My Profile

@Evwatkins

Meridian, MS Raving since 2017 50 States hopeful/finisher, Marathon Maniacs #6845, Half Fanatics #11327 active 22 hours, 38 minutes ago

About Me

  • Running club(s):

    Bonita Running Club

  • Rave race:

    Avenue of the Giants & Bataan

  • Race that's calling my name:

    Great Wall Marathon

  • I run because:

My races

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

50 States Map
image/svg+xml FL TX NM AZ AK CA NV UT CO OR WA ID HI OK MT WY ND SD NE KS MN IA MO AR LA MS AL GA SC IL WI MI IN OH TN KY NC WV VA PA NY ME VT NH RI CT NJ DE MD MA DC

Half Marathon

Marathon

Ultramarathon

(Marathon &/or Ultra) + Half

Marathon + Ultra

Other

Personal Bests (10)

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
15K Tampa, FL Feb 23, 2019 1:29:08
10K Madison, MS Dec 1, 2018 48:52
8K Tampa, FL Feb 24, 2019 52:42
5K Meridian, MS 2017 22:59

Future Races (7)

Race Distance Location Date Paid
Marathon Birmingham, AL Apr 14, 2019
10 Nautical Miles (11.5 miler) Millington, TN Jun 2, 2019
Half Marathon Dayton, OR Jul 7, 2019
# of hrs = your age Manchester, TN Aug 29, 2019
Marathon Long Beach, CA Oct 13, 2019
Marathon Meridian, MS Nov 16, 2019
Marathon Tulsa, OK Nov 23, 2019

Past Races (116)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
Half Marathon Montgomery, AL Mar 9, 2019 1:59:13
Half Marathon Tampa, FL Feb 24, 2019 2:14:25
8K Tampa, FL Feb 24, 2019 52:42
5K Tampa, FL Feb 23, 2019 27:01
15K Tampa, FL Feb 23, 2019 1:29:08
Marathon Lake Village, AR Feb 9, 2019
Half Marathon Gulf Shores, AL Jan 27, 2019 2:14:59
Marathon Jackson, MS Jan 26, 2019
Marathon Charleston, SC Jan 12, 2019 4:59:36
50K Meridian, MS Jan 5, 2019 7:36:23
12K Lamar County, MS Jan 1, 2019 1:05:45
Marathon Dallas, TX Dec 16, 2018 4:23:49
10K Madison, MS Dec 1, 2018 48:52
Marathon John C. Stennis Space Center, MS Nov 24, 2018 5:35:43
Marathon Meridian, MS Nov 17, 2018
Half Marathon Dothan, AL Oct 27, 2018 2:14:48
Marathon St. Charles, MO Oct 7, 2018 4:52:41
Marathon Gallatin Gateway, MT Sep 8, 2018 5:15:59
Sprint Columbus, MS Aug 18, 2018
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
5K Meridian, MS 2017 22:59
Marathon Allenstown, NH 2017 8:38:05
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
Half Marathon Madison, MS 2015 1:59:13
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
Half Marathon Madison, MS 2014 2:05:05
5K Meridian, MS 2014 25:03
Marathon Baton Rouge, LA 2014 6:13:35
Sprint Columbus, MS Aug 17, 2013 1:44:26
Half Marathon Amarillo, TX 2013 2:04:42
Sprint Meridian, MS 2013 1:51:02
Marathon Dallas, TX 2013 4:50:13
Half Marathon Hattiesburg, MS 2013 1:54:15
10K Corinth, MS 2013 50:13
Marathon Atlanta, GA 2013 4:50:13
50 Miler Ovett, MS 2013 11:37:13
Half Marathon Arcola, MS 2013 2:10:28
Sprint Columbus, MS 2012 1:47:38
Half Marathon Talladega, AL 2012 1:52:32
Half Marathon Jackson, MS 2012 1:55:15
Sprint Meridian, MS 2012
Marathon New Orleans, LA 2012 4:28:07
Half Marathon Arcola, MS 2012 2:05:35
10K Charleston, SC 2011 58:02
Half Marathon Baton Rouge, LA 2011 2:01:43
Half Marathon Tupelo, MS 2011 2:43:30
Half Marathon Tupelo, MS 2010 2:18:06
5K Ridgeland, MS 2010 31:01
10K Vicksburg, MS 2010 1:01:54
Marathon Staten Island, NY 2010 5:16:53
Half Marathon Montgomery, AL 2009
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

Montgomery Half Marathon

Montgomery Half Marathon

I ran this race 10 years ago for my first half marathon. (back then it was called the Hyundai Half and it was in October). This year was branded as … MORE

I ran this race 10 years ago for my first half marathon. (back then it was called the Hyundai Half and it was in October). This year was branded as their 10th anniversary. ((I’ve been trying to locate results from the first year, but no one seems to know either who was in charge then or who would have the results.))

This year, I ran as a pacer for Beast pacing.
I drove over the morning of and parked in the stadium garage. For a race this size, there should be race day packet pickup. Luckily, some of the other pacers were able to pick up bibs for those who drove in the morning of.
The course was well marked and members of the Air Force were spread along the course directing traffic and marshalling. Aid stations were well stocked and spread out evenly.
The race finished inside the baseball park on the outfield. There was plenty of food, drinks and aid in the park.
BOTTOM LINE: Well organized event. Not to big. I would definitely do it again.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Gasparilla Distance Classic

Gasparilla Distance Classic

I ran the Ultra Challenge (All 4 races). This was Race #4 of the 4. At this point, after running a half in 85+ degrees and full sun, I was … MORE

I ran the Ultra Challenge (All 4 races). This was Race #4 of the 4. At this point, after running a half in 85+ degrees and full sun, I was toast. But I managed to pull off a 20 Second PR (full disclosure – my only other 8K was over 10 years ago)
I’m not a fan of HUGE races. This certainly falls in that category. But the whole weekend was organized and managed very well. Aside from $20/day for parking (which is ridiculous!), I enjoyed this race series.
EXPO: Really big and crowded. I got in, made one pass through the booths, and got out.
COURSE: The courses are all the same (except for an extra loop for the Half), an out and back on Bayshore Blvd. Very pretty area with big houses. BUT, by the 4th race, I had memorized the order of houses and all the cracks in the pavement. :/ All four races had the same finish line, but the starting lines were all different (within 5-6 blocks or so.) Navigation was easy as there were lots of volunteers to point you in the right direction. Each race had corral areas well marked and manned with volunteers. I finished each day’s 1st race with enough time to walk to the car, refresh my bottle, grab some more GU and sit for a minute. Out on the course, there were a healthy amount of spectators and aid stations. They also had sprinklers which were most welcomed on Sunday (the hottest of the 2 days!) Plenty of toilets and volunteers.
POST-RACE: The post race food at the finish line was water, Gatorade, bananas, fruit, fruit snacks, coke products. The post race party had more food options, but I didn’t go (it was in an adjacent park). After running 2 races each day in the HEAT!, I was done and just wanted a shower and rest. If it was closer, I would’ve probably walked through.
MEDALS: Medals for each race were nice and colorful, as was the challenge medals (walked away with 5 medals for the weekend). The race had a table set up near the finish for challenge runners to “check in” their medals and retrieve them after the 2nd race. This was a nice touch, especially for those who were finishing race 1 and then quickly lining up for race 2.

BOTTOM LINE: I enjoyed the races, but didn’t enjoy the crowds! (The 5K was the largest race) I hate feeling like I’m in a cattle herd waiting in the corrals.
The event is a bit expensive ($200 for all 4 races), but I feel like I got my money’s worth. You get a shirt & medal for each race and a cold sweat towel at the finish line as well. With the Ultra Challenge, you also get a Challenge Jacket.
Would I do it again? Maybe.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Gasparilla Distance Classic

Gasparilla Distance Classic

I ran the Ultra Challenge (All 4 races). This was Race #3 of the 4, held on Sunday morning. I'm not a fan of HUGE races. This certainly falls in … MORE

I ran the Ultra Challenge (All 4 races). This was Race #3 of the 4, held on Sunday morning. I’m not a fan of HUGE races. This certainly falls in that category. But the whole weekend was organized and managed very well. Aside from $20/day for parking (which is ridiculous!), I enjoyed this race series.
EXPO: I went on Friday. Really big and crowded. I got in, made one pass through the booths, and got out.
COURSE: The courses are all the same (except for an extra loop in a different neighborhood for the Half), an out and back on Bayshore Blvd. Very pretty area with big houses. BUT, by the 4th race, I had memorized the order of houses and all the cracks in the pavement. :/ All four races had the same finish line, but the starting lines were all different (within 5-6 blocks or so.) Navigation was easy as there were lots of volunteers to point you in the right direction. Each race had corral areas well marked and manned with volunteers. I finished each day’s 1st race with enough time to walk to the car, refresh my bottle, grab some more GU and sit for a minute. Out on the course, there were a healthy amount of spectators and aid stations. They also had sprinklers which were most welcomed on Sunday (the hottest of the 2 days!) Plenty of toilets and volunteers.
POST-RACE: The post race food at the finish line was water, Gatorade, bananas, fruit, fruit snacks, coke products. The post race party had more food options, but I didn’t go (it was in an adjacent park). After running 2 races each day in the HEAT!, I was done and just wanted a shower and rest. If it was closer, I would’ve probably walked through.
MEDALS: Medals for each race were nice and colorful, as was the challenge medals (walked away with 5 medals for the weekend). The race had a table set up near the finish for challenge runners to “check in” their medals and retrieve them after the 2nd race. This was a nice touch, especially for those who were finishing race 1 and then quickly lining up for race 2.

BOTTOM LINE: I enjoyed the races, but didn’t enjoy the crowds! (The 5K was the largest race) I hate feeling like I’m in a cattle herd waiting in the corrals.
The event is a bit expensive ($200 for all 4 races), but I feel like I got my money’s worth. You get a shirt & medal for each race and a cold sweat towel at the finish line as well. With the Ultra Challenge, you also get a Challenge Jacket and medal.
Would I do it again? Maybe.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5

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Gasparilla Distance Classic

Gasparilla Distance Classic

I ran the Ultra Challenge (All 4 races). This was Race #2 of the 4 and by far the largest! This event was on my bucket list for a while. … MORE

I ran the Ultra Challenge (All 4 races). This was Race #2 of the 4 and by far the largest! This event was on my bucket list for a while. After finishing 50 states, I’ve begun to knock off these races. I’m not a fan of HUGE races. This certainly falls in that category. But the whole weekend was organized and managed very well. Aside from $20/day for parking (which is ridiculous!), I enjoyed this race series.
EXPO: Really big and crowded. I got in, made one pass through the booths, and got out.
COURSE: The courses are all the same (except for an extra loop for the Half), an out and back on Bayshore Blvd. Very pretty area with big houses. BUT, by the 4th race, I had memorized the order of houses and all the cracks in the pavement. :/ All four races had the same finish line, but the starting lines were all different (within 5-6 blocks or so.) Navigation was easy as there were lots of volunteers to point you in the right direction. Each race had corral areas well marked and manned with volunteers. I finished each day’s 1st race with enough time to walk to the car, refresh my bottle, grab some more GU and sit for a minute. Out on the course, there were a healthy amount of spectators and aid stations. They also had sprinklers which were most welcomed on Sunday (the hottest of the 2 days!) Plenty of toilets and volunteers.
POST-RACE: The post race food at the finish line was water, Gatorade, bananas, fruit, fruit snacks, coke products. The post race party had more food options, but I didn’t go (it was in an adjacent park). After running 2 races each day in the HEAT!, I was done and just wanted a shower and rest. If it was closer, I would’ve probably walked through.
MEDALS: Medals for each race were nice and colorful, as was the challenge medals (walked away with 5 medals for the weekend). The race had a table set up near the finish for challenge runners to “check in” their medals and retrieve them after the 2nd race. This was a nice touch, especially for those who were finishing race 1 and then quickly lining up for race 2.

BOTTOM LINE: I enjoyed the races, but didn’t enjoy the crowds! (The 5K was the largest race) I hate feeling like I’m in a cattle herd waiting in the corrals.
The event is a bit expensive ($200 or so for all 4 races), but I feel like I got my money’s worth. You get a shirt & medal for each race and a cold sweat towel at the finish line as well. With the Ultra Challenge, you also get a Challenge Jacket & medal.
Would I do it again? Maybe.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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Gasparilla Distance Classic

Gasparilla Distance Classic

I ran the Ultra Challenge (All 4 races). This was Race #1 of the 4. This event was on my bucket list for a while. After finishing 50 states, I've … MORE

I ran the Ultra Challenge (All 4 races). This was Race #1 of the 4. This event was on my bucket list for a while. After finishing 50 states, I’ve begun to knock off these races. I’m not a fan of HUGE races. This certainly falls in that category. But the whole weekend was organized and managed very well. Aside from $20/day for parking (which is ridiculous!), I enjoyed this race series.
EXPO: Really big and crowded. I got in, made one pass through the booths, and got out.
COURSE: The courses are all the same (except for an extra loop for the Half), an out and back on Bayshore Blvd. Very pretty area with big houses. BUT, by the 4th race, I had memorized the order of houses and all the cracks in the pavement. :/ All four races had the same finish line, but the starting lines were all different (within 5-6 blocks or so.) Navigation was easy as there were lots of volunteers to point you in the right direction. Each race had corral areas well marked and manned with volunteers. I finished each day’s 1st race with enough time to walk to the car, refresh my bottle, grab some more GU and sit for a minute. Out on the course, there were a healthy amount of spectators and aid stations. They also had sprinklers which were most welcomed on Sunday (the hottest of the 2 days!) Plenty of toilets and volunteers.
POST-RACE: The post race food at the finish line was water, Gatorade, bananas, fruit, fruit snacks, coke products. The post race party had more food options, but I didn’t go (it was in an adjacent park). After running 2 races each day in the HEAT!, I was done and just wanted a shower and rest. If it was closer, I would’ve probably walked through.
MEDALS: Medals for each race were nice and colorful, as was the challenge medals (walked away with 5 medals for the weekend). The race had a table set up near the finish for challenge runners to “check in” their medals and retrieve them after the 2nd race. This was a nice touch, especially for those who were finishing race 1 and then quickly lining up for race 2.

BOTTOM LINE: I enjoyed the races, but didn’t enjoy the crowds! (The 5K was the largest race) I hate feeling like I’m in a cattle herd waiting in the corrals.
The event is a bit expensive ($200 for all 4 races), but I feel like I got my money’s worth. You get a shirt & medal for each race and a cold sweat towel at the finish line as well. With the Ultra Challenge, you also get a Challenge Jacket.
Would I do it again? Maybe.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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Mississippi River Marathon & Half Marathon

Mississippi River Marathon & Half Marathon

This is my 2nd year to run this race as a pacer. This was my 70th marathon. WEATHER! The weather is the biggest negative for this race! This year is … MORE

This is my 2nd year to run this race as a pacer. This was my 70th marathon.
WEATHER! The weather is the biggest negative for this race! This year is was sleeting the morning of the race, which thankfully ended before the start! It was still hovering just under the freezing mark at the start and stayed in the 30s for the duration of the race. The 15+ mph wind at your face for 16 miles (even worse on the bridge) was B-R-U-T-A-L! I’ve run many races in windy weather, but this was the first time I was fighting to stay upright! I was unable to maintain my goal pace (finished 3 minutes late) because the wind and cold was torture! Last year it was rainy and windy. (In years past there was icy rain, wind, and just plain cold)
COURSE: The course begins in Lake Village, Arkansas and turns onto the highway where you will stay until around mile 21. The MS River bridge is several miles long and the only hill in the race. You finish in downtown Greenville. (The double half is a good choice if you are attempting 50 state half marathons.) You are bussed to the start early in the morning where a bag drop and toilets are available.
The race directors did a great job keeping everyone safe and content. The medal and awards are always great. In years past there was music and food vendors, however this year, there was not.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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Big Beach Marathon

Big Beach Marathon

For the record, I'm not a beach person. (I'd rather be on a Cliffside beach or in the mountains.) I ran as the 2:15 pacer. Of the beach races I've … MORE

For the record, I’m not a beach person. (I’d rather be on a Cliffside beach or in the mountains.) I ran as the 2:15 pacer. Of the beach races I’ve done (which is maybe a 1/2 dozen), this one is IMO very well managed and a repeater for me.
COURSE: starts/finishes behind the hangout (a local music venue/beach front restaurant/bar). Parking is about a block away (if you get there in time). You can wait inside the Hangout for the race to start (it was pretty chilly this year). The course follows BUSY beach Blvd for a while and then enters Gulf state park and follows paved bike trails and boardwalks. This was my favorite area, although it was a bit crowded (the path is one lane). A staggered start may be beneficial to avoid this. Aid stations were spread out but adequate (had it been any warmer and if I were running the full, I would say they needed more).
FINISH: The finish area is a nice sized party. Not to big and overwhelming. The beach is right there so you can frolic to your heart’s content. They provided several food choices, beer, drinks, or you could order from the Hangout. The medal was very colorful and nicely sized.
BOTTOM LINE: Very well done. I would definitely run this race again, even if I wasn’t pacing.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Mississippi Blues Marathon & Half Marathon

Mississippi Blues Marathon & Half Marathon

First let me say that I live 90 minutes from Jackson and have run the Blues Marathon/Half 6 times: the half once, then the marathon 5 times as a pacer … MORE

First let me say that I live 90 minutes from Jackson and have run the Blues Marathon/Half 6 times: the half once, then the marathon 5 times as a pacer (I was also supposed to run in 2017, but the ice storm caused the cancellation that year.) This was my 69th marathon.
The Blues marathon has definitely gone a bit downhill from its Jon Noblin & Blue Cross Blue Shield of MS days.
COURSE: There’s nothing good to say about the road conditions in Jackson. They are horrible. That’s been the case for 10+ years. The city is very slowly trying to work on them. The course starts/finishes in downtown near the convention center/capital area. Small parts of the course have changed here and there over the years but for the most part, it hasn’t changed much in 7 years. You run through some beautiful neighborhoods (Eastover, Belhaven), then through Fondren and the hospital area, and along Frontage roads. It’s not a terrible course, but there is a healthy amount of hills. It’s not easy, but it’s not the hardest race I’ve ever run (My PR was on once on this course.)
NEW MANAGEMENT: In 2017 (after the 10th anniversary race was cancelled), the sponsor contract expired and was not renewed (Blue Cross). The Race Director searched and searched for a new sponsor and finally found one later in the year. The RD was involved in 2018 but the race was also sold to an out-of-town event management company (PEM). Attendance was down because of late starts to registration and other factors, but the 2018 race was successful. This year’s race was managed 100% by PEM. There were several communication issues (not answering emails, the pace team being set up at the last minute, volunteer coordinator changes which led to a lack of volunteers) and a lack of funds to keep the race at the level that it had been in the past.
AID STATIONS/RACE SUPPORT: There was a noticeable lack of volunteers and aid stations this year. I do want to point out that those volunteers/law enforcement that were there were AMAZING!! In years past, the roads and neighborhoods were filled with volunteers and people cheering! It was nearly impossible to get lost or even go without seeing a volunteer, band or spectator within eyesight. There were Bands everywhere. The JSU band and dance teams would be out at several places along the course! There were large stages set up along the road with full bands playing and a big crowd of spectators dancing and cheering.
This year: Race signage was sparse. Most neighborhoods were empty. The JSU section of the course was a ghost town! Several aid stations had just a few people at them (in the past, there would be 20-30 people cheering and handing out aid!) We passed intersections with 1 person responsible for stopping both lanes of busy traffic. There were some volunteers who had brought water jugs and cups and were filling bottles for runners at random places. In fact, at mile 8.5 of the marathon, we came upon an aid station that had not been set up yet (I was the 5:00 pacer, so this was 90 minutes into the race – more than half the marathon field had already passed this area). The tables were on the ground, boxes and water jugs stacked up, coolers empty. No one was around. At this point, we had only seen 2 other official aid stations. We (me, my friend and a few in our pace group) pulled the water jugs and cups to the street so others behind us could at least self-serve and fill their bottles.
FINISH LINE: In years past, there was a HUGE tent at the finish with Pizza, gumbo, and lots of other hot food choices. This year there was water, bananas, pretzels, granola bars and the beer trailer. That’s it. The medals in the past have always been notable and unique each year. This year, they were still customized, but small and unimpressive.
BOTTOM LINE: If you’ve had this race on your bucket list for a while, you may have missed the hype. It’s definitely dropped several slots on the list of best races in MS. This race is NOT living up to the reputation it built in the past. The 2020 race is already open for registration. They have moved the date to February and the site claims to have a new course, so we’ll see what that brings, but forgive me if I’m not optimistic yet. PEM has some work to do to regain the reputation that John Noblin built. John, your absence was definitely noticed this year.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
1
SCENERY
3
SWAG
2

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Charleston Marathon & Half Marathon

Charleston Marathon & Half Marathon

I ran this race as the 5:00 pacer for my 68th marathon. I also lived in Charleston 2007-2008, so I am very familiar with the area. I stayed in a … MORE

I ran this race as the 5:00 pacer for my 68th marathon. I also lived in Charleston 2007-2008, so I am very familiar with the area.

I stayed in a great little hostel (called Notso Hostel) near the start, a short 5 minute walk.
The expo: the expo was at the Gailluard Center, a big convention hall. You have to pay to park, so I ran there instead. (I hate paying for parking anywhere.) The expo was large enough to get what you needed, but not too large to where you get lost and overwhelmed. Easy in and out. There was no race day pickup and I know a few people where upset by that. They could’ve easily held Packet pickup at the start (the high school was open for runners to use bathrooms and gather It would’ve been easy to set up a table inside).

The marathon started (at 7:15) next to Burke High School and immediately ran through the Citadel, which was cool. You could see the Cadets in their uniforms in formation getting ready for breakfast and colors.
The half marathon started at 7:30, which I immediately realized was a mistake on the race’s part. The fast half marathoners had to weave through all the marathoners. I could tell a few of them were upset by this (they ran passed us yelling “get out of the way!” and “ON YOUR LEFT!” and other things I’d rather not type.) The race was small enough that both distances could’ve began together with a simple corral system.
-If I were a fast half marathoner at this race trying for a win or PR or something, this review would be rather negative.
COURSE: the first 7-8 miles of the course was great! You run through the Citadel, Lockwood street to the battery, then up King street. From Miles 7 to about 20, it was through the not so great sections of North Charleston (which you can’t avoid unless you get on I-26), and the industrial area. There was also a lot of construction overhead (new overpasses being built at Cosgrove and Spruill road areas) Around mile 14, we ran passed the federal complex then out to Cooper River Marina. We literally ran onto the marina pier, out to the end and back. That was weird, but kinda cool I guess. Anyways, the last 6 miles were through Park Circle and the nicer areas of North Charleston, then into the old Navy Base. The finish was right near the old Generals houses (if you watched Army Wives back in the day, this is where the show was filmed and based.) A nice shady finish in the big oak trees with moss at Riverfront park. Food (Shrimp & Grits), beer, music and a nice view at the end.

CONS:
-Runners had to pay for the shuttle back to the start area parking. For a point-point race, this should be included in the price. Not cool.
-The half really needs to start with the full. Starting after was a bad idea for those Half runners trying to race it.

BOTTOM LINE: I would definitely run this one again, mainly because I love Charleston. The race is worth it, but can improve over time. Choose it for the trip and make a vacation out of it. Charleston in January is still just as pretty as Charleston in the Spring.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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Great Scorpion Trail Run

Great Scorpion Trail Run

This is a local Trail race with a personal touch. I ran this last year as well (it's inaugural year). This year's race was extra muddy! 6-8 inches of rain … MORE

This is a local Trail race with a personal touch. I ran this last year as well (it’s inaugural year).
This year’s race was extra muddy! 6-8 inches of rain fell within the 2 weeks prior which made the trails more difficult. Overall this race is expertly organized with well stocked aid stations and friendly volunteers. A definite must for any trail runner!

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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Steam Whistle 12K Run

Steam Whistle 12K Run

Super flat on the Trace. No frills New Year's day race. I ran it mainly for a change of scenery since I was off work. The Longleaf Trace is a … MORE

Super flat on the Trace. No frills New Year’s day race. I ran it mainly for a change of scenery since I was off work. The Longleaf Trace is a great place to bike. It’s 40+ miles of a Rail-to-Trail pathway. Running on it is pretty boring. But in a race setting, it’s not so bad.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
2
SWAG
2

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Texas Double – Whine Not Another Marathon & Half

Texas Double – Whine Not Another Marathon & Half

This race is the second of a double series called the Texas Double. The course is 8 laps around Bachman Lake plus a one mile out/back at the beginning. One … MORE

This race is the second of a double series called the Texas Double.
The course is 8 laps around Bachman Lake plus a one mile out/back at the beginning. One hill but nothing to speak of. The race is well organized and extremely low-key. I ran a comfortable 4:23 marathon and ended up winning the race. There were maybe 30 people running the full. Awards are given to overall winners and if you participate in both days’ events, there are awards for fastest combined times.
Running the Distance (the organizers) puts on several series events throughout the year on this course, including a triple and a quad series. Great if you are looking to star-up with Maniacs or add finishes to your race totals.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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Stennis Space Center Marathon & Half Marathon

Stennis Space Center Marathon & Half Marathon

This is a very small, well established race put on by the Gulf Coast Running Club. The race is entirely on the Stennis Space Center, home to a NASA Space … MORE

This is a very small, well established race put on by the Gulf Coast Running Club. The race is entirely on the Stennis Space Center, home to a NASA Space center and a few other government contractors and buildings. It’s a HUGE base. Lots of empty space.

The course is boring. There no other way to put it. It’s super flat (if you like that, then you’ll like this one.) You run past the NASA building, a few Navy buildings and a NOAA research building. The rest is warehouses and well, nothing. There are no spectators. The aid stations are stocked with water & Gatorade and manned most of the time. The last few we hit were unmanned.
The medal was cool. It had a space shuttle on it. (You don’t see any space shuttles FYI.)
BOTTOM LINE: There’s no real issues or complaints with this race. It’s well organized. I would highly discourage anyone from choosing this as their Mississippi race when pursuing 50 states or for anyones’ 1st marathon/half. There are much better choices, larger and smaller! But for locals just looking to add another race into their calendar, sure. Just don’t expect a big to-do. This is very low key, no frills.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
1
SWAG
3

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Dothan Half Marathon & 5K

Dothan Half Marathon & 5K

I paced the 2:15 group for Beast Pacing at this event. Due to Hurricane Michael, several of the pacers (& other runner I imagine) lost their hotel reservations and had … MORE

I paced the 2:15 group for Beast Pacing at this event.
Due to Hurricane Michael, several of the pacers (& other runner I imagine) lost their hotel reservations and had to scramble at the last minute to make other arrangements. The RD was very helpful in finding us other options. I ended up booking a great AirBnb in Midland City (20 minute drive).
The race course was the Ross Clark Circle, a busy road with LOTs of businesses and big intersections. This race would NOT have happened if it weren’t for the participation of area police and city officials. The city gave us one lane (divided 4 lane road) which was enough, but I think starting the race maybe an hour earlier would have made runners feel a bit less nervous by all the cars whizzing by us. Another option would be to shut down the inside lanes completely. Logistically, this would be a lot of work, but would be beneficial if the race grows (and in order for the race to grow).
There was some confusion with packet pickup being at the finish line and not the start line. We were required to get on a bus from packet pickup to go to the start (this was great since we would have to cross the busy 4 lane road) But, logistically and for time management purposes, having packet pickup at the start line would be better for runners. (Once the race starts, pack up and move whatever is necessary to the finish.)
The race itself was not bad at all. The course has some lengthy slight inclines (it isn’t “hilly” but it is….). There were plenty of water stations and the shirt and medals were very nice.
Overall, this was a great race for it’s inaugural year. There are a few minor changes, but no complaints. I would definitely pace this event again.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
1
SWAG
4

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MO’ Cowbell Marathon

MO’ Cowbell Marathon

Ran this race for fun with a friend. I didn't hate it, but not sure if I would go back again. The course was nice. Through a nice (cookie-cutter) neighborhood … MORE

Ran this race for fun with a friend. I didn’t hate it, but not sure if I would go back again. The course was nice. Through a nice (cookie-cutter) neighborhood and along the Katy trail (It would have been nicer to stay on the trail for the whole race honestly!)
1 MAJOR Negative and a few smaller negatives:
– Packet pickup ended at 2pm! And there was NO RACE DAY PICKUP! If you have to end PP early, that’s one thing, but you MUST offer it on race morning to compensate! This was completely inconvenient and definitely something they need to address! We emailed the RD begging to pick up later or on race day. We were able to make arrangements and I know we weren’t the only ones. As a Race Director myself, This is definitely something that needs to change to allow people flying in or driving to the race. 2pm and no race day pickup = bad first impression = bad review.

-Plastic cups. (enough said). They had plastic cups for water (paper cups for Gatorade). At every water stop, we were kicking and tripping over plastic cups. Never a good idea.

-When the half & full start together in a race with several thousand, having a more staggered start is wise. There were self-corral signs up which helped some, but the first 3 miles of the race were really crowded.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

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Bozeman Marathon and Half Marathon

Bozeman Marathon and Half Marathon

I ran this race for my 50th state (63rd marathon)! My family & a few friends came and we made a weeklong vacation out of the trip. We rented a … MORE

I ran this race for my 50th state (63rd marathon)! My family & a few friends came and we made a weeklong vacation out of the trip. We rented a ski lodge outside of town for the week and spent 3 days in Yellowstone. This year’s weather was perfect.

THE RACE: Packet pickup was simple. It was held at a downtown hotel. No frills. Just shirt, bag, bib. I requested #50 previously, but was told that they gave numbers out at packet pickup and that there was no way to guarantee that I get #50. (ended up with 539 – oh well)
The start was out on a farm road outside of town. All runners are required to take the busses there. No spectators allowed. The start consisted of the inflatable start arch, a few toilets, a gear check truck and a tent (which most of us huddled in because the wind was fierce!) Once we started running, we warmed up as the sun began to rise around the start time.
THE COURSE: The course was very scenic, as is all of Montana. Mountains in the background and farmland and barns everywhere you looked. The course was marked with cones. They were doubled at each turn. Some sections of roads were closed, but mostly the course was open to traffic. This never caused a problem for us as there wasn’t much traffic in Montana country on a Sunday morning. As a race director I would have been worried the cones would be manipulated with so I would have put people at every turn and used chalk paint. But it worked out ok. The aid stations were spread out somewhat evenly. There was one spot where they were 4 miles apart. I would suggest having them every 2 – 2.5 miles at most, especially on warm days. But otherwise the race was well organized.
THE FINISH: The finish line is on main street in Bozeman. The street was closed to traffic. It was cool to run down the main street with tourists and other pedestrians lining the final stretch. They had fruit and bagels at the finish. My family was able to catch us on the course several times and then again at the finish line with balloons. The race officials gave me a Bison shaped belt buckle to commemorate my 50th state. (I believe these were the age group awards).

Bottom Line – This is a great race to choose for Montana if you prefer low key, medium sized races. It was the perfect race for my 50th state.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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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
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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
4
SWAG
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
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
2
SWAG
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

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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
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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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
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
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
SWAG
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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Amica Newport Marathon (RI)

Amica 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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Mobile Marathon (fka First Light Marathon)

Mobile Marathon (fka First Light 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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