My Profile

@dsbland

Mc Gregor, TX Raving since 2016 50 States hopeful/finisher active 1 week, 4 days ago

About Me

  • Running club(s):

    Waco Striders

  • Rave race:

    Marine Corps Marathon

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

My races

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

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Half Marathon

Marathon

Ultramarathon

(Marathon &/or Ultra) + Half

Marathon + Ultra

Other

Personal Bests (2)

Race Distance Location Date Result
Marathon Fort Worth, TX Feb 24, 2018 4:40:01
Half Marathon Waco, TX Mar 25, 2017 2:07:00

Future Races (2)

Race Distance Location Date Paid
Marathon Little Rock, AR Mar 3, 2019
Marathon Fargo, ND May 18, 2019

Past Races (19)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
Marathon Philadelphia, PA Nov 18, 2018 5:04:31
Marathon Two Harbors, MN Jun 16, 2018 4:55:56
Marathon Louisville, KY Apr 28, 2018 4:49:07
Marathon Fort Worth, TX Feb 24, 2018 4:40:01
Marathon Miami, FL Jan 28, 2018 5:16:00
Marathon Chicago, IL Oct 8, 2017 5:18:00
Marathon Pocatello, ID Sep 2, 2017 5:29:00
Marathon Oceanport, NJ Apr 30, 2017 4:48:42
Half Marathon Waco, TX Mar 25, 2017 2:07:00
Marathon New Orleans, LA Feb 5, 2017 4:58:47
Marathon Houston, TX Jan 15, 2017 5:18:00
Marathon Dallas, TX Dec 11, 2016 5:08:00
Marathon St George, UT Oct 1, 2016 5:06:00
Marathon San Diego, CA Jun 5, 2016 5:13:00
Half Marathon Waco, TX Mar 19, 2016 2:15:00
Half Marathon Fort Worth, TX Feb 28, 2016 2:12:00
Marathon Arlington, DC Oct 25, 2015 5:10:00
Marathon Oklahoma City, OK Apr 26, 2015 5:20:00
Half Marathon Waco, TX Jan 25, 2015 2:15:00

My Raves

Philadelphia Marathon

Philadelphia Marathon

After a difficult training period where I had to deal with several nagging injuries, the Philadelphia Marathon turned into a wonderful experience. I stayed at the Sheraton on 2nd Street … MORE

After a difficult training period where I had to deal with several nagging injuries, the Philadelphia Marathon turned into a wonderful experience. I stayed at the Sheraton on 2nd Street and had walking access to the expo and start/finish line. The Rocky statue and museum steps were about a 15 minute walk away as well.
The expo was good, although smaller than I would have expected for a large race. They had everything covered, though, and there was plenty of branded merchandise for sale. Being someone who enjoys a good expo, this one was fine and had good information about the course available.
Philadelphia runs their half marathon on the Saturday before the marathon instead of running it with the marathon. It was fun to go down and cheer on the half marathoners, something I have rarely had the opportunity to do in the past. I was concerned that this format would mean the marathon wouldn’t have much support because people wouldn’t want to come out two days in a row. Thankfully, this was not the case at all.
The weather in the days leading up to the marathon included snow, drizzle, and lots of cold. Sunday morning started at 34 degrees with no precipitation and virtually no wind, perfect conditions. The sun peaked out a few times but otherwise the clouds kept the sun away. I think this contributed to overwhelming support from the people of Philadelphia. There were plenty of “dead” areas of course, but everywhere supporters gathered they were loud and fun and gave the runners the needed burst of energy to keep going.
The course itself was good, the first half was the same as 95% of the half marathon and passed by plenty of landmarks and interesting sights. The biggest pain in the first half is that you pass the start/finish area around mile 13, not something I wanted to see at that part of the race!
The second half of the marathon was a huge out and back along the Schuylkill River. This was a fairly quiet section of the race, the spectators were widely spread out but again they were loud and fun. With the turn around being at Mile 20, this actually proved to be a nice boost for me at a time I really needed one. As long as you’re OK running 12 miles passing people going the other way, the out and back won’t be a big deal.
The finisher area was great, plenty of food and various drinks of all kinds. This was the first race I have run that had a warming tent and I spent about 20 minutes there after my finish. I never got really cold during the run, but felt the chill big time after the run. The medal is awesome, the bell actually rings which made the finisher area sound like a million little Salvation Army bell ringers randomly ringing their bells.
This race was a lot of fun and after having the injury issues over the summer and early fall, this was a finish that 2 months ago was seriously in doubt. The people of Philadelphia were warm and welcoming and the race was given a ton of attention around the city. I highly recommend this race!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5
My Media

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Grandma’s Marathon & Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon

Grandma’s Marathon & Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon

Grandma's Marathon was my 14th full marathon and absolutely ranks as one of my favorite races of any distance. This is a really fun race and is completely worth the … MORE

Grandma’s Marathon was my 14th full marathon and absolutely ranks as one of my favorite races of any distance. This is a really fun race and is completely worth the trip to Duluth.
That trip was the only part of the race that was difficult in any way. I flew into Minneapolis and drove a rental car 2.5 hours to get to Duluth. There are flights from Minneapolis or Detroit to Duluth, but you need a car in Duluth anyway so the drive was better than the extra expense of flying directly into Duluth. The drive wasn’t that bad, and the view coming into Duluth was spectacular.
I stayed at the Radisson and paid about 3 times the normal rate as all the hotels in the area jack up their rates for this weekend. Since that is out of the control of the race directors, I don’t consider that a negative against the race. The Radisson location is fantastic and is walking distance to the expo and the finish line where you can take the train or bus to the start line.
The expo was good, appropriately sized for the race with plenty of race merchandise for sale. I got there early on Friday morning so I didn’t have any issues with huge crowds of people. Packet pickup was easy and they had a station to double check your time chip on your bib which was a nice thing to be able to do before leaving.
The weather forecast leading up to the race was calling for thunderstorms for race morning. The afternoon before the race a large storm did blow in and knocked out power briefly and rained several inches in just a short period of time. Everyone was afraid that this was a preview of what was to come the next morning.
I got up early on race morning to be able to take the train to the start line, which I highly recommend over the buses. The first thing I checked when I got up at 3:30am was the forecast and was amazed to see the storms had been moved rom early morning to late afternoon and the chance of rain during the race was dropped to about 30%. The forecast temperature of 59 turned into an actual temperature of 50, pretty close to perfect conditions.
Taking the train to the start line was an option for the first 1000 runners wanting to ride. The train departs about 5:45 so the sun is up and the views heading out along Lake Superior are fabulous. The train is also plenty warm and roomy and there are lots of toilets available. The only downside is the trip takes every bit of an hour so if you want to get to the start line super early don’t take the train.
The race start is well organized with most runners lining up in accordance with their expected finish times. With the half marathon starting an hour earlier and starting from the marathon half way point, I never saw anyone with a half marathon bib and couldn’t even tell you what color their bibs were.
The first 19 miles of the course are along Lake Superior which is unfortunately very often blocked by all of the trees. We did deal with a pretty heavy fog and off and on light rain for most of the race, but the wind was at out our back and I never felt like the scenery became monotonous. Crown support during this part of the race was limited to certain spots along the road but was very enthusiastic in those spots and provided much needed boosts. The aid stations had clearly labeled water and power aid and was always water first. The volunteers did a spectacular job, you could tell this race has been run for over 40 years, these were some well trained and experienced volunteers.
Just past mile 19 the course heads into Duluth and the pine trees and lake views change to a city run with spectators everywhere. The final 6 miles were full of rowdy spectators providing a ton of distractions, even a long line of troll dolls along the curb around mile 22 which qualifies as one of the strangest things I’ve come across during a race.
The finish was great, there were a lot of twists and turns in the last half mile or so, but it didn’t bother me as much as I feared from previous reviews. The finish line area was plenty busy, but I had no problem getting my medal and finisher’s shirt and there was plenty of food and beer available. I actually like the fact that you get your finisher shirt when you finish the race, that’s the definition of finisher shirt. The medals were big and heavy, certainly appropriate for the accomplishment.
I love events where it seems like the whole town shuts down for the race and they really appreciate the runners who came to be a part of it. The way Duluth embraces the race and the runners is extremely impressive and rivaled the support I’ve experienced at much larger events like Chicago. If you can get to northern Minnesota in June you won’t find a better event than Grandma’s Marathon.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
My Media

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon & miniMarathon

Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon & miniMarathon

This race was a ton of fun and the town of Louisville was very inviting to all of the race participants. It helps that the race is part of the … MORE

This race was a ton of fun and the town of Louisville was very inviting to all of the race participants. It helps that the race is part of the run-up to the Kentucky Derby so the entire city is in a festive mood. I stayed at the host hotel which was located in an active part of downtown just off the Ohio river. The race provided shuttle service to the expo and there was plenty to do within walking distance of the hotel.
The expo was actually smaller than I would have thought it should have been given the number of people running in either the full or half marathon. There was everything that a runner might need to pick up if something was left at home or lost to airport security, but not much else to see or that many people to talk to about the race.
The race itself started at 7:30 in the morning and we were blessed with perfect weather. It was a fairly crowded start, there didn’t seem to be much of an organized wave start in spite of being grouped into corrals.
The first half of the course was a tour of several neighborhoods in and around the downtown area of Louisville. It was a mix of affluent older homes and some rougher parts of town, but there were nice crowds that cheered the runners on and provided some un-sanctioned food and drink.
Between mile 8 and 9 we reached Churchill Downs and were directed into an area of the race track that allowed us to get some pictures and see some jockeys putting horses through practice on the track. Although we didn’t get to run on the track or the infield, our route was inside the gates and provided some great views of the track and grandstands and was a perspective that few people get to see.
By mile 11 we transitioned from city running and moved into Iroquois Park. In spite of the toughest hills on the course, the shade and scenery more than made up for the difficult terrain. I run through a hilly park area in training and this section felt fairly comfortable for me in terms of style of run, but the hills were no joke and should be taken seriously.
We spent about 4 miles in the hills and then spent the remainder of the run going back through neighborhoods and then back into downtown. The support and scenery definitely take a hit during the last third of the marathon, but this is a complaint that can be lodged against most races that have such a huge half marathon as well. The aid stations seemed to be more sporadic in the last 8 miles as well, but the volunteers never failed to be enthusiastic and supportive.
This is a race a highly recommend to anyone doing the 50 states or looking for a good marathon in the Louisville/southern Indiana area. The race is well organized, it’s a unique course with an opportunity to see an historic sporting venue. We had great weather and fun crowds for most of the race, I would think that would be well worth a visit to Kentucky.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5
My Media

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

The Cowtown

The Cowtown

This was my fourth time to run the Cowtown but my first time doing the full marathon. As a repeat runner, I know very well how good the organization runs … MORE

This was my fourth time to run the Cowtown but my first time doing the full marathon. As a repeat runner, I know very well how good the organization runs their race. The expo is appropriate for the size of the race, there are plenty of interesting vendors and plenty of merchandise available for purchase. There were some issues this year with the Saturday races being delayed due to some strong storms that hit the area that morning. As a result, there was quite a crowd around the expo area that were still participating in the 5K and 10K Saturday races and parking was more limited than it typically would be. Not a fault of the organizers, they showed an amazing ability to roll with the challenges and still put on a successful expo.
Race day started nice and cool with temperatures in the low 40s. Anyone who has run Cowtown knows that they are maybe the best at moving runners through their corrals and onto the course. I started in corral 5 with some friends and we were on the course and running within 20 minutes of the starting gun. The start was not congested and there were plenty of cheering spectators to get us into the mood to run.
The course is a lot of fun, with lots of changes in scenery along the way. The course starts out moving through downtown into the Stockyards area where there are lots of potentially hungover tourists surprised to see a marathon breaking out in front of their hotels. Coming out of the Stockyards means hitting the hill at mile 9 that you can see coming from mile 7. It’s not near as bad as it looks once you get there and the band playing “Shake it Off” at the top took a little of the edge off the effort I expended.
As with most events, the full split from the half meant things got a lot lonelier after mile 10 when I left the big crowd of half runners. This is where the people of Ft. Worth really showed that they love this event. In spite of there being a fraction of runners continuing into the full, their was a steady showing of neighbors with fruit and candy all along the course. At mile 20 there was a huge block party with tons of people out and about, giving out food and various fluids.
The last 3 miles were on a park path and that was the quietest section of the course. By this time, the sun had been out for awhile and it was getting a lot warmer than the start. In spite of the heat, I managed to keep a good pace and stayed with the 4:40 pace from mile 23 to finish. I finished with the pacer and had an official time of 4:40:01 so she was right on it! My time represented an 8 minute PR so this was a great run for me.
The finish area was well done and there was very little wait to getting a finisher shirt, fruit, and disposal finisher’s jacket. This was the least amount of walking I’ve had to do in a finishers area and they had plenty of shuttle buses to get me back to my hotel. I can’t recommend Cowtown enough, it’s a great race with fun spectators and a management team that knows what they are doing.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Fitbit Miami Marathon & Half Marathon

Fitbit Miami Marathon & Half Marathon

The Miami Marathon is an extremely well run event and a very scenic course. The expo this year was at a convention center and getting in and out was no … MORE

The Miami Marathon is an extremely well run event and a very scenic course. The expo this year was at a convention center and getting in and out was no problem at all. There were lots of interesting vendors at the expo as well as several work out sessions that were going on during the event. Race day was well organized and the race starting at 6am helped with the weather. Unfortunately, the weather this year was rough, starting in the mid 70’s and extremely humid. A constant 20mph breeze actually helped mitigate the heat but was tough to run in and out of all day. The weather is absolutely no reflection on the race itself, it’s a wonderful event and is well supported by the volunteers and plenty of spectators. Even though there weren’t many of us that continued after the full/half split (half-marathoners out numbered the full by the thousands), the water stations and spectators will still plentiful and didn’t suffer like they do in far too many other events. Unfortunately, you can’t count on cool weather in south Florida, just take it easy and enjoy the day.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Bank of America Chicago Marathon

The Chicago Marathon is everything I love about running and should be at the top of everyone's running bucket list. The expo was amazing, the best I have ever attended. … MORE

The Chicago Marathon is everything I love about running and should be at the top of everyone’s running bucket list. The expo was amazing, the best I have ever attended. I have enjoyed every expo I have attended, I really enjoy spending time and talking to the attendees as well as the vendors. Chicago was amazing, and not just because of the number of people involved. The layout was done in such a way that there was plenty of room to move around in spite of all of the people wandering about. There were also a lot of interactive areas at the expo, from places to leave messages to other runners to a place to sit and watch the course video being played on a continuous loop. Goose Island had free beer and it seemed like every major gear maker had Chicago branded shirts for sale, definitely plenty of opportunities to be separated from your money.
I stayed at the Chicago Hilton which was right across the street from the course start and finish in Grant Park. There were plenty of restaurants around the hotel to choose from and the hotel had an excellent pasta buffet the night before the race. Getting to my corral was as simple as walking across the street and through a metal detector. I was honestly surprised the security wasn’t tighter given the shooting in Las Vegas having just taken place. My only complaint about the start area is the potties were not accessible once the corrals started to fill up, there was no way to fight back through the crowds to get to the potty area if you needed to go in the last hour before the start.
The course itself was magnificent. As reported by many before, the tunnel and surrounding buildings prevented most GPS watches from functioning correctly. My watch had me 2 miles further than I was on the course and showed me finishing with over 28 miles on the day so I guess I got an unofficial ultra! But, the course was so well marked I was never unaware of my position. Of course, the thousands and thousands of spectators that lined the entire route made for all the distractions I needed.
The course itself was virtually flat with the most impressive climb coming at mile 26 before turning to the finish line. I am still amazed at how many people lined the course, cheering all of us runners on our way. There were plenty of landmarks to see on the way and there were no boring parts of the route. I was disappointed in not being able to see much of Wrigley Field, but the city of Chicago was definitely the star of this race.
As the day turned to noon, the heat came up into the upper 70’s and many of us were hit by cramping in the last few miles. The sudden elevation change at mile 26 had me nursing both hamstrings cramping and my left calf trying to seize up. Of course, this is an indication of poor fueling on my part and not the fault of anything or anyone involved in the race. I loved the passion and dedication of the people involved in putting on this event. I watched crowds of volunteers meeting in the park the day before, getting prepared for the race and setting up tents and tables. And then all of the people who came out all along the course to cheer on the runners was an even more amazing thing to see and be a part of. The Chicago Marathon should absolutely be a part of everyone’s race wish list, I look forward to running it again one day.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Pocatello Marathon

Pocatello Marathon

The Pocatello Marathon is a race that I have looked forward to running for quite some time. I have heard a ton of good things about the race and the … MORE

The Pocatello Marathon is a race that I have looked forward to running for quite some time. I have heard a ton of good things about the race and the town of Pocatello and all of the good things turned out to be true. Unfortunately, the few bad things I had heard also turned out to be true. This is a really small race, less than 200 in the full marathon. The race director and volunteers do an awesome job of putting the swag bags together, and the bag itself is really nice with a long sleeve shirt that was a good fit for me. Getting through packet pickup is a breeze and the pasta dinner was pretty good as well. They had a really interesting speaker at the pasta dinner as well which made it a fun evening the night before the race. The race itself started with a short, early morning bus ride from the host hotel to a small red barn located at about 6200′ of elevation. There were plenty of potties at the start line as well as a very interested donkey, horse, and goat who came out to see us off. The first half of the course was fantastic and watching the sun rise at around mile 4 was amazing. There were several really severe downhills in the first half that would take a heavy toll on the quads later in the race. The first half had plenty of mountain scenery to see as we sped downhill, and there were enough twists and turns to keep things plenty interesting. At about mile 14, we turned out of the mountain scenery and onto a highway with one lane coned off for us to run on. The course continued on that highway for the next 10 miles without a single turn. We were completely exposed to the sun with 3 active lanes of fairly continuous traffic from mile 14 until mile 24. The scenery also changed from the beautiful mountain trees to blacktop highway, cars, and industrial areas. The combination of sun, vehicle exhaust, and boredom combined to make the 2nd half a long slog. This was a bad day for me, and I struggled severely through the 2nd half. However, the race itself is extremely well run and the people who run it do an excellent job. I really enjoyed my time in Pocatello and greatly appreciated the effort that is put into this event. I wish the 2nd half had been as interesting as the first, but I should have put more effort into preparing for this course and it would have made my experience much different.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

New Jersey Marathon

New Jersey Marathon

I really enjoyed the New Jersey Marathon, I was expecting a good event but had read several negatives in prior reviews so I came into the race a little unsure … MORE

I really enjoyed the New Jersey Marathon, I was expecting a good event but had read several negatives in prior reviews so I came into the race a little unsure of what to expect. The expo was very small, but it was proportionate to the size of the race. I actually really enjoy spending time walking through expos and seeing the different events being promoted and some of the new gear that’s available. So, I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t more going on at this expo, but it was in keeping with the size of the event. This expo did have the unique aspect of being held at the Monmouth Park race track and that made up for the lack of size. I’m not a big horse racing fan, but that track was obviously very old and had a ton of history. I probably spent almost an hour wandering around the grounds with everything being completely wide open. That was a neat experience.

The morning of the race I got up very early so that I could get on the road from my hotel and to the parking area. Almost every prior review I read made comments about how awful the traffic situation was getting to the parking area with several people saying the traffic was so bad they advised leaving with 2 hours to spare. I made it onto the road with a little over an hour and a half before race time and breezed right into a parking spot so whatever issues they have had in the past must have been resolved and I got about 30 minutes of nice quiet time in the car.

The weather on race morning was fantastic, about 58 degrees and mostly overcast. There was a cool front coming in and the temperatures actually fell slightly during the race. There was a decent breeze that was fairly sustained during the race, but it wasn’t terribly bad, I spent the last 7 miles running into it but it was more cold than anything else.

The course was good, I was expecting a huge bottleneck at the beginning that never materialized, I guess we should take all reviews with a grain of salt (this one included). The course started with a little uphill climb that flattened out quickly and represented all of the elevation change on the first half. The first half went through some nice neighborhoods and some urban area, a nice mix of things to see. The half marathoners split off between 11 and 12 and I went from running with a decent group to being by myself, there was a huge difference in half and full runners in this race. Just after the split, the elite runners started to pass me going the other way on the opposite side of the road (yes, I am that slow). This was the first indication of how long the out and back section was going to be. I happened to notice the back of the mile 23 marker while watching the elites and wanting to see the front of that marker was stuck in my head for the next 2 hours. The course made its way down to the boardwalk with some fairly nice downhill stretches which would become uphills into the wind on the way back. The turn around point didn’t come until between miles 18 and 19 and it was a sharp turn which was not terribly welcome. As much as that long of an out and back is hard to deal with mentally, it is a tremendous boost when you finally hit that turnaround and are headed home. After the turnaround the course spends a lot of time on the boardwalk along the ocean which is really nice. It was amusing to see all the tourists who had no idea they had wandered into a marathon while out on the boardwalk. I spent more time along the ocean in this marathon than I did at Rock&Roll San Diego so kudos to New Jersey for all the ocean front running. The finish was well organized with boxed water instead of bottled which I had only seen once before when I ran San Francisco so good to see the east coast being a little proactive environmentally. I finished in 4:48 which is a 10 minute PR for me so this will be a course I remember very fondly.

Now for the massive negative for this event. The race is point to point so you park at the start and there are shuttles to take you back to the start line after you finish. First, there were no signs in the finisher area indicating where the buses were located and it was a bad sign that they weren’t close enough that you could see them. Myself and a couple of other runners got with the local police and they were able to direct us to the shuttle bus area which was at least a 3/4 mile walk from the finisher area. Then the buses themselves didn’t drop the runners off in the runner parking lot, we were dropped off on the other side of the race track and had to walk almost another mile to get to our vehicles. My step counter had me at almost 31 miles for the day by the time I got back to my car. This is a great event that really does a great job for the runners, but with so many people needing the shuttles to get back to their cars it shouldn’t be such an afterthought. That, however, does not come close to dampening my enthusiasm for this event, it was well run and an enjoyable course, well worth the trip to Jersey.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

The Bearathon

The Bearathon

My review from last year does a good job of giving an overview of the Bearathon, this year's version was much the same. It's a tough course with tons of … MORE

My review from last year does a good job of giving an overview of the Bearathon, this year’s version was much the same. It’s a tough course with tons of hills, but my running club hits these hills fairly regularly so I know what to expect. It is fun to see the reaction of people running the course for the first time as one huge hill follows another and another during the run through Cameron Park. But, for all its’ toughness it is a beautiful route and the early spring setting really accentuates that beauty. The race this year was fairly warm and humid, the exact opposite of last year’s cold and drizzly version. The weather in central Texas this time of year is unpredictable, but never usually so severe as to impact the event. This is a really well done event, definitely worth traveling to if you’re not from the area. It’s a great challenge and a good way to get the legs ready for spring marathon training.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

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

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

The Rock and Roll race series definitely knows how to put on an event and the New Orleans Marathon was no exception. The Expo was well done with plenty of … MORE

The Rock and Roll race series definitely knows how to put on an event and the New Orleans Marathon was no exception. The Expo was well done with plenty of interesting and knowledgeable vendors to spend time with and pick their brains. The corral setup was smooth and actually ran quickly and efficiently, much better than I have experienced in the past with Rock and Roll events. The course was staggeringly flat, almost to the point where the lack of topography was worse than having a few hills for variety. The first half of the race was quite interesting, through some historic neighborhoods and the French quarter. The half and full didn’t split until after mile 12 so there was plenty of weaving in and out of crowds during the first half of the race. After the split, there was a massive decrease in the number of runners around me. It seemed that this race had an even larger proportion of half marathoners than any race I’ve done in the past. This wasn’t a big deal to me, but someone who isn’t comfortable running by themselves might find this disconcerting to come so far into the run. The biggest draw back to this race was the lack of spectators. While I don’t need big crowds for motivation, it was oddly quiet for the vast majority of the run. I assume this was as a result of being New Orleans and early on a Sunday morning so shouldn’t have been much of a surprise. The back half of the marathon was not as interesting, a couple of out and backs through a park and along a lake front. It was nice, but without much spectator support it wasn’t much different than a typical weekend long run. But, with the flat course and great weather, it was definite PR type conditions and I was able to set a PR by about 10 minutes so no complaints for me.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4
My Media

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Chevron Houston Marathon & Aramco Houston Half Marathon

Chevron Houston Marathon & Aramco Houston Half Marathon

The Houston Marathon is as well run of an event as you would expect from a big city race. The event is fantastic from start to finish. I like that … MORE

The Houston Marathon is as well run of an event as you would expect from a big city race. The event is fantastic from start to finish. I like that the registration is first come-first served with plenty of notice as to when the registration would open. I much prefer this to a lottery system which they will probably switch to if it starts selling out sooner each year. The expo was one of the best that I have attended, well organized with runner specific vendors. The convention center is easy to get in and out of for both the expo and as a staging area for the start and finish of the race. I stayed at a hotel within walking distance to the convention center and the start line so I had no parking issues at any time.
The race course was flat as advertised to the point where I wouldn’t have minded an incline or two to break things up along the way. I think there were two overpasses that were slightly uphill. It’s definitely a PR or BQ type of course if the conditions are right. The crowds were plentiful and enthusiastic. I don’t think I have ever had so many people read my name off my bib and address me directly with encouragement.
Of course the story of the 2017 Houston Marathon will be the conditions. It was hot and humid with intermittent showers throughout the race. The sun came out from time to time to add an extra layer of heat. This was definitely not my day as I struggled with the humidity from early in the race and spent most of the race more concerned with what mile I was in and less concerned with what was going on around me. There were plenty of water and Gatorade stops and tons of port-o-potties on the course. It is obvious that a lot of thought and planning went into this marathon, it is a fantastic event. Under the right conditions a great day can definitely be had in Houston.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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Dallas Marathon

Dallas Marathon

This year's Dallas Marathon was blessed with almost perfect weather. The day started in the low 50s with clouds and fairly calm. However, as the day progressed the winds kicked … MORE

This year’s Dallas Marathon was blessed with almost perfect weather. The day started in the low 50s with clouds and fairly calm. However, as the day progressed the winds kicked up and were well over 20mph with 30+ mph gusts about 3 hours into the race. That’s totally out of the RD’s control and really didn’t diminish a great day for running. It made the finish quite challenging in spite of it being a fairly flat course. The race highlights:
THE EXPO: Fairly typical for a large marathon in that there were tons of vendors and tons of stuff. I really enjoy spending time at expos and this one did not disappoint. With BMW being the title sponsor this year, there was some really cool car stuff to play around with.
THE COURSE: Having lived in Dallas for about 10 years, I am very familiar with the course and it definitely went through a lot of the best neighborhoods in the area. However, the out and back at White Rock Lake is a little repetitive and ignores the section that would include the arboretum which is a beautiful part of the lake. The worst part of the course is the section that runs along the Santa Fe Trail which is a multi mile slow climb up a concrete path. The path was not closed and we dealt with several runners coming from the other direction and I was passed twice by bikers who were not part of the event.
THE SPECTATORS: The city of Dallas definitely supports the marathon in a big way. There are plenty of spectators on the course to keep you motivated and lots of “unofficial” food stations along the way for those hungry for doughnuts, beer, or Twizzlers. From the “Dolly Parton’s” and Elvis impersonators, there are plenty of people having fun on the course.
THE ORGANIZATION: This is such a well run event, it’s obvious that it’s been around for over 40 years. From start to finish, this is a very professionally run event that seems to care as much about the marathon as it does the half and the relay. It’s nice to run in a race that has doesn’t put all the interesting parts of the course on the parts shared by with the half marathon and make the full marathon course seem like an afterthought. I didn’t utilize the bag check so I can’t comment on that part of the operation.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5
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St. George Marathon

St. George Marathon

This year was the 40th running of the St. George Marathon and my first time at the event. It absolutely lived up to its reputation for the beauty of the … MORE

This year was the 40th running of the St. George Marathon and my first time at the event. It absolutely lived up to its reputation for the beauty of the course and the expert organization. The good things:
– Well run expo that wasn’t very large but had anything you might have forgotten to bring. I attended the first timers talk and was treated to a speaker who has run the race every year from the 1st to now. If it’s your first time, I highly recommend attending the talk.
– The bus ride to the start line was run as smooth as silk. I have to admit that my 3:15AM wake up call was tough, but the friendly volunteers and the perfectly run process of loading the buses made this part of the race completely painless.
– The hour and a half wait at just over 5000′ of elevation at the start line was made much easier by the bonfires that were lit to take the edge off the cool morning. This year’s race was actually very warm at the finish, but the start line temperatures were in the low 50’s.
– The race itself was amazing, the course was incredibly beautiful. Be prepared for plenty of uphills, though, it’s not all downhill. The hill at Veyo is no joke and the gradual climb from mile 10 through 12 is sneakily tough. There are some rolling hills around mile 22 that actually help break up some of the downhill and are a bit of a relief to your legs that have been pounded by all the downhill.
– The finish area is in a small park and definitely gets a bit congested, but the finish line food is excellent. Plenty of fruit and chocolate milk as well as ice cream which was wonderful after a warm finish.
Things to watch out for:
– Be prepared for the pounding of the downhill, do plenty of training, your quads and hamstrings will be decimated by the finish line.
– It’s very easy to go out way too fast, watch your pace and this is an easy negative split.
– This year got very warm and there is no cover on the course so once the sun was out there was no escape. I trained all summer in the Texas heat so I was OK, but the shuttle was constantly running back and forth to carry people out.
This was easily the most smoothly run of any race event I have done so far. The city of St. George is a beautiful place with very friendly people and plenty of food options if you don’t want to do the pasta dinner. I gave the spectators a 4 because you don’t see many until you get into town for the last couple of miles. But, those spectators are wonderfully full of enthusiasm and definitely give you a boost for the final miles. If you love running and running marathons, St. George is an absolute must-run.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
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Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon & 1/2 Marathon

Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon & 1/2 Marathon

San Diego is home away from home for me so I was fairly biased in favor of this race from the beginning. The expo was terrific, as is to be … MORE

San Diego is home away from home for me so I was fairly biased in favor of this race from the beginning. The expo was terrific, as is to be expected from a Rock-n-Roll event, there were plenty of vendors to talk to and lots of good information. I didn’t have any issues with parking at the expo, it was a pain to pay $15 to park at the convention center but most big city events are going to gouge you on parking, especially if it’s in a downtown area. I used the shuttle system to get to the starting line, which meant standing in a long line at 5AM but it moved fast and was way better than fighting for a parking spot. The biggest problem pre-race was way too slow of corral releases which meant that a lot of people spent over 30 minutes slowly shuffling towards the start line. This wasn’t a huge problem, but when you’re fired up and ready to get going, that’s a long time to shuffle around after the starting gun has been fired. The course itself could have used some more water front views but the section in Mission Bay was great. It was a big out and back but it was along the ocean so it was a great view. I liked the neighborhoods we ran through and thought it was a good mix of houses and eclectic local shops and restaurants. Fan support in those areas was great, plenty of cheering people and you could definitely feel the support. About the massive hill on Highway 163 from mile 22 to 24 that everyone talks about in regards to this race. I honestly don’t mind a race throwing a big challenge in the later miles, I run a lot of hills in training so I don’t mind them that much. My issue with this stretch is that running on a highway is just not a lot of fun, especially that late in the race when you’re dog tired and need all the distractions you can get. Once you get over the novelty of running on a closed highway, it’s a long slow climb that never seems to end with very little scenery and no fan support because you’re on the highway. All that being said, once you reach the top it’s all downhill to the finish. I loved this race, love the city, and really appreciated how well run the event was from start to finish. In typical Rock-n-Roll fashion, there were plenty of opportunities to be separated from your money and the event has a very corporate feel to it at times. But, I would highly recommend this event and hope to be able to run it again in the future.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5
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The Bearathon

The Bearathon

As a Baylor alumni and a Waco resident, I am very biased in terms of how I feel about this race. Its' position on the calendar coming just after the … MORE

As a Baylor alumni and a Waco resident, I am very biased in terms of how I feel about this race. Its’ position on the calendar coming just after the Cowtown is the reason I haven’t run it before this year. But, since I was due for a 12 mile run as part of my training for the Rock and Roll San Diego Marathon in June, I decided the Bearathon would be a fun way to get my miles run.
THE COURSE: As far as what the race director can’t control, the weather was nice and cool at 43 degrees, but a 20 MPH breeze made some parts of the course even harder. The crazy Texas weather that had me dehydrated and hot the Thursday morning before the race had hundreds of runner bundled up and shivering at 7AM on race day. Because I live and train in Waco, I run the hills on a regular basis so I knew what to expect. That being said, those hills are no joke, and it was very easy to pick out the runners who weren’t prepared for them. Fortunately, the hills are in a highly wooded area which eliminated the strong wind from being a factor, they provided plenty of challenge on their own.
SCENERY: The course travels through part of the campus of Baylor University and Baylor Stadium which provides some fantastic views, especially this time of year as spring is just starting to put everything in bloom. The Cameron Park area is where you hit all the hills, but the scenery is excellent and does provide some distraction. Unfortunately, the last mile and a half was routed through an area under construction and the road was in terrible shape. There were way too many loose rocks and pot holes through this area and it seemed really unsafe, especially coming at such a late part of the race.
RACE PRODUCTION: This event is put on by the Baylor Student Foundation and it definitely has a small town, grass roots type of feel to it. There is no expo, just a day before packet pickup at the stadium which went really smoothly, definitely no complaints. The start and finish were done in the same area by the stadium and they were both high energy with good crowds of family and spectators. The food provided after the race was some of the most I have seen at any half marathon. There was plenty of fruit and yogurt, as well as boxes and boxes of Domino’s Pizza for anyone in the mood for some post race pizza. There were also tubs of iced down boxes of chocolate milk, my favorite post race drink. The only negative during the race was the massive confusion at every water station about what was Gatorade and what was water. There was no separation at the stations, the cups were all the same, and the volunteers were only sporadically announcing what was in the cup they were holding. Again, this is a grass roots event designed to earn money for the University so I don’t expect the water stations to be perfect, but this is an area that can be greatly improved.
OVERALL: With or without my bias, this is a great early spring race for anyone looking for a challenging way to get back into gear after a winter layoff. I would encourage everyone to come to Waco and experience this event, just be prepared for big hills and unpredictable Texas weather.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4
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The Cowtown

The Cowtown

Just finished the 2016 running of the Cowtown Half Marathon in Ft. Worth. This was my 3rd time with the Cowtown (although last year's version was severely affected by ice) … MORE

Just finished the 2016 running of the Cowtown Half Marathon in Ft. Worth. This was my 3rd time with the Cowtown (although last year’s version was severely affected by ice) and it did not disappoint.
EXPO: Typical large event expo with plenty of vendors. I went early on Friday so it wasn’t very crowded and was an absolute breeze to get in and out of with my bib and packet. I would imagine anything needed for the race could have been had at the expo and all vendors were friendly and helpful.
T-SHIRTS: The race shirt is really nice this year with blue stripes down each side of a white shirt. The finisher shirts are dark, which isn’t that great for me because I run early in the morning and don’t like to wear dark colors, but it’s a nice design. The bib had a ticket for a race jacket at the finish which turned out to be the thin, one use type of jacket for staying warm after the race. After getting a cool jacket at the Route 66 in Tulsa, this was a little disappointing.
AID STATIONS: These were all very well done. Plenty of volunteers ready with water or Powerade and all stations matched the format of water first, Powerade second and each was in a different cup. Since I only ran the half marathon, I didn’t pay much attention to what food was being offered but there was at least one station giving out Gu packets. There was a kid on the course with a box of doughnut holes and I snagged 2 of those from his box. I assume he was offering them to the runners and I didn’t steal a kids’ doughnuts, but it was about Mile 11 and I didn’t care. Some fruit being at the later stations would have been nice, but again it wasn’t expected on the half course.
THE COURSE: I really like this course, it’s not hilly but not really flat, either. There are enough rolling hills to make it interesting and the areas the course takes you through are typically active with spectators with a lot to look at. I’m not all that concerned about my time so I like plenty of turns in a course and this one only has one really long straight stretch, I enjoy the change of direction from time to time. The only negatives of the course are two pretty long bridges which are devoid of spectators and don’t really go over anything interesting and the run through the Stockyards is on brick paved streets which is tough on the legs. That being said, the spectators and scenery of the Stockyards make this one of the best parts of the course so the bricks are tolerable.
OVERALL: This is a really well managed race with big crowds and great local support. It may be heresy to say, but I say this is a better event than the Metro PCS Dallas Marathon. The only thing to watch out for is the total wild card of Texas weather in February. The same race we fought through ice one year ago and this year we were hoping to get done before the temperatures got into the 70’s and it got hot. Highly recommend this event, will stay on my calendar in the years to come.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5
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Marine Corps Marathon

Marine Corps Marathon

This is definitely a bucket list race, I can only add to the glowing reviews for this event. The only negative at all is the amount of time it took … MORE

This is definitely a bucket list race, I can only add to the glowing reviews for this event. The only negative at all is the amount of time it took to get through security but this is necessary and understandable given the location and number of people involved. The course is magnificent, it would have been nice to have been able to run right by the monuments but I guess they can’t close those areas off for the length of time necessary to run the race. I have seen complaints about the hill at the very end of the race, but with Marines lining that hill and cheering me on I hardly noticed it. This event is well worth the trip, I highly encourage everyone who loves to run to make this one.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
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Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon & Half Marathon

Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon & Half Marathon

Awesome race for my first full marathon and a wonderful cause. This is an extremely well supported race by the people of Oklahoma City and everyone involved deserves high praise. … MORE

Awesome race for my first full marathon and a wonderful cause. This is an extremely well supported race by the people of Oklahoma City and everyone involved deserves high praise. The course is not terribly difficult, the loop at the lake late in the race is a little difficult because there isn’t much support out there, but that’s due to a lack of areas for spectators to stand. The course is sneaky hilly in the second half but the elevation changes help make the course more interesting.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5

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Miracle Match Marathon

Miracle Match Marathon

This is my hometown event so I may be somewhat biased but having run events in multiple states and of multiple sizes I can honestly say this event is absolutely … MORE

This is my hometown event so I may be somewhat biased but having run events in multiple states and of multiple sizes I can honestly say this event is absolutely first class. This is not a huge race so there isn’t much of an expo but the people involved are enthusiastic and great to visit with while doing packet pickup. They definitely help get you in the mood for a run. I’ve run this event for the past couple of years and the weather has been different each time which also typical for this area. The one constant for this race is the hills and they are serious. Please make sure you’re doing some hill training before tackling this event, they are not easy. This year the new Baylor Stadium was added to the course which actually took out some of the hills and is a beautiful addition to the area and the course. This is a fabulous event that is well supported and professionally run, I highly recommend this to anyone wanting a challenging, fun run.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5
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