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@kristen.gerlach

Prior Lake, MN Raving since 2018 Boston Marathon finisher, 50 States hopeful/finisher active 9 months, 2 weeks ago

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Half Marathon

Marathon

Ultramarathon

(Marathon &/or Ultra) + Half

Marathon + Ultra

Other

Personal Bests (1)

Race Distance Location Date Result
Marathon Ojai, CA May 27, 2018 3:35:23

Future Races (0)

Race Distance Location Date Paid

Past Races (2)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
Marathon Ojai, CA May 27, 2018 3:35:23
Marathon Huntsville, AL Dec 9, 2017 3:36:08

My Raves

Mountains 2 Beach Marathon & Half Marathon

Mountains 2 Beach Marathon & Half Marathon

I am trying to run a marathon in all 50 states and ran this as my California race. (My 17th state and 32nd marathon overall). I would recommend booking your … MORE

I am trying to run a marathon in all 50 states and ran this as my California race. (My 17th state and 32nd marathon overall). I would recommend booking your hotel early, as I was able to stay at the Crowne Plaza and this was an easy walk to the Expo, shuttles, and the finish line.
I was on a 4 am shuttle which meant a longer wait up at the start in Ojai, but I didn’t mind at all. Many runners hung out in the Post Office for a little extra warmth and I loved talking to people and meeting other runners. Everyone was so nice and friendly.
The first half of the race was absolutely amazing–the first loop out and back through Ojai and the orange groves as the sun is just coming over the mountains is spectacular. The early miles have a gradual downhill and some stunning views. On the advice of other runners, I was careful to hold back on pace as I think it would be easy to get going too fast.
There seemed to be a few more uphills in the second half or maybe I was just getting tired! As I had just run another marathon 4 weeks ago (Eugene, OR), I think the residual fatigue may have caught up to me around mile 20. The second half scenery isn’t nearly as beautiful–more industrial as has been noted. The gradual uphill through town (miles 23-25) was tough for me, but those miles are usually tough anyway, especially for my second marathon in a month.
The finish on the boardwalk next to the ocean was also amazing. I did end up with a BQ by almost 20 minutes, but that’s because I’m old! I would say that this course is decently fast if you run it with fresh legs and watch your pace early on. The post-race highlight for me was taking off my race shoes and wading into the ocean. Wow did that cold water feel good!
Overall a terrific race! If I had to nit-pick, my only criticism would be to swap out the Fluid Electrolyte drink for Gatorade and add one or two additional water stops. It does get warmer in the second half when the sun comes out and I think most runners would appreciate an extra stop. Otherwise a definite “5 Shoe” rating!

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

4 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Rocket City Marathon

Rocket City Marathon

I ran this marathon in 2017 as one of my 50 states. This was my 15th state and 30th marathon overall. I registered about 2 weeks before the race, which … MORE

I ran this marathon in 2017 as one of my 50 states. This was my 15th state and 30th marathon overall. I registered about 2 weeks before the race, which was a nice option that isn’t available at many bigger marathons.
Because the downtown hotels were full, I ended up staying at a Holiday Inn that was maybe a 10-15 minute drive from the start/finish/Expo. This was not a big deal at all and I think the hotel was only around $85 per night, offered a free shuttle to and from the race, as well as late checkout to all the runners.
This race starts and finishes at the Von Braun Center. It was also very cool (25 degrees at the start) the year I ran, so having an indoor waiting area was great. The course also loops back by the Von Braun Center at about 13 miles, which is nice for spectators. It had warmed up a few degrees by then and I was able to throw my top layer into the grass on the way by and pick it up after the race–also very convenient.
The course itself had a few more ups and downs than I was expecting, but nothing crazy. There are a ton of turns, especially in the first half. However, the course was extremely well marked and I think there was a course marshall at every single turn–impressive! The race gets pretty spread out the last 7-8 miles, but I never worried about getting lost. There were plenty of aid stations and I think they also had someone reading splits at every single mile–also impressive. There were probably more volunteers than spectators, but both groups were very enthusiastic. The course highlight is probably running through the Space Park and around the various rockets and space shuttle. The race takes a lot of photos there and you can download them for free, another nice perk!
Overall, this is a very well-organized race that really wants every runner to have a great experience. If you are looking for an Alabama marathon, I would highly recommend it.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

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