My Profile

@Evwatkins

Meridian, MS Raving since 2017 50 States hopeful/finisher, Marathon Maniacs #6845, Half Fanatics #11327 active 1 day, 9 hours ago

About Me

  • Running club(s):

    Bonita Running Club

  • Rave race:

    Mount Desert Island Marathon & Grand Island Marathon

  • Race that's calling my name:

    Crater Lake Marathon

  • 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 (8)

Race Distance Location Date Result
Half Ironman Chattanooga, TN 2016 6:55:54
Sprint Columbus, MS 2015 1:42:45
50 Miler Ovett, MS 2013 11:37:13
50K Meridian, MS Apr 21, 2018 7:23:00
Marathon Fargo, ND May 20, 2017 3:54:06
Half Marathon Hattiesburg, MS Apr 7, 2018 1:52:20
10K Corinth, MS 2013 50:13
5K Meridian, MS 2017 22:59

Future Races (11)

Race Distance Location Date Paid
Marathon Gallatin Gateway, MT Sep 8, 2018
Marathon St. Charles, MO Oct 7, 2018
Marathon Meridian, MS Nov 17, 2018
Marathon John C. Stennis Space Center, MS Nov 24, 2018
Marathon Panama City Beach, FL Dec 1, 2018
Marathon Dallas, TX Dec 16, 2018
Sprint Columbus, MS 2018
Marathon Jackson, MS Jan 26, 2019
Marathon Lake Village, AR Feb 9, 2019
50K Ovett, MS 2019
50K Meridian, MS 2019

Past Races (94)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
Marathon Crater Lake, OR Aug 11, 2018 5:10:32
Sprint Meridian, MS Jul 14, 2018 1:46:55
Marathon Anchorage, AK Jun 23, 2018 4:36:39
5K Meridian, MS Jun 16, 2018 23:47
Marathon Weott, CA May 6, 2018 5:02:15
50K Meridian, MS Apr 21, 2018 7:23:00
Half Marathon Hattiesburg, MS Apr 7, 2018 1:52:20
Marathon West Haven, CT Mar 24, 2018 4:17:20
Marathon Hurricane, UT Mar 10, 2018 4:25:38
Marathon Lake Village, AR Feb 10, 2018 4:59:28
Marathon Jekyll Island, GA Jan 14, 2018 4:52:42
Marathon Northfield, MN Jan 7, 2018 4:18:00
Marathon Pass Christian, MS Dec 10, 2017 4:37:00
Marathon Panama City Beach, FL Dec 2, 2017 4:54:45
Marathon Bar Harbor, ME Oct 15, 2017 4:34:44
Marathon Newport, RI Oct 8, 2017 4:39:23
Sprint Columbus, MS Aug 19, 2017 1:42:58
Marathon Rachel, NV Aug 6, 2017 5:18:58
Marathon Waitsfield, VT Jul 9, 2017 6:12:44
Marathon Deadwood, SD Jun 4, 2017 4:51:05
Marathon Fargo, ND May 20, 2017 3:54:06
Marathon Lincoln, NE May 7, 2017 4:10:06
Half Marathon Hattiesburg, MS Apr 1, 2017 1:56:28
Marathon White Sands, NM Mar 19, 2017 7:11:59
Marathon Hyannis, MA Feb 26, 2017 4:49:49
Marathon Sedona, AZ Feb 4, 2017 5:30:52
Marathon Allenstown, NH 2017 8:38:05
5K Meridian, MS 2017 22:59
Marathon Honolulu, HI Dec 11, 2016 4:44:21
Marathon Atlantic City, NJ Oct 23, 2016 5:12:46
Marathon Dover, DE Oct 22, 2016 4:58:57
Marathon Boise, ID Oct 9, 2016 4:59:24
Marathon Cumberland, MD Sep 25, 2016 4:54:52
Marathon Palmer Lake, CO Sep 5, 2016 4:59:35
Marathon Jackson Hole, WY Sep 3, 2016 4:59:14
Marathon Munising, MI Jul 23, 2016 5:10:51
Marathon Philadelphia, PA Jun 4, 2016 5:05:22
Marathon Nisswa, MN Apr 30, 2016 4:07:55
Half Marathon Mobile, AL Jan 10, 2016 2:19:42
Marathon Jackson, MS Jan 9, 2016 5:29:32
5K Meridian, MS 2016 24:00
Sprint Meridian, MS 2016 1:47:54
Sprint Columbus, MS 2016 1:43:01
Half Ironman Chattanooga, TN 2016 6:55:54
Half Marathon Meridian, MS Nov 21, 2015 2:06:31
Marathon Arlington, VA Oct 25, 2015 5:42:37
Marathon Peoria, IL Oct 18, 2015 4:58:13
Marathon Indianapolis, IN Oct 17, 2015 4:59:29
Marathon Beckley, WV Sep 19, 2015 4:29:35
Marathon Cudahy, WI Sep 6, 2015 5:09:10
Marathon Marion, IA Jun 14, 2015 4:59:24
Marathon Cincinnati, OH May 3, 2015 6:41:10
Marathon Todd, NC May 2, 2015 5:14:01
Marathon Oklahoma City, OK Apr 26, 2015 5:34:35
Marathon St Louis, MO Apr 12, 2015 5:24:20
Marathon Abilene, KS Apr 11, 2015 5:25:46
Marathon Columbia, SC Mar 7, 2015 5:14:50
Marathon Little Rock, AR Mar 1, 2015 5:09:51
Marathon Blaine, WA Feb 15, 2015 4:23:16
5K Meridian, MS 2015 23:56
Sprint Columbus, MS 2015 1:42:45
Marathon Pensacola, FL Nov 9, 2014 4:43:16
Marathon Bowling Green, KY Nov 2, 2014 4:04:50
Sprint Columbus, MS Aug 16, 2014
Marathon Mobile, AL Jan 12, 2014 5:33:51
Marathon Baton Rouge, LA 2014 6:13:35
5K Meridian, MS 2014 25:03
Sprint Columbus, MS Aug 17, 2013 1:44:26
Half Marathon Hattiesburg, MS 2013 1:54:15
50 Miler Ovett, MS 2013 11:37:13
10K Corinth, MS 2013 50:13
Half Marathon Arcola, MS 2013 2:10:28
Sprint Meridian, MS 2013 1:51:02
Half Marathon Amarillo, TX 2013 2:04:42
Marathon Dallas, TX 2013 4:50:13
Marathon Atlanta, GA 2013 4:50:13
Marathon New Orleans, LA 2012 4:28:07
Sprint Meridian, MS 2012
Half Marathon Arcola, MS 2012 2:05:35
Half Marathon Jackson, MS 2012 1:55:15
Half Marathon Talladega, AL 2012 1:52:32
Sprint Columbus, MS 2012 1:47:38
Half Marathon Tupelo, MS 2011 2:43:30
Half Marathon Baton Rouge, LA 2011 2:01:43
10K Charleston, SC 2011 58:02
10K Vicksburg, MS 2010 1:01:54
5K Ridgeland, MS 2010 31:01
Half Marathon Tupelo, MS 2010 2:18:06
Marathon Staten Island, NY 2010 5:16:53
10K Charleston, SC 2009 1:02:21
Marathon Memphis, TN 2009 5:32:53
10K Charleston, SC 2008 1:11:28
10K Charleston, SC 2007 1:13:49
10K Birmingham, AL 2006 1:02:25

My Raves

Crater Lake Rim Runs

Crater Lake Rim Runs

Overall - this race is just a race. The PLACE is what makes this race spectacular! If you treat this race as an in and out weekend and don't spend … MORE

Overall – this race is just a race. The PLACE is what makes this race spectacular! If you treat this race as an in and out weekend and don’t spend time here, you are severely missing out!

The TRIP: I flew into Portland on Thursday and drove down (4.5 hours). I stayed at the Union Creek Resort, a quaint little campground/cabin area near one of the park entrances. I was traveling alone, so I stayed in the lodge in one of the cheaper small rooms. (Shared Bathroom) Luckily I had the room at the end with a window overlooking the creek. I slept with the window open and could hear the creek down below. Very relaxing. Although this place was about 40 minutes from the park, it was well worth it. (Other places in the park are too expensive or booked up). When I checked out on race day and they allowed me to shower there before heading home. Very nice folks!

On Friday, I spent about 10 hours in the park. Be prepared! There’s a lot to see! Before the trip, I took a map and marked all the hikes/sights/and areas I wanted to see. I worked my way around the lake, stopping at each spot and even a few extras. They were all wonderful, but my top picks are Garfield Peak and Plaikni Falls!
This year there were a few wildfires nearby that caused a smoky haze to cover the area. In the morning I could barely see the other side of the crater. But by mid afternoon, the smoke cleared up enough to pair perfectly with the timing of my hike up to Garfield Peak! The water was amazingly blue and the colors of the trees with the blue sky made the perfect ending to a perfect day!

The RACE: The race started at Watchman Point and ended at a campground near the Pinnacles. The park closed one lane of Rim Drive and made the road one way only during the race. They encouraged runners to use the shuttle buses. I parked at Rim Village and took the bus to the start. There was some confusion about where to go beforehand. (FYI- the race has no Packet Pickup. They mail bibs and an information sheet to you). The info sheet said “board your assigned bus” but there were no indications of bus assignments. Basically you park in one of two areas and catch the bus there. There’s one start line for all races. If you get on the first busses you can watch the sunrise at watchman’s point! The race itself was hilly and beautiful. You run about halfway around Rim Drive with an out and back at Cloudcap and then a 2 mile out and back near the finish. The race is almost always at 8000 feet elevation. Luckily that morning the smoke layer was below us. We had some nice views all around the lake that morning! The course is 100% road except for maybe 100 feet into the campground to the finish line. Aid stations are plentiful, however porta-potties were only located at the 10K, half finish and full finish lines. Nature stops might be necessary.

The FINISH: The finish is very rudimentary. A clock, a finish banner and a few tents. But VERY friendly and happy volunteers! Results are done by hand and your bib tab is posted on a board. The medal is plain and age group awards are blue/red/yellow ribbons.

BOTTOM LINE: You don’t come to this race for the bling. You come for the views and to visit the park. And it’s totally worth it!
RaceRaves included this race on their ”Toughest Road Marathons in North America” last year: https://raceraves.com/toughest-road-marathons-us-canada/
After 63 marathons, I can testify that making this list was well deserved. This is the only race I’ve run that’s listed on this countdown. However, I honestly think that the Mad Marathon in Vermont would be a VERY close 2nd to Crater Lake on my list of Toughest Road Marathons.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
5
SWAG
2
My Media

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Sunfish Triathlon

Sunfish Triathlon

This is a race I do nearly every year. Great local park with great swag and support! I managed to squeeze out 2nd in my age group this year. The … MORE

This is a race I do nearly every year. Great local park with great swag and support! I managed to squeeze out 2nd in my age group this year. The swim & run are inside the park. The bike course goes up the highway and into a neighborhood and back. Lots of challenging hills.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
2
SWAG
5

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Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon & Half Marathon

Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon & Half Marathon

I ran this race for my 48th State. My husband and I went up the week before and spent the time exploring glaciers, state and national parks and wildlife. I … MORE

I ran this race for my 48th State. My husband and I went up the week before and spent the time exploring glaciers, state and national parks and wildlife. I don’t recommend going only to run the race, as you will miss out on some amazing things Alaska has to offer!
This race is held on the weekend closest to Summer Solstice. The entire time we were there, we never saw darkness. (22 hours of daylight and the 2 hours of “not daylight” would still be bright enough to drive without headlights.) Be prepared to have trouble sleeping and feeling tired mid day. Your melatonin levels will be whacked out. Worth it though!

Course: The first 4-5 miles were on the side of a busy road. That section was pretty boring. Fortunately, nearly every road in Alaska has bike/pedestrian paths so we were never “too close” to traffic. We spent a good amount of time on gravel roads and trails through woods and along waterways. We saw a BEAR around mile 7! We had to stop running and scare him off. That was pretty cool! (My first time seeing a bear in the wild.) I enjoyed this section the most. The finish was through a neighborhood with some pretty steep but short hills. Scenery was great for Alaska. I’m sure there are other races that are more scenic. But for a mid-sized city race, I would rank it towards the top simply because they managed to avoid running on roads. Except for the first 4 miles and the last mile, it felt like a trail run.
At Packet Pickup, they ran out of race guides and seemed to be a bit uninformed of needed details. Not a big deal because the website had info. You get your shirt after the race. Nice medal.

Alaska is beautiful! You can’t go wrong with this race. Be sure to schedule some exploring in your trip.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
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4

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Run for a Reason 5K

Run for a Reason 5K

This is a great 5K in historic Highland park in meridian organized by a friend. I've run it every year (6 years). Felicia & crew do a great job with … MORE

This is a great 5K in historic Highland park in meridian organized by a friend. I’ve run it every year (6 years). Felicia & crew do a great job with the race and I hope to see if continue each year!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
2
SWAG
5

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Avenue of the Giants Marathon & Half Marathon

Avenue of the Giants Marathon & Half Marathon

I ran the Ave for State #47. I chose this race because I prefer small/midsize races and beautiful scenery. This one was PERFECT! While Big Sur is on my bucket … MORE

I ran the Ave for State #47. I chose this race because I prefer small/midsize races and beautiful scenery. This one was PERFECT! While Big Sur is on my bucket list only for the scenery, I’m glad I ran this one first. My Husband and I made a 4-day vacation out of the trip. We spent one night in San Francisco visiting family and then drove up Highway 1.

PACKET PICKUP: The PP was at the starting line at a pull-off area. It wasn’t difficult to find, but to those of us who aren’t local, it was concerning. However, the race provides excellent directions including GPS coordinates which took us directly there. The race provided great canvas bags and the option to purchase other clothing. (I purchased a long sleeve dri-fit because the free race shirt was tie-dyed.)
We spent the rest of the day driving and hiking through the trees. This area is unbelievably beautiful! Just coming in for the race would be a major letdown. We stayed at the Miranda Gardens Resort. These cottages were very nice and situated in a grove of Redwoods along the Avenue. It truly was the perfect place to stay! We grabbed some food and had a picnic off the road in the trees. Seeing these 300+ foot 1000+ year old trees up close makes you feel really small. We did several hikes and saw some of the largest known trees (over 50 feet in circumference).
RACE DAY: The race started at 7:45 am. Getting there wasn’t difficult. The Avenue closed at 7am so getting there before 7 is recommended. COURSE: The course is 2 out-backs, one on Matole road and one on Avenue of the Giants. Both are breathtakingly beautiful! I think my neck was more sore than my legs because I spent most of the race looking up and around at the trees. The tree cover keeps the temperatures cool as well. Aid stations were adequately placed and stocked. There weren’t many spectators. This was a good thing to me because I could enjoy the scenery more. The course has several easy rolling hills and a few moderate hills. My only issue was that the roads were also pitched so after 10 fast miles, my ankles and hips were screaming! I had to slow down significantly. This wasn’t a big deal. This is one of those races where you truly should slow down to “get your money’s worth.” With the Avenue being closed to traffic, you can enjoy the race worry free.

BOTTOM LINE: Out of my 60 marathons, this one edged out MDI and Grand Island and has taken #1 on my all-time favorite list. I will definitely do this race again!

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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Great Scorpion Trail Run

Great Scorpion Trail Run

This race was held in my hometown park. 2018 was it's inaugural year. Tim & Caroline worked diligently researching the best (& worse) practices for trail races and I believe … MORE

This race was held in my hometown park. 2018 was it’s inaugural year. Tim & Caroline worked diligently researching the best (& worse) practices for trail races and I believe they have created a masterpiece!

PACKET PICKUP: PP was at a local runner-friendly hotel. They even caught some nocturnal scorpions in the trails and brought them for everyone to check out. Excellent swag bag and all questions were easily answered there.

COURSE: The roughly 7.5 loop is run twice for the 25K and 4 times for the 50K. At first I thought I would get bored running the loop 4 times, but each loop felt different. The first loop is partially in the dark (race starts at 6am) which was a little scary for me but with a headlamp and a plan to start slow, I successfully ran the first loop without falling. 🙂 The course includes a nice mix of bike/hiking trails, the gravel road and horse trails. Had it been all bike trails, it would have been B-R-U-T-A-L. The horse trails and gravel roads gave your legs and your mind a bit of a break. This would be a great race for a first time trail runner!
I ended up taking a “graceful” tumble on loop 2, and ended up with a flesh wound. If you don’t draw blood in the trails, then your still a trail virgin!

AID: There’s an aid station in the trails (near the halfway point) that you pass by twice. Water, Gatorade as well as medical aid was available. There is also a fully stocked tent at the start/finish as well as medical personnel there to assist if necessary.
RACE: The finish line is feet from where you would park. I was able to leave a drop bag and extra food nearby to grab each loop. A lot of runners simply let their tailgates down and left their food/needs there to grab as the came by. The finisher medals and awards were custom and really cool!

This is definitely a race I will be repeating!

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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Rise & Shine Half Marathon

Rise & Shine Half Marathon

This is a great little half marathon (only) in a midsize college town. The course takes you around USM's campus and through some neighborhoods. Nothing to fancy. I was able … MORE

This is a great little half marathon (only) in a midsize college town. The course takes you around USM’s campus and through some neighborhoods. Nothing to fancy. I was able to snag 3rd overall female and win $100!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
1
SWAG
4

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Savin Rock Marathon & Half Marathon

Savin Rock Marathon & Half Marathon

Savin Rock is a great little race to check off Connecticut. No frills. No surprises. The COURSE: There are some ugly hills. The course is a double loop. The first … MORE

Savin Rock is a great little race to check off Connecticut. No frills. No surprises.
The COURSE: There are some ugly hills. The course is a double loop. The first mile & the last 2 are along the waterfront with nice views. The rest is through the town/neighborhoods on roads with traffic. The police/volunteers did a good job of keeping us safe. The second loop was a bit lonely (as usual with double loops) and many of the volunteers/cops had disappeared. I didn’t have any trouble, but was uncertain at couple of intersections. There were scattered water stations and very few toilets.
This was a quick in and out state for me. There’s not much touristy things to see there (IMO). The race itself was pleasant but I doubt I would make the trip to go back for this race.

DIFFICULTY
4
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4
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2
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Sand Hollow Marathon

Sand Hollow Marathon

I ran this years race as my 45th state. I stayed at the new Wingate hotel. 10 minute walk from the start/finish. Packet Pickup is easy - quick in/out no … MORE

I ran this years race as my 45th state.
I stayed at the new Wingate hotel. 10 minute walk from the start/finish.
Packet Pickup is easy – quick in/out no frills. The volunteers were eager and helpful.
The race started & finished at the community center (Packet pickup location). It was an easy walk from the hotel. Looked like adequate parking was available. The start was very low key. As in – no microphone. The Mayor started the race by saying “everyone ready?… 3-2-1 go. A microphone/speaker would have been very helpful.
The course was beautiful. It was an out & back with plenty of support. There’s one significant hill at about mile 6-8. (And again on the way back.) A bit lonely at the end (only 85 marathoners), but nice views of the mountains and of Sand Hollow state park.
The finish was pretty much like the start. Super low key and quick. I did get a cool printout of my time almost immediately. Only 1st in age groups got awards (I was 3rd). That’s typical for smaller races though. Food was sufficient at the end.

One negative: The website was a bit lacking. Lots of emails were sent out with information. The site doesn’t have the time listed and information is kind of scattered. An update would be ideal.
Other than that I really enjoyed this race. I would do it again for sure.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Mississippi River Marathon & Half Marathon

Mississippi River Marathon & Half Marathon

I ran as a pacer. This is a low key, very well organized event. In 2018, it rained the entire race - so the scenery wasn't visible. The course follows … MORE

I ran as a pacer. This is a low key, very well organized event. In 2018, it rained the entire race – so the scenery wasn’t visible. The course follows Lake Chicot in Arkansas and the crosses the MS river into Greenville. Very flat except for the bridge. The rain cancelled the bands and outside finish line activities. Typically there is music and more food options in the park area near the finish.
Nice medal and 1/4 zip shirt.

DIFFICULTY
2
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5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Jekyll Island Marathon & 10K

Jekyll Island Marathon & 10K

Ran as a pacer for the inaugural race. I think they organizers don't want the race to be huge so they only offered a full & 10K. A half would … MORE

Ran as a pacer for the inaugural race. I think they organizers don’t want the race to be huge so they only offered a full & 10K. A half would be ideal. The course was nice – basically an out & back plus some. Ran along the road and then bike/walking path as well. Lots of sections of wiggling between trees. Pretty but a bit dizzying. (I’m not a big beach person so that’s the reason for the 4 for scenery.)
Nice Medal. Very well organized for an inaugural event. The pre race pasta dinner was Friday night (race was Sunday). Not sure how many people participated in that.

DIFFICULTY
2
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4
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4
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4

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Zoom! Yah! Yah! Indoor Marathon

Zoom! Yah! Yah! Indoor Marathon

This race was on my bucket list for a few years. A local marathon was always the same weekend until this year so I took advantage. The GOOD: Dick Daymont … MORE

This race was on my bucket list for a few years. A local marathon was always the same weekend until this year so I took advantage.
The GOOD: Dick Daymont does a great job with this race! The pre-race dinner is great! Lots of options (you are given a meal ticket to eat in the school’s cafeteria). The lap counters (XC team at St. Olaf’s) are enthusiastic. Every lap you are encouraged. Having tables at each corner of the track is great. You can stash your stuff in one corner or have it spread out. Your personal lap counter is attentive and will help you in whatever way you want. I gave her my phone and the passcode and she recorded videos/pictures and posted them for me as well.
THE (kinda) BAD: It’s freaking COLD in Minnesota in January!!! 3 degrees the day before the race. I was worried about flight delays getting there. I was delayed getting home but I didn’t so much care.
WHAT I LEARNED: I ran a few training runs on the local track to prepare for the race. Be prepared for some sore IT, knees, hips with those turns. (you change direction every 30 minutes-this helps but I was pretty sore after…)
OVERALL – I will definitely do this one again! A fun, personalized experience.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
2
SWAG
4

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Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon

Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon

This would have been my 55th marathon had the course been laid out correctly. Unfortunately, the turnaround point on the interstate (which wasn't smart to begin with) was in the … MORE

This would have been my 55th marathon had the course been laid out correctly. Unfortunately, the turnaround point on the interstate (which wasn’t smart to begin with) was in the wrong place, causing the marathon (only) course to be .3 short. The RD later apologized and has offered discounts/incentives to make up for it.
This is the race’s 2nd year. The course is a straight point to point along the beach highway. You can basically see the Beau Rivage Casino/Hotel (near the finish) the entire race. Unless you live in a land locked state and rarely see a beach, then it isn’t that impressive. (Full disclosure-I’m not really a beach person either.) The course was changed to include a short out and back that ran along the interstate on ramp and up the interstate to a turnaround and then back down the off ramp then left to the park to finish. This section was AWFUL! The on-ramp is a very sharp curve. There were also bridge connector grates all along that section that were separated enough for someone to break an ankle/leg in. Two were so spread out that we had to literally jump over them. A small person could have easily slid right through!
There were plenty of water stops, police and volunteers. My favorite part was the section where we ran through the downtown/historic streets in Pass Christian – the only section (besides the interstate) where you weren’t on the beach road.
Finish line food was sufficient – however I am Vegan so there wasn’t much I could eat besides the white rice at the gumbo tent. Not a big deal though as I am used to that.
Overall, not a bad one, just not one that I will likely repeat.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
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3

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Panama City Beach Marathon

Panama City Beach Marathon

I ran this race for the first time in 2017. It's within driving distance for me. The marathon was much smaller than I expected for a beach race. Being in … MORE

I ran this race for the first time in 2017. It’s within driving distance for me.
The marathon was much smaller than I expected for a beach race. Being in December, the beach was empty but most shops/restaurants were also closed for the season.
COURSE: First off, I’m not a fan of flat courses. This is a pancake flat course with about a 25 foot gain/loss according to my Garmin. It’s basically an out & back with a few out & backs inside a state park. The road was partially under construction (for 2017) and traffic was not halted. There were several instances where cars came frighteningly close to runners. Police were at major intersections. The water stations were at each mile which is great giving the heat that day. The high temp on race day was in the high 70s. However, several were running out of cups and sports drink was rare! This was a major problem for a lot of runners! The stations were also manned by volunteers who clearly had no desire to be there and had no experience with races. At one station I passed – the guys were sitting in their car on their phones and didn’t notice that we had even passed and walked up to pick up a cup. Then there were one or two manned by older individuals (there was a group of older ladies) who were very enthusiastic.
The course was also poorly marked. A local who was familiar with the course was running with me and he is the only reason I went the correct way on several intersections. More arrows and volunteers are needed at turns & turnarounds. As far as the scenery, it was so-so. There was only one section where you could see the beach. May 2-3 miles worth. The rest was the busy Front Beach Blvd (with traffic) and then neighborhoods. The neighborhoods were nice, but being a beach race, It would have been nice to see the actual beach for more than a few miles.
FINISH LINE: They had water & oranges. That’s it. (Margaritaville was giving out free beer & gumbo.) There were a lot of people finishing dehydrated and overheated (from lack of sports drink on the course!). There was no ambulance or medical staff present either. This is a major problem!

Overall – With a race that claims “Run through Paradise,” they have some serious cleaning up to do. I wouldn’t pay to run this race again.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
2
SCENERY
2
SWAG
1

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Magnolia Marathon & Half

Magnolia Marathon & Half

I have been involved with the planning committee every year for this event. I served as Race Director for 2017. This race is small and intends to stay a small … MORE

I have been involved with the planning committee every year for this event. I served as Race Director for 2017.
This race is small and intends to stay a small town race. The original course start and finish was at Northeast Park. A NEW COURSE was implemented beginning in 2017! The new downtown double loop course begins at Meridian City Hall and winds through most Historic Districts of Meridian as well as through some historic neighborhoods. It is USATF Certified.
MEDALS: The finisher medals are made of Magnolia wood and stamped with the race logo. The Magnolia tree is the state Tree of Mississippi. The magnolia tree(s) used were cut from local private land owners (by permission). They are handmade by the RD’s father. The medals are different each year – For the past 3 years the number of sides has indicated the year (2017 was the 6th Anniversary – the medallions had 6 sides). The overall and age group awards are also made of magnolia wood and are in the shape of Mississippi. A local artist painted the overall awards.
Photos and videos are on the website, along with course maps.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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Mount Desert Island Marathon

Mount Desert Island Marathon

This is definitely one of my top five favorite races of all time (50+ marathons). MDI is beautiful. The race is small and easy to navigate. The start was right … MORE

This is definitely one of my top five favorite races of all time (50+ marathons). MDI is beautiful. The race is small and easy to navigate. The start was right outside our hotel (Bar Harbor Villager – cheap rates!). I literally had 50 steps from hotel to start! My husband followed the spectator guide and was able to see me at several areas along the course. He enjoyed driving around the island and seeing all the quaint little villages and areas. The course is not difficult (hilly – but not difficult).
Take a few extra days and visit Acadia National Park.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3

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Newport Marathon (RI)

Newport Marathon (RI)

I ran this race as the 4:40 pacer for my 43rd state. I enjoyed this race despite having some travel issues. The course is partially scenic. I enjoyed running along … MORE

I ran this race as the 4:40 pacer for my 43rd state.
I enjoyed this race despite having some travel issues. The course is partially scenic. I enjoyed running along the coast and having the waves crash up onto us.
Excellent day of packet pickup, post race area and bag check.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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Possum Town Triathlon

Possum Town Triathlon

This race is put on by local bike shop owners. They do a great job with it. It's my favorite sprint triathlon. The lake is an easy swim. The bike … MORE

This race is put on by local bike shop owners. They do a great job with it. It’s my favorite sprint triathlon. The lake is an easy swim. The bike & Run are super flat and fast. Brad & Melissa to a great job with this race each year.
I’ve participated each year since the race started and plan to continue participating each year.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5

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ET Full Moon Midnight Marathon/Half/10K/51K

ET Full Moon Midnight Marathon/Half/10K/51K

Starts at Midnight in the middle of nowhere along the Extra-terrestrial Highway! Busses are provided from Las Vegas. COURSE: It's pitch black on the course! All you can see are … MORE

Starts at Midnight in the middle of nowhere along the Extra-terrestrial Highway! Busses are provided from Las Vegas.
COURSE: It’s pitch black on the course! All you can see are the flashing lights of runners around you and up the road ahead of you. It was a bit scary at first, but you get used to it. We stayed together the whole race. Running alone would have been a little unnerving! No houses, no buildings, no power lines… NOTHING! At Mile 20, you pass the finish line and do a 10K out and back. We were having stomach issues (tried to eat dinner early, but when you are running instead of sleeping from midnight-5am, your stomach gets a little confused!) and had to take out time. So be prepared for that.
We finished around 5:15 am right before the sun began to come up.
FINISH LINE: Very basic (water, snacks, breakfast type items). The finish was at the Little Ale-inn bar & “hotel.” This was a neat little roadside stop with “alien” themed everything. Pretty cool place.
This was a fun experience. If you like races that are unique and adventurous, try this one out. My friend chose this race as her 50th state. This is a small race with no frills or extras.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
1
SWAG
4

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Mad Marathon

Mad Marathon

This race is easily in my Top 5 favorites (out of 56 marathons to date). The scenery is amazing. Course: Yes- the hills are CRAZY! I would have enjoyed it … MORE

This race is easily in my Top 5 favorites (out of 56 marathons to date). The scenery is amazing.
Course: Yes- the hills are CRAZY! I would have enjoyed it more had I not run the Bear Brook trail Marathon the day before in New Hampshire – which was equally difficult!
Crew: The volunteers were very helpful and aid stations were very sufficient.

Would I return?: Definitely!! I wish I had planned more time to explore the area. Would definitely go back!

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon

Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon

This race is securely in my Top 10 favorites. The course is a near perfect pyramid. The first half is a gradual incline (barely noticeable honestly), the second half is … MORE

This race is securely in my Top 10 favorites. The course is a near perfect pyramid. The first half is a gradual incline (barely noticeable honestly), the second half is a gradual decline. Beautiful scenery and very well organized. Buses take you out to the start and you run back to Deadwood.
This race is small enough for middle of the packers to win age group awards. (They mailed the awards – a buff and a deck of playing cards with the race logo. Pretty cool)
This is one I would definitely return to!

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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Fargo Marathon

Fargo Marathon

A friend and I stayed in an AirBNB within a mile from the FargoDome. we walked to the race. I had been feeling pretty good about my runs lately so … MORE

A friend and I stayed in an AirBNB within a mile from the FargoDome. we walked to the race. I had been feeling pretty good about my runs lately so I attempted a PR at this race. The organization was phenomenal! I never questioned anything or worried about timing because all needs were met and questions were easily answered through the website or emails. The weather was perfect (for me). I started with the 4:00 pace group but quickly realized that he was several minutes ahead – so ahead that I could actually see the 3:55 pacer in front of us. I caught up with them and managed a sweet PR (my first sub-4!) The course was nice, although I was pretty focused on my pace that I didn’t do much sightseeing along the way. Not hilly at all for me to notice. Starting in the Dome was a bit chaotic (like herding cattle), but with larger races, that’s expected. Finishing in the dome was pretty cool. I hugged my pacer and grabbed some food (THEY HAD COOKIE DOUGH!!!) and waited for my friend to finish. There was plenty of room to hang out and watch the other runners finishing.
This race is definitely in my top 15 (50+ marathons), not for scenery but for organization. The race shirts & bags were very cool and functional (Both of which I wear/use often).

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5

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Bataan Memorial Death March

Bataan Memorial Death March

What can I say! Every runner who supports our military (which should be everyone!) should participate in this event at least once in their running career. It's not a PR … MORE

What can I say! Every runner who supports our military (which should be everyone!) should participate in this event at least once in their running career. It’s not a PR race by any means, it’s truly about the experience.

Bottom Line: It’s hot! Wear a fishing hat that provides shade for your neck, face and ears. There’s dust, dirt, and sand! Bring an extra pair of socks because you’re going to want to change them at some point. Several aid stations offer baby powder and other thing to help with foot care. Bring fluids and food as well! You’re gonna need it!!!

The opening ceremony is amazing. Standing amongst all the uniformed participants while listening to the rollcall and the national anthem will always bring tears to your eyes. The race provides honor bibs with names of individual servicemen/women. My friend chose one for me, a Navy Seal named Christopher Pike. During the ceremony, a young guy in full uniform and ruck came up to me and said “I knew Pike.” He had tears in his eyes and said “he was a good man.” I was speechless.

The course is hard. There’s the marathon and a 14 mile option. No shade, dusty dirt roads, one section of deep loose sand, and then more dusty roads. You can plan to run this race as I did, but you will likely find yourself deep in conversation with someone and realize you’ve been walking for 3 miles. I spoke to a guy who had an ammo box with a black and white photo of a soldier attached to his ruck. He told us that he had posted online in several forums that he planned to complete Bataan. An elderly woman responded with stories of her Husband (a Bataan survivor) and the two began corresponding. She asked him if she would carry her Husband’s POW arm band and medals during the race. After the race, he would be transferring and his travels would take him close to her hometown. He planned to return the items to her in person. I cried. Yet again.
Around the halfway point there is a large aid station with food for sale and cots for resting and changing shoes/socks. There were whole units of Marines and others sitting and resting… It was a really hot day for me and I was wearing a Maniac top and shorts. I can’t begin to imagine doing this race with full uniform and 40+ pounds on my back. (Some had a lot more!)
Near the end of the course, I came upon an older man walking with a cane. The back of his shirt read “Made in USA 1928. All original Parts.” This man was walking the 14 mile. He was a veteran and had been suffering out in the heat along with me. I cried again. Right in front of him was a group of soldiers in full uniform. One had a prosthetic leg and was carrying a full ruck. They were taking frequent breaks and stopped near a large satellite dish to rest in its shade. I cried again.
This race will really make you appreciate everything you have and will put the world back into perspective.
Spend time the day before listening to the survivors. (if you can – There are very few remaining.) Listen to their stories. Watch the documentaries. Read their books prior to coming (I read 2 autobiographies of Bataan survivors). Learn why this race exists. You will appreciate it so much more.

I will definitely be returning!

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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Hyannis Marathon & Half Marathon

Hyannis Marathon & Half Marathon

I am not fast enough for Boston soooo... Hyannis was a good choice. We spent a day in Boston prior to driving down to Hyannis. It was chilly and windy … MORE

I am not fast enough for Boston soooo…
Hyannis was a good choice. We spent a day in Boston prior to driving down to Hyannis. It was chilly and windy the whole weekend.

We stayed at the Hyannis Travel Inn. VERY nice people and they had a Stay One Night, Get the 2nd Free deal!

Pros:
-Lengthy day of packet pickup & Expo (We did not rush to Saturday’s packet pickup which closed at 5pm)
-Race starts at 10am so we were able to sleep a full night and not rush breakfast or getting ready. Plus the temperature was a bit warmer at 10am, which helped me being from the south.
-Parking was easy – there were lots of volunteers directing parking traffic.
-Water stops were plentiful and well stocked.
-On my second loop – a family near a water station was giving out Girl scout cookies!
-The course was nice with a mixture of beach views and beautiful neighborhoods.

Cons:
-A few more toilets along the course would have been nice.
-Once short section of the course was along a busy road. During the second loop of the course, traffic was much heavier. Having the cones there to separate us was great, but in a few spots the pavement/curb was in really bad shape and you almost had to get in the road go around it.

Overall-The race was enjoyable. The area is beautiful and full of history and things to see. This time of year a lot of restaurants/stores are closed for the season, but this forces you to eat where the locals eat. You also get to explore the town without tons of vacationers.

Would I do it again – Yes.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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Run Sedona Half Marathon

Run Sedona Half Marathon

This was my 34th state and first time ever in Arizona (2 hour drive from Phoenix airport). I stayed in an AirBNB with a very nice lady near one of … MORE

This was my 34th state and first time ever in Arizona (2 hour drive from Phoenix airport). I stayed in an AirBNB with a very nice lady near one of the shuttle stops. Small but well stocked packet pickup with friendly volunteers and every question answered.

Pros:
Race morning-Walked to the shuttle and got on within 10 minutes.

Course: VERY HILLY! Beautiful scenery 100% of the race.
Plenty of well stocked water stations and toilets along course.
Plenty of message therapists and water at the finish.

Cons:
– ‘Food’ was for purchase from a whole foods tent. It would have been nice to have something other than water and bananas, cookies that was offered to runners (like a sandwich or pizza).
– Course signage was small and several mile markers were either missing or had been removed (I was a pacer and was relying on MM signs!)
– A section of the last mile was on the main highway and was NOT marked. Luckily it was an out&back course and I knew which way to go. The highway was very busy by that time so we had to run on the sidewalk. POLICE & VOLUNTEERS SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE! (As I was walking back post-race, I directed several runners where to go when they approached that intersection and then told a spectator to stand there and continue.)
– SHUTTLES: The shuttles were supposed to run until 4pm. But post race it appeared only 1 bus was running. We got a ride from a local good Samaritan because we had been waiting for over 30 minutes.

Overall I loved the race! Very hilly and this year it was pretty warm as well.

WOULD I RETURN: Yes!

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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Bear Brook Trail Marathon & Half Marathon

Bear Brook Trail Marathon & Half Marathon

This race ate me for lunch! I have done a couple of "trail marathons" and one 50 mile trail race before. This one was B-R-U-T-A-L! First off - the website … MORE

This race ate me for lunch! I have done a couple of “trail marathons” and one 50 mile trail race before. This one was B-R-U-T-A-L!
First off – the website says the race is “longer than a marathon.” It typically is between 27-30 miles. That was ok with me (I ran this for my state so as long as it was 26.2 or longer, I was fine with it.)
After 20 miles or so, my legs were shot! You run on everything from dirt trail to very technical trails to climbing up and over mounds of boulders (mountains!) and a very short section on a paved road through a campground. The race is 100% trail and through the state park. The course is marked with pink marking flags and there were several times where I didn’t see a flag for a concerning amount of time. I was alone for the last 15-18 miles and literally had to call my mother to have someone to talk to because I was beginning to question my sanity. At the checkin points, I kept asking how many miles were left. (NOTE the aid stations/check in points were about 4 miles apart.) The last 4 check in points ALL told me “It’s about 6 miles away.” When my watch hit 28 miles it started to rain (HARD!). When my watch hit 30 miles, I was concerned I had gone the wrong way. Then a group of bikers came passed me and I asked them if they had seen other runners with bibs. They said yes.
The finish finally “appeared” like Heaven at mile 33!
The best part: I love small trail races!
The worst part: Not knowing when (or where) the finish is! This race is a total Mental game! If I can survive this-I can survive anything!

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
4
SWAG
2

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Honolulu Marathon

Honolulu Marathon

This race is a big cluster if you ask me. I chose this race out of sheer convenience (I have family in Honolulu and we found really cheap flights. We … MORE

This race is a big cluster if you ask me. I chose this race out of sheer convenience (I have family in Honolulu and we found really cheap flights. We also spend some time attending 75th anniversary Pearl Harbor activities.)

The Pros: It’s Hawaii. Whatever that means to you. The medal was big and solid. The shirt was ok but there were opportunities to purchase others if wanted.

The Cons: 30+ thousand runners. Majority of them are Japanese. And most of them had never ran or even knew the length of a marathon. The start was at 5am (which meant that the first 8-10 miles were in the dark – which means yes you run past Wikiki beach, but you can’t see it.) Most of the runners who were right under the start line had no business being there. I lined up behind the first corral (2-3 hours) because it was clear the corrals were not serving their purpose. When the gun went off – no one moved. More than half of the people in front of me (which should have been elite runners by the corral system) stood still and videoed the fireworks. I had to weave around probably 2000 runners before I could finally run in a straight line without avoiding walkers/gawkers. The course was so-so. Some nice views but not as scenic as I expected (like I said – the first 9 miles were in the dark.) I did enjoy some of the translated aid stations signs (one said “Vaseline – Do not Eat!).

I was glad when the race was over. I would not run this race again. I’ve been to Hawaii 3 times now and likely wouldn’t return to Oahu again. Next time, I’ll visit the other islands.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
2
SWAG
3

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City of Trees Marathon

City of Trees Marathon

Boise isnt really known for any historical significance, at least not to us southerners. I expected this to be a weekend where I wouldnt be glad to check off the … MORE

Boise isnt really known for any historical significance, at least not to us southerners. I expected this to be a weekend where I wouldnt be glad to check off the state and get home. I was already a little frustrated because Packet Pickup ended at 3 or 4 pm (the website & emails were different.) My flight landed at 2:30. But the minute I landed at the airport, my attitude changed.

-Host hotel (Spring Hill Suites) has free 24hr shuttle so I didn’t need to rent a car (YEAH!) The hotel employees were super nice and accommodating. Our room was much larger than I expected for the price. The hotel was a block from the start/finish and walking distance to several restaurants. Plus if you wanted to go farther, the hotel shuttle would take you! (We went to Trader Joes)

-I was a pacer for this race so I got one of the local pacers to get my bib & shirt. We did make it to PP (it ended at 4). Quick and easy-no frills. The local running store was there with last minute supplies if needed.
-Race morning was easy. A 5 minute walk to the start area. Very low key. Volunteers were super friendly!

-The course was 2 out/backs (one NE, one SW). The greenbelt is a great place to run! If I were a local, this likely would be where I would regularly run/bike, so racing there year after year would get old. But for those of us coming to check off the state, it was great! I would’ve enjoyed some downtown scenery, but I wasnt disappointed. The path followed the river and passed several nice city parks (I was amazed at all the green space and bike lanes!!), behind the zoo (we saw the giraffes!) and through Boise State University. While the mile markers seemed a bit off, they were clear and easy to spot from a distance. The course was well-marked. I got a little confused at one turn through a small traffic circle-a few more arrows/people there would have been good). I ran with a local Maniac for about 14 miles who played tour guide for me. I also ran with several other locals who were super nice and were more than willing to answer my tourist questions. I never heard a negative comment about Boise! I was totally sold! After finishing, the park was easy to navigate with a food tent and lots of space to sit and relax. The running store was holding a raffle. I ran up last minute and got a ticket and ended up winning a pair of trail shoes!

Having little to no knowledge about the city and expecting nothing but farm and industry (you know – Idaho potatoes), I was pleasantly surprised with the city and the race.

A definite option for 50 staters to consider!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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American Discovery Trail Marathon

American Discovery Trail Marathon

-I doubled this race with Jackson Hole Marathon (a Saturday race), as recommended by a friend. -It's my understanding that the course used to be a point to point. In … MORE

-I doubled this race with Jackson Hole Marathon (a Saturday race), as recommended by a friend.
-It’s my understanding that the course used to be a point to point. In 2016 – it was an out/back.
-The course was a nice cement/gravel mixed trail along the small river starting from America the Beautiful Park.
-The volunteers were awesome! I got a nice massage afterwards.

The Negatives:
-The trail was home to several homeless camps, abandoned camps and hangout spots. There was also a good amount of trash along the trail in some areas (especially under the bridges). While I never felt unsafe, I would likely not run the trail on my own if I were a local.
-The shirts are a disappointment. Compared to the 2015 shirts they were giving away at PP, the 2016 shirts were just blah. I got a small (what I normally get and rarely have size issues), but realized quickly, that it was WAY too small. I asked about exchanging but had to wait until after the race. I didn’t bother honestly, because I would never wear it. (I only kept it to be used in my quilt-in hindsight, I should have grabbed a 2015 shirt for my quilt and cut out the date).

Bottom line: Compared to Jackson Hole, this race failed to live up to my expectations. But I checked off the state and got to spend a great weekend with family in the area!

Would I go back? Not to this race. CO Springs is beautiful but this race was a disappointment.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
2
SWAG
3

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Jackson Hole Marathon & Half Marathon

Jackson Hole Marathon & Half Marathon

I doubled this race with American Discovery Trail in Colorado Springs, CO (Labor day). This is the ultimate small-town - scenic race. I loved the Low-key start. We took the … MORE

I doubled this race with American Discovery Trail in Colorado Springs, CO (Labor day).

This is the ultimate small-town – scenic race. I loved the Low-key start. We took the bus from Teton Village. No issues involved in transportation or parking. The website is very detailed and helpful.

The course started at the square and we stayed mostly on the bike trail. I was holding out hope that this Mississippi girl might actually get to see her first Moose, but I didn’t get lucky this time. :/ Scenery was otherwise beautiful! I never got bored.
The only negative is the last few miles of the race if on a busy highway with a small shoulder. Lots of traffic.
Bottom line: A must!

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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Grand Island Trail Run

Grand Island Trail Run

This race is without a doubt a contender for my all-time favorite marathon. This race takes place on a small island in Lake Michigan near Munising. A small ferry boat … MORE

This race is without a doubt a contender for my all-time favorite marathon.
This race takes place on a small island in Lake Michigan near Munising. A small ferry boat takes you to the island (the island is a National Recreation Area, managed by the National Parks Service). There are no paved roads, no vehicles (except for a spectator bus) no crowds/buildings/etc. This is a very small race.
COURSE: The course mostly circles the islands’ shore with one section that runs literally in the water along the beach. (the “beach” was maybe 2 feet of sand with small waves crashing on your feet.) All dirt or gravel roads. Sections of soft mud to. It’s not at all technical so trail shoes aren’t necessary. There were some hills but nothing difficult. The views throughout the course were spectacular. You could see a nice view of Lake Michigan and the shoreline.
The aid stations were well placed and well stocked. The finish line had several “natural” choices for snacks. (Granola, fruit, etc. No pizza or sandwiches-this is a “leave no trace” race. You are required to carry a bottle to refill. No cups at aid stations).
THE BEST PART: Is was warm that day. The lake water is crystal clear and was VERY REFRESHING to sit in and cool off. We probably sat in the water for an hour watching other runners finish and watching the ferry take finishers back to the mainland.
We did the Pictured Rocks boat tour the day before. The UP is a very beautiful area. I had no idea!
Definitely a race and an area that I will be back to!

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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Mississippi Blues Marathon & Half Marathon

Mississippi Blues Marathon & Half Marathon

I'm a regular pacer for this race. I've completed this race 4 times (2016 would've been my 5th time had it not been cancelled) and the half once. It's a … MORE

I’m a regular pacer for this race. I’ve completed this race 4 times (2016 would’ve been my 5th time had it not been cancelled) and the half once. It’s a great race for those completing 50 states. You can now double it with Big Beach marathon or if you’re brave – Miami Marathon. I’ve doubled it three times with First Light in Mobile – however the Blues date was changed for 2018 and now it doubles with Big Beach.
The course is a bit tough – not the hills but the road conditions. Jackson is known for having horrible roads.
I planned to pace the 2018 race but was injured.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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Marine Corps Marathon

Marine Corps Marathon

Full disclosure: I am not a fan of big races. I Chose this race (This review is for 2015) to check off Virginia. I did expect to really enjoy the … MORE

Full disclosure: I am not a fan of big races. I Chose this race (This review is for 2015) to check off Virginia. I did expect to really enjoy the race because of the area and the scenery/Marines/etc.
Unfortunately, I chose the wrong year to participate.

Getting to the start: I was lucky to have a local friend with a “secret parking area” and didn’t have to use the shuttles. The story was that changes were made to the security process and there was only one point of entry into the start area. And they were also allowing ANYONE to go through. The entry point had about 6-8 medal detectors and they searched every bag, stroller, diaper bag, etc. (Why did families and babies need to be in the start area???) Luckily, I got through in time, but several friends of mine were stuck in the line for 45 MINUTES past the start of the race due to the backup.

THE START & COURSE: With a race of this size (30K runners), corrals and/or staggered starts are absolutely necessary. Unfortunately again, the corral system was completely voluntary. There were pace signs lined up along the road that seemed too close together to be useful. There were no barriers or control of where you lined up and it was a mass start. I noticed throughout the whole race that “faster” runners were zig-zagging through the crowd and along the sidewalk. These were runners who were stuck in the security line and didn’t make it to the start line on time.
Sections of the roads were narrow and hard to “run” due to the mass of people.

THE FINISH: Having Marines at the finish giving out medals (and at aid stations) was cool. The finish area was large and spread out to accommodate the large amount of finishers. Finish photos are taken with the monument in the background. What wasn’t cool was there weren’t enough transportation opportunities to get out of there. Several metro stations or train lines were closed which made the line to the closest metro station probably a mile long. So were the bus lines. We ended up walking at least a mile or two to the next metro station because we didn’t want to stand still in the lines and get stiff.

FIX THESE PROBLEMS:
-Don’t let people in the start area who are not running. (NYC marathon does a great job with this!) This was the main cause of the security line backup.
-I LOVED running past all the monuments and buildings, but due to the mass start and no corral system, I didn’t enjoy myself at all. We were sandwiched in narrow roads and bridges the whole race. It would have been much more enjoyable had I not been knocking elbows and zig-zaging through people all day. (Again NYC has an awesome corral system. You still feel like a herd of cattle, but it’s efficient.)

BOTTOM LINE: I doubt I’ll be back. I love DC but I think I’ll just go for vacation and avoid the race. One and done for me.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
2
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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Lake Michigan Marathon

Lake Michigan Marathon

I traveled to this race with a friend to check off Wisconsin. We flew into Chicago and drove into Milwaukee. This is a great small town race. COURSE: The course … MORE

I traveled to this race with a friend to check off Wisconsin. We flew into Chicago and drove into Milwaukee.
This is a great small town race.
COURSE: The course was along the lake in and out of trails, gravel roads and some paved paths. It’s basically an out & back with a section in the middle that you did twice. The single track section was very narrow (as in inches!) and there was one spot where the course crossed itself. It was confusing but the volunteers were there to direct you. Another section was literally inches from the edge of a cliff! Amazing views of Lake Michigan!!
The medal was great. Post race area was nice as well. Nothing stands out as awesome for this race, so I probably wouldn’t return. But if I ended up doing the states again, I wouldn’t mind repeating this one.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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Little Rock Marathon

Little Rock Marathon

I ran this race two years in a row as a pacer. First off: I am not a fan of big blingy party races. (Only ran to check off the … MORE

I ran this race two years in a row as a pacer. First off: I am not a fan of big blingy party races. (Only ran to check off the state and to visit family in the area). This race is over the top if you like the party race scene.
COURSE: Forgettable. There’s a long out/back along the park that is nice, but nothing to write home about. They do offer a good amount of food/drinks at aid stations. One year it was freezing cold-they had hot chicken broth. That was nice.
SWAG: Ridiculous. If all you care about is getting the biggest/gaudiest/shiniest medal, then this is the race for you.
If you enjoy feeling like just a number – go for it. If you want to enjoy a more personalized, scenic race, choose something else.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
1
SWAG
2

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First Light Marathon & Half Marathon

First Light Marathon & Half Marathon

*I've run this race 3 times (2014, 2015 & the half in 2016) I love this race. The course is through beautiful downtown Mobile, several universities and the Botanical gardens. … MORE

*I’ve run this race 3 times (2014, 2015 & the half in 2016)
I love this race. The course is through beautiful downtown Mobile, several universities and the Botanical gardens. BEWARE of the crazy hill around mile 19. But the aid station there is stocked with lots of goodies to keep your mind of it.
The medal is simple but perfect. It is handmade by residents of the Le Arche home for adults with disabilities. Before Blues changed it date, you could run both in one weekend and receive a handmade plague made by a resident.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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Run for a Reason 5K

Run for a Reason 5K

This is a great 5K with a great cause. Proceeds go to the Boys & Girls Club. A fast course with just a few little risers. Expertly organized and excellent … MORE

This is a great 5K with a great cause. Proceeds go to the Boys & Girls Club. A fast course with just a few little risers.
Expertly organized and excellent awards. I plan to run or support this event every year.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
2
SWAG
5

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