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@jrohlede

Fort Wayne, IN Raving since 2014 Boston Marathon finisher, Seven Continents Club active 3 months, 1 week ago

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Half Marathon

Marathon

Ultramarathon

(Marathon &/or Ultra) + Half

Marathon + Ultra

Other

Personal Bests (2)

Race Distance Location Date Result
Marathon Carmel, IN Apr 18, 2015 4:04:46
Half Marathon La Fontaine, IN Jun 25, 2017 2:12:47

Future Races (0)

Race Distance Location Date Paid

Past Races (25)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
Half Marathon Islamorada, FL Dec 8, 2018 2:23:00
Marathon Levis, Canada Oct 14, 2018 5:28:00
Marathon Stockholm, Sweden Jun 2, 2018 5:27:00
Half Marathon Laughlin, NV Dec 2, 2017 2:17:53
Half Marathon La Fontaine, IN Jun 25, 2017 2:12:47
Half Marathon Santa Ynez, CA May 13, 2017 2:14:00
Marathon Hopkinton, MA Apr 17, 2017 4:48:55
Marathon Fort Wayne, IN Oct 1, 2016 4:55:00
Marathon London, United Kingdom Apr 24, 2016 5:28:00
Marathon Tokyo, Japan Feb 28, 2016 4:55:00
Marathon Mobile, AL Jan 10, 2016 4:37:00
Marathon Rio, Brazil Jul 26, 2015 4:30:00
Marathon South Bend, IN Jun 6, 2015 4:29:00
Marathon Beijing, China May 16, 2015 5:56:00
Marathon Carmel, IN Apr 18, 2015 4:04:46
Marathon Staten Island, NY Nov 2, 2014
Marathon Detroit, MI Oct 18, 2014
Marathon Berlin, Germany Sep 28, 2014 4:34:00
Marathon Staten Island, NY 2013
Marathon San Francisco, CA 2013 4:50:00
Marathon Cincinnati, OH 2012
Marathon Alice Springs, Australia 2012
Marathon St Petersburg, Russia 2011 4:58:39
Marathon Martinsville, IN 2010
Marathon Lake Buena Vista, FL 2008 4:27:00

My Raves

SSQ Quebec City Marathon

SSQ Quebec City Marathon

They redid the course and moved the date from Aug to Oct so this review will be based on just the new course. Nothing to compare it to from previous … MORE

They redid the course and moved the date from Aug to Oct so this review will be based on just the new course. Nothing to compare it to from previous years.

Expo – easy packet pick up. Lots of nice people. Not a lot of expo exhibitors so easy in easy out

Start – about 1900 people in the marathon. Nice smooth start right on time.

Weather – had perfect weather. In the mid 30’s at the start warming to sunny and in the 40’s

Course – hilly hilly hilly. First 4 miles downhill thru Old Quebec then about 8 miles out and back on really nice bike path thru greenery and parks. Then mile 12 thru 17 are straight back up hill back to Old Quebec. Then 2 or 3 miles thru a park then the last 7 or 8 miles out a main road thru a neighborhood and bac again. Rolling hills the whole way. The trees were changing and the whole area is awash in color.

Just as a warning – on the website there are timing checkpoints and a marathon time limit of 6 hours. These checkpoints are enforced. Saw them loading people up on buses that didn’t make the times. Nobody on the results page with finish time greater than 6 hours.

Swag – very nice designed medal. Not to big or small. Official marathon merchandise was very limited in a very small booth at the expo

Crowd – lots of tourist cutting in and across the road. So beware. But lots of nice people cheering you on everywhere.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3

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Stockholm Marathon

Stockholm Marathon

From the beginning.... Expo and package pick up - expo held at the tennis center near the start / finish. For the amount of people in the marathon - 20,000 … MORE

From the beginning….
Expo and package pick up – expo held at the tennis center near the start / finish. For the amount of people in the marathon – 20,000 (sold out) was expecting more vendors. Maybe 20 vendors total. Other than that package pick up was easy in easy out.

Web site / transportation / info – very good. Race day called for high temps and web site and emails on preparations were good and consistent.
Took the train / subway to the start. Instructions to the start were clear and easy and subway was free for all marathoners on Marathon day.

The start – started outside the Royal stadium. Were allowed to sit and wait inside the stadium until race time. Bathrooms were plentiful. Also could wait in large field outside stadium.

The race…..
The bad – starts at noon. Was sunny and 82 at start. Sunny all run with temps in the mid 80’s. They added extra water stops / showers / water troughs along the course to accommodate the heat. But why start a major marathon at noon? Even if it was not exceptionally hot why not start it at 7 or 8?
The water stops were horrible. First they were all almost flooded due to the extra water at each stop. It was like running thru a creek at each stop. And I hate to ever say anything bad about volunteers but at every water stop they waited until you came up the water stop to pour you a glass of water or Gatorade. Had to stop at almost every water stop.
The good – very organized. Scenic course.

The course – depends on how you like your marathon courses. Long straight aways or lots of twist and turns. This one fell into the twist and turns category. Was mostly flat but quite a few rolling hills and the famous 2 mile ‘Climb’ at mile 20. Passed some of the same sites 3 times. Finished with a lap inside the stadium on the track.

Bling – very avg medal and running shirt. Had to finish to get the shirt.
All in all some good some bad. New course this year so can’t compare it to previous years.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
2

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Islamorada Half Marathon & 10K

Islamorada Half Marathon & 10K

Good half marathon in warm weather at years end for staying in long run and marathon shape . Note - this years race - December 2017’s was moved to Feb … MORE

Good half marathon in warm weather at years end for staying in long run and marathon shape .

Note – this years race – December 2017’s was moved to Feb 2018 due to hurricane. Moving back to Dec for this years race.

We ran this race to do a good half marathon while we were on vacation in Miami Fl. The race is on the Fl Keys – Islamorada. About half way thru the Keys. About 1.5 hours from Miami.

We drove from Miami the morning of the race. Race started at 7 am. Course was very nice and mostly flat with ocean views. It was sunny and warm this year so it was hard on us after not running in warm weather for 4 months.

Staging was good and race volunteers were great.
Water stops frequent and adequate. So to sum up. Good small half marathon to run if you are in the area. Wouldn’t make a special trip to run it.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

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Run Laughlin Half Marathon, 5K & 12K

Run Laughlin Half Marathon, 5K & 12K

Interesting race to do if you happen to be in Laughlin Nevada the first week in December. They offer a 5k, 10k and half. Did the half. For the start … MORE

Interesting race to do if you happen to be in Laughlin Nevada the first week in December. They offer a 5k, 10k and half. Did the half.

For the start they bus you from the Tropicana Casino in Laughlin to about 3 miles north to the start line. Start line is at the local high school. Gym was open and warm and restrooms were open. So good beginnings. But – always the but…
Race was suppose to start at 7 am. So about 6:55 they call us out of the gym to the start line but then tell everybody to go back because the course isn’t finished being set up yet. So after a 20 minute delay we are called back out for the opening ceremony’s. National Anthem and speeches. The interesting part of this was when it was the race directors turn to speak they announced he wasn’t there due to work commitments. Really? The race director couldn’t make his own race? Never heard that before.
So off we go. The first mile and half is around the high school. About a half mile hill straight up from 1 to 1.5. So far pretty unimpressed. But then the saving grace (sort of). The course then heads out into the sothern Nevada desert for 10 or 11 miles of hills and scenery. Views of the desert and sun coming up over the mountains were great. Mile 7.5 to 10 are across the Davis dam with really nice views while crossing from Nevada into Arizona – two different time zones – then turning around and going back.
Then run a couple of miles back to the city / casinos along the Colorado River. Really nice. Last mile is down casino row.
Just when I thought the course had redeemed the technical flaws – Surprise. When crossing the finish line you get a piece of paper saying they didn’t order enough medals. They would ship them later when they got them. I was in the top half so the were short medals for about 50% of the field. The said if you really wanted a medal to hang around until 2 pm and they would give you one from 2016. So much for redemption.
So to recap – run the race for the weather, course and scenery. Very very hilly and challenging course. We had great weather. Sunny and in the upper 50’s to mid 60’s.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
4
SWAG
2

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Mississinewa Mini Marathon

Mississinewa Mini Marathon

Good flat half marathon in the summer heat. Real small and on country roads. Good training half for fall marathons. Out in the middle of no where in central Indiana. … MORE

Good flat half marathon in the summer heat. Real small and on country roads. Good training half for fall marathons. Out in the middle of no where in central Indiana. Kind of pricey at $60. Finisher medal given but really not worth it. Nice flat course. Some water stops were manned some were self serve. People / volunteers / race director (all 2 or 3 of them) were really nice. Minor traffic on roads during race.
Run this race if you are in the area and want to do a summer time distance run

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
1

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Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon

Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon

Great course thru parts of California wine country. Very scenic. Lots of rolling hills with a nasty 3/4 of a mile uphill at mile 7 (corkscrew hill). Was a warm … MORE

Great course thru parts of California wine country. Very scenic. Lots of rolling hills with a nasty 3/4 of a mile uphill at mile 7 (corkscrew hill). Was a warm day so made the race challenging. Race organization and packet pickup were great. While at packet pickup – which was outdoors (that’s a first) be sure to visit the RaceRaves tent and meet the owners of RaceRaves Mike and Katie. They seemed really nice.
Only complaint was the lack of Gatorade. Lots of water stops but only 2 had Gatorade. On a hot day it would have been better than just water. Glad it was only a half instead of a full.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon

Boston was my 6th major and was geeked about doing it. Trained hard and heavy for it so was ready to go. There has to be thousands of reviews for … MORE

Boston was my 6th major and was geeked about doing it. Trained hard and heavy for it so was ready to go. There has to be thousands of reviews for Boston already so will try to touch on the areas I found unique from other marathons.
First – weather. Sunny and 70. Toasty but not death defying
Second – talking to people about their times. When doing Boston you have to remember that you are running with really good runners. After the race talking to people at the hotel in my age group (60 – 64) about their run and having them say the weather really slowed them down to like a 3:30 instead of a 3:20. It is just mind boggling how many good runners there are in Boston.
Third – security. Visible but just so much more relaxed than NY. Was more like a small marathon with 35,000 people. Expected pat downs and evil eyes but it was all good. Didn’t see the hundreds of police in the crowd but was told by spectators they were there
Fourth – people. Everybody, volunteers, crowd, hotel all were great

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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Fort4Fitness Fall Festival

Fort4Fitness Fall Festival

1st time Fort4Fitness - Fort Wayne's major race - has added a marathon. Previous versions of the race have included a 4 miler, 10k, half marathon, 19.2 miler or 23.2 … MORE

1st time Fort4Fitness – Fort Wayne’s major race – has added a marathon. Previous versions of the race have included a 4 miler, 10k, half marathon, 19.2 miler or 23.2 miler. They decided to drop the 19.2 miler and the 23.2 miler and add a full marathon.
So to start at the beginning.

Registration and package pick up – easy and no problem. About 10,000 people participate and all went well.

Race parking and start – no problems. Marathon started a half hour before the other races so parking was easy and close.

Now for the problems…..
1) prerace problems – as usual 90% of the attention was on the 10k and half marathon. About 6,000 people between the two and only about 350 people in the marathon so marathon seemed to be treated as an after thought. Very common in multi distance races – big and small. Las Vegas is a prime example.
There was basically no prerace advertisement done for the marathon except in the local area. Not even listed on marathonguide.com or any other marathon calendar.
They need to decide if this race – by race I mean all the races – is for fun for the local community and meant to raise local enthusiasm for general fitness and cater to the walkers / joggers / lets have fun crowd or have it that way and also cater to the serious runners.
The course – this was the worse part of the whole thing and I can’t see any serious marathoner wanting to run it in it’s current iteration.
The marathon course is basically 4 loops around the somewhat same area. Boring and flat.
The first loop was a 3 mile loop. Then back to the beginning then a 10k loop (same a the 4 mile loop with a couple of miles added) then back to the beginning then a half marathon loop, then back to the beginning then a four mile finishing loop. Same parts of the 10k loop. then we finish – wait for it…..
back at the start that we have now passed 4 times
Marathon started at 7 a.m and then the next race (4 miler) started at 7:30. Well guess what?? If you are running the marathon at a 9 mile pace you run right into the rear of the slow runners and walkers from the 4 miler. Then the half marathon started at 8:30. So guess what?? If you are running a 9 mile marathon pace you run right into the back of the slow runners and walkers from the start of the half marathon. Garmin clocked 26.65 from all the weaving and bobbing to avoid 4 across walkers.
The reason given for the 4 loops was logistics and police cost. Okay how about we run the half course twice. All the police and water stops already there.
So basically the course sucked. Either drop the marathon or fix the course.

The finish and bling – Happy to have it over. Medal was small and same size as the half, 10k and 4 mile race medals. Don’t really care but once again shows the commitment to the marathon as opposed to the other races.

Final thoughts – fix the marathon or drop it.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
2
SWAG
2

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London Marathon

London Marathon

Ran London as number 5 of 6 wmm's. Had run Tokyo 6 weeks earlier on a torn meniscus, came back had surgery then 4 weeks later ran London. So knew … MORE

Ran London as number 5 of 6 wmm’s. Had run Tokyo 6 weeks earlier on a torn meniscus, came back had surgery then 4 weeks later ran London. So knew it was going to be a long slow run. It was a PW (personal worst) for me except for the year of the Chicago marathon heat a thon. So here we go
1) Arrived in London 3 days before the marathon after a week sightseeing in Ireland. According to the Garmin we were doing anywhere from 8 to 15 miles a day walking and sightseeing. The three days before the marathon in London were no different. Girlfriend and travel partners had no mercy on future marathoners or recovering knees. So knew tired legs were going to unavoidable. Weather was cooperative – mostly cloudy everyday with temps in the 40’s and low 50’s.
2) The expo was easy in and easy out. Not being big expo hanger ons we picked up our bibs, bought some official Virgin London Marathon stuff and hit the exits, all within an hour. No lines for t-shirt pick up. You have to finish the race to get your shirt.
3) Race start / course – Just like NY and Boston they bus you out to a field in the middle of no where and you run back into town. Corrals were easy to find and bathrooms were a plenty. No comes the starts of the buts…..
4) The race – great race but….course was so crowded the we actually physically stopped 3 times in the first 2 miles. No where to go. Have run 51 marathons and this was the most crowded course I have ever been on and that includes Tokyo which was the previous most crowded course I had ever been on. It never thinned out. No place to pass people. Water stops were hard to get to thru all the people. Speaking of the water stops – but #2. Plenty of stops but….they gave you full plastic bottles of water or gator-aid. Most people took two or three sips of the drink and threw the bottle away. Everybody who I talked to who ran the race all said the same think – what a huge waste of money. And some idiots didn’t even bother to throw there bottles to the side, just dropped them on the course. There were many injuries from people tripping and falling over water bottles. Please fix this.
Miles 1 – 12 were pretty non descript. Miles 12 to 26 were great. Running by the Tower of London twice was keeno. The rest of the course was scenic and nice. Flat and fast. Well fast for those who are fast….
4) Crowd Support – BEST EVER. I thought NY and Chicago had great crowd support but the London people lined the course 5 to 10 deep at every spot. Where NY and Chicago have spots with great crowd support the whole city of London must come out to support this race. IT WAS AMAZING.
5) finish and medal – Good finish and nice understated medal.

So happy to have major #5 in the books with injury and slow times. Best parts of London marathon are scenery and crowd support. Worse parts are crowds of runners and dangerous plastic water bottles.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

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Tokyo Marathon

Tokyo Marathon

Currently running all 6 of the majors. Tokyo was major number 4 and marathon number 50. Always best to start at the beginning so here we go Expo - the … MORE

Currently running all 6 of the majors. Tokyo was major number 4 and marathon number 50. Always best to start at the beginning so here we go

Expo – the first thing we noticed about Tokyo was the crowds. There were people everywhere. Arrived in Tokyo Friday evening before the race at 5 pm at the main subway station used by 3 million people. It seemed all 3 million were there at that time. Went to the expo on Sat. Packet pickup was easy and well organized but after picking up your packet to leave you have to walk thru the vendor area. This is an assault on your senses. instead of just the normal people behind the tables in booths there are people in the aisles yelling and screaming at you in Japanese and trying to constantly hand you flyers of who knows what. Blaring music, flashing neon signs, and what seemed like hundreds of thousands of people add to the assault.

Tokyo – the people of Tokyo were so nice and polite. City is spotless and easy to get around on via subway and or taxi. Food was great. Great big city but it is a big city. Change the signs from Japanese to English and you could be in NY. After the race we left Tokyo and spent 4 days in Kyoto. Highly recommended. If you want to learn the history and see the major Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples be sure to do Kyoto

The race – this is where it went downhill for me.
The start – our hotel was right at the start. There were 7 lettered starting areas a thru g. To get to your assigned starting area you had to go thru one of 6 gates. So I was in gate 4 start F. Had to walk a mile or so to get to gate 4 to get into my starting area F which was a block from my hotel. So confused from the start but finally made it.
The weather – great day for running. Partly cloudy mid 40’s to mid 50’s.
The course – flat, boring and crowded. The first 6 miles are actually downhill then a couple of 4 mile out and backs before heading to the finish line. It was jammed packed with people the whole way. Never a break. So of course passing people constantly added distance to the race. Nothing to exciting to see on the course. All the majors are big city runs and I guess I am becoming jaded running by not being interested in running by the Tokyo bus station or the ministry of Health. Have run so many more interesting courses. The only really interesting part are the costumes. There were more costumes worn than any other race I have run. Anything you can think of. Don’t know what any of them had to do with running or marathoning. The finish was horrible boring – in the parking lot of a coliseum type building which they then funneled you thru. Took about an hour to get thru shuffling a step at a time with the thousands of other finishers.
Crowd support – unbelievable. Bigger and better than NY or Chicago. Of course everybody was yelling at you in Japanese but still fun.

So overall final comments. Japan was great. People and food were great. Marathon was boring but well run. Kyoto was great. So to do the six majors you have to do Tokyo but don’t expect any wow factor at all. Just another big city marathon.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

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Mobile Marathon (fka First Light Marathon)

Mobile Marathon (fka First Light Marathon)

In looking at most reviews for this race they are based on the b2b with Jackson Ms. Didn't do the B2B so probably got to see more of the city … MORE

In looking at most reviews for this race they are based on the b2b with Jackson Ms. Didn’t do the B2B so probably got to see more of the city before the race and enjoy the course more than the exhausted B2Bers.
Running this course on a partially torn meniscus so decided to just take it easy and enjoy – as much as you can ‘enjoy’ a 26.2 mile run. Did about a 10 minute pace so had time to look at the course and surroundings.
Arrived in Mobile on Sat the day before the race and it was sunny and 74 but a promised cold front came thru the next morning making the weather just right for running. On Sat walked the downtown area and the waterfront. Both really nice areas with some funky shops and restaurants.
Stayed at the Holiday Inn downtown – can’t recommend it highly enough. Good price, right at the start and finish lines, and late checkout. Package pickup at the expo was simple and right next to the hotel. Well not really an expo – more like a couple of tables, some decked out Southern Belles in full deep south plantation dresses and a couple of vendor tables.
Met my running friend that evening for dinner – he was doing the B2B and the shuttle from Jackson didn’t arrive until 6:30. Ate at a restaurant right by the hotel. All you can eat pasta dinner was offered at the restaurant but opted for waffles and chicken instead. Apparently the races all you can eat pasta dinner has been discontinued due to some peoples gastric distress from the year before. For more on that topic see the owner’s of raveraves.com Mike Sohaskey’s blog on the b2b from 2015.
As for the actual race – starts at 7:30. Very small race – about 1100 total participants. Only about 350 full marathoners. Weather was fine. Mid 40’s all the way thru the race with the sun coming out for the last 6 miles of the race. The first eight miles the full and half people run together pretty much thru the downtown area. Same area I had walked the day before. So I had seen and read about the historical buildings we were running by. After the full people split off from the half the course turned into a typical marathon course. Out to hooterville and back. But along the way there were some interesting sights. Running thru some of the older large home neighborhoods and seeing the teardowns and the mcmansions replacing them was interesting. Also go to take a tour of the University of South Alabama and golf courses around it. Just as an FYI if anybody says the course is flat they are a liar liar pants on fire. Miles 13 to 20 are mostly hills and then 20 to 26 are mostly downhill. Not to fun on a torn meniscus. There is a note on the races web page that says they changed the course in 2014 so assuming it was flat until then.
The finish and the medal were great. The race supports a mentally disabled group in the area and they hand paint the large wooden medals. Also pretty cool to get my medal at the end from a kid with downs syndrome. Kudos for Mobile and First Light marathon for supporting them and doing this.
In departing the race and city talked to many of the b2ber’s and almost all of them said the were so exhausted from running Jackson the day before and getting in to Mobile so late that they didn’t care to or were to tired to see anything on the course. Too bad because even though it is a small marathon it is well run and Mobile is a city worth a look.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5

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Rio de Janeiro City Marathon

Rio de Janeiro City Marathon

Going to break this review down into two parts - The city of Rio and the race... Part 1 - the city of Rio Spent 4 days in the city … MORE

Going to break this review down into two parts – The city of Rio and the race…

Part 1 – the city of Rio
Spent 4 days in the city – sightseeing and running the race. Stayed right on Copacabana beach. The city itself is like a resort city with hidden secrets. The people were great but the infrastructure and city are like the US stuck in the 1980’s. Internet works some of the time, buildings are in dire need of upgrades – well taken care of but as I said – stuck in the 80’s. The people on the beach seemed always ready to party and have a good time but in a Don Johnson sort of way. Half expected to see the cast of Miami Vice pull up in there turquoise shirts and white leisure suits and break into a version of ‘Lets do the Time Warp’ from Rocky Horror Picture Show. The beaches are great if you don’t mind the fact that you can only use about one tenth of them. The water around the rest are to polluted for use. They are working on it fixing it but in a very slow and South American way (slow but steady – not for the type ‘a’ personalities)

Part 2 – The race
Expo and packet pick up – boring but effective. Nothing bad or good to report
The race start – PLEASE FIX. No corrals and 6,000 people lined up to start. Just a ready set go and everybody off and walking / running. Slow people in front, fast people in back. What a mess
The course – I guess I am becoming jaded but thought the course was very boring and average. A mix of beaches and inter parts of Rio. Advertised as flat but nasty little 3 miles of hills from about miles 14 – 17. Run well but please add a water stop somewhere between miles 18 and 24 when people need it most

Final thoughts – Okay city and marathon – do it once and call it a day.
If you want to do a water front marathon that crushes this save your time and money and do Big Sur.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

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Sunburst Races

Sunburst Races

This race is run in South Bend In - home of Notre Dame the first week in June. Ran it as an interim marathon to stay in shape between The … MORE

This race is run in South Bend In – home of Notre Dame the first week in June. Ran it as an interim marathon to stay in shape between The Great Wall and Rio marathon. Normally it is a hot run and to give the race director credit they tell you it is going to be hot and if you don’t like it hot don’t run this race. So that being said – of course it was a beautiful day to run. 6 a.m. start is nice. Temps in the 50’s / low 60’s until sun came up about 8 and then in the 60’s with a nice breeze.
Course is winding along the rivers in South Bend and thru neighborhoods. Lots of twist and turns and never had a clue where I was except by the mile markers. Suppose to finish at Notre Dame stadium but it was under construction. The river views were nice and so were the neighborhoods but nothing to set you heart a flutter.
Expo was easy in / easy out and so was parking at the race start. Race finishes about 5 miles from the start so you need to ride a shuttle back but it was smooth and easy with no problems.
So final recap – good small marathon with scenic course. Well run and no issues.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
2

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Great Wall Marathon

Great Wall Marathon

Ran the full here in 2008 and did the half this year in 2015. So will do the full review. First of all it is one of the great running … MORE

Ran the full here in 2008 and did the half this year in 2015. So will do the full review. First of all it is one of the great running venues in the world. And the course does not disappoint. From the first 3 miles straight up hill to the wall followed by 3 miles on the wall then out in the country to climb a mountain at mile 13 then back to the wall at mile 21 and 1200 steps straight up to the final 2 miles on the wall then 3 miles of downhill hell to the finish in Yen / Yang square.
It is constantly rated as one of the top 3 most difficult in the world and it lives up to it’s billing. If you are a casual marathoner or have just run mainly flat marathons this may not be the marathon for you. Not unusual to see many people throwing up or crawling on there hands and knees on the steps on the back half of the wall. I know because I was one of the crawlers. There is an 8 hour time limit strictly enforced. The time guidelines for the marathon is take your normal marathon time divide by 2 and add it to your normal time. Example – normal marathon time = 4 hours / 2 = 2 hours = total of 6 hours. About 20% of the starters for this marathon do not finish or are stopped for time. The trip to China is long and great and the run is unbelievably cool but just be aware of what lies before you.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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Carmel Marathon Weekend

Carmel Marathon Weekend

Carmel In is a small city adjacent to Indy. One of the nicer areas of Indiana. Pretty much corn and tractor free. Actually it is a Midwest politicians dream - … MORE

Carmel In is a small city adjacent to Indy. One of the nicer areas of Indiana. Pretty much corn and tractor free. Actually it is a Midwest politicians dream – thousands and thousands of soccer moms in an enclosed area. But on the actual race review.

Expo – easy squeezy, held at an neighbor center / workout area. Easy in, easy out. No wait. Probably 30 vendors. Parking was free and close.

The Race – Starts in downtown Carmel. There were approx. 700 full marathoners, 2500 half marathoners and assorted groups of 4 miler and 10k people. Everybody starts together so a little crowded at the start. The marathoners split off from everybody at mile 4 so once we were past there it was no issue of crowding. The course is a mixture of urban and rural areas. 3 or 4 really nice neighborhoods, then running thru parks and on the tow path thru nature areas then back into neighborhoods then into an industrial park then back into a nature area and finally the finish. Not a whole lot of straight running. I had no clue – north, south, east or west – where we were during the whole race. If you don’t like curves or turns in your marathon then this one isn’t for you. It is not a flat marathon, lots of rolling hills but nothing to let loose with any swear words over. Nice medals and nice food at the end.

The good with the bad
Good –
Race parking. Right next to the start. The parking garage was attached to an indoor theater with indoor plumbing that was 1 minute from the start. Stayed inside until 15minutes until the start relaxing and using the uncrowded bathrooms.
The area and expo – really nice area to run. The neighborhoods and parks were exactly what you would expect from one of the wealthiest areas of Indiana. Expo was also well run and nice.
Organization and rest stops – great organization, course well marked, no traffic or car issues and plenty of well manned water stops with both power-ade and water.

The may be bad or good – depends on how you personally look at it.
The course – as I said before – lots of curves and turns – no long straightaways.
Crowd support – varied from place to place but very small. It was like doing a long training run with a couple of hundred other people running it with you.
Excitement – very low key. If you are looking to be all wound up and sprout your type ‘a’ running personality then this isn’t the place to be.

The bad
None that I can see. The weather was a little toasty on the back half – sunny and 75 to 80 but hey can’t blame them for that.

Final thoughts and recap.
Very nice small to medium low key spring marathon. Very well run and organized. Great race to use as a springboard for fall marathons.
Would recommend it highly to anyone considering it.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

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New York City Marathon

New York City Marathon

Ah New York - what can you say that hasn't already been said. But I'll try..... Spent 3 days in NY doing the sights before the Sunday run. NY is … MORE

Ah New York – what can you say that hasn’t already been said. But I’ll try…..
Spent 3 days in NY doing the sights before the Sunday run. NY is a great city. So much to do and so little time. This would come back to haunt me (i.e. legs) as this was my 3rd marathon in 6 weeks. The highlight of the three day pre run trip was having dinner with Web Site creators (RaceRaves) and future Internet moguls Mike Sohaskey and Katie Ho. Who would ever think a poor Midwestern marathon runner would be hobnobbing with celebrities? But on to the actual race…
The morning dawned cold and windy and the day ended cold and windy. Would like to blame my time on the wind – gusts up to 40 mph but it never really affected the run. Was at our back or side for probably 95% of the run. The trip out to our 3 hour wait on Stanton Island (I took the bus from the Midtown Library) was uneventful. Was hoping for a delay so we would could stay warm on the buses longer but no such luck. The time on Stanton Island was mostly spent wrapped in 3 layers of clothes, a blanket and a parka. The sun actually made some appearances and made passing the time tolerable. The elites and 10:00 starts went off without a hitch. Then it was our turn (the 10:30 start times). Off we go without a hitch. The run was great as was the crowd support. The first two miles across the Verrazano Bridge are definitely the best and most scenic part of the run. I started on the top part of the bridge and can’t say I was too fond of dodging clothes shed by other runners blowing in my face at 40 mph but hey – can’t have a perfect weather day every time. Then the run settled into a run thru the other 4 Burroughs of NY finishing in Central Park. Now for the pros and cons.
Pros
Every thing done in NY is first class – registration, transportation, the course, security, crowd support and organization. The run is fun and due to the ‘fun’ of waiting up to 3 hours in Staten Island to start the race you get to meet plenty of other runners from the US and all over the world. All with stories to tell. If you want to do a large marathon this is the one to do.
Cons
This is the largest marathon. If you don’t like crowds when running, sightseeing or being herded to the race then this is not for you. If you don’t like spending lots of money to get in and when visiting NY then this is not for you. If you are into running PR’s every race and trying to sprint pass people in races then this is not for you.
Conclusion
If you want to run a world class marathon and have a chance to be involved in a race with world class athletes and don’t mind big cities and crowds then this is the race to run. I like running the bigger major marathons with large prize money because it gives me a chance to be involved in some of the major sporting events in the world. As an upper 50’s age runner I think my chances of playing in the Super Bowl, World Series, or NBA finals are fading rapidly.

So go (if you can get in – another story all together) if you can, hang lose, have fun. You won’t regret it.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
2
SWAG
4

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Detroit Free Press/Chemical Bank Marathon

Detroit Free Press/Chemical Bank Marathon

Detroit's marathon first 10 miles ranks right up there with any of the North American marathons I have run. Yes, I know you are saying 'Detroit? Who would run Detroit?' … MORE

Detroit’s marathon first 10 miles ranks right up there with any of the North American marathons I have run. Yes, I know you are saying ‘Detroit? Who would run Detroit?’ But the course is great, First half hilly and back half flat, scenery is great and organization is excellent. Starting at mile 3 and running into Canada over the Ambassador Bridge, then running along the waterfront thru Windsor, then back into the US again at mile 10 thru the underwater tunnel is just plain fun. Sun is coming up when you run over the bridge and the sunlight on the Detroit River (no, did not see any bodies) and the skyscrapers is stunning. Then settles down into a neighborhood / Belle Island run for the back half.

Expo was pretty much the same as any marathon expo – they make you go all the way thru all the vendors to get your race packet.

5th time I have run this and haven’t tired of it yet.

Best part – first 10 miles / Ambassador Bridge / Tunnel
Worse part – Detroit only gets about 5,000 full marathoners but between the marathon relay (5 legs) and the two half marathons there are about 27,000 runners. Everybody runs the same course. So it is always crowded. Fresh legged relay runners running by and cutting of full marathon runners always bugs me. I understand the Detroit marathons motive – 5,000 people spread out over 26 miles would look a little sparse but 27,000 people running together makes it look like a major marathon.

For bling fans the medal is excellent. Also a big shout out to the Detroit marathon people for there attention to the hand cycle and wheelchair divisions. They go way above the call for these participants. They assign each one there own personal bike guide and assistant and also work with veterans with disabilities to help get them into the race. There were 35 hand cycle and 5 wheelchair entrants – if not the largest in the country – right up there with the most. Thanks again Detroit for doing this

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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Berlin Marathon

Berlin Marathon

Berlin is a good, well run marathon. It is one of the 6 majors. Couse is as advertised - flat and easy running. Lots of runners - 45,000 so if … MORE

Berlin is a good, well run marathon. It is one of the 6 majors. Couse is as advertised – flat and easy running. Lots of runners – 45,000 so if you don’t like large marathons this is not for you. Expo is huge in and airport hanger. To be expected for the amount of runners they have. Race and expo organization are 5 star. But something just seemed to be missing. Maybe it was because of the travel or being in a non American city the excitement of being involved in a world class sporting event just wasn’t there. Other than the start and finish the course – other than being completely flat was somewhat ho hum. So if you want to do all 6 majors you have to do Berlin. Don’t get me wrong it is a really good marathon – just not a great one.

The best thing – sorry this isn’t anything to do with the marathon. Berlin is a city with so much history – bad and good. Just being there for four days and trying to absorb and see all the historical sites / museums having to do with WW1, WW2 and the Communist regime was overwhelming but loved it.

Worse thing – The finishers medal. C’mon Berlin you can do better. Your a major. I am not a bling freak but have done 43 marathons and this medal ranks as one of the weakest one I have received. Have got better medals at some 10k’s I have run.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

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San Francisco Marathon

San Francisco Marathon

Ran this race in 2013 while visiting relatives in San Fran. The come on of running the Golden Gate Bridge was to much to pass on. After sightseeing in San … MORE

Ran this race in 2013 while visiting relatives in San Fran. The come on of running the Golden Gate Bridge was to much to pass on. After sightseeing in San Fran for the 3 days before the marathon I was scared to death that the marathon was going to be all hills. Also caught a cold right before the race. But what the hell – soldier on.
Stayed at the host hotel right next to the start / finish line so no problem with parking / transportation.
Course was ‘interesting’. Not as hilly as I expected compared to the rest of San Fran but still hilly enough. But the big draw – running on the Golden Gate Bridge was kind of disappointing. Ran down the middle of the road and really couldn’t see off the bridge. Just kind of like running down any other road. So see the bridge from a hill in San Fran before the race. it will be a better view than what you get from running on the bridge.
So good / well run somewhat hilly marathon. Nothing remarkable but San Fran is a great city to see / tour and eat in.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

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New York City Marathon

New York City Marathon

Great fun, course and crowd support. Long 3 hour wait in a field on Stanton Island before race. Very crowded the whole time. Takes lots of time to get out … MORE

Great fun, course and crowd support. Long 3 hour wait in a field on Stanton Island before race. Very crowded the whole time. Takes lots of time to get out of finishers area. Ponchos for the ‘no baggage option’ at the end were unbelievably nice

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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Australian Outback Marathon

Australian Outback Marathon

Ran this race as part of my 7 continents pursuit (now complete - yea!!!). Needless to say it is in Ayers Rock Australia not quite next door to Indiana. Took … MORE

Ran this race as part of my 7 continents pursuit (now complete – yea!!!). Needless to say it is in Ayers Rock Australia not quite next door to Indiana. Took a little bit of traveling to get there – 24 hours and 3 planes and a bus ride. But we made it after a prerace 3 day side trip to Sydney (great) and a 2 day post race to Port Douglas and the GBR (Great Barrier Reef). The race itself was totally unspectacular. No problem with organization, swag or accommodations – they were all fine. Of course you are a thousand miles in the middle of the Australian outback and there are only 2 hotels there so it is kind of irrelevant if you like the accommodations or not. So if you don’t like your hotel room your choice is sleep in the outback in the red dirt with the camels and dingos. But our hotel was fine. But back to the race. The race is held in Ayers Rock home of guess what? – Ayers Rock. Ayers Rock is a deeply religious symbol of the native Aborigines. It is in the middle of the outback surround by many other rock formations that all have religious meaning to the Aborigines. The outback is pretty much a desert made of red sand and dunes.
We spent 3 days there – first couple of days touring the area. The Aborigines want your money and put on a good show but basically are none to happy to have you there trampling and ruining there native areas and heritages. But this is about the race. Day 3 we ran the race. Walked to the start. Only about 150 people total in the full and half marathon so crowd control and parking were not a real big issue. The course was a 13.1 mile loop – twice around for the marathoners. Lots of red dirt and sand. Occasional sand dune combined with hills but not overall exhausting. Some parts of the course had fabulous scenery – such as looking at Ayers Rock with the sun behind it. Other parts were really head scratching such as running behind the electrical station. So it was an educational experience to run Ayers Rock. Always good to learn about other peoples culture and way of life. So if you go run Ayers Rock but don’t miss other parts of Australia such as Sydney and the GBR

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

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Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon

Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon

We went a day early to spend the day in Cincinnati and see the sights. It is right on the river and assumed they would have a river walk / … MORE

We went a day early to spend the day in Cincinnati and see the sights. It is right on the river and assumed they would have a river walk / restaurants etc..stayed right downtown by the start of the race. When we got there we ask the people at the hotel what to go do and they said there is not much to do in downtown Cincinnati and they were right. So spent a pretty boring day before the race doing nothing. They were the host hotel for the race and we ask them how the flying pig got it’s name and no one was sure. Two possible answers – P and G has its HQ there or possibly it was named after the old pork slaughter houses that use to be there. As for the race – pretty standard course with hills. Miles 8.5 to 11 are really nasty but great view from the top of the hill at mile 11. The half splits off at mile 9 so they don’t get to ‘enjoy’ the climb. So out of a possible 10 I give the weekend a 3 and the race and race course a 6. Nothing special but not the best but far from the worst.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

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International Ergo White Nights Marathon

International Ergo White Nights Marathon

Don't even know where to start on this one. Ran this on our own as a lark. Needed a European marathon for my 7 continents quest that was run during … MORE

Don’t even know where to start on this one. Ran this on our own as a lark. Needed a European marathon for my 7 continents quest that was run during the summer. There were 3 to choose from. After investigating the web sites we just had to run this. The chance to see and run St Petersburg was just to good to pass up. Hell the historical value and the Hermitage Museum alone make it worth the trip.
How can you not run a marathon where the web site promises water and salted rye bread at the water stops and has such classic lines as ‘you run marathons and eat vegetables – they be good for you’. So curiosity peaked we sign up and off to Russia we go (via Paris and Barcelona).

To understand the race you need to understand the people. The people of St Petersburg (and most of the rest of Russia) have been used and abused for the last 75 years. First WW2 and the siege of St Petersburg, then the communist, then the supposedly reforms have left the poor people hardened and leery of everybody. Can’t say I really blame them.
So the race is run in one of the most historic cities of the world and nobody who lives there really gives a damn. So needless to say not to much crowd support. Now for the actual race.
Packet pick up was a breeze. It is a small race and no problem with crowds or any issues. Communications was a challenge a lot of the time – Russia uses the crilik alphabet. There was no half marathon just a marathon and 10k. But for inline skaters there was an inline skater marathon. I guess when in Rome….
The race course was interesting. Starting and finishing at the Hermitage Museum – one of the worlds best museums was really cool (so was actually seeing and touring the museum later on). The rest of the course was pretty flat and boring with the exception of running down Nevetsky Prospeckt (the main shopping street in St Petersburg) then at mile 18 thru 24 running around the Bay of Finland. Pretty cool stuff. The crowd would mostly snarl at you and quite a few drunks to yell at you – yes even at 10 in the morning. What they say about Russians love of vodka is not an exaggeration. Also was sicker than a dog when I ran it. So overall a race that has some world class things in the middle of what seems like 1975 America.
Really hard to describe. Must run it to understand it

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
2

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Tecumseh Trail Marathon

Tecumseh Trail Marathon

If you want to run a 'real' trail marathon this is the one for you. I have run it twice and it is not for the weak of heart or … MORE

If you want to run a ‘real’ trail marathon this is the one for you. I have run it twice and it is not for the weak of heart or foot. Think of a scaled down Machu Pichu or Pikes Peak outside of Bloomington Indiana. But lets start at the beginning…Arriving in Bloomington on a snowy cold Jan day – they have since moved this run to Oct due to consistent bad weather issues. Bloomington is the home of Indiana University is southern Indiana and Brown county. Brown County is a favorite haunt of fall leave watchers and partying IU students. The city of Bloomington has many rolling hills but nothing to preview what is the future has in store. The morning of the run you drive out to a lodge around a lake about 20 miles outside of Bloomington. The lodge is buried deep in the woods and down many dirt roads. From there you board buses that bus you 26 miles out to the start. Once you get to the start – where you absolutely no idea where you are, I am assuming we are running back to the lodge where we left from and hopefully your car – you start off and head into the deep woods and trails of southern Indiana. When I say deep woods I mean it. They tell you to wear bright colors so the deer hunters sitting in the blinds can see you and not shoot you by mistake. An guess what? There not kidding. Running by hunters in deer stands and hunting shacks is a common occurrence. So off you go – once on the course you are running thru many miles of woods and trails. One lane dirt trail covered in leaves so you can’t see the roots and stones on the trail add to the ‘fun’. Many many hills – not rolling hills – straight up and down hills that force you to use the switchbacks to go up and down them. At one point you have to wait in line to use a rope to help you get past a nasty little drop off on one of the hills. Throw in 23 or so stream crossings – no you just don’t get to hop them – to deep and wide for that. So nice wet feet. Lots of fun when the temp is about 15 out. I would like to tell you which miles that are particular hilly and wet but you are so deep into the woods and climbed so many hills and foraged so many streams you have no clue where you are or where you are going. No mile markers and the Garmin gave up all hope about mile 3. Every once in while you get spit out to a paved road crossing. This is where the rest stops are. These are better stocked than any other marathon I have ever run. It is like stopping at a candy store / fruit stand. Makes you want to stop running and have a snack.
But on you go. At some points you are so deep in the woods and seeing so many shacks you expect to see the kid from Deliverance playing Dueling Banjoes to keep you entertained. But no such luck. Just more hills, streams, rocks, and roots. But all good things must end. Finally the lodge is back in sight. How you got there – not a clue. But inside the fire is roaring and the world renown finishers soup is waiting for you. All in all what a trail run should be. The people who run it do a great job. The rest stops are a-one second to none. The course is a beast. Even registration is a hoot. The registration page allows you to make comments about yourself or the course if you have run it before. Participation is limited so register early – open in Jan. Take time and read other peoples comments on themselves and the course. Shows what an eclectic group marathon runners can be.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

I am the only person in the US who thought this was just an average marathon? First of all don't have kids so may not have been swayed by the … MORE

I am the only person in the US who thought this was just an average marathon? First of all don’t have kids so may not have been swayed by the Disney ‘magic’ (i.e marketing / hype).

My problem was not with the organization / swag / all round presentation. All those are first rate. This is probably the best organized and run large marathon that I have done.
My problem was with the course. The 3 miles at the end of the race running thru the parks was okay – except for the people coming in the parks and cutting in front of you. But the other 23 miles were pretty much pure boredom. Seeing the back parking lots and access roads to the Disney parks didn’t really wow me. I do give credit to the Disney characters who come out early in the morning to greet you in costume.
And of course the medals are the biggest ever.
Ran it before all the challenges became popular so maybe they have changed the course since then. Sorry if I am being Un-American and saying something bad about Disney…

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
2
SWAG
5

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