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@hseitz

Urbana, IL Raving since 2021 50 States hopeful/finisher Active 1 day, 7 hours ago

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My Races

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

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Half Marathon

Marathon

Ultramarathon

(Marathon or Ultra) + Half

Marathon + Ultra

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Future Races

Personal Bests (6)

Race Distance Location Date Result
Marathon Fargo, ND May 21, 2022 3:32:37
30K Winston-Salem, NC Sep 29, 2018 2:49:24
Half Marathon Sioux Falls, SD Aug 29, 2021 1:34:33
7 Miler Winston-Salem, NC Sep 30, 2017 52:46
10K Winston-Salem, NC Mar 18, 2017 47:14
5K Philadelphia, PA Apr 13, 2024 20:47

Future Races (0)

Race Distance Location Date Paid

Past Races (53)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
5K Philadelphia, PA Apr 13, 2024 20:47
Marathon Myrtle Beach, SC Mar 2, 2024 3:49:34
Marathon Houston, TX Jan 14, 2024 3:43:43
Marathon Huntsville, AL Dec 10, 2023 3:39:31
Marathon Philadelphia, PA Nov 19, 2023 3:42:49
Marathon Richmond, VA Nov 11, 2023 3:35:49
Marathon Baltimore, MD Oct 14, 2023 4:09:01
Marathon Portland, OR Oct 1, 2023 4:03:49
Marathon Providence, RI May 7, 2023 4:08:07
Marathon Rehoboth Beach, DE Apr 16, 2023 4:24:21
Marathon Atlanta, GA Feb 26, 2023 3:56:57
Marathon Kyoto-shi, Japan Feb 19, 2023 3:47:54
Marathon Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Feb 12, 2023 4:38:22
Marathon Seattle, WA Nov 26, 2022 4:08:49
Marathon Manchester, NH Nov 13, 2022 3:54:21
Marathon Huntington, WV Nov 6, 2022 3:54:19
Marathon Des Moines, IA Oct 16, 2022 3:37:18
Marathon Sioux Falls, SD Aug 28, 2022 3:56:01
Marathon Fargo, ND May 21, 2022 3:32:37
Marathon Denver, CO May 15, 2022 3:56:44
Marathon Louisville, KY Apr 30, 2022 3:49:17
Marathon Nashville, TN Apr 23, 2022 4:32:09
Marathon St Louis, MO Apr 3, 2022 3:40:14
Marathon Jackson, MS Feb 19, 2022 3:39:33
Marathon Tulsa, OK Nov 21, 2021 3:43:27
Marathon Indianapolis, IN Nov 6, 2021 3:39:41
Marathon Detroit, MI Oct 17, 2021 3:46:51
Marathon Portland, ME Oct 3, 2021 3:39:01
Marathon Menasha, WI Sep 19, 2021 3:47:42
Half Marathon Sioux Falls, SD Aug 29, 2021 1:34:33
Marathon Lincoln, NE May 2, 2021 4:17:48
Half Marathon Greensboro, NC Apr 27, 2019 2:01:16
Half Marathon Winston-Salem, NC Dec 1, 2018 1:54:13
Marathon Kitty Hawk, NC Nov 11, 2018 3:52:48
30K Winston-Salem, NC Sep 29, 2018 2:49:24
5K High Point, NC Sep 8, 2018 22:02
Half Marathon Winston-Salem, NC Dec 2, 2017 1:47:21
7 Miler Winston-Salem, NC Sep 30, 2017 52:46
5K St Paul, MN Jul 15, 2017
Half Marathon Cary, NC Apr 23, 2017 1:44:02
10K Winston-Salem, NC Mar 18, 2017 47:14
Half Marathon Winston-Salem, NC Dec 5, 2015 1:57:54
5K Greensboro, NC Oct 31, 2015 49:57
Half Marathon Charlotte, NC Mar 7, 2015 1:58:47
5K Cornelius, NC Sep 27, 2014 25:13
5K Davidson, NC Sep 20, 2014 25:53
5K Huntersville, NC Jul 5, 2014 24:43
5K Huntersville, NC Mar 15, 2014 26:40
5K Davidson, NC Sep 21, 2013 25:57
5K Huntersville, NC May 11, 2013 25:05
5K Huntersville, NC Mar 16, 2013 26:58
5K Cornelius, NC Oct 13, 2012 25:17
5K Davidson, NC Sep 15, 2012 26:55

My Raves

Race organized by the Penn Law School. Simple 5K in the Penn Park, super cheap ($10), beautiful April morning. Maybe 50-75 runners. There were not enough cones, so evidently a … MORE

Race organized by the Penn Law School. Simple 5K in the Penn Park, super cheap ($10), beautiful April morning. Maybe 50-75 runners. There were not enough cones, so evidently a bunch of us (including me) took a wrong turn and ended up doing almost 3.5 miles. However, I tracked this race on Strava and I hit 3.1 miles at 20:47, a new personal record by about 1 minute 13 seconds. My actual time on the website is like 24:02 lol. Glad that it was a super low stakes 5k that I took a wrong turn on, and not a marathon.

DIFFICULTY
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2
SCENERY
3
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3

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Flights, race registration, and even hotels are super cheap in Myrtle Beach, making this a very budget-friendly 50 state options. Charleston and Columbia surprisingly don't have a race anymore, so … MORE

Flights, race registration, and even hotels are super cheap in Myrtle Beach, making this a very budget-friendly 50 state options. Charleston and Columbia surprisingly don’t have a race anymore, so this is really your only big city bet in SC (I’m not counting the island marathons near Charleston).

Packet pickup is at Broadway at the Beach, a group of eclectic tourist shops and restaurants around a manmade lake. You get a shirt and a bib, and that’s all. It’s in a fun multilevel sports bar called the Hangout.

My hostel was near the airport, almost 4 miles from the start line. It stormed the night before and rained intermittently the morning of. I lucked out and got a ride with a nice couple from Fayetteville. Had I left my hostel 15 seconds earlier or later, I would have had to walk the 4 miles to the line, and potentially been late because I forgot that the race started at 6:35, not 7am. People park at Broadway at the Beach, and it’s a 15 minute trudge to the start line, including a stretch through mud. Nice predawn wakeup call at 6am. Note that there is no bag check at this race!

This is the simplest marathon course I have ever run. You start and finish near 10th Avenue North, and essentially run one giant rectangle. There are very few turns here, including 8 straight miles northeast on Ocean Blvd (the main street in Myrtle Beach). It’s super flat, but today it was about 60 degrees and >95% humidity, which meant incredible fog levels hid the horizon on Ocean Blvd. Aside from miles 8-16 on Ocean Blvd (mostly running past motels, T-shirt shops, and touristy restaurants), we run into two neighborhoods from miles 5-7 and 18-19. Most of the course is on two-lane roads, but the toughest stretch is miles 22-25, where we run on a path next to Grissom Parkway, a bustling boulevard with tons of traffic that stresses an average runner out.

We finish next to the Pelicans minor league baseball stadium, and you can sit in the stands after grabbing a beer and slice of pizza if you like.

Please either Uber places or rent a car. Don’t make my mistake and walk everywhere. The buses come once an hour here, but they ain’t running on Saturday morning, so I had to walk 4 miles back to my hostel after finishing my marathon. I couldn’t even Uber because they don’t have a bag check here, so I left my backpack at my hostel. Who needs to stretch when you have another hour 20 minute walk after you finish? *_* FML

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
2

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Chevron is a gas station company. In Mandarin Chinese, to encourage someone, you say "加油!!" (jiā yóu). It literally means "add oil". I love dad jokes, so I told several … MORE

Chevron is a gas station company. In Mandarin Chinese, to encourage someone, you say “加油!!” (jiā yóu). It literally means “add oil”. I love dad jokes, so I told several Chinese runners and fans that this was the perfect race to add oil because it was the *Chevron* Houston Marathon. Soooo many rolled eyes and giggles.

The pre-race and post-race expo are at the George Brown Convention Center in downtown. You receive your bib in one smaller room (??) before proceeding to a larger room to get a towel and small free merch. Dozens of vendors. But where’s the free shirt? No, not a cotton one; give me something to wear on race day! There was a line of 100 people for a cotton T-shirt that was pressed on the spot with Houston Marathon logos. But no athletic tee. Bummer. I was told I would receive a finisher shirt after the race.

I stayed in the BPoshtels Houston hostel 3 miles north of town. $31/night, and a 9 minute walk from the Red Line light rail that takes you downtown. If you do this, board the light rail before 6am. You will definitely need the spare time when you get downtown. The neon sign outside actually says “Heights Hotel”; don’t be fooled. It’s a converted motel, free breakfast, free pool, indoor bar, patio, and 24 hour reception. They had both Saturday NFL playoff games on TV in there, including a resounding victory by the hometown Texans. However, I *couldn’t* sleep. Maybe the single quilt and no bedsheets weren’t quite enough. Maybe I was too nervous. But I got one <5 minute taste of sleep at 3am and that was it. However, I wired myself up at 4am and ended up running just fine. Not my first sleepless night before a marathon :< and surprisingly, as a 27 year old it doesn't hurt my performance too much.

Race morning in the Convention Center is chaos, with dozens of groups of people hanging out in packs and stretching on the floor. It’s like a postgame stadium mixed with Sunday church after service. Luckily, the marathon bag drop is short and efficient, but then you have to exit the center through a small exit, trapped in a stream of people. I was in the ‘A’ corral, and they said it closes at 6:45, 16 minutes before race start. Thankfully, I got in there about 6:47, and I wasn’t the only one a few minutes late. They’re not overly strict about that.

The race starts/ends in downtown. It was one of the flattest courses I’ve run. There are both mile and km markers, and clocks every 10km. We run over a highway bridge at mile 3, through a nice treed neighborhood from miles 5-8, and a humorous priest was dipping a branch in a cup of water and sprinkling holy water on willing runners at mile 8. Bless up, y’all! We run past Rice University at mile 9, and enter an outskirts suburb at mile 12. Miles 14-16 have a lovely SoCal vibe as you run up Post Oak Boulevard, which is 5 miles west of downtown but has skyscrapers, new roads, and tree-lined medians. 17-20 are on some 40 mph roads past neighborhoods.

Save your energy for mile 20, though. The last 6 miles are east, straight into the sun. Even though the weather was *perfect* (45-50 degrees all morning), and it was January, Houston sun doesn’t mess around. You can feel how powerful that sun is. I survived it because it was unusually cold today; but it could cause heat stroke and kill someone if the high is 70-75 degrees.

Miles 20-23 are through Memorial Park. We run through some cool tunnels. The smartest DJ ever put his booth inside one tunnel, allowing the sound to echo and reverberate. It’s a transcendental experience when you’re 21 miles in and the DJ plays “Staying Alive”, and the entire song washes you clean and scrubs every thought out of your head. Absolute chills. One of my favorite memories at any marathon, ever.

Miles 23-25 are on the outskirts of town with more shade than 20-23, and the only small hills on the whole course. You enter downtown at 25, and it’s a mad dash to the end.

Frustrating post-race production 🙁 the finishers are forced to stand in place and herded like sheep through a small gate, where 3-4 volunteers hand medals to hundreds of finishers. No place to sit down or sneak out. We get inside the convention center and are herded AGAIN through a fenced path. How do marathon organizers not understand that the only thing finishers want to do is collapse on the ground? We finish right next to the Discovery Green, a large park square. Why not remove all the fences and let runners limp over there to catch their breath and grab a medal, then let them go inside the convention center for optional food/shirt/gear? Bottlenecks should be public enemy #1 for organizers, especially right after the finish. (Looking at you, Kyoto Marathon }: ) Probably 15-20 minutes before I could sit down at all. Thankfully, post-race gear reclamation and finisher shirt pickup were both very fast. It looked like a great postrace party with lots of free food indoors, and a nice outdoor party on the Discovery Green; sadly I had to leave to catch a flight.

Disappointed by the Houston vibes and lack of city pride. I know this is SE Texas, not the desert, but there is no cowboy culture here. I only saw 2 cowboy hats all weekend, no boots, no horses, not much pride in local BBQ. No one says “howdy” or “y’all” here. (At least the Mexican food slaps.) Virtually no downtown traffic, which feels lonely actually. And since there’s not much foot traffic, the homeless population will bother you if you do dare to walk around (5 people yelled at me in the first 4 hours I spent downtown). Never feels like a classic Texas city, just a souped-up version of any other southeast metro like Charlotte, Nashville, Atlanta, or Memphis; and *infinitely* more sprawling. Oh my gosh. Don’t get me started on that sprawl.

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I've been to 44 states, but this was the first time I've ever rented a car, because I flew to the HSV airport and there is no bus from airport … MORE

I’ve been to 44 states, but this was the first time I’ve ever rented a car, because I flew to the HSV airport and there is no bus from airport to downtown. Huntsville is a beautiful midsize town, though. Rolling hills surrounding a fairly flat city, with all the charm of Tennessee and none of the nasty Bama stereotypes. The US Space and Rocket Center is just west of town, and reportedly this town has one of the highest percentages of PhD’s in the nation, from all the rocket scientists. This city also goes *hard* on their Christmas decorations (I’ll explain).

Rain threatened all weekend, but mostly held off and let up about 20 minutes into the race. The sun came out after 1.5 hours and dried up the roads! Most runners huddled in the conference center next to the start line, out of the rain, until it was time to start. Free parking in two garages .3 miles from the start, $5 parking closer, $10 parking right outside the start line. The free parking is limited to like 20 spots, so get there 40 minutes before.

This race had some of the best scenery I’ve seen in America…and some of the least crowd support. I saw maybe 5 signs my entire run. In addition to the marathon, there are 2 half marathon choices: the front half or back half. Choose the back half!! The first 13 miles are okay, running through a bunch of gently rolling neighborhoods before returning downtown at mile 11, but the back half was amazing. We run past the US Space and Rocket Center at mile 18, running past 50-foot rockets and excited army guys in combat fatigues. Then we run through the Huntsville Botanical Garden from miles 19-21, past two miles of Christmas lights (sadly not turned on). At mile 26, you finish by running around the lake at Big Spring Park, where over 400 locally decorated Christmas trees greet you before you finish inside a hangar at VBC South Hall. You get three medals for finishing the full marathon, and postrace food is so plentiful! Chocolate milk/cola/bananas/pizza/even some chopped potatoes in a cup (??) Take some pictures with the hundreds of Christmas trees and enjoy the rest of your time in Bama!

There are 4 GU stations around the course, roughly every 6 miles. You’ll want to hit every water stop before 20 miles because they are sparse (up to 2.5 miles in between at some places). Cola was given at mile 18!!

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My 27th marathon, but the first I've ever run in my city of residence at the time. The expo is in Center City, and it's probably a good idea for … MORE

My 27th marathon, but the first I’ve ever run in my city of residence at the time. The expo is in Center City, and it’s probably a good idea for out-of-towners to take public transit there, since Center City parking is not great. This was my largest marathon to date, with about 13,000 marathoners and triple that for half marathoners. Long lines at the expo on Friday afternoon. I was disappointed that so many of the expo vendors had a purely business motive (“sign up for our service!!”) and there weren’t more free samples.

The half-marathoners run the day before, which keeps the marathon crowds manageable. I had never run a marathon with a pre-race security checkpoint before. Arrive at least 30-40 minutes before start time, because the checkpoint lines are as long as a baseball game.

We were set off in waves, separated by about 90 seconds. We start on Ben Franklin Parkway, next to the Museum of Art, and run east to the Delaware River, then west across Center City again. The first six miles are thronged with fans, and it’s awesome. At mile 7, we cross the Wissahickon River into University City, where college kids from UPenn and Drexel cheer for two miles. Miles 9-12 are lonely with some hills, saved by a score of fans at mile 13.

Save your mental strength for miles 16-24. A four-mile out-and-back up the east bank of the Wissahickon River, with almost no turns. It’s 10 am by now, so the sun beats down. From miles 19-21, we enter the northwest Philly neighborhood of Manayunk, with some tough hills. Thankfully, miles 23-26 are mostly downhill, and I dragged my exhausted legs to the finish line next to the Museum of Art.

More fans than I had ever seen before, which is great. The fall leaves on the east side of the Wissahickon River are pretty, but I wish we could change the four-mile out and back. A security checkpoint with a metal detector is understandable for spectators, but *why* do we need to do it on runners? It created such a massive choke point into the race corrals, and I’m sure it made some runners late and unhappy.

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I was hoping to see some reference to this summer's viral country hit, "Rich Men North of Richmond", at the race today. Sadly, I didn't, but this marathon lived up … MORE

I was hoping to see some reference to this summer’s viral country hit, “Rich Men North of Richmond”, at the race today. Sadly, I didn’t, but this marathon lived up to the hype in every other way.

The race expo was at Richmond Raceway, which is 3 miles outside downtown. It was bizarre having an expo in the infield of a racetrack, but there were plenty of vendors and even a live band, and it was a fun time.

It’s kind of difficult to get to the race by car, since so many downtown roads are blocked off. Beware that the half and full marathon start lines are 8 blocks away from each other, so don’t join the wrong line.

All said, the course is great. The race exits downtown after 2 miles and into some neighborhoods. The leaves are exploding into yellows and reds at this time of November in Richmond, and the mile-long paved riverside trail at mile 8 is breathtaking. There’s not too much else to highlight about the neighborhood-heavy course, except the hills are gentle. We re-enter downtown at mile 16 to dozens of cheering soldiers in camo, and swoop in and out of downtown repeatedly before coming back for good at mile 24 and finishing next to the American Civil War museum.

This marathon bills itself at “America’s Friendliest Marathon”. I don’t know about that, but the plethora of race snacks are clutch. Gu energy gels are offered repeatedly starting at mile 12, along with several other snacks like apple slices, gummy bears, cola at mile 16 (!), and a few shots of beer.

Y’ALL I finally had a shot of fireball today! I took one to the dome at mile 19. It burned a hole in my chest for 30 seconds, but I still got my second-best marathon time ever, so it must not be too deleterious to your performance.

lol I was so tipsy by mile 19 after a fireball and two beer shots. It’s such a flex to run right past police officers with a stupid grin, your breath reeking of God’s liquid gift to man.

DIFFICULTY
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Expo was at the Baltimore convention center in the middle of downtown. Difficult to find cheap parking if driving; only $15 parking garages are around. I put my hazards on … MORE

Expo was at the Baltimore convention center in the middle of downtown. Difficult to find cheap parking if driving; only $15 parking garages are around. I put my hazards on and left my car on the curb while I dashed through the expo and picked up my bib + shirt in record time (under 3 minutes??) because I got there 6 minutes before closing. Would not recommend doing that.

I had ordered my packet to be mailed to me, and it never came. $25 down the drain. So I had to speed from Philly to Baltimore after work to get there before Friday 8pm.

Few complaints about the race itself, though. The race starts next to Camden Yards, the Orioles baseball stadium. The first 3 miles were a gradual uphill climb, and apparently mile 3 is the highest point on the course. We run into the Baltimore Zoo for two miles, then reenter the downtown around mile 7. We run past the harbor from miles 10-14, and run near a lake from miles 19-20. The last few miles are mostly through neighborhoods, before finishing near the harbor again.

The back half had almost as many fans as the front half, which is a rarity. A few water stands around mile 7-11 could have used more volunteers. It was raining most of the race, including a downpour around mile 11, and my mental health was poor, so I didn’t give my best effort out there.

I’m deducting one point for the race producers who decided to funnel the half marathoners back into the marathon pack around mile 15-16. Mass confusion ensued. Otherwise, it was a pretty decent mid-size city race.

DIFFICULTY
3
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3
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(a reference to the local MLS soccer team) Honestly one of the best produced races I've run so far. The expo had plenty of vendors, posters encouraging racers to write … MORE

(a reference to the local MLS soccer team)

Honestly one of the best produced races I’ve run so far. The expo had plenty of vendors, posters encouraging racers to write down their home city or favorite song, tons of free samples, and the sweetest golden retriever who begged people to pet him. The emerald green race shirt looked really cool.

Race started at 7am. I walked about 30 minutes from my hostel to get there, and the sun rose minutes after the race srart. Even though the website said bag check would close 30min before the race, they were still accepting bags 20 minutes before.

The race started on the west bank of the Willamette River (which splits Portland in half). We ran the first five miles in the early-sunrise skyscraper shade, and it was really cool. Some knucklehead driver got so angry at a road barrier that he actually drove into a teenage race course volunteer, hitting her in the knees twice. Stay classy, Portland.

At 5 miles, we dipped across the river to circle around the Trail Blazers NBA stadium, then ran back. We returned to the west bank, passing the finish line at 8 miles, then crossed to the east side again around 10 miles.

After a brief stint on a highway and another bridge at mile 12, we ran mostly through neighborhoods for the next 10 miles, with a beautiful tour through Reed College at mile 18. From 21-25 miles, we ran through an industrial area on the east bank, the only scenically meh part of the course. We crossed the bridge once more at mile 25 and finished on the west bank.

Sadly, I didn’t get the result I was hoping for, because I either hit the wall or hit too many hills. But the weather was almost perfect and the crowd support was great. They had GU stations at almost every aid station from mile 5 onward (never seen that before!) Every mile marker after mile 3 was clearly marked, and the race ran smoothly. This was one of the prettier city courses I’ve ever run in. Just watch out for the hill at mile 22-23, it’s a killer.

DIFFICULTY
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5
SCENERY
4
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4

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You're playing with fire by signing up for a road race held in late April/May. I don't know what child of the devil thought a April 23 Nashville marathon is … MORE

You’re playing with fire by signing up for a road race held in late April/May. I don’t know what child of the devil thought a April 23 Nashville marathon is a good idea, but once upon a time, a northern state marathon still felt safe, even in May or June.

Then the 2020s brought global warming. The sun came out in full force yesterday morning in Rhode Island and made everyone miserable. Heard a lot of complaints and defeated wails, and saw so many once-proud runners slow to a walk.

Expo was pretty small and crowded, inside a two-story building downtown. Got a pullover hoodie, my bib, and no other swag. But at least it was downtown. Race started at 7:30 am, which was poor planning because the sun was up for at least an hour beforehand.

Not a cloud in the sky! And the first seven miles were nonstop hills on asphalt! The roads were 30 years old, so the asphalt was faded gray instead of fresh black, which helped a lot. The first 2-3 miles were a decent downtown river jaunt on brick paths by cute shops, but most of the course after that was a real armpit. Running across (and under) ugly auto bridges, then on boring two-lane roads, avoiding road work. From miles 5-10 we were rewarded by having to run on the side of a two-lane road, only wide enough for two runners, as cars whooshed past. At least we got some downhills starting at mile 8, and we finally got to run in a park at mile 10.

The highlight of the race was around mile 13, when we ran past a cute country club on the left and river marshland on the right. Aside from the downtown start/finish, it was the only cute part in an ugly, lonely course. The volunteers did all they could to help the runners, even dumping pitchers of water all over hot joggers. If only it was partly cloudy or a few degrees cooler, it would have been okay. But when the May sun is beating down and it’s 70 degrees, you’re in for a rough ride.

Postrace was nice, as we relaxed on the lawn in front of the capitol (where we started). Plenty of warm water bottles, Gatorade Fit, Fruit Gushers, and a free beer ticket.

This race was really “mid”. I wish we ran through more parks or cute neighborhoods. I wrote in an earlier review that every marathon runs through plenty of nice neighborhoods, but I don’t recall many neighborhoods in this run. Isn’t there some kind of picturesque shaded riverside trail we could go on?

UPDATE: I heard later that a 27-year-old runner collapsed and died of heat stroke on mile 12 of the half marathon. My deepest condolences to him and his family. As I said before, the sun, May, and black tar roads are no joke in long-distance running. Please stay safe, runners.

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Why did this race cost $135 for virtually no production value? Expo was small and crowded; swag only included a cotton tee shirt with cringey distressed shirt decals; aid stations … MORE

Why did this race cost $135 for virtually no production value? Expo was small and crowded; swag only included a cotton tee shirt with cringey distressed shirt decals; aid stations were too few and far between with not enough water, volunteers, or trash cans; not many spectators and no music along the course; and they didn’t even have good security near the finish line (kids and dogs wandering in front of your path in the final 200 meters).

The free postrace Grotto’s pizza buffet and THREE beer tickets sort of made up for it, though. MFs were getting plastered at the postrace party thanks to all the free booze.

Rehoboth Beach is a nice little beach town of 5k people with candy and ice cream shops, boardwalk arcades, and lovely beaches. The expo was a mile away from the beachfront, in a too-small convention center. Don’t try to park in its parking lot! Every space was full. Instead, try parallel parking on the street nearby. The street parking is free until May 15th. The swag consisted of a beer glass and, as I mentioned earlier, an olive cotton T-shirt with the shirt decal graphics butchered in a failed attempt to make it look cool. No coupons or bumper stickers or free samples at the expo. Just a glass and a shirt.

Marathon started at 7am, and I was still able to find street parking half a mile away 15 minutes before. About 500 runners. Race started and ended on the boardwalk. It was about 60 at 7am, but it had rained yesterday, and was super humid the first few miles. The highlight of the run was through Cape Henlopen State Park from miles 3-10. Absolutely gorgeous sunrise misty wetland vistas. Aid stations roughly every two miles. Didn’t seem too bad at first, but after 10 miles, things got rough.

See, aid stations often only had one table, so you could only pick up one small cup of water with like 3oz at a time. The last trash can after each table was placed far too soon, so it was impossible to finish your cup in time, leading to a lot of litter. The first ten miles was decently shaded, but around mile 12, the course spit us onto the black tar roads, where there was virtually no shade, insufficient water stops, and no respite from the black tar heat for 8 miles. It was only 72 degrees, but the sun and tar did me in and I slowed to a shameful walk around mile 17. Around mile 20, we finally got to a shaded forest with gravel, and I ran from mile 21 until the finish.

Other reviewers are talking about how easy the course was. If it had been cooler or cloudier, I would agree–it was very flat. But the sun + tar + no shade + not enough water combo messed up a lot of people.

Naturally, the weather grew cloudy, cool, and windy around 2pm. Just a few hours too late to save us.

DIFFICULTY
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Basic Atlanta sports pun there. Charlotte, NC native here, and I had never been to Atlanta before, but I was pleasantly surprised at how upbeat and growing the city is, … MORE

Basic Atlanta sports pun there. Charlotte, NC native here, and I had never been to Atlanta before, but I was pleasantly surprised at how upbeat and growing the city is, as one of the economic/cultural hubs of the southeast. So many fun things to do around town. The Coca Cola Museum, National Civil Rights Museum, College Football Hall of Fame, Georgia Aquarium (the largest in USA!) and CNN headquarters are all within a stone’s throw of Centennial Olympic Park.

Packet pickup was at the Georgia Aquarium. The swag bag was minimal and perhaps they should have given out short-sleeved shirts, but it was awesome to walk in and see beluga whales swimming around in tanks in the walls and watching people. It was a good venue if you’re on foot, but heaven help you if you’re trying to drive there. The Aquarium is right downtown and not only was parking $30, but it was a gridlock at 1pm Saturday; my friends’ vehicle didn’t move for 15 minutes straight. Maybe consider having the expo in the outskirts in the future?

The race started/ended at Centennial Olympic Park. Man, the course was awesome. It took us down so many important/cool streets in Atlanta, such as the MLK Memorial, the Capitol, past the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, through Georgia Tech/Georgia State/Clark Atlanta University/Morehouse. We even got photos with the 1996 Olympic Rings in the background, how cool is that?!

Too bad the course was also endlessly hilly. Running a marathon for the third weekend in a row, my legs really gave out by about 12 miles in and only a stupid Little Debbie Honey Bun that I bought the night before kept me from collapsing. But the fans were some of the best I have ever encountered! So much cheering and positivity and a really fun atmosphere. My goal was 4 hours and I limped in with 3 minutes to spare.

I wish they gave out cold water at the finish line, though. Lukewarm water bottles ain’t great after 4 hours of running *_*

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
2

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Ah, the duality of the Kyoto Marathon: one of the best in some ways, one of the worst in others. Sign-up is a hassle for foreigners. In August 2022 they … MORE

Ah, the duality of the Kyoto Marathon: one of the best in some ways, one of the worst in others.

Sign-up is a hassle for foreigners. In August 2022 they said the application will strictly close at the end of the month, with a possible lottery. Then they extended the deadline until October because not enough runners, and made me re-sign up. The Japanese website thinks “application” means “registration”, so I kept waiting for an email to tell me that I was accepted, but then the website shut down for maintenance for SIX months and they offered no email updates. I came to Kyoto not 100% sure I was even accepted into the marathon.

As the other guy said, at the expo they make you sign health forms. Few Japanese people speak English, but I was grateful that the volunteers had tags that said which languages they could speak, so I knew who could help me in English. Disappointed that they didn’t give us a free Kyoto Marathon shirt to wear (they had some at the expo for $25, but they looked like crap, like if your mom’s church group designed a shirt). After packet pickup on the first floor of the building, you’re forced to go UPSTAIRS and weave through an endless maze of local businesses hawking their products. At every American expo I’ve been to, you can just grab your packet/shirt and slip out, but here, you are paraded along a roped-off route, past like 30 businesses, none of which even concern you if you aren’t a local.

Race day, it was raining and 55 F. Miserable rain, but pretty good temperature-wise. We started on the athletic track at Takebishi Stadium, and finished near the Exhibition Center 3 miles away. Gear check had already closed when I arrived 20 minutes before start, but they took my bag graciously anyway and transported it to the finish line.

Raceday pros:
-On the application form, they let you write your name in Katakana Japanese and print it on your bib, so several fans saw my name in Katakana and screamed my name. So cool!
-The view of the mountains and creek around 5-6K was phenomenal. Nice forest/mountain aura around 9-11K, a scenic river we cross at 20K and again around 35K, and several temples and shrines. We went through the historical botanical gardens near 27-29K, with geishas at 28K. When drummers banged on ancient drums at 11K and a few other times, that sent chills down my spine.
-Crossaints were offered several times starting at 17K. This will save you if you are a wall-crasher. Aid stations were clearly marked as to water/energy drink/food. The signs even tell you how many of each table there are (i.e. “This is water station 4 of 6 in this aid area!”)

Race day cons:
-I started with the 3:45 wave, which was gridlock for the first 4-5 miles; I couldn’t advance even if I wanted to. Probably a smart idea for them to not have a water stop until 6K. This gridlock cost me 3-4 minutes. Kyoto streets are narrow, the buildings are drab grays and browns, and there are hanging power lines everywhere in the city.
-No music playing, aside from the cool drummers.
-In America, 4 hour marathoners keep running through the aid stations and pick up water cups in stride. Japanese MFs love to slow down to walk unexpectedly at aid tables. Really chaotic when they all do this at the very first aid table, zero thoughts given for anyone behind them. I crashed into a runner who casually walked across the path without looking. I should have said “sumimasen” (sorry), but I wasn’t sorry.
-The first marathon where we didn’t run under a timing gate at the finish. Pretty anticlimactic, just a few timing pads, no speakers, no fun banners. Really sucks because there was a 30-foot Meiji-era gate that looked like 开 a hundred feet behind them, why not finish under that?!?
-Bag check at the finish line was confusing. Someone at the finish told me my bag was in zone 13, but no rhyme or reason how they divided zones. You just had to ask. And once again, after collecting your bag, you were shepherded through a tightly corralled building, through a single doorway that created congestion, past skeptical security guards, and up an escalator (?), past a floor with 200 dudes all sprawled on the floor changing their shirts at the same time, before they let you leave. Oh geez, the smell! Just let us leave already.

TLDR: Crowds were great, cool mountain, river, and temple views, moderately navigable as a foreigner, but a logistical mess in several ways that made me miss American marathons.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
2
SCENERY
5
SWAG
2

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

Some cities will never have optimal marathon weather, even if you schedule the race at midnight in wintertime. One of these is Ho Chi Minh City. The temperature at midnight … MORE

Some cities will never have optimal marathon weather, even if you schedule the race at midnight in wintertime. One of these is Ho Chi Minh City. The temperature at midnight race day was 81 F with 80% humidity, and by 5 am it was 77 F with 90% humidity.

This was the first edition of the Ho Chi Minh City race. It was sponsored by VnExpress, which is the top newspaper/news website in Vietnam. I think VnExpress was rolling out a series of marathons and road races in all the major cities across Vietnam, and HCMC was just one stop. For a first-time race in a developing country at midnight, the production was actually top notch. Registration was pretty cheap, like $70 (but don’t forget you will also need a visa to enter Vietnam if you’re American). The expo was outdoor, at a soccer stadium a mile or two north of District 1, and there are plenty of maps and photo ops and free Heineken 0.0 cans there. The expo itself felt like a party scene: people laughing and chatting and taking pictures, kids playing Kinect video games, I think even the local news station was there. I walked around the track and found some middle aged Vietnamese men kicking a soccer ball around, and I joined their game even though we couldn’t speak a word of each other’s language. It was beautiful.

Race Night, we started at a park near District 1. They flew drones over the whole crowd several times before the start of the race to capture the vibe. Race started at midnight. We passed the very scenic Nguyen Hue at 3K–it’s a fabulous walking street in downtown that has old French architecture. However, by 5 or 6K, I started to realize the heat was no joke. We ran next to the river for about 10K on a down and back, and luckily the river created a slight breeze. Aid stations were every 2K and they had an energy drink called ReVive that tasted like salt water, along with regular water cups (down the stretch, almost every runner neglected the ReVive in favor of real water. I guess even the Vietnamese hated it.)

There were a few small stretches near the middle of the course where we ran in darkness for 500m or so, but the majority of the race was under yellowish street lights. I think we crossed the river four times and did a lot of running on closed-down highways on the eastern suburbs of HCMC. We finished at a park on the northeastern corner of the city, next to the zoo. There, they offered us several treats including ramen and beer and green tea. Elevation change wasn’t bad and the roads were nice and wide. Traffic pollution was a slight problem for the first hour, but traffic died down by 1:30am.

I am just pleasantly surprised by how *fun* the atmosphere was, even at midnight. Thanks so much to all the volunteers who stayed up all night to hand out water to the runners, and thanks to all the fans who shouted “Golek!” or something like that at me. Maybe it means “keep running!”, I don’t know.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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This race had some of the best and some of the worst production I've seen out there. Race starts at 6am just outside the Husky football stadium at the University … MORE

This race had some of the best and some of the worst production I’ve seen out there.

Race starts at 6am just outside the Husky football stadium at the University of Washington. It won’t get light for another hour in late November, and even if you are blessed with a dry day like today, the leaves around miles 8-11 will still be very slippery. We run across a bridge in darkness near mile 2 where you can see the Seattle skyline. From miles 3-7 we run on a closed down highway. Then, at mile 8, all hell breaks loose. The half marathon starts at 7am, and at mile 8 for marathon, we MERGE in with the half-ers who are at mile 2. Forget about trying to stay with a pacer. You will get stuck behind slower half marathoners repeatedly for the next 2-3 miles. Thankfully it shakes out by mile 10, but at mile 12, a new horror: you do an out-and-back for 3.5 miles each way, on a bridge over the bay. The bridge is ~12 feet wide and 7 runners could probably run side by side. But there are people coming back the other way too, so watch out! You will feel super claustrophobic and lose your pacer AGAIN since there is no room to run. Thankfully, the crowds cleared out by the time I turned around and headed the other way. But I’m sure there were 15-20 minutes of chaos as throngs of runners going out squeezed past the throngs returning.

Unfortunately, there were not enough volunteers at the aid stations (this is a recurring problem). You may have to grab your own cup from the table or bump into someone else. The aid stations had water and Nuun, but both cups tasted like water to me, and neither gave me energy, so I hit the wall at mile 23, slowed down to walk, missed my 4 hour goal, and flew back to Chicago defeated. But this race scored big production points for the ending, finishing inside Husky stadium. Although walking up the steps to the concourse was difficult after the marathon, there was SO much food including several energy bars, bananas, yerba mate, hot ramen, and hot apple cider.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3

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A silent but deadly smell seeps through downtown Manchester on warm, windy days. Possibly from all the homeless people. It smells like trash, death, and poop had a baby. You'll … MORE

A silent but deadly smell seeps through downtown Manchester on warm, windy days. Possibly from all the homeless people. It smells like trash, death, and poop had a baby. You’ll be walking down the street and then a puff of wind blows in your face and BAM! there goes your appetite. Welcome to Manchester.

…anyway…

If you fly into Boston, like me, Manchester is a 70 minute Greyhound bus ride away. It’s not only the biggest city in New Hampshire, but the best marathon in NH for budget travelers, being the only one reachable by bus from Boston. I didn’t go to the expo since it was in a running store 3 miles outside of town, and the shirts and bibs were available on race day anyway. A nice late starting race (8:50 am) gave me plenty of time to wake up in the morning.

The marathon had about 925 feet of elevation change. The first half was super hilly. Downtown Manchester is on the east side of the Merrimack River. We start and finish downtown, but we cross the river immediately and run 5 miles on a greenway before coming back over and running miles 6-13 in East side neighborhoods. At mile 15 you cross the river a second time and run an out and back for 5 miles in each direction through forests on a dirt-gravel path. This was miserable when it started raining. I couldn’t believe how slow I was on miles 16-20, and blamed it on the loose gravel.

…and then, we hit the turnaround at mile 20, and realized we had been running uphill for FOUR miles straight. And now it was downhill! I was gassed, but those were the easiest miles 20-24 I have ever run. We cross the Merrimack for the fourth time at mile 24 and finish downtown near Veterans Park, in the pouring rain. The crowds were great for a rainy day in a town of 40k. Production was smooth for a smaller race, although the back half was lonely as usual. Prepare for a lot of hills if you run this one, but just know that if you can make it to mile 20, “it’s all downhill from here”.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

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This is the largest marathon in West Virginia, with 165 finishers this year. Packet pickup was in a local Baptist church just east of Marshall University. The expo was very … MORE

This is the largest marathon in West Virginia, with 165 finishers this year. Packet pickup was in a local Baptist church just east of Marshall University. The expo was very small, but all shoes were half off (and I loved that the stereo was playing “Come Out and Play” in a church).

Race starts and finishes next to the football stadium, at 7 am. This year, it fell on the same morning daylight savings time ended. If this happens to you, keep the time change in mind so you aren’t an hour early. Plenty of free parking next to the stadium, but the gates close at 6:30.

The race started with a cannon boom (which terrified many runners). It was a double loop around Huntington, and despite it being the “Marshall University Marathon”, we only ran the last mile on each loop on the campus. It was definitely the best part. The rest of the course was on drab, old roads, many of them going past industrial buildings. This may be my first race where we didn’t run through neighborhoods. On the south end of each loop, we ran next to a park, but this was even worse because there was SO MUCH SMOG there in the morning. Remember, this is coal country. The AQI was 107–“unhealthy for sensitive groups”.

Not a great course, and the fan support was spotty outside of downtown, but I forgive them because Huntington is a small town (45,000). An aid station at mile 14 ran out of cups and had nothing to give us, but I forgive them because they acquired more cups by the time I came back 10 miles later. Most aid stations were pretty good, but bring your own gels. They don’t hand them out.

The best part was the finish: you run inside the football stadium and they hand you a football. You run to the opposite 20 yard line, then back into the Marshall endzone. That was fun! And the free postrace food was great: fresh burgers and chocolate milk and smoothie samples and beer.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
2

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

("The S is silent" is an unofficial Des Moines motto.) Des Moines was a great host city in every aspect. The race expo was in the Iowa Events Center, and … MORE

(“The S is silent” is an unofficial Des Moines motto.)
Des Moines was a great host city in every aspect. The race expo was in the Iowa Events Center, and we got some great swag including a free Chick fil A sandwich and cowbells.

Race day was near perfect weather: 42 degrees at start, 52 at finish, cloudy most of the way. My friend from Des Moines told me that the course hit “pretty much everything to see in this town”. We started and ended downtown, ran across the Des Moines River, ran past Drake University and even did a lap on their track, and ran through a few parks including Gray’s Lake Park. The crowd support was awesome; we were constantly cheered on. The aid stations were the most frequent I have seen in 15 marathons. There were actually TOO many of them: one every mile or even less. I had to refuse water at half of them bc I was too full! 3 Gatorade gel stations: mile 9, 15, 20.

A big thank you to the bike guy who gave me a coke at mile 23. Coke is the BEST thing when you’re hitting the wall at the end of a marathon, but this is only the second marathon of 15 where I saw coke available. I wish every marathon had cola in the last 10K, though! It gives you miraculous energy.

The postrace party also rocked. I got not one but TWO drink tickets and two food tickets. DSM (Des Moines) may not lure you in with tourist attractions, but it is certainly a superb midsize Midwestern marathon. Highly recommend this race for Iowa.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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I drove 9hrs here in 2021 just to get rained out, so I flew this time. I am too cheap for Uber, so I tried to walk everywhere I needed. … MORE

I drove 9hrs here in 2021 just to get rained out, so I flew this time. I am too cheap for Uber, so I tried to walk everywhere I needed. Don’t do this. I walked about 10 miles this weekend before I even raced. The bus system only gets within a mile of the airport and the packet pickup location (Sanford Fieldhouse). Packet pickup was once again in a basketball court in the Fieldhouse. Race swag only gets 2/5 stars because WHY did they give me a black long-sleeved shirt for a race on August 28th. This was the first race I have ever seen zero people wear the shirt. Can’t imagine why; it was 69 at race time with >90% humidity.

I didn’t park, but I think there were still some parking spots at the start line (Howard Wood Field) at the start. Bag check was in the stadium, on the side opposite from the finish line. I was impressed with the Sioux Falls course, a clockwise loop around the city almost exclusively in parks, greenways, and neighborhoods. Running through Falls Park at mile 5 was a highlight, and miles 17-24 were alongside a river. There was almost no running on roads, which was great. You finish by running around an athletic track in Howard Wood Field, and the announcer calls your name. Plenty of stands to sit in post-race, but all of them are in the sun.

The course was great, the crowd support was okay, but I wish they had more water stops. They were only every two miles. And WHY do so many marathons forget to put up a mile sign in the last few miles?? There was no mile 24 marker here, just as there were none for 17, 20, or 23 in Denver. Takes a mental toll on the runner when they never see the next mile marker.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
2

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Race expo, start, and finish were all at the Fargodome, home to the local college football team (North Dakota State). Plenty of free parking for every event, no need to … MORE

Race expo, start, and finish were all at the Fargodome, home to the local college football team (North Dakota State). Plenty of free parking for every event, no need to worry. It’s a hype atmosphere inside, waiting to start, and they sing both the Canadian and American national anthems.

The course changed for 2022 because of heavy flooding. IDK what it was in previous years, but for 2022 this means a LOT of neighborhoods. It’s hard to think of what else there even is on the course besides neighborhoods. We crossed into neighboring Moorhead, MN around mile 11, ran past their downtown, and onto two beautiful college campuses around mile 15 (Concordia-Moorhead and MSU-Moorhead). We come back to North Dakota around mile 18 and run through the pretty downtown at mile 23 before finishing inside the Fargodome. Shoutout to the guy at mile 21 with the sign that said, “Feeling tired? There’s a Taco Bell just ahead that will give you the runs!” That sign made my day.

Great crowd support for a small state like this–it rivals the best I’ve seen in Maine and Indiana. Cheap to register (~$85), free photos, great production, plenty of pacers. A perfect race to run if you are (A) a 50-stater, (B) trying to qualify for Boston, or (C) a local. If you aren’t one of those three, WTF are you even doing in Fargo?

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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I don't understand the hate; I thought this race was pretty good! It showed off many different parts of Denver, which was great. Packet pickup was in the inside concourse … MORE

I don’t understand the hate; I thought this race was pretty good! It showed off many different parts of Denver, which was great.

Packet pickup was in the inside concourse of the Broncos stadium, which was awesome. There were so many different energy shake stands there handing out free samples and even free bags of their product.

Start and finish was at City Park on the east side of Denver. We ran west, mostly on Colfax avenue, for the first half, and then east for the second half. We run on the river greenway around mile 4 and again on miles 20-22, Sloan Lake from miles 8-11, and even downtown from miles 22-24. Cool moments including running through a Denver fire station with a dozen cheering firefighters at mile 4, and running onto the edge of the Broncos field TWICE at mile 6 and mile 20. There were several young Chinese people doing a dragon dance at the edge of Sloan Lake, and they brought SO much energy to their dance, I loved it. I yelled ”你们都很漂亮!” (you are all so beautiful!) as I ran past, but they couldn’t hear me over the drums. Oh well 🙂

Plan for the sun: you run west and it will hit your neck for the first half, and you run east and will need sunglasses for the second half. Hills aren’t bad here. For flat state runners worried about the altitude: research says you will only get 83% as much oxygen in each breath at Denver’s altitude compared to sea level. However, this Illinois kid had no problems with it. I think it’s because I was never really running at full oxygen capacity. Your mouth dries very quickly if you mouth breathe, though. And altitude effects may affect different runners differently. I’m just saying that for me, it was not a problem.

Two things I loved about the production were the 6am start for marathoners, and splitting up marathoners and half marathoners. I loved that they knew it could get hot, so they started the race at 6am, the earliest I’ve ever seen. I was so grateful at the finish. And it was nice to have elbow room at the start because the half marathoners weren’t there. One thing I did not like: mile markers 17, 20, and 23 seemed to be missing. It’s demoralizing to run far more than a mile past the last marker, and still see nothing.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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Common marathoner knowledge: big city marathons try much harder on the first half of a marathon course to impress half marathoners, and then the quality dips for the last 13 … MORE

Common marathoner knowledge: big city marathons try much harder on the first half of a marathon course to impress half marathoners, and then the quality dips for the last 13 miles. This was the most egregious case yet!

Packet pickup was at the Kentucky International Convention Center, a really nice, shiny building downtown. The expo was great (even featuring some sports games!) The temperature for this race was borderline too hot, but the clouds kept it from being miserable. Surprisingly, not many hills. The first half of the course is *amazing* for a city this size. We start downtown, and run past the Louisville Slugger Museum, the University of Louisville, several nice neighborhoods, and even into Churchill Downs at mile 8, before finishing next to the Louisville women’s pro soccer stadium. All the city landmarks. Great crowd support and water stations. If I did the half, this would get 5 stars.

For the back half, we run onto a bridge and over the river into Indiana, where we do a 6 mile out and back on some greenways on the Indiana side. People said Louisville outsourced the second half to Indiana because they didn’t have enough police to secure enough intersections in Louisville.

Running on lonely greenways isn’t the worst, but I was really disappointed by the aid stations in Indiana. Almost all aid stations were only handing out WARM water bottles, no gatorade. In the 75 F heat, the warm water made me gag, and almost every runner took two sips of a bottle and threw it out, leading to massive water bottle waste. You’d think paper cups would have been cheaper and almost as easy. Some 7 year old kid finally saved me with an ice cold Gatorade around mile 23, and I almost cried, I was so sick of warm water bottles. Even at the finish line, there wasn’t a single person who could give me a cold cup of water! Just Powerade and warm water bottles.

Official parking is at the Lousville soccer stadium and is $10. We parked for free in a park parking lot northeast of the stadium on River Road, a mile away. Take your chances if you want.

Hills to watch out for:
-right at mile 14, running onto the bridge from Ky-Indiana, is a steep incline.
-just before mile 21 is a long uphill. You will run past this at mile 18, so you will be warned.
-at mile 24, getting back onto the bridge to run back into Louisville.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

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My first Rock n Roll race. They definitely brought a great party atmosphere to Nashville. We started near Broadway in downtown, and ended next to the Titans stadium. I can … MORE

My first Rock n Roll race. They definitely brought a great party atmosphere to Nashville. We started near Broadway in downtown, and ended next to the Titans stadium. I can handle hills, and to a lesser extent the heat, but the combo of heat (up to 80 F) and hills today was too much for me to handle. I slowed down at mile 21 and walked most of the rest of the way. And I had never slowed down to walk in a marathon before (this was my 10th).

What a great tour of Nashville, though. The course did a great job of touring the city, hitting up Broadway, the State Capitol, the riverside, Belmont/Vanderbilt, and finally the Titans stadium. Plenty of DJs and a fair amount of live music, and the volunteers did their best with water/gatorade/iced sponges/water-soaked towels. Just beware, we run into a park around a lake called Shelby Park from miles 20-23, and this park CLAIMS LIVES. Specifically, there is a hill we must run up twice that is like a 30 degree angle. Please save some energy for this park.

Parking is first-come first serve in the Titans stadium parking lot. Marathon started at 7:20 am and you could still find a spot almost up to start time. There were about 23,000 total runners across the races, I believe.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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Perfect day for running in St. Louis, low 60s, sunny, mild wind. The start line (Forest Park) is about 5 miles west of the finish line (on the north side … MORE

Perfect day for running in St. Louis, low 60s, sunny, mild wind. The start line (Forest Park) is about 5 miles west of the finish line (on the north side of downtown). There is a pre-race shuttle from downtown to Forest Park, or postrace vice versa. Parking in Forest Park is free, but they have most entrances blocked just before the race starts, so check the marathon website for a map of which park entrances are open.

The first half of the course takes you through some average-looking neighborhoods and barren city streets west of town, ending near the north side of downtown. If it is a sunny day, BRING SUNGLASSES, y’all. You will be running eastward into the sun for 2 hours straight. Luckily I had mine. The second half of the course is an out-and-back, 6.5 miles north along the Mississippi river banks. I clocked in at about 3:40, but some guy dressed in a Left Shark costume, blaring Katy Perry songs from a speaker, got 3:21. Hats off to him.

Pretty good crowd support. I was a little disappointed with the course, as it shied away from downtown and missed the landmarks, like WUSTL, the Arch, and the cool downtown streets.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
2
SWAG
3

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The packet pickup is adjacent to the capitol, but "Capitol Green" might not show up on Google Maps and the capitol security guards don't really know either. (Pro tip: follow … MORE

The packet pickup is adjacent to the capitol, but “Capitol Green” might not show up on Google Maps and the capitol security guards don’t really know either. (Pro tip: follow the music). The marathon course is a double loop around the town. The first two miles are in downtown, then we head out past Jackson State University. We run north, mostly on 40 mph hilly roads, and through one neighborhood, before coming back to the capitol. Roads are in phenomenal shape, and the police did a decent job of directing traffic. Previous reviewers complained about mile markers being off and unclear directions, but this year there were separate mile markers for loop 1 and loop 2. They fixed this issue. And I never was confused on the direction. Just follow the orange and/or yellow cones and you’ll be fine. I would advise you to drink at every aid station, because they are only every two miles, even in the home stretch.

Big ghost-town vibes in Jackson. Virtually nobody out downtown on Friday night or race day. This means almost no fans or supporters besides water stations. There were 2-3 blues musicians, but not quite the Beale Street-like blues atmosphere I hoped for. No loudspeaker music on the course except the start/finish line. I only saw one homemade sign (“May the course be with you”). A fire-and-brimstone preacher yelled at me that I would someday stand before God in judgment, coupled with signs of photoshopped abortion images too horrible to repeat. Really nauseating to see that 10 miles in, and AGAIN at 23 miles.

Rolling hills, comparable to Tulsa but slightly easier. Post-race food was small cups of beans and rice which was tasty. Some guy postrace said his watch only registered 25.84 miles, and I see another review that agrees the actual distance is sus. This marathon is still a BQ, but if that really bothers you, go somewhere else in Mississippi. I like running in big cities, and Jackson is by far the biggest in this state, but good grief it was lonely without the support. That’s my main reason for 3 stars.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
2
SCENERY
2
SWAG
2

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I am from central Illinois. I train on pancake-flat roads. The Route 66 Marathon course is almost constant hills. I would say an average of 1 to 1.5 uphill/downhill combos … MORE

I am from central Illinois. I train on pancake-flat roads. The Route 66 Marathon course is almost constant hills. I would say an average of 1 to 1.5 uphill/downhill combos every mile. If you are afraid of hills, I can confirm that an entire marathon of them will wreck your legs. But here is some good running and good life advice: “For every uphill, there is a downhill”. I compared my mile splits for hilly miles to flat miles, and the difference was only about 15 seconds. Trust your training, and know that you can make up much of the time you lost uphill, on the downhill.

The race starts with confetti cannons, which is cool. It is a good tour of Tulsa, as we hit the Philbrook Art Museum, run past the Gathering Place park, and through downtown a couple times to see all the Art Deco skyscrapers and the Mediterranean-style architecture all over the city. There are clocks at every mile, which is a nice touch. We ran onto the University of Tulsa at mile 19, which was also beautiful. Kudos to the race organizers for showing us all the best this city has to offer.

Four stands throughout the course offered shots of Fireball whiskey. Including one after just 1.5 miles.

The least swag I’ve ever gotten at a marathon. Just a quarter zip long sleeve shirt, some knit gloves, a few coupons, and a pack of tissues (?)

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I woke up at my home in east Illinois and drove to Indy the morning of. Very bad idea. I forgot the time change, so instead of an hour to … MORE

I woke up at my home in east Illinois and drove to Indy the morning of. Very bad idea. I forgot the time change, so instead of an hour to spare, I had 3-5 minutes before the race started. Thank goodness for the parking right next door to the race! There is a parking garage at 220 North Senate Avenue that is 3 stories and free all day, and there were still multiple spots minutes before race time. Park here if you’re from out of town!!!

We hit all the Indy landmarks either at the start of the race (Colts Stadium, Monument Square) or the end (State Capitol). In between, we mostly ran through nice neighborhoods and along roads with moderate traffic. It was indeed very flat, like other reviews say. 2 or 3 hills around the 10-15 mile stretch, but that’s it. Since there are 4000+ marathoners, be prepared to weave constantly for the first 7-8 miles. I missed my PR by 40 seconds and that might be why.

The coolest part of the race was miles 17-18, where we ran through a gate and into a sculpture park that turned into a business park. Everyone was saying “Boiler Up!” which annoyed me because I’m a University of Illinois grad student. I said “Go Illini” back to one of them, and he burst out laughing. What’s so funny?!?

Crowd support here was decent, but I think it was better in Fox Cities, WI and Portland, ME. We ran past Butler University on mile 17, and feeling lonely, I yelled “Go Bulldogs” at some guys wearing Butler shirts. THAT got them cheering for me like I was one of them 🙂

Hoosier trivia from miles 19-21 was cool. Signs with fun facts about famous Indianans definitely took my mind off the pain for a few miles.

Overall a solid race, and it dwarfs every other marathon in Indiana in size, location, and importance, so put this one on your 50 state bucket list. This was marathon #6 for me, and it was great, but nothing really special. My one complaint is the roads. Pretty much every road in Indianapolis is cracked and spitting out pieces of asphalt and ugly. I wish they would fix the roads, but that’s Indy’s problem, not this marathon’s. We ran past the Governor’s mansion around mile 15, and I yelled, “Mr. Governor, please fix the roads!” I hope he heard me.

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2
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3
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I traveled from central Illinois for this race. Thanks to covid, we weren't able to run into Windsor, Ontario like all the other years. I kept hearing how much we … MORE

I traveled from central Illinois for this race. Thanks to covid, we weren’t able to run into Windsor, Ontario like all the other years. I kept hearing how much we were missing out on this year.
We started and ended downtown, which was cool to run down streets with 30-story buildings. We ran up the northwest corridor of neighborhoods for the first half, went downtown at 13 miles to drop the half marathoners off, and then ran up the northeast side for the back end. Some marathoners say it’s tough mentally to run past the half marathon finish line. If this is you, prepare yourself mentally for that.
Belle Isle was both the highlight and lowlight of the race for me.
We ran onto it from miles 19-22, and while it was very pretty, you’d better prepare for 20-mph winds and goose droppings everywhere.
There were about 2000 marathoners this year, down from 4000+ a few years ago. Production and fan support were great, and the roar of the crowd echoing off the skyscrapers down the home stretch gave me chills, so it was a solid Michigan race.

*I heard “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen played on loudspeakers FOUR times.
*I’ve run past tables offering beer at races before, but here, one table (mile 15?) offered Bloody Marys, and some dude at mile 24 was even handing out shots of Fireball to runners. Y’all crazy, Detroit.

DIFFICULTY
3
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5
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I traveled from central Illinois to run this race. This is the only marathon in Maine that's accessible by public transportation. Everything else, you'd have to rent a car to … MORE

I traveled from central Illinois to run this race. This is the only marathon in Maine that’s accessible by public transportation. Everything else, you’d have to rent a car to get there.
If you’re a low-budget travel runner like me, fly to Boston-Logan airport first, then take a bus up to Portland ($25 or so each way). There is only one affordable place to stay within 5 miles of the start line, and that’s the Black Elephant Hostel, about 1.2 miles away. Everywhere else on the Portland peninsula is like $300/night for some reason. Since the Black Elephant was the only cheap place in town, there were 3 other marathoners also staying in my room!
If staying at the Black Elephant, book EARLY! Reserve a spot in June or July. They were sold out when I called on August 18th. Luckily, one bed opened up a few weeks later.
If you do have a car, there is tons of free parking at the Hannaford supermarket right next to the start line.
It was drizzling and ~55-60 F almost all race. You start and finish at the Back Cove park on the north side of Portland, and you run north for 6.5 miles if doing the half, 13 miles for the full. Running within a few hundred feet of the coast the whole time, with plenty of trees on either side of you. It was beautiful. Some minor hills, but nothing crazy. And for every uphill, there’s a downhill.
There was a minor sideways gradient on some of the road for a few miles around 7-10 and 15-18. Take this into account for your stride, so you don’t hurt your ankles/knee ligaments by running unevenly. But it’s not that steep. Just a small consideration.
Overall, I loved this course! You run past so many houses, and everyone comes out to cheer you on. Considering Maine is a small state, the crowd support here was awesome, and it feels soooo good to transition to gravel/dirt paths for the last mile into the Back Cove, which takes stress off your knees.

DIFFICULTY
3
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4
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I traveled from central Illinois to run this race. -Race expo had tons of goodies. Stock up on all the free swag and coupons you want. -The start line is … MORE

I traveled from central Illinois to run this race.

-Race expo had tons of goodies. Stock up on all the free swag and coupons you want.
-The start line is at the UW-Fox Cities campus, but don’t expect to be able to just drive up to the same building you picked up your packet at. If the parking lots are full, people will park at whatever businesses they want, a half mile down the road from the start line (Midway Road in Menasha). And I guess that was allowable. I parked at some auto repair shop, and nobody towed me away or complained.
-It was warmer than I had hoped. It got up to 79 degrees by the end of my marathon, probably a freak occurrence for mid-Sept in central Wisconsin. The entire rest of this week has been highs of 64-65.
-The best thing about this marathon is that they put your name on the bib, and EVERYONE cheers you on by name! I probably heard total stranger spectators cheer me on by name over a hundred times this race!
-Watch out for the straight stretch of road from miles 18-22. I am a runner who loves turns every half-mile or so. And I hate running on concrete roads in the 75 degree sun. I also broke my sunglasses at mile 15. There was ~4 miles of straight concrete road between 18-22, zero shade, that I really struggled with.
-There was a bridge over 3/4 mile of inlet from Lake Winnebago just before mile 23. Maybe the prettiest part of the race.
-Gu was provided at miles 14 and 21. Water and Gatorade roughly every mile.
-It was nice finishing in downtown Neenah, and there were tons of small snacks to pick up post race!
-Since the finish was 5 miles from the start, you have to take a bus back to the start. My uncle picked me up, so I can’t speak to how good the bus was.
-May not have been as scenic as Milwaukee Lakefront or Madison supposedly are, but if you’re a 50 stater like me, consider this one because there aren’t too many other good mid-September races out there (and the Fox Cities are pretty cool too).

Thanks Fox Cities!

*note: at mile 22, you cross two bridges. One is short, like 500 feet, and then suddenly there was a fork in the road and no cones or volunteers to tell you which way to go. I yelled for help, and someone suggested the correct way to go was right, across another bridge for 3/4 mile. Thank goodness he was correct. Fox Cities, if you see this, please mark that turn more clearly next year. If not for this, I would give race production 5 stars.

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4
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I drove 9.5 hours from eastern Illinois to run this marathon. The night before the race, there were record floods, and the morning of the race, they cancelled the full … MORE

I drove 9.5 hours from eastern Illinois to run this marathon. The night before the race, there were record floods, and the morning of the race, they cancelled the full marathon because many parts of the back end of the course were flooded. I was devastated and I felt sick. 625 miles of driving alone, for this.
They still ran the half marathon, though. I shrugged and decided to run that. I took all the energy I’d been saving for my marathon, and ran a 12 minute PR for the half. Oh well.
The half course was pretty good, though. You run through downtown a few times, and loop past Falls Park, which is Sioux Falls’ pride and joy. Great crowd support and the finish line was on a track, with the announcer yelling your name. Most of the course was parks and downtown, so you don’t really run through neighborhoods at all.

*a month later, I wondered, why did they have to cancel the marathon? Why couldn’t they have just run the half marathon course twice over?

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I traveled from eastern Illinois to run this race, my first post-covid race and first marathon in 2.5 years. The race expo was great, held in a hotel a few … MORE

I traveled from eastern Illinois to run this race, my first post-covid race and first marathon in 2.5 years. The race expo was great, held in a hotel a few blocks from the capitol building. Production was fantastic for the most part, except we couldn’t finish in the football stadium this year because the Huskers decided to hold their stupid spring game the day before and they couldn’t clean up the field in time for us. I got to hear all about how “it ain’t the same this year”. We finished on the adjacent track instead. Oh well.
Lincoln may not be the prettiest city, but this course milked what it had to offer, from the downtown to some nice neighborhoods to some quality parks. This is by far the biggest, oldest, and most reputable marathon in Nebraska, so it’s a good choice for you 50 staters looking to run in Nebraska.
Plenty of parking about a half mile away in some parking garages downtown.
The crowd support was amazing here. The city really showed up to cheer us on and plenty of spectators handed out water or beans or oranges as well as the official water tables. As other reviews say, they hand out cups with straws at the water tables here. Makes it easier to drink between steps.
I smoked the first half in about 1:48, but died on the back end (2:28). Mostly because I didn’t train enough, but also because the back half was a lot of black tar roads with little/no shade and it was sunny and low 70s by 10am. It got up to 89 that afternoon and I really struggled here, 25 minutes worse than any other marathon I’ve run (4 others so far). Be prepared for those tar roads, few turns, little shade on the back half if you run this one. I would still recommend this as a good Nebraska race!

DIFFICULTY
4
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3
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3
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4

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This was the final race of my career with HPU club running (and my last race for two years). I did the half marathon, and somersaulted over the finish because … MORE

This was the final race of my career with HPU club running (and my last race for two years). I did the half marathon, and somersaulted over the finish because it was grassy. It was a trail marathon, with some very narrow dirt trails here and there. I think they could have used another water station or two (there might have been three total?) and definitely one more near the end. I was pretty gassed because the bumpy trails do a number on the knees. But this is a general trail run gripe, nothing specific to Owls Roost. Maybe I just hit a wall, but I SWEAR the last two miles was more like three miles. I was running FOREVER before I finally got to the finish. And my time showed it. I usually run like low 1:50’s for half marathons. Oh well. Nice trail run, but no extraordinary scenery. Just classic NC forests.

*TONS of free canned beer at the end though. A lot of rarer craft beers too. I grabbed four or five different brands on my way out 😉

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This was my 3rd time running this race in 4 years. Once again, we ran through neighborhoods for the first 5 miles, then onto the campus of Wake Forest, down … MORE

This was my 3rd time running this race in 4 years. Once again, we ran through neighborhoods for the first 5 miles, then onto the campus of Wake Forest, down a massive hill, back up that huge hill at mile 8, and start/finished near a local YMCA. It was cool and cloudy today, perfect running weather. So much free food in the YMCA parking lot after the race, from oranges and bananas and bagels to chocolate milk and powerade, and a concert stand with some live music made this a great post-race party. See my 2017 report for more analysis.

I was dealing with severe mental health problems the night before this race :/ so I didn’t run my best. I hadn’t even smiled for 16 hours at that point, and severe depression will suck the life out of your legs. Thankfully, I recovered after the race, and my mental health is so much better now. This was a great race as always, and I’m thankful to everyone who volunteered and organized and cheered me on today! I still chuckle when I think about that I ran a half marathon while s**cidal. Lol.

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This was my first marathon, and I had never run more than 18 miles. I rode 4 hours here with my running club team from High Point, NC, and we … MORE

This was my first marathon, and I had never run more than 18 miles. I rode 4 hours here with my running club team from High Point, NC, and we rented a vacation home on the beach and hung out all weekend. Race expo was in a local middle school, and had plenty of vendors and merchandise.
As the title mentions, I did a floss dance before the start of the race for good luck, and miraculously I finished. My IT band in my hip was so tight for a few miles, but I ate a Gu for the first time at mile 7 and everything healed like magic. Also, someone gave me Mountain Dew when I was struggling at mile 21 and the pure sugar was another magic energy boost. The crowd support along the course was average, but we finished in downtown Manteo and there was definitely a party going on there.
Scenery included running past the Wright Brothers Memorial around mile 8, a forest from miles 10-13, some nice coastal neighborhoods from miles 16-20, and a two-mile bridge from miles 22-23. Everyone said it was a steep heartbreak bridge that forced you to walk, but maybe that Mountain Dew kicked in because I crushed it. On the bridge, I saw pelicans diving headfirst into the water below to catch fish, a pretty scene that still brings a smile to my face. The last mile was suspiciously long (seemed more like 1.2 or 1.3), but otherwise it was such a beautiful, emotional experience.

DIFFICULTY
2
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4
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4
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3

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The most difficult race I have run in my nine year career. Maybe I am soft because I don't run trail races much, but water stops were every 3 miles … MORE

The most difficult race I have run in my nine year career. Maybe I am soft because I don’t run trail races much, but water stops were every 3 miles which was NOT enough for a September race in North Carolina. I actually finished the first 8 miles in an hour flat, but totally ran out of gas for the last six miles. I’ll never forget how hard the last mile or two was, just a nightmare. I’m grateful to the Winston Salem State track team for handing out water, but I really needed more aid stations, every 1.5 miles or 2 miles maximum. I could hardly stand after I crossed the finish.

The course looped around Salem Lake, and a little ways out into the forest. Definitely a scenic run, although parts of the trail were low-lying and one area was flooded by a foot of water. Some tough hills around miles 9-11, and dirt trails around the 7-mile lake which should be easy on the knees.

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5
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2
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Starts and ends in downtown High Point, and since it's the second Saturday of September in North Carolina, expect a cooker. Other than downtown, you get some nondescript 30-40 mph … MORE

Starts and ends in downtown High Point, and since it’s the second Saturday of September in North Carolina, expect a cooker. Other than downtown, you get some nondescript 30-40 mph roads to run on, and a few decent hills. Not too memorable. I just remember that I was in an all-out sprint with my running club teammate (and roommate) to the finish, and I beat him by two seconds. You can pick up your packet on race day, and free parking is just a short walk away. Probably some Gatorade and chocolate milk at the finish line, I can’t remember.

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One of my favorite and best half marathons! This race starts and finishes at the White Family YMCA in Winston-Salem. The first 4-5 miles are around some neighborhoods, and at … MORE

One of my favorite and best half marathons! This race starts and finishes at the White Family YMCA in Winston-Salem. The first 4-5 miles are around some neighborhoods, and at mile 5 you run onto the Wake Forest campus. At mile 6 there is a HUGE downhill so steep that you have to hold yourself back. Briefly run through a wooded area at mile 6 before a mile or two of residential streets, then you return the way you came. There is a clock at the 6.5 mile mark to show you how you’re doing. I think you dip onto the WFU campus again around mile 8, and some of the Demon Deacon track team will cheer you on. Try saying “Go Demon Deacons!”, and they will explode with cheering. You have to climb that monster hill again at mile 9, pass through the Wake campus one more time, then it’s just 2 miles to the finish. I ran this one 3 times, and it’s always great weather, slightly chilly, but a great Triad atmosphere. Great after-race party with lots of granola bars and bananas and hot water for oatmeal/hot chocolate, and oranges and chocolate milk and Gatorade. Almost a full lunch right there! Well organized race, good weather, good city. Nice pre-holiday race to burn off the turkey.

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4
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This race was both a 7 miler and a 30K. Salem Lake has a 7 mile loop, so the 7 mile race=1 lap. It's a strange distance. Most of the … MORE

This race was both a 7 miler and a 30K. Salem Lake has a 7 mile loop, so the 7 mile race=1 lap. It’s a strange distance. Most of the first 6 miles is packed dirt trail near the lake, and then there is a MASSIVE hill in the last half mile that many people walk up. But if you survive that, the downhill will cannonball you to the finish line. It’s so satisfying to finish in an all-out sprint, and I overtook one woman in the last hundred meters when I ran this in 2017. In the heat of competition, I growled, “I’mma hunt you down” right before I passed her. Afterward, I cringed at my monstrous muttering. Adrenaline will make you say weird things.

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This was a pretty run in mid-July near Lake Phalen to raise money for refugees. The DJing and pre-race food were solid, and looking back, it was a nice course … MORE

This was a pretty run in mid-July near Lake Phalen to raise money for refugees. The DJing and pre-race food were solid, and looking back, it was a nice course that ran next to the lake for pretty much all course. Sadly, it was the worst time I have ever gotten in a 5k despite having run since 2012, because I didn’t run all summer AND I overstretched. Add that to a nice sunny mid-July day and lake-effect wind. But don’t let that stop you! Objectively, it was a nice lake race. I just nearly died because I didn’t train all summer.

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3
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Beautiful trails, but not a whole lot of markings showing which path to take. Not a whole lot of race production (the only time I've ever had to stop at … MORE

Beautiful trails, but not a whole lot of markings showing which path to take. Not a whole lot of race production (the only time I’ve ever had to stop at a stoplight during a race, because traffic was not blocked off.)
It was pouring rain the last two miles, and I don’t recall very clear markings on which way to run. I just guessed at a trail or two in the last few miles.
And this is a 20k, not a half marathon. The race website says 20k, which is 12.2 miles. I thought it was a half marathon when I ran it, and was confused when I saw my time, which was 5-10 minutes faster than I knew I was capable of running in April 2017.

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2
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It was rainy and gloomy today, and we started and ended right next to an old church in Winston-Salem, I think. This was St. Patrick's Day weekend so everyone was … MORE

It was rainy and gloomy today, and we started and ended right next to an old church in Winston-Salem, I think. This was St. Patrick’s Day weekend so everyone was wearing green shirts and beads. Tons of kids running this 5K here and plenty of casual runners. I did it with my running club from High Point University. I seem to remember winning an age group award, but that didn’t matter because I was beaten by someone running in the full Chick-fil-A cow costume. He/she beat me by a minute in the 10K (46 minutes!!), and it remains one of the most incredible things I’ve seen in 9 years of running. Those costumes are a heat stroke waiting to happen. This guy’s costume shoes were falling apart on the home stretch and he still kept grinding. Mad props to this mad cow.

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4
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How did I even run this race? Still waiting for the ESPN documentary on my comeback... I pulled my quad muscle in my right thigh BAD, a week before the … MORE

How did I even run this race? Still waiting for the ESPN documentary on my comeback…

I pulled my quad muscle in my right thigh BAD, a week before the race. I was part of High Point University club running, and I consulted the team physical therapist 2 days before the race, who said I had a pulled quadriceps but didn’t ban me from running it. I went for a run that evening, and I was pretty much crying from pain and gave up at mile 4. My gait was so uneven, I limped like a rocking horse just 48 hours before race time. And yet, I got up, ran the race, and everything was perfectly fine. Whatever lol

Enough about me. Early December race, and it was right around freezing. My 2017 review has better detail, but we ran in neighborhoods for 4 miles, crossed into Wake Forest at mile 5, went down a huge hill at mile 6, went back up it at mile 8, Wake Forest again from 8-10, wound past a school and some houses before finishing next to the YMCA. I only got 1hr57min, but I was stunned that I even finished.

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Not important details: -I ran the 10k, not 5k (but 5k is the only thing listed here) -Start/finish line was in a parking lot, right next to a government office … MORE

Not important details:
-I ran the 10k, not 5k (but 5k is the only thing listed here)
-Start/finish line was in a parking lot, right next to a government office or something. You can wait inside that building before the race starts if you’re cold, or if you need water or need to pee
-I think you could park on the side of the road a little ways from the start. We took a bus.
-Pretty good race production, and I ran this on Halloween 2015, so plenty of Halloween spirit. Many runners decided to dress up as costumes
-I just remember running through a lot of neighborhoods, and a decent amount of hills
-A solid black long sleeve shirt with a skull on it that I still wear
IMPORTANT DETAILS!!!
-I watched 3 people wearing Rock, Paper, and Scissors costumes finish together in ’15. Props to them for running 6 miles looking like B-level mascots XD

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My first half marathon. I was 18 when I ran this, and actually I started a minute or two late. My back left knee ligament hurt all race because I … MORE

My first half marathon. I was 18 when I ran this, and actually I started a minute or two late. My back left knee ligament hurt all race because I undertrained. But it checked all the boxes of a big city race. Starts and finishes downtown, runs through a few scenic neighborhoods, plenty of water stations and music on speakers, cars rushing past you on a half-closed road. I think we ran around Uptown for the first five miles, then ventured into Myers Park between 5-10, before heading into the city the last three miles. Myers Park is one of the prettiest neighborhoods in Charlotte, so enjoy. Back in my day (2015) it was called the BB&T Corporate Cup. Only two finishers in my age group (about 1200 finishers total), so I stood on a podium at a postrace ceremony with some kid who had beat me by 40 minutes.
*My ears were more sensitive back then, and my funniest memory is that some dude was CRANKING “Pour Some Sugar On Me” on a speaker at mile 11, so loud that I could feel it vibrating my ear drum. I actually ran faster, to get away from the deafeningly loud music!

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5
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I can't remember too much about this one, except that it runs through Jetton Park in Cornelius, which is beautiful. I ran this in 2013 and took a wrong turn … MORE

I can’t remember too much about this one, except that it runs through Jetton Park in Cornelius, which is beautiful. I ran this in 2013 and took a wrong turn 0.3 miles from the finish, because a volunteer waving a flag at an intersection shrugged when I asked her for directions. But I think ’14 was better.

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3
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3rd year in a row running this in 2014. A lot of my memories for this one blur with 2012 and 2013, but once again a nice day, great turnout, … MORE

3rd year in a row running this in 2014. A lot of my memories for this one blur with 2012 and 2013, but once again a nice day, great turnout, start and finish in downtown Davidson, run through a greenway and a few neighborhoods. I think Run for Green has been around since 2006, so one of the classic LKN 5k races.

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If you signed up for a 5k in early July in North Carolina, you know what you're getting into. This race starts and ends next to the Huntersville Family Fitness … MORE

If you signed up for a 5k in early July in North Carolina, you know what you’re getting into. This race starts and ends next to the Huntersville Family Fitness and Aquatics center. You go downhill to Statesville Road, then take the exit ramp down to Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road. Since it was all downhill, my first mile was 6:40 (still my fastest mile split in a race ever), but miles 2 and 3 were about 9 minutes each. From Mt. Holly-Huntersville, you go to Old Statesville Road, then onto Verhoeff Drive where you finish up at the HFFA. Not much beauty, just 45 mph roads. I think you get a blue shirt as swag.

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I ran this again in 2014. Got a disappointing time again. Oh well. The charity was a great cause, and the production was great, with a block party feel in … MORE

I ran this again in 2014. Got a disappointing time again. Oh well. The charity was a great cause, and the production was great, with a block party feel in the parking lot of North Meck High School. IIRC, you start on Alexandriana Road and cross the I-77 bridge almost immediately, then run on Mt. Holly-Huntersville to Old Statesville, and finish up on Hambright Road by sneaking in the back entrance of NMHS.

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My second year running this. If I recall correctly, I started out way too fast, and I think I was 3rd place half a mile in, before dropping like a … MORE

My second year running this. If I recall correctly, I started out way too fast, and I think I was 3rd place half a mile in, before dropping like a hundred places. But I took one minute off last year’s time. Again, it starts downtown near the fork in the road by the Flatiron Kitchen & Taphouse. Huge downhill at mile 1, winds into a greenway and then goes into neighborhoods for the last 1.5 miles before finishing downtown again, near beautiful Davidson College. I think the DC women’s lacrosse team ran it this year, and I beat most of them, including 2 or 3 I was neck and neck with down the final stretch. Not much of a flex, but I was proud of myself then.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

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Probably the simplest 5k I've run so far. All it was, was a there-and-back run entirely on Devonshire Drive, in a neighborhood near Birkdale Village. We started near the Birkdale … MORE

Probably the simplest 5k I’ve run so far. All it was, was a there-and-back run entirely on Devonshire Drive, in a neighborhood near Birkdale Village. We started near the Birkdale Swim & Tennis clubhouse and ran to Northcross Drive, then turned around and came back. Tar roads, super hilly, and it was mid-May so one of the hotter 5ks I’ve ever run. I was gassed.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
2
SWAG
3

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This race starts and ends at North Meck High School. Not as pretty as some 5ks in Davidson or Cornelius. Since it ran mostly on 45 mph roads around the … MORE

This race starts and ends at North Meck High School. Not as pretty as some 5ks in Davidson or Cornelius. Since it ran mostly on 45 mph roads around the outskirts of Huntersville, I did terribly the two years I ran it (I liked park runs more back then). But it was definitely for a good cause, commemorating all the local high schoolers who have lost their lives since 1997. The production and DJing was great, but the course was meh.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
2
SWAG
4

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This was my second 5k, and it was maybe 45 degrees outside, which was cold for me at the time. If I recall correctly, it starts near the Harris Teeter … MORE

This was my second 5k, and it was maybe 45 degrees outside, which was cold for me at the time. If I recall correctly, it starts near the Harris Teeter in Cornelius at the corner of Jetton Road and Catawba Avenue, and runs up Jetton for a mile, into some neighborhoods for a mile, then back. The run benefits lung cancer awareness/research. I got a light blue long-sleeve shirt I still wear on occasion, 9 years later. Naturally, plenty of free parking because it starts/ends in a shopping center. Running on Jetton Road, you have to stay on the right side because cars are driving on the left side. There are 2 races, 5k and 15k, and the year I ran it (2012), some legend ran the 15k in 49 minutes. Must’ve been a DI cross country runner. Hahaha.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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This was my first 5k. I battled a lot of side stitches around mile 2 and doubted I could finish, but I kept running. It starts and ends in downtown … MORE

This was my first 5k. I battled a lot of side stitches around mile 2 and doubted I could finish, but I kept running. It starts and ends in downtown Davidson, which is scenic. I think there was a mister or two around mile 1.5 this year, as September 15 can still be hot in NC.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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