My Profile

@Lorelei

Bay Village, OH Raving since 2016 50 States hopeful/finisher, Half Fanatics #12257 active 18 hours, 56 minutes ago

About Me

  • Running club(s):

    Half Fanatics, Run Junkees, USATF, Run Club

  • Rave race:

    London Marathon

  • Race that's calling my name:

    All marathon majors

  • I run because:

    I feel free when I do it. It shows me I haven’t met my limits. It’s has brought great people, experiences and travels to my life. And, because I need more shirts and sticker/magnets for my car.

My races

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

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Half Marathon

Marathon

Ultramarathon

(Marathon &/or Ultra) + Half

Marathon + Ultra

Other

Personal Bests (4)

Race Distance Location Date Result
24 hr Cleveland, OH Sep 16, 2017 70 mi
12 hr Columbus, OH Apr 21, 2018 46 mi
25K Traverse City, MI Aug 28, 2016 3:16:00
Half Marathon Berea, OH 2014 2:15:00

Future Races (14)

Race Distance Location Date Paid
50K Sterling, IL Oct 6, 2018
Half Marathon Waterfall, PA Oct 21, 2018
Marathon Arlington, VA Oct 28, 2018
Half Marathon Columbus, OH Apr 27, 2019
Half Marathon Asheville, NC TBD
Marathon White Sands, NM TBD
Marathon Big Sur, CA TBD
Half Marathon Key West, FL TBD
Marathon Staten Island, NY TBD
Half Marathon Portland, OR TBD
Half Marathon Estes Park, CO TBD
Half Marathon Portland, ME TBD
Half Marathon Traverse City, MI TBD
Half Marathon Tulsa, OK TBD

Past Races (69)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
24 hr Cleveland, OH Sep 22, 2018
15K Traverse City, MI Sep 2, 2018
4 Miler Glen Arbor, MI Aug 18, 2018
24 hr Canal Fulton, OH Jun 9, 2018 100K
Half Marathon Cleveland, OH May 20, 2018
8K Cleveland, OH May 19, 2018
Marathon Cincinnati, OH May 6, 2018
Half Marathon Canton, OH Apr 29, 2018
5K Cleveland, OH Apr 28, 2018
12 hr Columbus, OH Apr 21, 2018 46 mi
5 Miler Cleveland, OH Apr 8, 2018
Half Marathon Carmel, IN Mar 31, 2018
5 Miler Cleveland, OH Mar 10, 2018
25K Wooster, OH Mar 3, 2018
12.5K Wooster, OH Mar 3, 2018
50K Virginia Beach, VA Feb 18, 2018
Half Marathon Waterfall, PA Oct 29, 2017
5K Detroit, MI Oct 14, 2017
Half Marathon Detroit, MI Oct 14, 2017
Marathon Chicago, IL Oct 8, 2017
Half Marathon Bath, NY Oct 1, 2017
24 hr Cleveland, OH Sep 16, 2017 70 mi
Half Marathon Cleveland, OH Aug 20, 2017
10K Chicago, IL Jul 23, 2017
Half Marathon Kiowa, MT Jun 24, 2017
Half Marathon Niagara Falls, Canada Jun 4, 2017
5K Grosse Ile, MI May 29, 2017
Half Marathon Cleveland, OH May 20, 2017
8K Cleveland, OH May 20, 2017
4 Miler Cleveland, OH May 6, 2017
Marathon Canton, OH Apr 30, 2017
5K Marysville, OH Mar 26, 2017
25K Wooster, OH Mar 4, 2017 3:56:00
50K Peninsula, OH Nov 19, 2016
25K Perrysville, OH Nov 12, 2016
8.5 Miler Perrysville, OH Nov 12, 2016
4 Miler Columbus, OH Oct 23, 2016
5K Detroit, MI Oct 16, 2016
Half Marathon Detroit, MI Oct 16, 2016
5K Berea, OH Oct 8, 2016
Half Marathon Bath, NY Oct 2, 2016
200 Mile Relay Muskegon, MI Sep 30, 2016
24 hr Cleveland, OH Sep 17, 2016 62.15 mi
25K Traverse City, MI Aug 28, 2016 3:16:00
200 Mile Relay Madison, WI Jun 10, 2016
Half Marathon Cleveland, OH May 15, 2016 2:48:00
Marathon London, United Kingdom Apr 24, 2016
Half Marathon Huntington Beach, CA Feb 7, 2016
10K Sedona, AZ Feb 6, 2016
5K Grosse Ile, MI 2016
15K Columbus, OH Nov 15, 2015
4 Miler Columbus, OH Oct 25, 2015
Half Marathon Empire, MI Oct 3, 2015
24 hr Cleveland, OH Sep 19, 2015
Half Marathon Gatlinburg, TN Sep 12, 2015
Half Marathon Cleveland, OH Aug 23, 2015
4 Miler Mansfield, OH Jul 25, 2015
Half Marathon Laketown, UT Jun 20, 2015
Half Marathon Cleveland, OH May 17, 2015
Marathon Relay Canton, OH Apr 26, 2015
Half Marathon Cleveland, OH Apr 12, 2015
8.5 Miler Perrysville, OH 2015
Half Marathon Bath, NY Oct 5, 2014
10K Wright-Patterson AFB, OH Sep 20, 2014
Half Marathon West Yellowstone, MT Jun 14, 2014 2:59:59
10 Miler Washington, district of columbia Apr 6, 2014
5K North Myrtle Beach, SC 2014
Half Marathon Berea, OH 2014 2:15:00
Half Marathon Lexington, KY 2014

My Raves

Vineyard to Bay

Vineyard to Bay

This is a small local race that feels like a million dollar production. A big portion of the course was along the Leelaneau Trail and it’s wine country. That means … MORE

This is a small local race that feels like a million dollar production. A big portion of the course was along the Leelaneau Trail and it’s wine country. That means nothing but gorgeous scenery and hills. Since it runs along the beaches, you get to see lots of views of sun over water. Truly breathtaking.

The race director makes you feel at home. He and his better half, Nance, are as friendly as they get. And they are perfectionists. Every detail is taken care of. This race get strong community support so there were tons of raffle prizes at the end for local shops and restaurants. We won a prize and immediately cashed it in for lunch on the way home. Very yummy – happy tummy!

The bling is outstanding. I don’t think you’ll find a better medal. It’s ceramic and is made by a local tile producer. It weighs a ton and will beat on your chest as you walk as though you might need CPR. Shirts are optional and I regret not signing up for OneNote when I registered. My size was sold out by the time I arrived.

Since this is in wine country, I recommend having a few wine tastings because some of the best wines come from this region. Remember, just a few tastings. Don’t fall into the delicious trap.

Importantly, this is a USATF certified course. If you’re an old fogey like me, you are vying for that Pheidippides Award.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
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Dune Dash 4 Miler

Dune Dash 4 Miler

Many people think you’re running up and down sand dunes or across sand. This is not true. The race happens on the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail at the base of … MORE

Many people think you’re running up and down sand dunes or across sand. This is not true. The race happens on the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail at the base of the sand dunes. It’s paved and flat. The course is beautiful because you are in the trees while at the same time within view of the dunes. In some cases, you get to see where the dunes are swallowing up the forest.

There were 212 runners this year. Don’t let the small number fool you. There are serious competitors out here.

There are shirts for all registrants and medals for top age-group and overall finishers. The medals are really nice. The shirt is cotton. The race fee is relatively inexpensive and goes to a good cause.

I’ll do this race as many times as I can. I love it.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
2
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24 Hour Eagle Up Ultra

24 Hour Eagle Up Ultra

This course is a 5-mile loop along the Ohio & Erie Canal. It’s very beautiful. If you’re lucky (like we were) you’ll get to see horses pulling the canal boats … MORE

This course is a 5-mile loop along the Ohio & Erie Canal. It’s very beautiful. If you’re lucky (like we were) you’ll get to see horses pulling the canal boats or perhaps an eagle perched in a tree. The trail is mostly crushed rock, but there is a stretch in Tent City that is grass. It’s very flat, if you’re looking for a PR. The trail is so well-made it did not get muddy or puddly even in the driving rains.

I set up my tent Friday afternoon. You’ll want to come as early as possible if you want to located on the edge of the course. Otherwise, it goes 2 or 3 tents deep. I was set up along the course and also had use of a canopy so my friends and I could just toss/retrieve things easily as we passed. Tent City was large so I would recommend bringing ear plugs and eye mask. I had these and slept like a log. If you don’t, you’ll hear generators, car alarms, conversations, etc., and you’ll see flashlights and other lights. I did find that my neighbors were very respectful and helpful. And, the race director bid everyone good night around 9pm and all music and equipment was shut down.

There was a nice pasta dinner provided, free of charge, on Friday night. 😛

The race, all distances, started at 6am so the course was cumbersome for the first lap. After that, as folks used the aid stations, everyone spread out. Because the trail is mostly all-wooded and is 5-miles long, I actually did not see many of my friends. Look for your peeps and take your selfies beforehand; otherwise, there’s a good chance you’ll never see each other. There is an amazing aid station at the start and finish, along with first aid and a selfie booth. There were two unmanned water stations. And, there was one other smaller manned station at the halfway point. While the aid stations were evenly spread, the port-o-pots are not. There are tons at the start, and two at the halfway point. There is no room on the trail for port-o-pots anywhere else. So, be aware of this. You’re only relieving yourself every 2.5 miles. Plan accordingly.

Since the laps are an even 5 miles, there are out-and-backs at the end to help you finish out the 50K or 100K distances. Also, you are awarded on what you finish, not what you register for. So, you have up to the last minute to decide. There are 50K, 50M, 100K, 50K/50M, and 100M options. You get a medal for 50K and 50M. You get a buckle for 100K, 50/50, and 100M. Each medal and buckle is custom made to the distance. And they are bee-u-tee-ful!!! The shirts are tech camo. This year is was red, but I saw silver and blue ones that must have been from previous years. They are gorgeous. When you cross your finish line, you’ll get a huge hug and your bling.

The food and beverage are plentiful. Guests can buy a wristband for beer. Runners get beer for free. There is also a pool, hot tub and fire pit (though the race directors forgot to bring it this year).

This was an amazingly fun event. I am definitely signing up next year.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
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Cleveland Marathon & Half Marathon

Cleveland Marathon & Half Marathon

I like to participate in the challenge series every year. This means you choose a shorter distance race on Saturday and a longer distance race on Sunday. My favorite is … MORE

I like to participate in the challenge series every year. This means you choose a shorter distance race on Saturday and a longer distance race on Sunday. My favorite is the 8K and the half marathon. The course takes you through different types of areas and neighborhoods from residential to urban to downtown to business districts. The bridges are particularly nice. There are a few rolling hills but there is a whopper of a hill in the middle. And, boy do I love that hill! I must have passed 200 people on that hill. A real ego booster when you’re slow on flat but can rock the inclines. The aid stations are standard 2-miles-ish apart and are stocked with water and Powerade. There was one station that has gu. They ran out of gu and switched to honey stinger waffles – a win for me! Crowd support was good this year. You can predict crowd support by looking at the weather forecast – lol.

The expo was decently sized but overall bland. They did have something unique, however. Customized finisher shirts! You pick the style and color of shirt and you pick one of the designs they offered which also came in a variety of colors. The cost was $25. Not bad! The choices were excellent.

The swag was nice. Cotton shirts for the shirt Saturday races. Tech shirts for the longer Sunday races. This year, they had a better fit compared to last year’s baggy ones. If you registered for the challenge series (a Saturday and Sunday race), you received a t-shirt hoodie. I LOVE THE HOODIE! Perfect fit. Great design. Already a favorite. Light-weight for spring.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4
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Cleveland Marathon & Half Marathon

Cleveland Marathon & Half Marathon

Regarding my title for this review, when I crossed the finish line, I was pulled aside and told I was named “Cleveland’s Happiest Runner”!!! They interviewed me and the recording … MORE

Regarding my title for this review, when I crossed the finish line, I was pulled aside and told I was named “Cleveland’s Happiest Runner”!!! They interviewed me and the recording is/was released 5/22/18. How sweet is that?! I’m totally elated! Hahaha

The 8K course is a cruise around downtown and surrounding neighborhoods. It’s a nice and easy course for runners and walkers alike. Many use this course as a first Time 8K or a warm-up to the longer distance the following day, or just so they can extra swag.

The swag includes a cotton shirt (or pajama top, as I call it), but the medal is really nice. It has a nice design that features the skyline and it has some heft to it – something to show off and be proud of. If you signed up for the challenge series, you also got a spring-weight hoodie.

There were two aid stations which is plenty for an 8K.

Only caveat I have is that the 8K Runners eventually meet up with 5K walkers so this makes the last mile a struggle as you weave around those going at a slower pace.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5
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Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon

Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon

It’s a huge party in Cincinnati all weekend long. The festivities happen along the river which is a beautiful setting near the start and finish. Race production was flawless. The … MORE

It’s a huge party in Cincinnati all weekend long. The festivities happen along the river which is a beautiful setting near the start and finish. Race production was flawless.

The expo is huge. I literally had to take naps between visits. Sounds funny but it’s true. And of course, you have to travel through it to pick up your race swag. This year, full marathoners received a super-nice blanket, a gorgeous race shirt, and a finisher jacket. The metal was out-of-this-world beautiful!

You’ll get a chance to personalize your bib. Get creative! Mine said “Ima Pig Deal”. It put me right up there in celebrity status! 😂

We stayed at the Millenium which is at the start/finish. Genius move!

The course is beautiful for the first half. It’s rough on the second half. And it’s hilly! If you love hills – and I do – then this is the race for you. Be sure to take lots of pics along the way.

The never ending aid stations are unbeatable. In addition to water/Gatorade stations, they had bacon stations, pringles stations, animal cracker stations, etc. the list is endless!

And best of all, all of your friends are going to be there. Trust me!

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5
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Pro Football Hall of Fame (HOF) Marathon

Pro Football Hall of Fame (HOF) Marathon

The course winds it’s way around Canton and finishes up on the football field. It has rolling hills throughout. Nothing beastly. A nice break for the muscles in the legs. … MORE

The course winds it’s way around Canton and finishes up on the football field. It has rolling hills throughout. Nothing beastly. A nice break for the muscles in the legs. My favorite part of the course was on the hardest hill. For a long long way, they had signs dedicated to individual fallen soldiers. After the signs, there were American flags held by folks cheering you on. What was remarkable was the number of signs and flags. It seemed never to end and this was possibly a mile long.

There were plenty of aid stations with water and Gatorade. There was one with gu.

The swag was awesome. And the way they handle swag is awesome. When we registered, we had the option to select from no shirt, shirt, half-zip, or shirt & half-zip. The registration fee started from $26 for no-shirt option and went up from there. You can’t ask for a better half or full for $26! And, unless this is a one-and-done for you, don’t buy the shirt. They sell all leftover previous shirts for $1 the next year at the expo, so just buy it when you come back. As for the medal, it is different every year. Each time, it’s been totally revamped, which, I must say, is awesome. They do a great job and they are always big and beautiful.

I opted for VIP parking which put us right at the finish. It was worth it for not trying to tackle the long shuttle bus line. Alternatively, stay at the Grand Hotel which is also right at the finish. I did that last year when I ran the full – a great idea!

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5
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5K Walk & Run for the Kids

5K Walk & Run for the Kids

I’ve done this race three times. It’s receives a lot of community support. The Cavs send out mascots to high-five all the participants. There is breakfast at the beginning and … MORE

I’ve done this race three times. It’s receives a lot of community support. The Cavs send out mascots to high-five all the participants. There is breakfast at the beginning and food at the end. The course is not flat, but it is fast. Had it not been for the age-group error, I think I would have won my age group.

It’s a small race that takes place at the zoo. You couldn’t ask for a more fun family run event. It’s especially fun to see the hungry lions pacing back and forth as you run by. Gee, I wonder what they’re thinking. 🤔

Highly recommend.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3

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1 Day for the K.I.A.

1 Day for the K.I.A.

I would do this race again! Loved it! The course was beautiful Fred Beekman Park at the Ohio State University. It’s a small race with a handful of solo runners … MORE

I would do this race again! Loved it!

The course was beautiful Fred Beekman Park at the Ohio State University. It’s a small race with a handful of solo runners and a lot of teams. I ran it as a solo. The course wound around a football field and a baseball field and it was great to watch a few games as we ran around. It served as a great distraction, especially since the course is not flat.

This is a great race if you’re looking for a PR. I shaved almost an hour off for a fantastic PR.

Since this race supports a scholarship for the siblings and children of those killed in action, the teams consisted of ROTC and Team RWB, etc. There were a few flag carriers and several gear-luggers out there giving it there all with all the added weight. It was impressive.

The race production was smooth. They provided a lot of food. While the selection was limited, the food never ran out and there was enough variety to satisfy all nutiotional needs. The people are very friendly and supportive. The crowd was support was remarkable. Lots of friends, families, and team members to cheer everyone on. Also, the baseball and football spectators cheered us on, as well.

Bathrooms — indoor plumbing, heated, clean! A runners dream!

Swag was unique. We were given tech shirts, but since they are unisex, it’s really a parachute for a small person like me. Instead of a medal, we received bracelets engraved with the name of a lost soldier, the date they died and the war they fought in. I thought that was really neat. You also get a signature coin which is really pretty.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4
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Towpath Half Marathon

Towpath Half Marathon

I love all the races through the Cleveland MetroParks. This one showcases the Ohio & Erie Canal. Keep your eyes open. An eagle watched us from its nest!!!! There is … MORE

I love all the races through the Cleveland MetroParks. This one showcases the Ohio & Erie Canal. Keep your eyes open. An eagle watched us from its nest!!!!

There is a 3-miler, 5-miler, and half marathon to choose from. Each one has a different start but ends on the same finish line to prevent clogs. It worked out very well.

The shirt is high quality and beautiful as always. There is only a medal for the half marathon finishers. The post race food and party is good and fun because it has a local feel. It’s never too crowded.

Awards are amazing. Signed Cleveland art work! Seriously unique.

Trails are built with the money raised so you see your dollars at work year after year.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3
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Carmel Marathon Weekend

Carmel Marathon Weekend

Packet pickup was easy peasy and the expo is small. No glitches whatsoever. The course was beautiful! Carmel is a beautiful city and the course wound its way through the … MORE

Packet pickup was easy peasy and the expo is small. No glitches whatsoever.

The course was beautiful! Carmel is a beautiful city and the course wound its way through the town and the residential streets. By the time you cross the finish line, you may have already made plans to move there. The first half of the course went downhill. The second half went uphill. A perfect V. However, there was only a 200’ elevation change so the hills were actually not to mean.

The swag is very nice. There wasn’t anything unique or extraordinary about it, but the shirt was high-quality and well-designed. The metal was huge and glittery. At the finish, the food was packaged in a bag – gotta love that!

I paid $30 for this half. It was as good as others twice or three times the price.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4
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St. Malachi Church Run

St. Malachi Church Run

This race supports a cause is important to the local area. And, St. Malachi is a Cleveland icon. Each year, thousands of runners (mostly local) come out to participate in … MORE

This race supports a cause is important to the local area. And, St. Malachi is a Cleveland icon. Each year, thousands of runners (mostly local) come out to participate in this beloved race.

Mulberry’s, a new local bar, opened up their facility,pre-race, to provide warmth, restrooms and breakfast for the runners. Afterward, they provided post-race celebration and beer. This was a real plus for a chilly day.

The race shirt was provided by Sole Clothing which is a local shirt vendor that creates and sells premium shirts so soft you could live forever in them. In fact, their shirt pushed me over the edge in signing up for this race. The registration fee was equal to the retail value of the shirt! Love the design and I love the quality. This will definitely rank up there as a favorite shirt. Now since most of us runners might not give much thought to most of our race shirts, this is saying a lot.

The course wound it’s way through downtown Cleveland. Since most of us live here, this was not a terribly exciting route. And I’m fact it went straight out and straight back. Kinda boring. But it did go over some our pretty bridges so that was redeeming.

There is no medal for this race, but there is an incredible sense of community that surrounds it. It’s a gathering of first-time runners, competitors, friends and family that all live somewhere near you whether in Cleveland proper or one of the many suburbs.

One of the best local races out there.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3
My Media

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Super Bull Trail Championships

Super Bull Trail Championships

The scenery is absolutely beautiful. The course is challenging: hills, creek-crossings, mud, snow. While this is a trail championship, it is a great course for runners of all levels. The … MORE

The scenery is absolutely beautiful. The course is challenging: hills, creek-crossings, mud, snow. While this is a trail championship, it is a great course for runners of all levels.

The organization is fantastic, seriously top-notch. They really take care of you. Lots of great food and beverage. The swag included a hoodie, a knit beanie, and a medal. Since I ran this race from the very beginning (last year-lol), I was given a hoodie with “Founder” on it.

The friendships and comraderie are really what makes this race even more special. Even if you knew no one coming in, you’ll have lots of friends walking out. The energy and support is fantastic.

The course is a 7.75 mile loop with a big aid station at the start and a small water stop in the middle. It is cup-free so you have to have a hydration system.

The proceeds benefit the Wooster Park system. The great thing about running it every year is that you get to see your money in action.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
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Virginia Beach Distance Races

Virginia Beach Distance Races

This race follows a 2.3 mile paved loop around a golf course. The scenery is beautiful and the weather tends to be very nice this time of year on Virginia … MORE

This race follows a 2.3 mile paved loop around a golf course. The scenery is beautiful and the weather tends to be very nice this time of year on Virginia Beach: upper 40s lower 50s.

The food/aid station is at the start/finish and is well-stocked. If you have a special request, they do their best to acquire it for you. A fellow runner was “pickled tink” when they chased down some pickle juice for her. The volunteers and support crew run the course backwards to cheer you on, among other antics like dressing up as a t-rex.

John, the race director, is extremely friendly.

The swag included a cotton t-shirt, a wooden medal and your choice of Drymax socks. The design on the shirt was nice, but since it is unisex and cotton it will become a nightshirt for me. The medal was awesome. I love wooden medals. And the socks were great. We had our choice of low cut or mid cut.

If I lived near this race, I would do it every year. It was definitely worth the drive to do it once. What really gets 5-stars is the friendliness of the folks.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

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End of the Road Marathon and Half Marathon

End of the Road Marathon and Half Marathon

The race course is on the old abandoned Pennsylvania turnpike. There are plenty of rollings hills that are not too easy and not too hard. The tunnel itself was 2 … MORE

The race course is on the old abandoned Pennsylvania turnpike. There are plenty of rollings hills that are not too easy and not too hard. The tunnel itself was 2 miles long and you go through it twice. It’s absolutely black in the tunnels so you need your headlamps and flashlights. The roads outside the tunnels are very broken up since they have not been repaired since 1968 when the turnpike was abandoned. The roads inside the tunnels are in perfect shape since they had not seeing weather. There is plenty of debris and broken concrete inside tunnels to be aware of. All of this is outlined in the course description of the time you register and add to the ambience of the race. I’ve done well over 100 road races and I think this is probably one of the best course routes ever.

For swag we received a black hoodie and a large medal. Both were very well done and high-quality. After the race there was a lot of pizza and candy and chocolate milk and other snacks being served. For an inexpensive race the swag is really awesome.

I definitely plan to do this race again.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
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Detroit Free Press/Chemical Bank Marathon

Detroit Free Press/Chemical Bank Marathon

This is a great run for families or for First-timers or for those seeking a PR. It’s scenic and flat and fast. The swag is amazing! Worth the money. I … MORE

This is a great run for families or for First-timers or for those seeking a PR. It’s scenic and flat and fast. The swag is amazing! Worth the money. I have repeated this race and will repeat in the future.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5

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Detroit Free Press/Chemical Bank Marathon

Detroit Free Press/Chemical Bank Marathon

The race is worth every penny. The views over the bridge are amazing. And if it’s not cloudy, you might get to see the sun rise as you go over … MORE

The race is worth every penny. The views over the bridge are amazing. And if it’s not cloudy, you might get to see the sun rise as you go over it. Then there is the tunnel to get back to the US. It’s muggy with no airflow, but it has both flags at the border line and that’s kinda cool. It’s easy to spot. Just look for the pile of selfie takers. From either side of the river you can see the other country. Lots of folks were taking selfies of their home country in the background.

The crowd support is amazing. And the Canadians really are nice people.

The aid was plentiful along the way with Gatorade and water available in abundance.

My only word of warning is to be aware that there can be more-than-usual congestion: on the bridge, in the tunnel, and at landmarks where people want to take selfies, as well as other places that dot along the course. If you are really wanting to run this, this can be aggravating. I think this race takes in a lot of inexperienced runners who don’t signal their walks and walk in the middle of the course at inconvenient times. Be aware. Be forgiving.

They tell you that you MUST carry your passport (or other country-crossing documentation), and this is true. Our weather was predicted to be unpredictable and there was a good chance that, if they called the race, many of us would be stranded in Canada. Imagine not having your documentation then!!

The swag was awesome. A nice long sleeve tech with the Detroit flag (I think) on the back. They gave us buff-likes as an anniversary gift, to celebrate their 40th. The after-food was plentiful.

PARKING IS FREE AT MGM CASINO!!!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
My Media

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Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Expo: the expo was easy to get to. We drove there and parked. No problem. However, had we checked in to our hotel, it offered shuttle bus service that ran … MORE

Expo: the expo was easy to get to. We drove there and parked. No problem. However, had we checked in to our hotel, it offered shuttle bus service that ran often. It was large and filled with all kinds of runner delights. There were talks. They handed out free posters. There were lovely merch choices to drain your wallets. Come early because things do sell out. I missed out on a coffee mug that wouldn’t have fit into my overflowing mug cabinet anyway. It’s the perfect place to meet people you’ve been chatting with on social media.

Do not miss out on the Bank of America area. You can leave messages for runners there that showed up on big boards at the halfway point and at mile 25. These messages are also emailed at the end so the runner always has them.

Packet pick-up was easy. If your XS like me, you’ll be the only one in line for your shirt. If your XL like my hubby, again, you’ll be the only one in line.

Swag: I loved the blue shirt we received this year. The design was simple – my preference. And the logo was placed higher so that the bib did not obscure it, if you chose to run in it. The medal was a classic design. It matched my London medal quite nicely.

Race: 45,000 runners. An endless sea of humanity. Our wave started an hour and a half after the elites, give or take. This is another great time to meet people and learn life stories. The course was gorgeous and ever-changing. YOUR WATCHES WILL NOT WORK RIGHT! The tunnels throws it off right from the start. Afterwards, the buildings interfere. There was plenty of aid long the course. Seemingly never-ending. The crowd support was fantastic except for a long stretch after Chinatown. Maybe spectators couldn’t get there as easily. Maybe they were bored by then. I expected never ending shouts, but it was crickets here until the end where the excitement resumed.

Wear your name on the front of your shirt. They love to yell out your name and that is energizing.

It’s not as easy to see Wrigley Field. Boo!

TV/Celebrity runners: the news was all about the marathon. You really feel like you’re the visiting celebrity. And if you stay at the host hotel, you will see them and possibly meet them. We saw Paula Radcliffe, Jordan Hasay, Joan Benoit Samuelson, and many others.

Hotel: the Hilton Chicago was literally across the street from start and finish. This was especially nice at the end when you wanted a shower and a bed. Our room had two full baths! Imagine our surprise considering we chose the cheap room! Since many people gathered here before and after the race, potty breaks and shower breaks were easy and nice.

Parking: instead of paying $75/day the hotel wanted, we chose a lot around the corner for $20/day. It was a 5 minute walk max from hotel. Worth the savings.

Eating out: Ryosushi! A block away from the beaten path of Michigan Ave. Awesome sushi. No crowds.

This was well run, well organized. A must do for the serious and non-serious runners alike. Get into the lottery and save your pennies. Make all your reservations ahead of time. Well worth it.

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Wineglass Marathon & Half Marathon

Wineglass Marathon & Half Marathon

The community of Corning as well as other surrounding communities celebrate with the runners. The shops and restaurants invite you in with welcoming signs and discounts. The people are everywhere … MORE

The community of Corning as well as other surrounding communities celebrate with the runners. The shops and restaurants invite you in with welcoming signs and discounts. The people are everywhere cheering. For about 6,000 runners, there seems to be an equal, if not more, spectators. Certainly, this is one of the friendliest races I’ve done.

The location is beautiful. You run most of the race through wine country and farms. Don’t be surprised to be greeted by horses, cows, goats, etc. You’ll cross bridges over picturesque rivers. If taking pics along the way is your thing, be sure to pause here. The latter part is through residential streets. At the startline, you will be greeted by a rising sun that splashes the autumn trees with vibrant colors. You may or may not have fog. It’s really a breathtaking way to launch.

The course itself is net downhill with one bigger hill early on and small “speed bumps” here and there. It’s a fast course, a perfect one for beginners or those seeking a PR. It’s also a BQ.

The weather was chilly both times I ran this. High 30s to low 50s. I’ve seen tons of tank-wearers regretting their outfit choice. It’s important to weather-stalk. This is foggy farm country and that means 30-50 degrees here can feel cooler than 30-50 somewhere else.

It seemed that every school and all the organizations had groups of volunteers at the beginning, at the end, and everywhere in-between. Each and everyone as enthusiastic as the next. It seems excitement is contagious here.

The packet pickup is at Corning Museum of Glass. It’s just outside the gift shop and out of the way of general traffic. It flowed very smoothly. You are given your bib, your half-zip, a Wineglass, and a small bottle of champagne from a local winery. (The champagne has enough oomph to give you a good night sleep without ruining your run.). This same area has all the merchandise. There is plenty of variety of things to choose from. All were good quality, pretty (or handsome) things. Hold out on the goodies until after the race, if you can. After the finish line, they have a merchandise tent and are willing to discount the goods so that they don’t have to lug it back.

Once you’re done picking up your goodies, you can head right into the gift shop. The CMOG gift shop is a great place to buy your Corning keepsake. I usually end up with a bauble made by a local artist. I also enjoy some Christmas shopping while I’m there. Be careful, though. Not all things are local-made. They do label things as “imported” if it’s not local. I don’t know about you, but this is important to me.

After the gift shop, visit the museum! You’ll get an admission discount and it worth the money. You’ll be amazed at how extensive the collection is.

After the Museum, visit the shops that left gift cards in your swag bag!!!

The finish line is right in the middle of Market St. in Corning. Smack dab in the middle of all the fun stuff. They will feed you an enormous amount of food and beverage! They have seating all over the streets for you to rest and recharge.

On lodging: there are plenty of hotels in the surrounding areas. No matter where you stay, you’ll have to be bussed somewhere; whether to the start from your hotel, or to the hotel from the finish or both. The busses are frequent and run smoothly. The drivers are friendly. No matter what, book your hotel early as they do fill up fast. I’ve stayed in Bath both times and had great luck. Check the bus routine so that you book in a convenient place. You don’t want to stay where the bus isn’t going to go. Hotels can be cheap.

So just remember, the whole town of Corning and the surrounding areas are excited to have you there. It’s going to be a never-ending celebration.

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NorthCoast 24-Hour Endurance Run (NC24)

NorthCoast 24-Hour Endurance Run (NC24)

I get asked often what fun is there in running a (nearly) one mile loop over and over again for 24 hours. My answer is that the fun comes from … MORE

I get asked often what fun is there in running a (nearly) one mile loop over and over again for 24 hours. My answer is that the fun comes from all the people that participate in it, staff it, and spectate it. The comradery is unmatched. The amount of support each runner receives as they endeavor to reach goals unfathomable by others is unmatched in any event I’ve ever known. It is why most of the participants are repeats and why most of stay friends after the race is done. And, when you check in the following year, you are greeted with hugs and meaningful conversation.

This is my third year running in this event. I ran my first ultramarathon distance of 50K the first year. I ran my first 100K the second year. This year, I beat my record again with what I think is a staggering 70 miles.

To my utmost surprise, I placed 3rd in my age group. Upon hearing my name, I broke down in tears and was immediately washed over with hugs and pats on my back. You see, the elite runners that participate in this event often reach over 100 miles. When I placed, I felt I somehow reached some level unattainable even in my wildest dreams. So the moral of the story is to dream as big as you possibly can because you never know where you’ll land.

So, to the nitty gritty. You can bring a tent and set up camp there. Your tent is right along the course, so you don’t have far to go to reach it. I traveled about 3 feet to mine. You can set up tables and have a crew. I don’t have a crew but did share space on a table. I never had a crew nor do I feel I need one because the race director supplies us with so much food and beverage and supplements that what is offered is fine by me. When you need motivation, there are plenty of folks around to give it to you.

A brief comment on course difficulty….it’s a fast, flat loop so it’s easy except you’re going for so long that even the tiniest bumps seem like mountains.

There is a medical tent that will attend to your needs. They will also stretch you out whenever you need it. Next to that is the foot tent where a crew of podiatrists will take care of all your feet-needs. Honestly, I feel sorry for these folks. I mean, smelly, gross runner feet – ewwwww.

The DJ is simply awesome. He shows up along the course in crazy costumes sometimes. At 50 miles, I had to re-decide if Santa was real. Lol.

The photographers are amazing. They are real artists, not hired help. They each have their own flair. And, best of all, the pics are free!

Most importantly, lets acknowledge the food lady. She’s the wife of the race director. She made homemade cookies for all of us. When the weather got ridiculously hot, she got pop ice for all of us. When she could, she hand fed us grapes. If you wanted something special, she found a way to get it. She also provides us with an amazing breakfast at the end.

The swag gets better and better every year. This year, we received a gorgeous half zip that was fleece lined, had a kangaroo pocket, and thumb holes. The medals were a little different than last year’s and huge and beautiful. There are belt buckles for those who achieve at least 100 miles. Then there are medals for those who place in their age groups and overall. Overall winners get beautiful crystal trophies and cold hard cash.

Why is this my favorite race? First, because of all the people. Their presence makes it great. Second, every time I leave this race I always think to myself, “I never knew I could do that!” This race will change you.

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Rock Hall Half Marathon & Relay

Rock Hall Half Marathon & Relay

This is a fun event to run with family and friends. The course is relatively flat so you could a PR here. Or, this could be a great first half … MORE

This is a fun event to run with family and friends. The course is relatively flat so you could a PR here. Or, this could be a great first half marathon.

The start is at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, so from the onset the energy level is high. Since it’s on Lake Erie, it’s also beautiful. The initial stretch is a long way down Carnegie, which is, quite honestly, boring and tedious. However, it is the way to reach University Circle where the course becomes gorgeous as you run alongside the Cultural Gardens. After the Cultural Gardens, the rest of the race is along Lake Erie which is a lovely sight in August when the water is blue and the boats are everywhere.

For the women, the shirts are fantastic. They are fitted so show off your feminine curves. And the design is wonderful. Instead of putting sponsor names on the back, they put this, “Becoming a legend one step at a time”. The men’s shirts are equally nice.

The medal is nothing short of amazing! This year it was a huge double fret guitar glittered in red. Spectacular!!!

This race had 2500 runners so it’s not too big nor too small.

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BTN Big 10K

BTN Big 10K

With the Big Ten schools being represented, this was a huge, fun party. There were so so many runners. I don't know the final count, but there were about 6,000 … MORE

With the Big Ten schools being represented, this was a huge, fun party. There were so so many runners. I don’t know the final count, but there were about 6,000 just for the 10K.

Each school had its own shirt and medal, which you get to choose. I thought this was fantastic. The medals were clever. You were given the same medal, then you go to your alumni tent and pick up a magnetic coin that fits into your medal. There were cheerleaders and mascots everywhere. And since this was held at Grant Park in Chicago, the scenery was outstanding.

Packet pickup was held at a Fleet Feet and was very smooth. And a cookie vendor gave all the runners a half dozen cookies included in the swag bag; nicely packaged and super delicious. I would recommend that you go to packet pick up in pairs. One person can run in and pick stuff up while the other person drives in a circle until they can pick you up. Parking is a premium. I stayed at a hotel and walked over, which was the perfect option as the walk took me through the historic neighborhoods which were gorgeous.

My race was particularly hot. It was 88 degrees at the end at about 8am. Eeek. They had aid stations every 2-ish miles where I drank the electrolyte drink and dumped water on my clothes and hat. At the finish, they provided towels dunked in ice.

As for accommodations, I chose the Travelodge located 0.5 miles from the start/finish. It was relatively inexpensive and the location was as perfect as it could get. I never had to drive. I just walked over. They charge $39 for valet parking, but I found parking a block away for $8 total my entire stay!!! The address to this garage is 711 S. Plymouth. Park there, but bring your smallest car because you’ll be shoehorned in. Also, stay on a floor up high or the train will keep you up at night. The hotel manager told me this tidbit and now I’m passing that on to you. We were on the 12th floor. We could still hear the train but it was faint and not annoying.

This is the kind of race where you bring all your friends and just enjoy it for what it is. We had a great time and would love to do it again.

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Glacier Half Marathon

Glacier Half Marathon

The first five miles are straight uphill. My Garmin recorded about 1228' of gain. The second 5 miles is all downhill, burning up the other half of your leg muscles. … MORE

The first five miles are straight uphill. My Garmin recorded about 1228′ of gain. The second 5 miles is all downhill, burning up the other half of your leg muscles. The remaining Miles are gently rolling hills that finish off any last bit of strength and energy you may have had. In short, it will eat you alive if you don’t properly train. If you do properly train, it will a little bit of your soul intact. I’ll post pics of the elevation chart.

The views are worth every step it takes to get up there. Skies as far as you can see. And valleys as deep as they come. I know of a three bear sightings. One ahead of us. One that I actually saw below us in the valley. One behind us, literally intermingled with the runners. I’ll post that pic, too. The organizers sent out guns to scare the bears away before the race. And folks with rifles patroled the courses to protect us. As far as I know, no bears and no runners died in the production of this event.

Everything went off without a hitch. You have to drive far to park for the shuttles so you must wake up earlier than you can ever imagine. We had to leave by 3am to arrive by 4am. However, the shuttles were efficient.

Tent camping sites were available but it was a bit too chilly for my tastes so I am glad I settled for renting a cabin at the KOA, which I highly recommend. It’s cheap and you can fit a lot of your friends. Hotels are very expensive and it can be hard to book. Have your plans in place as early as possible.

Expo was okay. The bib and shirt pick-up was smooth. They do check IDs. There were plenty of merchandise to buy except for the hat I really wanted. They don’t have the same offerings on their website which was a disappointment. I hope they load that up soon so I can buy anything I missed out on. A few vendors were missing, which was another disappointment. I really wanted to buy Goodr sunglasses, but came home empty handed because they weren’t there to sell me any. The expo is bagless so bring your own bag.

I loved the race shirt. The Women’s was cut small so it fit me perfectly. The design was amazing: simple and beautiful. The medal has the same shape and size as the ones I’ve grown used to from VR, but this time it was a combination of wood and medal. I liked it just as much as their previous all-medal ones. And, it’s huge!

After the race, you have the option to complete a trifecta challenge and/or the Club challenge. The trifecta challenge is simple: visit three designated locations and take your pic with your medal and bib. Then submit your proof within 72 hours. This is great if you have children with you or can’t otherwise complete the Club challenge which is more difficult. The Club challenge makes you conquer moderately difficult hikes and can take most of a day to complete. You have a choice in the selection. We chose to hike to Iceberg Lake which is 10 miles round trip and took over 6 hours to complete. Well worth it. It’s the most breathtaking place I’ve seen this whole trip. You get special awards for completing the trifecta and one for completing the club. We managed to complete both so I’m eagerly waiting for a package of goodies.

Vacation Races never fails to provide one of the best race experiences you’ll ever have. I like that I end up in national parks when it’s not peak season so my family and I can get enjoyment with a lighter crowd. Because of VR, we’ve taken the kids all over the country. If you like a challenging race filled with immense beauty, then this is the one for you. Loved it 5-stars worth.

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5
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Niagara Falls Women’s Half Marathon

Niagara Falls Women’s Half Marathon

This race runs along the Niagara River, giving the runner a view of the falls twice. Kathrine Switzer high-fived all the runners during the race and greeted everyone at the … MORE

This race runs along the Niagara River, giving the runner a view of the falls twice. Kathrine Switzer high-fived all the runners during the race and greeted everyone at the finish line. The course is flat and fast.

The swag was amazing. Lots of cosmetic items and a large bottle of wine and a coupon for wine-tasting for two that never expires.

Ms. Switzer signed autographs at the expo and held a special dinner with proceeds going to charity, so her participation is the even was phenomenal.

This course was made for women of all running and walking levels. It was energizing to see the comraderie all along the way. Certainly a great ending to a girl’s weekend, if that is what you wanted to make of it.

The medal was pretty. Definitely, feminine in its purple color. Also, it featured Harriet Tubman, a woman hero who saved thousands of lives and changed families for generations to come. I really liked this aspect of it. However, gorgeous firemen did not pass out the medals as promised on the website. Since Ms. Switzer greeted us, I was forgiving of this otherwise huge faux pas.

I would definitely run this again.

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Grosse Ile Memorial Day Run

Grosse Ile Memorial Day Run

Grosse Ile is an island at the mouth of the Detroit River into Lake Erie. The blue waters and luxurious homes made it quite picturesque. The course and flat and … MORE

Grosse Ile is an island at the mouth of the Detroit River into Lake Erie. The blue waters and luxurious homes made it quite picturesque. The course and flat and fast. It’s limited to about 500 runners of all levels.

For $25, we received a very nice sweatshirt. The food selection was plentiful. Medals were given to those who placed.

I will definitely do this race again.

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Cleveland Marathon & Half Marathon

Cleveland Marathon & Half Marathon

The route was prettier this year. However, the Shoreway was removed from the course map which is a real heartbreaker if you love hills like I do. They did offer … MORE

The route was prettier this year. However, the Shoreway was removed from the course map which is a real heartbreaker if you love hills like I do. They did offer a few steep hills to make up for the loss and while I appreciated the sentiment, I want my shoreway back.

I loved going by the Brown’s Stadium, Great Lake Science Center and the Rock Hall of Fame. A very nice touch.

The finish was very nice. We crossed a bridge and came in on the downhill making the final sprint a speedy one.

The swag was amazing. They went all out given that this was their 40th anniversary. The medals were larger than in years past for all the distances. The design was beautiful. They offer a third challenge medal for those who complete a challenge series which a race on Saturday and a race on Sunday. They also gave challenge runners a super soft fluffy blanket guaranteed to swallow up your pets and children. If you like to collect bibs, they were lackluster this year and really kinda ugly.

I do this race every year and I will be back next year, too.

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3
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5
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4
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Cleveland Marathon & Half Marathon

Cleveland Marathon & Half Marathon

I loved the new course. It started at Public Square and took us past the Brown's Stadium, the Great Lakes Science Center and Rock Hall of Fame. As a flat … MORE

I loved the new course. It started at Public Square and took us past the Brown’s Stadium, the Great Lakes Science Center and Rock Hall of Fame. As a flat and easy course, it is perfect for someone advancing to the 8K distance.

I ran this race as part of the Cleveland Marathon Challenge, meaning I also ran the Half Marathon the following day. It’s a great warmup for the longer runs, but offers a little more challenge than a 5K.

Since it was their 40th anniversary, the 8K medal was a big as the previous year’s half marathon medals. Very impressive and beautiful. For those that accepted the “challenge”, blankets were given out as well. The shirts were bland, though. Cotton, and without a notable design.

All in all, I love this race and I’ll be back next year.

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3
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4 Miles 4 Water

4 Miles 4 Water

The course starts in The Flats of Cleveland which means you have some good hills. The course was challenging enough because of the hills. Since many new and inexperienced runners … MORE

The course starts in The Flats of Cleveland which means you have some good hills. The course was challenging enough because of the hills. Since many new and inexperienced runners participate in this one, some might label it difficult. It was rather pretty since The Flats has gone recent renovations. About 400 people run it, so it’s not crowded and it’s easy to navigate.

What makes this race unique is that you have the choice to run it while carrying a gallon of water. There are special awards to those who accept this challenge.

The charity, of course, is why you do this race. It brings awareness to the value of our water supply and to those who have to travel 4 miles just to get water which is often unsanitary.

Since the race director says it takes over 700 gallons to make a shirt, they provide metal water bottles (filled with water) as your swag instead. It’s nice to get something different and hopefully it is less environmentally damaging to make and distribute than a shirt. Also, the medal are handmade on old CDs. What a great way to recycle!

At only $25, you can’t beat it for a nice local weekend race. As long as it fits into my schedule, I intend to run it every year.

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3
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Pro Football Hall of Fame (HOF) Marathon

Pro Football Hall of Fame (HOF) Marathon

I ran the full marathon. The full marathon course was the half marathon course run forward then backward. However, at the turn-around, they cleverly hid the finish line from view … MORE

I ran the full marathon. The full marathon course was the half marathon course run forward then backward. However, at the turn-around, they cleverly hid the finish line from view so as to not crush our spirits. There were plenty of water stops and gu was offered throughout. The crowd support was better than I expected and we received lots cheers from folks sitting on their porches. All the mile markers highlighted a Hall-of-Famer. And there was entertainment all along the way. My only complaint was that some stations ran out of Gatorade. However, there was no shortage of water.

The course takes you through Canton. You’ll see parks and the McKinley Monument. You’ll also see industrial and commercial areas. There were richer and poorer neighborhoods alike – each with lot of excited families out to cheer the runners. You’ll get to experience all the flavors Canton has to offer. It has gently rolling hills throughout. Some say it’s hilly, but I would not call it that because I do hill training and this feels manageable – actually nice – to me. Seriously, it’s filled with small hills. Nothing to be worried about.

The swag was nice. We received triblend shirts with a great design. The medal was neck-breaking enormous. Finishers also got a blanket. All participants received free admission to the Football Hall of Fame.

I’ve run this twice. The first time, it was really cold. This time it was runner-collapsing hot. It’s Ohio. You have to be prepared for all weather conditions.

The Expo is mediocre. There were several good vendors and I found some treasures, but you won’t spend a lot of time there.

This one is growing quickly and it is a good one to do. I would recommend the half and the full. I did not enjoy the relay as much when I did it a few years ago.

I tried to include pics of the different types of areas you’d run through. Unfortunately, I don’t have neighborhood pics.

DIFFICULTY
3
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5
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3
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5
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Bracket Busters 5K

Bracket Busters 5K

This race supports the Ronald McDonald House. The proceeds from the registration fees plus money earned from the fabulous raffles at the end of race go toward this charity. The … MORE

This race supports the Ronald McDonald House. The proceeds from the registration fees plus money earned from the fabulous raffles at the end of race go toward this charity.

The course was flat and easy. Perfect for a new runner or someone seeking a PR. It goes through a park so the scenery is good though crowd is not as plentiful.

The swag included a cotton shirt and a gorgeous medal, plus plenty of treats at the end. For a $25 registration fee, you couldn’t beat it. The raffle prizes were amazing. There was a variety of race regs (each with differing distances) offered as prizes, as well as gift certificates to the local running stores and much much much more. Last year, I won a pair of Hokas!

The race director is outstanding. He’s so detail oriented, he even ordered up perfect weather. And, he made an effort to speak with each of the runners before and after the event.

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1
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5
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3
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3
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Super Bull Trail Championships

Super Bull Trail Championships

This is all on trail and it's very hilly. The elevation chart they gave us said to expect about 2000' elevation gain for the 25K. My watch said it was … MORE

This is all on trail and it’s very hilly. The elevation chart they gave us said to expect about 2000′ elevation gain for the 25K. My watch said it was a little less. It is a 7.75 mile loop with 8 water crossings each time you did the loop. That meant 16 water crossings for the 25K. It was also 20 degrees which meant the wet pant legs froze, water that splashed onto my jacket froze, guys with beards had icicle faces, and hydration backpacks are useless (though the bottles were fine). Much of the course was single-track, but there were plenty of places where it widened out. The single-track ridges had incredible views. There was one water-only stop on the lap, but it was to refill your hydration kit as this was a no-cups race.

The post-food choices were outstanding. Hot noodles and pulled pork, if you wanted something substantial. Chips, cookies, candies etc for snacking. Lots of good beverage choices. This was in a park, though, so no beer. That was okay by me.

The race director and all the staff and volunteers are super friendly, helpful, contagiously funny.

The swag was awesome. It included a thick and warm hoodie with the fierce growling Red Bull that is their logo on the front. I didn’t even know bulls growled. Hooda thunk? And the medal with the same growling bull was good quality and worthy of showing off.

I did not finish as well as I wanted because I am nursing a shin splint. But even a seasoned athlete will find this challenging. LOVED IT! I WILL BE BACK!

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5
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Fuzzy Fandango

Fuzzy Fandango

You'll have a 2110' elevation gain and the hill grade averages to 7.7-7.9%. The scenery is outstanding if you like trees, creek beds and cliffs. There are 5K, 25K and … MORE

You’ll have a 2110′ elevation gain and the hill grade averages to 7.7-7.9%. The scenery is outstanding if you like trees, creek beds and cliffs. There are 5K, 25K and 50K options in addition to this 9-miler.

The race director and co-director are the best people on the planet. They will make you feel right at home. And, speaking of home, you can get accommodations right on site for a donation to the cause – Camp NUHOP. Seriously, only a kitchen stood between me and the expo and the door to the start/finish line. If you like friendly-runner people, you will feel like your with family.

Swag included a custom tech Brooks shirt, a custom beer glass and tickets for 2 beers, made locally. You also get chili and chips.

One of my favorite races.

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Ohio State Four-Miler

Ohio State Four-Miler

I do this race every year. The proceeds benefit cancer research. Also, it's 4 miles through OSU's campus. What more could you ask for??? Oh bling. The medals are top … MORE

I do this race every year. The proceeds benefit cancer research. Also, it’s 4 miles through OSU’s campus. What more could you ask for??? Oh bling. The medals are top notch. Huge. Beautiful. Worthy of showing off. The shirts are tech and get better every year. Starting line entertainment? The absolute best I’ve seen in races. Each wave was sent off with a rap song written in lyrics focused on OSU. And, Brutus showed us his dance moves before high-fiving the runners out. The course is gorgeous. You won’t get more for your race dollars anywhere.

It’s a family run so I get enjoyment with running with my home-peeps. Also, it’s a great run for first time runners.

What about the finish, you ask. In the final stretch, you tunnel into the stadium and cross the finish at the 50-yard line and your face is shown on the gigantic scoreboard screen. This is your chance for the world to see your best or worst race day visage. So go ahead and give your best grimace or your easy peasy smile.

The recovery food is amazing. Every year, I forget to bring a bag with me and I end up lugging a ton of delicious snacks to my car before I can chow down.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
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Detroit Free Press/Chemical Bank Marathon

Detroit Free Press/Chemical Bank Marathon

This is an easy 5K. The course is flat and along the water. This year, the course was diverted to less pretty scenery due to the arrival of USS Detroit. … MORE

This is an easy 5K. The course is flat and along the water. This year, the course was diverted to less pretty scenery due to the arrival of USS Detroit.

This makes a great PR course and is a perfect warmup to the next day’s half or full.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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Monster Mutt Dash

Monster Mutt Dash

This is a charity run for the Berea Animal Rescue Friends, a local no-kill shelter that is dear to my heart. It's a family friendly 5K run/walk and pets are … MORE

This is a charity run for the Berea Animal Rescue Friends, a local no-kill shelter that is dear to my heart.

It’s a family friendly 5K run/walk and pets are invited. There is also a costume contest. The course takes you from the fairgrounds through local parks and neighborhoods. It’s a very quaint quarry town.

The long-sleeved cotton shirts are really quite nice with a fun design. It’s not lame at all. However, you won’t get a finishers medal so this is a race for love, not bling.

It’s an enjoyable time. I would do it again.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3
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Ragnar Relay Michigan

Ragnar Relay Michigan

This was my second ragnar. And, it was the Ragnar Michigan inaugural. Even though this was the first year for this particular Ragnar, it did not have the pains of … MORE

This was my second ragnar. And, it was the Ragnar Michigan inaugural. Even though this was the first year for this particular Ragnar, it did not have the pains of an inaugural. Everything went smoothly.

The weather is unpredictable this time of the year in MI, so you must be physically and mentally prepared for all types. This year, we got rain and more rain. Since you are living in a van with 5 others, “soaked shoe smell” is a possibility.

Also, train for hills. Long hills. Steep hills. Dark hills. Rolling hills. If you love hills, this is for you. If you hate hills, learn to love them.

The views are spectacular almost the entire length, as it follows the Shoreline Trail. Where it’s not spectacular, it’s simply beautiful. Hardly a bad leg on this one.

Strong runners, be the 4th runner. You get the bonus medal for doing this one. And the courses are brag-worthy. (In case you don’t know, in addition to the finisher medal, the runner who completed the hardest leg, gets a bonus medal).

Want a free pair of shoes? Be the team captain. They all get free shoes from Reebok.

I loved every minute of this race and plan to do it again.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
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NorthCoast 24-Hour Endurance Run (NC24)

NorthCoast 24-Hour Endurance Run (NC24)

This is the USATF championship race, but you don't have to be an elite runner to participate. You have to be a USATF member in good standing to receive awards, … MORE

This is the USATF championship race, but you don’t have to be an elite runner to participate. You have to be a USATF member in good standing to receive awards, but you do not have to be a member in order to participate. Basically, anyone can sign up, but only USATF members can win.

So, how does a 24 hour race work? It’s easy. You have 24 hours to run whatever you want. The elites will run 100 miles or more. Everyone else typically runs from half marathons on up, but you can run any distance as long as you complete one loop of about 1 mile. Many folks will use this race to reach personal goals of 50K, 50M, 100K, or just most distance ever. The goals are your own, but the USATF members with the most miles wins. Top three males and top three females will bring home cash money and lots of hardware.

This is a 24-hour race on an easy course along the shore of Lake Erie. While the scenery is beautiful, the weather is unpredictable, which adds a little excitement to the race. Be prepared for all kinds. The food is in abundance and has a huge variety to pick from. This is also true for the beverages. They consistently get rave reviews on the food tent/truck. They try to accommodate any special requests, too. They will also sell food to spectators and your crew.

You can be sure that the race director and staff are everywhere along the course and are busy making the event pleasurable all 24 hours. Since the course is in a park that is open to the public, they will go out and direct traffic, too. They’re the nicest bunch you’ll ever meet. They will cheer you on every minute.

You will have 24 hours to run your best and to make friends while you’re doing it. By the end, we are all just one big happy family. That’s really the best part. You’ll never make better running friends than you will here. The elite runners, as well as the rest of us, will run alongside with you when your steam is running out.

There are nice restrooms along the course. Real ones with flush toilets, sinks, soap, and showers. There is a medical tent as well as a foot-care tent. LOVE THE FOOT-CARE TENT!!

The swag is very nice. This year we got quarter-zip pullovers instead of shirts. The medals are gorgeous. And those who run over 100 miles get a buckle big enough to pull your pants off. For sale, they had shirts, custom headsweats hats and custom camelbak water bottles. The design is beautiful. These are things you’d be proud to wear and/or display.

As for accommodations, you are allowed to set up a tent to sleep or change clothes in. You can also set up a canopy for your crew and personal aid station. I don’t have a crew so I utilize the aid station they provide which is more than adequate. I don’t set up a tent. I just rent a van and live in that. The cars are kept as close as the tents so you always have easy access to your stuff.

I love this race because it is the true test of everything I’ve got. My first year, I beat my longest distance ever run by 33 miles! Who does that?!!! This year, I beat that when reached 100K. And, I know I can still do better. This race can beat you up with a smile.

It’s my favorite.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
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Vineyard to Bay

Vineyard to Bay

The course is about 50% TART trail, 50% road. Road shoes are probably best. It takes you through the trees of Sutton's Bay from winery to winery and along the … MORE

The course is about 50% TART trail, 50% road. Road shoes are probably best. It takes you through the trees of Sutton’s Bay from winery to winery and along the lake. The scenery is outstanding to say the least. It has rolling hills and the best hill is between miles 9 & 10. Wait until you crest it. You will see the most splendid vision Mother Nature can offer. You will find lots of other surprises along the way. The winner of this race is the one who took the most pics and soaked up the atmosphere.

The bling. THE BLING! The shirt was pretty, but not a favorite. However, the medal. THE MEDAL!!!! This is one of the best ones you will ever get. Each one is handmade and signed at Sporck Tile. It’s gorgeous! It’s GIGANTIC! A real show stopper and conversation piece.

The weather was perfect and for this time of the year and this region, rather predictable.

This ranks as a favorite race. I loved it.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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Ragnar Relay Chicago

Ragnar Relay Chicago

This is total team effort! We lived in 2 vans - 6 people per van for the entire race which took us 30 hours or more to finish. You hustle … MORE

This is total team effort! We lived in 2 vans – 6 people per van for the entire race which took us 30 hours or more to finish. You hustle and bustle when you are team support duty. You hustle and bustle when you’re the runner. You eat when you’re off duty. If the weather is bad, you have to sleep in your van in the small space you’re allotted. And, showers aren’t happening. So, bring your body wipes. Google packing lists and you will find they are spot on. Also, unleash your creativity and bring your window markers. Drawing on vans is encouraged, but you will have to clean the off when you’re done. Plan on a lot of water and Gatorade – even more than you’ll think you’ll need. Leave your drama at home or you’ll annoy your van mates.

I would highly recommend this epic adventure. You’ll have a whole new family when you’re done.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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Cleveland Marathon & Half Marathon

Cleveland Marathon & Half Marathon

The half marathon is a great distance for this race. The course changes due to road construction and other uncontrollable situations, but the organizers like to provide a taste of … MORE

The half marathon is a great distance for this race. The course changes due to road construction and other uncontrollable situations, but the organizers like to provide a taste of all the neighborhoods. It has gentle hills, especially over the iconic bridges, but I wouldn’t rate it as hilly nor flat. Just somewhere in between.

This year, they added a challenge series so you can choose to do a 5k or 8k on Saturday, followed by the half or the full on Sunday. You can a medal and shirt for each race plus a bonus 3rd medal. This year, the challenge series runners also received a really nice cinch bag with zippered netted section, a cooling towel and a water bottle.

While it’s a big race for the area, I’ve never had problems getting to the start line nor leaving the finish. Traffic is not so bad and you can find parking within walking distance.

It’s a race I’ll do every year.

I have not this full in Cleveland. It seems like a rather lonely run. If you like peace and solitude when on a long run, then maybe this is the marathon for you.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5
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London Marathon

London Marathon

The crowd support is the best on the planet. For 26.2 miles, the crowds will be yelling your name and words of encouragement. The production is phenomenal. They even put … MORE

The crowd support is the best on the planet. For 26.2 miles, the crowds will be yelling your name and words of encouragement. The production is phenomenal. They even put your name in lights in Piccadilly Circus – one name at a time so it isn’t buried in a sea of names.

Famous people show up to run this and you can find them cruising through the crowds at the start. The swag is unbeatable. They hand you a finisher shirt, a medal, and a bag of food and drink so heavy you might fall over trying to carrying it, as I almost did.

The course passes by all the London must-sees like Big Ben. And the finish is at Buckingham Palace. Glorious!

Oh! The costumes! Many runners wear costumes!!!! Some are so outrageous, you wonder how they run in them. I was a butterfly.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
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Surf City Marathon & Half Marathon

Surf City Marathon & Half Marathon

The course mostly runs along the beach. The scenery is gorgeous and the weather was perfect. The smell of sand was inviting. Highly recommend the VIP package. You get endless … MORE

The course mostly runs along the beach. The scenery is gorgeous and the weather was perfect. The smell of sand was inviting.

Highly recommend the VIP package. You get endless food from 6am to 1pm, reserved parking lot, finishers jacket, massage, alcohol and non-alcohol beverages, and private restrooms with sinks.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
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Run Sedona Half Marathon

Run Sedona Half Marathon

Unrelenting hills. Perfect running temps. This could easily be one of the most beautiful races I've eve run. Except, it ends on an uphill! The crowd support, when you see … MORE

Unrelenting hills. Perfect running temps.

This could easily be one of the most beautiful races I’ve eve run. Except, it ends on an uphill! The crowd support, when you see it, is phenomenal.

Stay at the Sedona Summit Resort. The start/finish is right there.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
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Bill’s Badass 50K

Bill’s Badass 50K

This race is free, but the race director asks that you donate time to your favorite charity. The course is in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park so it's incredibly beautiful. … MORE

This race is free, but the race director asks that you donate time to your favorite charity.

The course is in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park so it’s incredibly beautiful. The hills are unbelievable to say the least. I made at least a 3000′ elevation gain before my watch died, so it is more than that. The course also changes direction every year and this year was the “hard way”. After you finish 6 laps of the 5-mile course, you finish with a hard 1-mile hill where you’ll collect candy and bring back to the finish to claim your finisher shirt.

This is one of the hardest courses I’ve run. The crowd is small. Probably less than 100 runners. They feed you well and you’ll feel like family. The people are just super. Since it’s 100% trail, there is no crowd support, but volunteers will run the course in the opposite direction to cheer you on and clang their cowbells.

This is a perfect race if you crave a challenge. It is not for the faint of heart. If you want an easy race, this is not it.

The swag is minimal but hard-earned. I give it 5-stars and 2 thumbs up! ??

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3
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Hot Chocolate 15/5k – Columbus

Hot Chocolate 15/5k – Columbus

This is a fast and flat course. It takes you from downtown up through the Ohio State University campus. There are many aid stations along the way and a few … MORE

This is a fast and flat course. It takes you from downtown up through the Ohio State University campus. There are many aid stations along the way and a few of them include chocolate candies!

The swag is amazing. Jackets, hoodies, etc. It’s something different every year. At the end of the race, you get a nice medal that could hurt someone if you’re not careful. Each medal is made to the city of the race so they are not the same. This would be a fun thing to collect. The gigantic mug at the end contains hot chocolate, dipping chocolate and a plethora of treats to dip into the dipping chocolate. It will completely restore your carb-spend unless you choose to ignore that fact and follow-up the race with a big breakfast, like I do. I’ve seen people throw away the mug. What a waste. They are perfect for holding paperclips and other what-nots that gather in my desk drawers, plus they are great conversation pieces.

You never know what kind of Columbus weather you will get for this race. I’ve run it every year since it came to Columbus and I experienced it all. Blizzards, rains, hot and muggy. That’s Ohio for you. Come prepared for all kinds and don’t trust the weather forecasts because it changes every 10-15 minutes.

If you love buying stuff, the expo is wonderful. If you don’t, there are still plenty of backdrops for selfies.

It’s a great race to do with friends. It’s also great if you are tackling a 15K for the first time. Perfect for families. All around good time.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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Ohio State Four-Miler

Ohio State Four-Miler

I love this race because, not only did I graduate from OSU, but because my little daughter and hubby (a Wolverine) run it with me. High-fiving Brutus at the start … MORE

I love this race because, not only did I graduate from OSU, but because my little daughter and hubby (a Wolverine) run it with me. High-fiving Brutus at the start is somehow extremely energizing. Of course, the route is amazing – it’s OSU!! To cross the finish at the 50-yard line is thrilling, especially when you see your face on the big screen. Of course, I tell lots of stories to my daughter as we pass all the landmarks.

The medal is huge and beautiful. The post-face food is in abundance. The crowd is spectacular.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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Sleeping Bear Marathon & Half Marathon

Sleeping Bear Marathon & Half Marathon

I love Empire MI and I love the heritage trail. Glen Arbor is a quaint town. The sand dunes of Sleeping Bear are breath-taking. This race was on a paved … MORE

I love Empire MI and I love the heritage trail. Glen Arbor is a quaint town. The sand dunes of Sleeping Bear are breath-taking.

This race was on a paved trail through the picturesque woods and past the rolling sand dunes. There were some challenging hills – signs posted for 10% and 11% grades plus others – which I loved. This was a fun race and one that everyone should do. The crowds were not intense. Everything felt rather laid back. The expo was small but good. For me, this was a weekend getaway race with girlfriends – and it was perfect for just such an event.

Don’t neglect to make a special trip to Moomer’s Ice Cream to celebrate.

The medals arrived late and had to be mailed to us. We were disappointed in the lack of communication from the race officials. We were left to wonder if there were medals at all and, if so, when and how would we receive them. A simple sign at the end stating that there was a delay in receiving the medals and that they would be mailed to us would have sufficed. Instead, we had to ask around until we could get an answer. That was my only complaint, and I am sure this is NOT a common occurrence. I only mention it here hoping that the race organizers will see this hone their communication skills. We did get the medals very soon after the race and they were beautiful. The tech shirts were really nice, too.

Instead of renting a hotel room, I would strongly recommend renting a house nearby. We were a 5-minute walk to the event. The accommodations were spacious and beautiful.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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NorthCoast 24-Hour Endurance Run (NC24)

NorthCoast 24-Hour Endurance Run (NC24)

You run/walk/crawl as far as you can in 24 hours. The course is a one mile loop along the shore of Lake Erie. The beach is just a few feet … MORE

You run/walk/crawl as far as you can in 24 hours. The course is a one mile loop along the shore of Lake Erie. The beach is just a few feet away, literally. You also get a spectacular view of the Cleveland skyline.

It’s my favorite all-time race so far. It was my first ultra and I am addicted.

The aid station is stocked with tons of food and beverage that they change up every mile or so. And the breakfast is catered. You won’t go hungry and you won’t get bored with the menu. Never-ending comfort food buffet. The shirt and medal are a favorite of mine.

You can pitch your tent and park your car in the middle of the loop so you are never far from your belongings. Bring gear for all conditions.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
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Great Smoky Mountains Half Marathon

Great Smoky Mountains Half Marathon

The scenery along the course was beautiful. It went through the woods, along a river and finished through the city. The name may make you think "hilly", but this race … MORE

The scenery along the course was beautiful. It went through the woods, along a river and finished through the city. The name may make you think “hilly”, but this race was relatively flat. I actually thought this would make a great first half marathon for a new runner.

We rented a cabin nearby to live in during our stay. Kudos to Dogwood Cabins. We stayed in a giant, lovely 4 bedroom room that could sleep 10 people comfortably, for less than what you’d pay for a run-of-the-mill hotel room.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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Rock Hall Half Marathon & Relay

Rock Hall Half Marathon & Relay

I absolutely loved the course. It went past most of the places that are beautiful and cultural in Cleveland. It was relatively flat. The medal is rock-n-roll themed and very … MORE

I absolutely loved the course. It went past most of the places that are beautiful and cultural in Cleveland. It was relatively flat. The medal is rock-n-roll themed and very beautiful. The tech shirt is one of my favorites.

The discounted tour of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the end was a nice way to finish out the day. To tell you the truth, I like this half marathon better than the Rite-Aid Cleveland Half Marathon.

Will definitely do this again.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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Shawshank Hustle at the Ohio State Reformatory

Shawshank Hustle at the Ohio State Reformatory

The race starts and ends at the Mansfield Reformatory where the movie Shawshank Redemption was filmed. There are several movie landmarks along the route that are well-marked and available for … MORE

The race starts and ends at the Mansfield Reformatory where the movie Shawshank Redemption was filmed. There are several movie landmarks along the route that are well-marked and available for photo opportunity. The town itself is very quaint and one of its pride-and-joys is a carousel which you will pass (you also get free tickets to ride it, post race). There are a few good hills, which adds to the nicety of the course. After the race, you get a ticket to tour the Reformatory, now defunct and in a state of disrepair (or renovation, more accurately).

Oh, and at the expo (a very little one), you can meet an actor from the film.

I would recommend watching the movie before and after the race. The race was great, but the tour afterward was even better because it is full of surprises. I would definitely repeat this one.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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Bear Lake Marathon Utah

Bear Lake Marathon Utah

If you sign up for all three, you get three races in three states in three days. I opted to run three half marathons in three states: Utah, Idaho, and … MORE

If you sign up for all three, you get three races in three states in three days. I opted to run three half marathons in three states: Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming.

Utah had farm-scenery. The Idaho course ran along water. Wyoming was filled with horses. Each had a different feel. The courses were flat. The temps were perfect. The race organizers went above and beyond to make sure everyone was accommodated with whatever needs they had. If you chose, your Sunday race could be run Thursday: perfect for sabbath observers or those with tricky travel plans.

We received 3 tech shirts, and 3 gigantic medals with growling bears on them, and a giant sticker for the car. There was an extra medal if you ran the full-marathon trilogy. I opted to also receive the finishers jacket which is a prized possession.

This trifecta instantly qualifies you for Half Fanatics Mars.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5
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Cleveland Marathon & Half Marathon

Cleveland Marathon & Half Marathon

I like this race because it takes you through all kinds of Cleveland neighborhoods, from industrial to commercial to residential. You even get to run along Lake Erie. It's not … MORE

I like this race because it takes you through all kinds of Cleveland neighborhoods, from industrial to commercial to residential. You even get to run along Lake Erie. It’s not to hard and not to difficult. It’s just right. The energy level is high and the crowd support really rocks (but, of course, we are the home of rock-n-roll, so it only makes sense.)

They added challenges this year. You can do a short race on Saturday and then a long race on Sunday. You get a medal for each race, plus a third for having completed both.

Cleveland is an amazing city filled with a plethora of hidden gems. This race is a good opportunity to explore the other treasures offered up in this northeast Ohio city.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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Pro Football Hall of Fame (HOF) Marathon

Pro Football Hall of Fame (HOF) Marathon

My friends and I were originally registered for the half marathon. We regretted our decision to switch to the relay. The half marathon received rave reviews and the medal was … MORE

My friends and I were originally registered for the half marathon. We regretted our decision to switch to the relay. The half marathon received rave reviews and the medal was stunning.

The relay was okay. I had the 5th leg (final leg) so I can only speak for this portion. The course took me through the area neighborhoods which I like because I love seeing people on their porches or yards watching the runners go by. High-giving kids is certainly an energy-booster for me. There were gentle rolling hills. A seasoned runner might call it flat, but a new runner might spew some curse words. There were some nice neighborhoods, but there were a lot of sketchy ones, too.

They give you fleece blanket at the end – LOVE THE BLANKET!!! They tech shirts were awesome – still one of my favorites. The idea of the relay medals were really cool. There were five – one for each leg – and each one was different. And they kept the same medals for five years, so if your team wanted to, you could rotate legs and each collect all the medals. A cool concept, which is why we changed from the half to the relay. Then…. we received the medals. They were very disappointing. It was like seeing the pic of it on your phone was seeing it in actual size. They were tiny and the ribbons were boring.

All in all, I am not saying “don’t do this race”. I am saying to consider the marathon and the half marathon instead of the relay. The marathon and half marathon received rave reviews. The swag was awesome.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
2

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Towpath Half Marathon

Towpath Half Marathon

This was a fun and easy half marathon. The course is in the park along the towpath, nestled in Mother Nature. The weather is generally good for running in April. … MORE

This was a fun and easy half marathon. The course is in the park along the towpath, nestled in Mother Nature. The weather is generally good for running in April. 40 degrees, though it may or may not be rainy. The money supports the maintenance of the trails, and since I live here, this means a lot to me.

This is a perfect race for someone doing their first half marathon. With other distances to choose from, the easy paths, and the park-setting, this is a great family run for people of all ages. There are families that make this a generational event. Grandparents, parents, children, etc. running with one another.

It’s not a crowded race, either. The food at the end was plentiful and the prizes are unique – unlike what you will see at other races. When I ran it, it was signed art-work from local artists.

I love the fit of the tech shirt. It’s comfy so I wear it to the gym often. The artwork is not my favorite. The medal matched the shirt. Not my favorite, but still an impressive piece of hardware. Worth working for. I hang it proudly.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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Fuzzy Fandango

Fuzzy Fandango

This hills are steep. The views are amazing. It's incredibly challenging and oh so fun. It took me longer to finish this 8.5 miler than it did a half marathon! … MORE

This hills are steep. The views are amazing. It’s incredibly challenging and oh so fun. It took me longer to finish this 8.5 miler than it did a half marathon!

The organization is just fantastic and the money benefits Camp NUHOP. They provide a place for you to stay which was on the course. Our porch, and others, became places where runners left their gear because it was within touching distance.

I will do this every year.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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Wineglass Marathon & Half Marathon

Wineglass Marathon & Half Marathon

The scenery takes you through rural as well as urban areas. I remember being greeted by horses and goats along the way. The crowd support is stupendous. Everyone came out … MORE

The scenery takes you through rural as well as urban areas. I remember being greeted by horses and goats along the way. The crowd support is stupendous. Everyone came out to watch and cheer the runners.

It’s a flat course – an easy PR for anyone looking for one. I was not there for my own PR but to pace a friend to hers. She cried buckets when she beat her previous PR by 20 minutes and I was pleased.

The handmade glass medals are just way to cool for words. The post-race food was fantastic. It was fun to shop the town afterward. And why could we shop the town??? Because some of the local stores put $10 gift certificates in the swag bag!!!! Additional swag included a wineglass and a small bottle of local wine. It is wine country, after all.

I am doing this race again and I am bringing my friends and family with me. We will dominate this little town!!!

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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Air Force Marathon

Air Force Marathon

There is a good sized hill at mile one that seemed to go on forever. The rest is relatively flat with a few bumps in the road. There were a … MORE

There is a good sized hill at mile one that seemed to go on forever. The rest is relatively flat with a few bumps in the road. There were a lot of people in uniform yelling and/or cheering. Mostly cheering. The finish line was the best I’ve ever seen. The runway at the base was flanked with a long line of planes. The runners ran between them to reach the end. At the finish, a beautiful medal was placed around your neck by someone in uniform, who shook your hand and said “Congratulations.”

Afterward, there was free admission to the Air Force Base Museum, which is just incredible.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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Yellowstone Half Marathon

Yellowstone Half Marathon

By far, my favorite half marathon. This was the only race I ever ran that required the runners to carry bear spray. When I read this, I signed up right … MORE

By far, my favorite half marathon. This was the only race I ever ran that required the runners to carry bear spray. When I read this, I signed up right away. I mean, really, this meant this race was already going to spectacular. The scenery was amazing. Trees. Mountains. A river. Bear tracks on the course. I come from a low-altitude, flat area, so the terrain and the altitude were rough, which, as a crazy runner who craves a real challenge, was even more reason to sign up. It was a technical trail. Lots of rocks and boulders. Lots in incline and decline. There were a few falls witnessed. This is the perfect race for someone who wants a real challenge, without the actual threat of dying – except for having to carry bear spray. It was a hard-earned medal. I stare at it every day with pride, knowing “I did that”. Also, Vacation Races offers “trifectas” that promote getting the runners to see the sites and enjoy the national parks. That’s a real plus for my family and me.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run

Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run

I registered for this race when I was a brand new runner still struggling with 5Ks. Since it is a lottery race, I left it in fate's hands whether my … MORE

I registered for this race when I was a brand new runner still struggling with 5Ks. Since it is a lottery race, I left it in fate’s hands whether my running would literally take me to new distances. Lo and behold, my name was drawn and I blurted out “Oh crap, now I must really train.”

Cherry blossoms in DC. What could be more pretty? From what I hear, the weather is sketchy in April and you don’t know what you’re going to get for this race. It could be rain, sleet, snow or cherry blossoms. I was one of the lucky ones. I got perfect weather and cherry blossoms…well, some that peaked out here and there.

Running past all the monuments and other historical points of interest in DC was simply fantastic. Running past Arlington brought tears to my eyes. Though at the time, it was the longest distance I had gone, it was still an easy race. The energy was high in air since elite runners from around the world compete here. To see the Kenyans run was breath-taking. They are machines.

This race makes a great excuse for a weekend family vacation to DC.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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Divas Half Marathon & 5K in North Myrtle Beach

Divas Half Marathon & 5K in North Myrtle Beach

This is a super-fun girl's race. You can see the ocean for parts of it and the city for the other parts of it. The crowd support was great. And, … MORE

This is a super-fun girl’s race. You can see the ocean for parts of it and the city for the other parts of it. The crowd support was great. And, I have to say, I love the guys who run this, especially if they are in tutus.

I ran this with my little girl, a friend of mine, and her little girls. We wore signs on our backs supporting our T1D runner and the runners behind us cheered their support for our cause. Talk about feeling the love.

This is a great race to run with friends and family. Never have I seen so many first time 5K’ers or first time half marathoners. There were also tons of “survivors” running this celebration of whatever they survived – again, feeling the love all around.

At the end, you get champagne (or juice, for the kids), and the beautiful medals are hung around your necks by the hunkiest guys you can ever imagine. (Hold on while I get this fainting spell under control…..!!)

Great bling. Great fun.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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River Run Half Marathon

River Run Half Marathon

This race happens in the MetroParks. It is in the fall, when the leaves are starting to change color and the temps are cooler - perfect for a long run. … MORE

This race happens in the MetroParks. It is in the fall, when the leaves are starting to change color and the temps are cooler – perfect for a long run. The river is always beautiful there. The roads are closed but the park is not so its fun see other hikers and bikers and families along the route.

Except for a few bumps in the road, this race goes downhill. It’s perfect for a PR or the first-time half marathoner or even as a training run.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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Run The Bluegrass

Run The Bluegrass

Ranks as probably #3 in my list of favorites. The entire course was along the horse farms/stables and was just breathtaking. And when a horse runs alongside you - that's … MORE

Ranks as probably #3 in my list of favorites. The entire course was along the horse farms/stables and was just breathtaking. And when a horse runs alongside you – that’s a wow experience.

Hilly! Hilly!! and more Hilly!!!!! I trained for months for these hills. The 9 mile hill is a long 9% grade. But, when we were done, I felt like there was no race I couldn’t handle after that one. If you want that feeling of accomplishment, this is the race to do. There is a special Director’s award for everyone who PRs in this race.

Kudos to the race organizers who go above and beyond to make this a spectacular experience. They keep the excitement up all year long. The expo included signature bourbon!! Forget the shirts and hat — give me the booze. And rum balls – grandmother’s recipe. I still buy it every year as a Christmas gift to myself.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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