt and a nice medal for swag.

DIFFICULTY
3
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1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Mississippi Blues Marathon & Half Marathon

Mississippi Blues Marathon & Half Marathon

I was signed up to run the 2017 race, which was cancelled due to the weather. It was a good (though I'm sure tough) decision made by the Race Director--the … MORE

I was signed up to run the 2017 race, which was cancelled due to the weather. It was a good (though I’m sure tough) decision made by the Race Director–the roads were incredibly icy and unsafe to run. The team did a good job of providing options to those of us signed up for 2017.

A new sponsor–Continental–took over this year. I’m glad that the organizers were able to carry on the race. Even though I didn’t get to run last year, I was able to see the finisher jacket and HUGE medal, so I was disappointed this year with the basic white race shirt (long sleeve, though) and a tiny medal.

EXPO: Located in the host hotel, which is convenient if you are staying there. They had live music, which was a bit much for such a small space (hard to hear anyone!).

RACES: There are multiple races that all start at the same time: Marathon, Half Marathon, Relay, Quarter Note, and 5k. The course starts to thin out as each of the shorter distance groups peeled off [some of the distances seemed off–especially the 5k which was definitely closer to 3.5 or more]. The course was narrow at many points, made even more narrow by the rain which caused large puddles everywhere. The Jackson, MS roads have lots of potholes, which filled up with the rain water. The course wasn’t closed to traffic. At parts, there really wasn’t an obvious path for the runners, we just had to hope that the cars would slow and go around us.

I didn’t have a car, but it would have helped to have one. There aren’t a lot of restaurant options for pre-race pasta near the hotels.

I realize the review above slants negative, which is not the intention! Anyone looking to run the 50 states, I would still recommend this race for Mississippi.

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NYRR Fred Lebow Manhattan Half

NYRR Fred Lebow Manhattan Half

If you live and run in NYC, you are quite used to races in Central Park--rolling hills, multiple loops, some scenery and some spectators. NYRR knows how to put on … MORE

If you live and run in NYC, you are quite used to races in Central Park–rolling hills, multiple loops, some scenery and some spectators. NYRR knows how to put on a race, so it is quite organized. Because the course involves two 5 mile loops and one ~3 mile loop, there is some bunching up of runners (faster runners looping the slower runners). That can be frustrating for all, but it didn’t seem as bad this year as it was last year.

Rather than a race shirt, we got a winter hat this year. Similar medal as last year.

DIFFICULTY
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Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon & Half Marathon

Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon & Half Marathon

My birthday fell on the MLK 3 day weekend this year, and I wanted to go somewhere to run a race. I ran the Rock N Roll Marathon back in … MORE

My birthday fell on the MLK 3 day weekend this year, and I wanted to go somewhere to run a race. I ran the Rock N Roll Marathon back in 2011 and I liked leaving the NY winter to enjoy the Arizona weather, so I went back for the half marathon. I actually did 3 races this weekend–the 1-miler on Friday night, the 5k on Saturday, and the half on Sunday. It was a great weekend. The courses are almost entirely flat. The weather was perfect.

The expo was smaller than I remembered. I feel like RnR have gone astray with the shirt designs (I think they used to be MUCH better). The medals were fine–not the best RnR, but fine.

I stayed in Tempe which worked out really well–I could walk to the start/finish lines for all 3 races.

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NYCRUNS Big Apple Half Marathon (fka Frozen Bonsai Half)

NYCRUNS Big Apple Half Marathon (fka Frozen Bonsai Half)

Mother Nature added to the scenery for this year's race. Snowfall the day before the race added some beauty and holiday magic to the day. It was cold. And Central … MORE

Mother Nature added to the scenery for this year’s race. Snowfall the day before the race added some beauty and holiday magic to the day. It was cold. And Central Park is hilly. But it was a good day.

NYCRuns has been getting more organized–which is nice to see. They almost started EARLY this year (I feel like the often start late). The medal matched the name–it was a big apple.

The shirt was a long sleeve technical shirt in blue–which I like.

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1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon & Half Marathon

Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon & Half Marathon

This is a flat course. Even though the race starts in the afternoon, it is pretty much dark within the first couple of miles. It is cool to run the … MORE

This is a flat course. Even though the race starts in the afternoon, it is pretty much dark within the first couple of miles. It is cool to run the Strip–and you get a chance to see a brief glimpse of the old Vegas–but there are parts that are boring. Not a lot of music on the course (considering it is Rock N Roll).

It was a bit of a mess getting to the start. I’m willing to give it a bit of a pass as they had to change things (including the course) because of the horrible shooting a few weeks ago. It was moving to see all of the “Vegas Strong” signs during my weekend in Vegas.

There is a 5k the night before, which I would recommend (even though it wasn’t scenic at all).

The medals were fun and Las Vegas themed. The shirts weren’t great (though I’ve felt that about most of the Rock N Roll shirts this year).

This was my 10th Rock N Roll event of 2017, so I received the big Gold Record medal at the end, which was cool.

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1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah Marathon & Half Marathon

Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah Marathon & Half Marathon

I ran the inaugural Rock N Roll full marathon (in 2010), and went back this year (2017) to run the half marathon. This year I also ran the 5k and … MORE

I ran the inaugural Rock N Roll full marathon (in 2010), and went back this year (2017) to run the half marathon. This year I also ran the 5k and 1-miler the next day (with my Mom). So lots of medals this weekend!

Rock N Roll knows how to do this. It is organized. The expo is medium size (no doubt many vendors go to the larger NYC Marathon, happening the same weekend). And they got decent swag – medals and shirts.

The course is mostly flat. I found the 5k course to be more scenic than the half marathon. Not a lot of spectators, but those that are out are enthusiastic and fun.

It was warm, but not too humid.

Savannah is a nice city to visit and it is an enjoyable weekend.

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My Media

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Rock ‘n’ Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon

Rock ‘n’ Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon

The problems of the 1st year (2015) are long gone. This race now runs as smoothly as a typical Rock N Roll race. The expo is in Manhattan. Getting to/from … MORE

The problems of the 1st year (2015) are long gone. This race now runs as smoothly as a typical Rock N Roll race.

The expo is in Manhattan. Getting to/from the race (in Brooklyn) can be challenging (with subway changes, etc.). This is one of the few Rock N Roll weekends that is a single day–you can do either the half marathon or the 5-miler (both start at the same time). Rock N Roll gives a decent shirt and a fun medal. Finish line area is in Prospect Park–beer garden, finisher concert, hang out on the lawn.

DIFFICULTY
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Portland Marathon

Portland Marathon

The big stress for 2017 was whether or not the even would even happen! The organizers kept saying, "Don't worry, it will be fine" while the city was saying, "You … MORE

The big stress for 2017 was whether or not the even would even happen! The organizers kept saying, “Don’t worry, it will be fine” while the city was saying, “You don’t have the permits.” It was only a few weeks before race day that everything was officially locked down.

I had never been to Portland, and I very much enjoyed the trip. Race day was perfect–cooler, overcast, occasional light mist–and the course is mostly flat (except for a crazy hill at mile 9). Despite all of that, I didn’t have a great race day. Might have been too soon (2 weeks) from last marathon.

I had heard it was a very scenic race, but I didn’t find it to be so. It’s possible that the course changes this year removed some of the scenic parts.

Expo is at the host hotel. On the smaller side.
The start and finish areas were well organized.
The race shirt is given after you complete the race. I didn’t like this year’s shirt, but I saw other years’ shirts and they were nicer.
In addition to the shirt and the medal, each finisher is given a coin and a small pendent. And, they give out seedlings, too.

Everyone involved with the race that I encountered was nice.

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Berlin Marathon

Berlin Marathon

The Berlin Marathon is known for being flat - and it is. This was my 4th of the 6 World Majors. I went through Marathon Tours for this trip and … MORE

The Berlin Marathon is known for being flat – and it is. This was my 4th of the 6 World Majors. I went through Marathon Tours for this trip and I was very happy with that/them.

The weekend starts with a 6k Breakfast Run on Saturday that was quite fun. It was great to see all the runners wearing their “country flair” and it was a blast to end in the Olympic Stadium. This is a non-timed event and once you get to the stadium everyone is walking. I highly recommend taking part in this fun, low-stress event.

The main event is on Sunday. For those 4:15+, the start time is 10am. I feel like they could have used one additional wave (4:15 and over is quite a mix of paces). While waiting for the start, there were several runners smoking, which was a new experience for me!

The course was flat, but crowded. I’m a back of the pack runner and it wasn’t too bad by me, but I can’t imagine being a 4:30-ish runner. They must have been squished. The course wasn’t as scenic as I had hoped. Nor did it have as many spectators as I was expecting.

The expo was a zoo! We went on Friday and wished we had gone the day before. I pre-ordered the jacket and shirt (which is NOT included in the race fee), which I was glad that I did.

I definitely enjoyed my time in Berlin. I don’t think this will be at the top of my list of my marathons (even my World Major races), but I would still recommend.

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Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia 1/2 Marathon

Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia 1/2 Marathon

This is my 2nd Rock N Roll Philadelphia race (and I've run the Philadelphia marathon once) and Philly is one of my favorite running towns. It is mostly flat. You … MORE

This is my 2nd Rock N Roll Philadelphia race (and I’ve run the Philadelphia marathon once) and Philly is one of my favorite running towns. It is mostly flat. You run near/through parks and the river.

RnR Philly has multiple events over the course of the weekend. 5k and 10k on Saturday and then the half marathon on Sunday. If you run one of the Saturday races plus the Sunday race you get an extra medal (the “Remix Challenge” medal).

RnR generally has good swag – nice shirts and medals. While I wouldn’t say these were the best RnR medals, they were nice.

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Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach 1/2 Marathon

Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach 1/2 Marathon

This race takes place Labor Day weekend - it is a great way to say celebrate the unofficial end of summer. This is one of the flatest courses I've run … MORE

This race takes place Labor Day weekend – it is a great way to say celebrate the unofficial end of summer.

This is one of the flatest courses I’ve run (only a bit of a hill-twice-at the bridge). You get to run on the boardwalk by the ocean, which I really enjoyed.

Rock N Roll knows how to suck you in with the promise of medals. If you run San Diego (I didn’t) and this race you get an extra medal. There are 3 races over the weekend, so there is the potential of 4 medals and a pin. I did all 3 races and would recommend doing so.

The 1st up, on Saturday, is the 5k. That is followed by the “Mile on the Sand”. They recommend NOT wearing shoes because it is soft sand [I wore shoes and walked the mile]. Sunday is the Half Marathon.

You get a shirt for each race. I didn’t think they were great designs this year, but I’ve seen other years and think this was just an “off” year.

After the races, the Finisher Zone is on the beach. I enjoyed my post race beer sitting on the sand and listening to the music.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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Rock ‘n’ Roll Dublin Half Marathon

Rock ‘n’ Roll Dublin Half Marathon

What is similar to other Rock N Roll races: -Multiple weekend events. I did the 5k on Saturday and the half on Sunday. The entire 5k was in a park, … MORE

What is similar to other Rock N Roll races:
-Multiple weekend events. I did the 5k on Saturday and the half on Sunday. The entire 5k was in a park, the half had different locations for the start and the finish.
-If you compete in two races, you get a “Remix” medal.
-If you’ve competed in an US race + this race, you get a “World Rocker” medal.
-All the medals were nice.
-The race shirts were great.
-Rock N Roll is a good organizer, so things are mostly smooth.

What is different than other Rock N Roll races:
-The Expo is non-existent. It is really just a bib pick-up.
-There is limited water. No water on the course for the 5k. For the half, they gave out bottles of water a few times during the race.
-It was a bit of a pain in the butt to get to the start/finish.
-This race (like other European races I’ve done) have urinal tents in addition to the regular port-o-potties – I wish US races would add this!! It speeds things up.
-I didn’t think that there were many bands along the course, but that didn’t bother me.
-Of all the races I’ve done, this is the only one that did non-alcoholic beer at the beer tent (no alcohol was available at all). That shocked me. For Ireland?

It’s great race weekend and a nice place to visit. I would definitely recommend.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon

Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon

There aren't too many summer races (for good reasons), but this is one you should check out. I like races in Chicago - the area is relatively flat and the … MORE

There aren’t too many summer races (for good reasons), but this is one you should check out. I like races in Chicago – the area is relatively flat and the people are great. The weather is always a crap shoot. I found this year (2017) to be pleasant enough for a July race, but days before (and the days ahead) were going to be close to 90, which would have been brutal.

Rock N Roll, in my opinion, excels at the half marathon (they aren’t so great with the fulls). There is a decent size expo, nice shirts and medals. I do think, however, that they are under-delivering on their whole promise of course entertainment. I’m noticing less and less bands along the route. Doesn’t bother me so much, but I have noticed a change.

I did the 5k on Saturday and then the half on Sunday in order to get the “Remix Challenge” extra medal.

It’s never as cheap to fly to Chicago as you think (since when you DON’T want to go to Chicago, you get a layover there, but when you actually WANT to go there, the flights are expensive). There are plenty of hotel options – don’t be limited to just the hotels RnR recommends. Plenty of things to do while you are there, great places to eat. It’s an enjoyable weekend.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon & 1/2 Marathon

Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon & 1/2 Marathon

I ran the inaugural Rock N Roll Seattle Marathon in 2009 and liked that course better (more scenic). If I remember correctly, in 2009 you HAD to take the shuttle … MORE

I ran the inaugural Rock N Roll Seattle Marathon in 2009 and liked that course better (more scenic). If I remember correctly, in 2009 you HAD to take the shuttle to the start. Transportation to the start in 2017 was a bit more chaotic. I took Uber, which was fine, but I would recommend either allowing more time than you think for driving or ride-sharing to the start or take the shuttle. Traffic was sort of bad. This created a scenario where the back corrals were packed because some of the faster runners arrived late and had to start with those of us that are a bit slower. That, in turn, causes some tension when things are crowded the first several miles.

This race had a blue mile mid-way through the half–which I always fine quite moving.

The expo was a decent size. I liked the medal and shirt.

The day before there was a 5k (I think it was the 1st time they had a 5k) and I would recommend it.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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Casper Marathon

Casper Marathon

The people involved with this race couldn't have been nicer. They really look out for the runners. There is a nice pasta dinner (same location as the bib pick-up) the … MORE

The people involved with this race couldn’t have been nicer. They really look out for the runners. There is a nice pasta dinner (same location as the bib pick-up) the night before the race. There is an after party in the afternoon / early evening after the race is over. The finish line had plenty of food, water, and beer regardless of when you finished (which, as a back of the packer, I greatly appreciated – as that is not always the case).

That said – this was probably my least favorite marathon of the 43 that I’ve found so far. The reasons were outside the race coordinators control – the combination of high altitude and high temperatures completely did me in and I was pretty miserable the back half of the race. It was my worst finishing time that didn’t involved slippery ice (Antarctica) or photos with characters (Disney).

I recommend staying at the host hotel. It wasn’t great, but everything is there (expo, pasta dinner, shuttle to start, finish line, and after party). I didn’t find too much to do in Casper, but the people I encountered were all nice.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

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Rock the River: Palisades Half Marathon, 5K, and 6K Trail Run

Rock the River: Palisades Half Marathon, 5K, and 6K Trail Run

The Palisades cliffs make for beautiful scenery - and quite a bit of climbing. This race is in Fort Lee, NJ - just over the George Washington Bridge from NYC. … MORE

The Palisades cliffs make for beautiful scenery – and quite a bit of climbing. This race is in Fort Lee, NJ – just over the George Washington Bridge from NYC. Small race (less than 300 runners) with a nice community feel. Despite the challenge of the uphills, I really enjoyed this race. The course is out and back and run on both paths and trails. A decent number of water stations, not a lot of port-o-potties, though. Nice shirt and medal.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

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St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon & 1/2 Marathon

St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon & 1/2 Marathon

This is a typical Rock N Roll race: -LOTS of runners (almost 18k half marathoners plus full marathoners) -Nice medal -Good shirt -Music on the course -Big expo With all … MORE

This is a typical Rock N Roll race:
-LOTS of runners (almost 18k half marathoners plus full marathoners)
-Nice medal
-Good shirt
-Music on the course
-Big expo

With all of the runners (almost 40 corrals), you can go to the start later if you are in one of the back corrals – as they let corrals off every 1 to 2 minutes.

This year (2017) was extremely hot (temperatures over 80 degrees). Officials started to divert the marathoners out of caution.

For me, Nashville was the draw. It was a fun weekend.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

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GO! St. Louis Marathon

GO! St. Louis Marathon

I had heard that the course was hilly - which it was - but it wasn't as bad as I expected. You get the bridges out of the way at … MORE

I had heard that the course was hilly – which it was – but it wasn’t as bad as I expected. You get the bridges out of the way at the start. This was a new course this year. They need to work out some kinks.

The start was a bit of a mess. It was difficult to get to the corrals. And then after crossing the finish line, you had to walk about a half mile to the finisher’s celebration area (which was annoying). And by the time I got there, everything was taken down. Also, the photographers at the finish line were distracted (texting) and weren’t taking photos. Yes, I was cranky (and probably hangry) at the finish.

There were some nice scenery – parks, river – but lots of not great scenery, too. And, I was surprised by the lack of spectators.

The volunteers were nice. If you ran the challenge (Saturday’s 5k and Sunday’s marathon) you got an extra medal plus a sweatshirt. I enjoyed St. Louis and was glad to see the Arch in person. I just was sort of disappointed in the race itself. I expected more.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

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GO! St. Louis Marathon

GO! St. Louis Marathon

Many (30-40%) of the participants walked the whole event. So, if you are going to run (or run/walk), I suggest starting further up than you normally line up. This was … MORE

Many (30-40%) of the participants walked the whole event. So, if you are going to run (or run/walk), I suggest starting further up than you normally line up.

This was a nice way to shake out the legs before the big race. Also, it was a chance to earn 2 more medals for the weekend (the 5k medal and the Challenge medal for completing events on Saturday and Sunday).

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

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Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Marathon & 1/2 Marathon

Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Marathon & 1/2 Marathon

This is a typical Rock N Roll race - 2,300 full marathoners & 13,000 half marathoners. The half marathoners started 90 minutes after the full, so there wasn't the usual … MORE

This is a typical Rock N Roll race – 2,300 full marathoners & 13,000 half marathoners. The half marathoners started 90 minutes after the full, so there wasn’t the usual bottlenecking of the combined races.

Strangely, there was more security at the expo than at the race itself.

Very little spectators and the course is fairly nondescript. I had hoped we’d run by more of the famous sites.

There was a “blue mile” for those men and women of the military who lost their lives while serving. It was the most moving part of the day (even though it was on one of the worst hills of the course).

At the end, you receive a medal and a finisher’s jacket.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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Central Park Half Marathon

Central Park Half Marathon

Central Park is a series of rolling hills. This course was 3 loops of the part (2 5-mile loops and 3.1 miles to finish). The shirt was a long sleeve … MORE

Central Park is a series of rolling hills. This course was 3 loops of the part (2 5-mile loops and 3.1 miles to finish). The shirt was a long sleeve technical shirt (they ran out of sizes during bib pick-up). Medal was small but nice.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
2

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Austin Marathon & Half Marathon

Austin Marathon & Half Marathon

Race day was hot and humid. The course was very hilly - the hill at mile 12 was particularly evil. All that being said, I still loved Austin. It is … MORE

Race day was hot and humid. The course was very hilly – the hill at mile 12 was particularly evil. All that being said, I still loved Austin. It is a great city and was a fun weekend. The path around the lake was a beautiful spot to shake out my legs the day before the race. The people were great. The food was amazing. Event was well organized. And the medal can be used as a belt buckle!

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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NYRR Fred Lebow Manhattan Half

NYRR Fred Lebow Manhattan Half

The weather for this race can be brutal. It was cancelled last year due to a snow storm, it's been freezing cold (one year I wore the exact same clothes … MORE

The weather for this race can be brutal. It was cancelled last year due to a snow storm, it’s been freezing cold (one year I wore the exact same clothes that I wore to run a marathon on Antartica). This year, though, was mid 40s with high humidity.

The course was changed this year and I don’t think it was for the better. NYRR races are quite crowded and with this year’s change (3 inner loops instead of 2 full loops of the park) there was more bunching up than normal. This was frustrating for both the fast runners and the back of the packers (me).

NYRR does know how to run a race, though. Everything is very efficient. Rather than a shirt, they gave a winter hat. The medal was Fred Lebow’s face.

The course (Central Park) is lots of rolling hills.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

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Mobile Marathon (fka First Light Marathon)

Mobile Marathon (fka First Light Marathon)

I ran this half marathon as part of the Back2Back Challenge with the Saturday race in Jackson, Mississippi. Well, that was my intention anyway. The Mississippi race was cancelled due … MORE

I ran this half marathon as part of the Back2Back Challenge with the Saturday race in Jackson, Mississippi. Well, that was my intention anyway. The Mississippi race was cancelled due to snow, sleet, and icy road conditions (definitely the right call by the race director).

The race is coordinated by and benefits L’Arche Mobile. Medals are handmade by members of the community. Back2Back Challengers get a plaque made by the community, too.

The half marathon course was relatively flat (I heard that the marathon course was quite hilly after the full and half split).

Adequate water, port-o-potties, and volunteers.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
2
SWAG
4

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NYCRUNS Big Apple Half Marathon (fka Frozen Bonsai Half)

NYCRUNS Big Apple Half Marathon (fka Frozen Bonsai Half)

The course: 3 loops of Central Park (2 4-mile inner loops 1 5-mile loop). This includes 3 climbs of Cat Hill and 1 climb of Harlem Hill. Long sleeve shirt MORE

The course: 3 loops of Central Park (2 4-mile inner loops 1 5-mile loop). This includes 3 climbs of Cat Hill and 1 climb of Harlem Hill.

Long sleeve shirt and nice medal.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
2
SWAG
2

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Des Moines Marathon

Des Moines Marathon

Wonderful people working and volunteering at this race. Super nice and super helpful. Pre-race: Lots of emails. I would say a little too many. Weekend: Combo race opportunity. 5 mile … MORE

Wonderful people working and volunteering at this race. Super nice and super helpful.

Pre-race: Lots of emails. I would say a little too many.

Weekend: Combo race opportunity. 5 mile race on Saturday and then a marathon on Sunday. Both medals were magnetic, so they can be attached.

Swag: For the combo, received a blanket for the 5 mile race. For the marathon received a long sleeve half zip shirt.

Course: Relatively flat course. Lots of volunteers. Well signed. Enough porta potties. Lots of water stations.

Pasta dinner: Important to note – tickets sold at the expo, not at the door. Also, not a typical pasta dinner where you arrive during the time and eat whenever you want. This pasta dinner had 60 minute cocktail hour (with 1 free drink). Then dinner was served to everyone at once at 6:15.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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Rock ‘n’ Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon

Rock ‘n’ Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon

Huge improvement over the inaugural race in 2015. They changed the expo (moved it to a more convenient location in Manhattan). They improved the start line experience, so it started … MORE

Huge improvement over the inaugural race in 2015.

They changed the expo (moved it to a more convenient location in Manhattan). They improved the start line experience, so it started on time. Though, this is the 1st race I remember going through a metal detector – and there was a LOT of security. I liked the shirt better last year. But Rock N Roll does good medals!

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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Grete’s Great Gallop

Grete’s Great Gallop

New York Road Runners know how to run a race. From an effective pick-up to race day logistics, you know things will run smoothly. We New Yorkers are lucky to … MORE

New York Road Runners know how to run a race. From an effective pick-up to race day logistics, you know things will run smoothly. We New Yorkers are lucky to have the amazing Central Park – but running 2 loops of “rolling hills” can get old!

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
2

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Mesa Falls Marathon & Half Marathon

Mesa Falls Marathon & Half Marathon

This is a small marathon (less than 150 marathon runners in 2016). You need to be prepared to see very few people - even running solo for miles (no other … MORE

This is a small marathon (less than 150 marathon runners in 2016). You need to be prepared to see very few people – even running solo for miles (no other runners or spectators).

I was affected by the altitude more than I thought I would be. It impacted my breathing as well as creating a feeling of dehydration.

Course: About half of the course is on trails and half on open roads. The trails were, at times, rocky (literally and figuratively). Though they offered some spectacular views. I’m not a fan of open roads, but, luckily, traffic was light.

The medal is quite small.

No expo – it is just a packet pick-up.

I realize it sounds like a lot of criticism above, but it is actually a nice race weekend. The volunteers are all incredibly nice. The gear bag was a potato sack. The pre-race dinner – for just $5 – included pasta and potatoes! In 2016, Ryan and Sara Hall spoke during dinner, which was a nice trip. This was an inexpensive race (~$60 registration fee) and well run. I would recommend to those who are looking to run a marathon in Idaho.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
2

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Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon & Half Marathon

Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon & Half Marathon

This is one of the most beautiful races that I have run. Also, despite being small (less than 700 marathon finishers) it was BY FAR the best signed course. The … MORE

This is one of the most beautiful races that I have run. Also, despite being small (less than 700 marathon finishers) it was BY FAR the best signed course. The race organizers made sure that it was always clear which way the runners should go. I sadly did not see a moose or bear during the race (though other runners did). For those running all 50 states, I highly recommend this race for Alaska.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3

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Delaware Marathon Running Festival

Delaware Marathon Running Festival

The folks associated with the race are quite nice. Production is fairly decent considering the size of the marathon field (less than 500 marathon runners). COURSE: Mostly flat. Two half … MORE

The folks associated with the race are quite nice. Production is fairly decent considering the size of the marathon field (less than 500 marathon runners).

COURSE: Mostly flat. Two half marathon loops. LOTS of turns on the course. I didn’t find them to be adequately signed. And, running at 5:45, some of the volunteers were gone by the time I hit miles 20+. And the run was opened earlier than I believe that they had stated. That, for me, was the deal breaker. I actually had to wait at multiple lights during the last mile.

No real expo. Same t-shirt for all – Marathon, Half-Marathon, and the Marathon Relay teams. Beer glass and hat were added swag.

Finisher medal is nice. The finish line festivities included adequate – and decent – food and beverages (champagne plus beer).

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
2
SCENERY
2
SWAG
3

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Star Wars Rival Run Weekend

Star Wars Rival Run Weekend

I'll readily admit that I'm a big runDisney fan! I know it will be an expensive weekend, but I always have fun. I got "sucked into" doing the Dark Side … MORE

I’ll readily admit that I’m a big runDisney fan! I know it will be an expensive weekend, but I always have fun.

I got “sucked into” doing the Dark Side Challenge in Walt Disney World in April after completing the Light Side Challenge in Disneyland in January. After completing two races at each event (the 10k and the half marathon), I received a total of 8 medals! One each for the 10k and half marathon races plus one each for completing the Light Side and Dark Side Challenges, one for completing both Light Side and Dark Side, and one for completing Disneyland and Walt Disney World races in the same calendar year. Disney knows how to entice the medal whores!

Disney World races are REALLY early – 5am start – and you need to start your journey to the start line no later than 3:30am, so that’s tough.

This course did not go through the Magic Kingdom, which was disappointing to me. But for the half marathon, you do go through the other 3 parks.

There were definitely course issues – too narrow for the number of runners plus bottlenecks with walkers. I run/walk/run, but stay to the right. There were definitely large groups of walkers that blocked the way for some runners.

There were opportunities to take photos with characters – but waits were 20 minutes+. Disney is hardly a race to do for time, but if you start in a later corral, you need to be aware of the course time limits.

It was quite hot and humid on both days. That was one good thing about the early start – getting some of the run in pre-sun rise.

I ran the 10k with Mom – which was a great experience. She wore a Princess Leia costume and I was Kylo Ren. For the half marathon, I was a Jedi.

Great weekend and great fun!

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5

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Little Rock Marathon

Little Rock Marathon

This race is all about the finisher's medal - it is HUGE!! The course was hillier than I expected. And the weather (in 2016) was quite warm (in the 70s … MORE

This race is all about the finisher’s medal – it is HUGE!!

The course was hillier than I expected. And the weather (in 2016) was quite warm (in the 70s by the time I finished). Additionally, I wouldn’t call the course scenic.

That being said – the spectators and event volunteers were great. It is well organized.

I recommend running the 5k or 10k the day before the marathon so that you can get 2 additional medals (all great, of course). Also, Little Rock is walkable so no need for a car EXCEPT I couldn’t find a market near my hotel. So, if you have pre-race food that you need, plan in advance.

While you are in Little Rock, you should visit the Clinton Presidential Library.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
2
SWAG
5

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Central Park Half Marathon

Central Park Half Marathon

NYCRuns is a much smaller organization than NY Road Runners (who put on the larger NYC races). As such, they aren't quite as polished. They tend not to start on … MORE

NYCRuns is a much smaller organization than NY Road Runners (who put on the larger NYC races). As such, they aren’t quite as polished. They tend not to start on time and their races can be mildly annoying for runners who struggle with multiple events happening at the same time (on the same course). If you can get past that, it’s a nice race in the park!

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

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Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia 1/2 Marathon

Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia 1/2 Marathon

This race is typically run in September. It was moved to Halloween due to the Pope's visit to Philly. This is good race for travelers - hotel, expo, and start/finish … MORE

This race is typically run in September. It was moved to Halloween due to the Pope’s visit to Philly. This is good race for travelers – hotel, expo, and start/finish lines all within walking distance of city hotels and 30th Street (train) Station.

Similar to other Rock ‘n’ Roll races, there are a lot of people. For runners in the later corrals (this race went above 30 corrals), it takes a long time to cross the start line. Less bands than other RnR races. Decent shirt and nice medal. I ran the RnR Brooklyn half three weeks ago and received a free hoodie for running both RnR races – a nice bonus! The course is mostly flat. Nice fall foliage. Ran along the Schuylkill River and Boathouse Row.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

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Rock ‘n’ Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon

Rock ‘n’ Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon

You always take a chance when you do an inaugural race. And Rock 'n' Roll races, that are oversold IMHO, can be particularly challenging. The first challenge with this race … MORE

You always take a chance when you do an inaugural race. And Rock ‘n’ Roll races, that are oversold IMHO, can be particularly challenging. The first challenge with this race is getting to the expo. Then the expo itself was oddly laid out – race shirts and goody bags were outside at the exit. The race itself started 30 minutes late. The course was entirely too narrow for 18,000 runners. For a Rock ‘n’ Roll event, it was surprisingly lacking in course entertainment. The finish area – in Prospect Park – wasn’t adequately signed, so it was difficult to figure out how to leave. Rock ‘n’ Roll medals are nice, as are their shirts. They will probably work through some of the kinks for next year.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
2
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

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St. George Marathon

St. George Marathon

This is a beautiful downhill point-to-point race. The race starts in 40 degree weather at the top of the hill and ends in 70 degree (but no humidity) at the … MORE

This is a beautiful downhill point-to-point race. The race starts in 40 degree weather at the top of the hill and ends in 70 degree (but no humidity) at the end. I was concerned about the altitude, but it didn’t bother me. Only time I noticed it was the one minor uphill early in the race. This race is traditionally a lottery, but everyone who applied to the lottery in 2015 got into the race. The medal is unique and stands out from other medals. There was a problem with the official race shirt this year, but the organizers have addressed and are sending replacement shirts. Very nice people on the course and off. St. George should be on your list of marathons to run!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

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Grandma’s Marathon & Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon

Grandma’s Marathon & Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon

Anyone looking to do all 50 states (or even just run a marathon in MN) should definitely consider Grandma's. It is a fun weekend and the people you encounter are … MORE

Anyone looking to do all 50 states (or even just run a marathon in MN) should definitely consider Grandma’s. It is a fun weekend and the people you encounter are all mid-west nice!

TRAVEL:
Duluth is a small airport and there are very few direct flights. Book your hotel as soon as you register (if not before). Rooms book fast and rates are higher marathon weekend – so be prepared. There are race day shuttle buses from several locations, so don’t be afraid to stay at a hotel a little further away from the start.

RACES:
I didn’t sign up for the Friday night 5k (at 6pm), but wish I had. The half marathon starts 90 minutes before the full, which I thought was great (the half marathoners might not have agreed!). You need to take one of the buses to the start line. You arrive there about 1 hour before the start of the race. This year (2015) there was POURING down COLD rain – not pleasant. Be prepared with a poncho and/or extra clothes. Things seemed a little chaotic with the bag drop off and the port-o-potty lines, but I couldn’t identify why.

EXPO:
I found the expo to be a little underwhelming for the size of the race. It is possible that I just didn’t like the layout. The vendors seemed squished together while a large portion of the space was dedicated to the pasta dinner. I did the pasta dinner and I found that easy and enjoyable – always great talking with other runners pre-race. Note: you don’t get the race shirt until after crossing the finish line.

COURSE:
Mostly flat. It is a point to point course (which I like), near water (again, which I like). Adequate water and Powerade stops. They could use a few more port-o-potties, but which race couldn’t.

BLING:
Nice medal and as state above, you receive the official shirt after crossing the finish line.

It was a fun weekend and a good race despite the rain at the start.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

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Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon

Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon

The 4-Way Challenge includes the running of 3 races over the course of the weekend. On Saturday, you run the 10k at 8am and then the 5k at 10am. Sunday … MORE

The 4-Way Challenge includes the running of 3 races over the course of the weekend. On Saturday, you run the 10k at 8am and then the 5k at 10am. Sunday is marathon day.

The race organizers fully commit to the “pig” theme! There are no corrals, instead there are “pig pens.” You don’t run to the finish line, but the “finish swine.” There were thousands of enthusiastic volunteers, who are great.

EXPO/SWAG:
It is a good size expo with lots of options for runners who like to shop. The shirts this year (2015) weren’t great. This year Cincinnati is hosting the All Stars game, so that theme was carried to the t-shirts (so no pig on the front of the shirt). Lots of disappointment. This might have just been an “off” year. The medals for the full marathon and for completing the 4-Way Challenge were nice medals. The 10k and 5k medals are only slightly bigger than a quarter.

COURSE/WEATHER:
The course is hilly. It is not a race for a PR (in my opinion). The weather this year was quite hot (60s/70s), but that varies by year. There were LOTS of spectators. There were plenty of water stations and they had a good amount of port-a-potties as well. Signage on the course was adequate. Lots of people on bikes keeping an eye on runners (especially towards to the end).

RACE SPECIFIC COMMENTS:
If you run both the 10K and 5K on Saturday, you’ll need to check a bag. You need to wear different bibs, which is slightly annoying. The baggage drop-off/pick-up was probably the least smooth thing all weekend. The 10K seemed more polished – runners lined up in the correct pig pens and followed traditional running etiquette. The 5K was more chaotic. Most people seemed to ignore the suggested starting pig pen for their projected time. Lots of strollers and kids. People walked 4 and 5 across. Despite all of that, I would still suggest participating. It will keep your pace slow, which isn’t a bad thing if you are running 3 races during the weekend.

Marathon – In addition to the official water stations, there were lots of unofficial aid stations (especially during the 2nd half). Spectators giving out lots of different foods (including bacon) and beer. Be aware of where the half and full marathon split (just before mile 9).

FINISH LINE/POST RACE CELEBRATION:
The finish swine (especially on Saturday) could use some improving. They need to do a better job of getting people through the post finish area quicker AND they need to figure out a way to make that area wider or longer or something to relieve some of the congestion. The beer tent (if that is important to you) is the farthest spot away from the finish area – you have to walk through the finish area tents, past the band, and then you reach the beer tent. Only full marathoners receive a beer ticket (half marathoners don’t get one – which seems unfair).

ONE ADDITIONAL SUGGESTION FOR THE RACE ORGANIZERS:
As stated above, the volunteers are great. And when I walked through the finish area, I did find volunteers holding “INFO” signs. Could have used some of them at the start line (if they were there, I didn’t see them). There could have been more signage to the bag check, start, help, etc.

All in all, I really enjoyed the race weekend. And I recommend completing the 4-Way Challenge.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

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Maui Oceanfront Marathon

Maui Oceanfront Marathon

Be prepared for the heat. Race starts before the sun comes up (thankfully), having a headlamp is a plus. Definitely make this a destination race - spend time on Maui. MORE

Be prepared for the heat. Race starts before the sun comes up (thankfully), having a headlamp is a plus. Definitely make this a destination race – spend time on Maui.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
5
SWAG
2

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Star Wars Half Marathon – The Light Side

Star Wars Half Marathon – The Light Side

If you've ever run a Disney race before you already know two things - the races start VERY early and they give out great medals! And the more races you … MORE

If you’ve ever run a Disney race before you already know two things – the races start VERY early and they give out great medals! And the more races you do, the more bonus medals you can receive.

With Disneyland, it is easier to get to the start (compared to Disney World) so you can sleep in A BIT more. Unlike Disney World, there aren’t a lot of characters out for picture taking.

Because it is so early, it is quite dark out. Some spots (backlot mostly) that are surprisingly poorly lite, so watch your step!

Highly recommend doing the challenge (10k on Saturday, Half Marathon on Sunday)

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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St. Jude Memphis Marathon & Half Marathon

St. Jude Memphis Marathon & Half Marathon

After the last minute cancellation in 2013 (which they handled incredibly well), I came back in 2014. Running through the St. Jude campus makes the race. Raise some money and … MORE

After the last minute cancellation in 2013 (which they handled incredibly well), I came back in 2014. Running through the St. Jude campus makes the race. Raise some money and run as a Hero – you’ll be glad that you did.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

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Charlotte Marathon (fka Thunder Road Marathon)

Charlotte Marathon (fka Thunder Road Marathon)

While there weren't a ton of crowds, the entire course went through beautiful areas - no industrial parts. Smallish race (less than 1,000 runners) which is nice. MORE

While there weren’t a ton of crowds, the entire course went through beautiful areas – no industrial parts. Smallish race (less than 1,000 runners) which is nice.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

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