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deantuinstra REPEAT RUNNER '16

Very flat, very fast. I've ran this marathon 4 years in a row, and am getting ready to go back for a 5th year in a row. I've gotten a … MORE

Very flat, very fast. I’ve ran this marathon 4 years in a row, and am getting ready to go back for a 5th year in a row. I’ve gotten a new Masters PR every time I run it. I’ve BQ’ed the last 3 times I’ve run it. The weather is cool, but never too cold. It hasn’t gotten too hot, finish temps are usually low 60’s. It’s the best supported marathon I’ve run, with aid stations every mile. It’s small, but that means no long bathroom lines, and I was able to park about 50 yards from the start/finish line. It’s wide open, out in the country, so the air is clean and fresh. I didn’t think I would like the double out-and-back course, but now I LOVE it. We get to see all the other runners in the race, several times. Going back out on the course after the 13.1 turn around can be mentally tough, but that does’t last long when you see the other runners. Once you get to the 19.5 mile turn around, all you have to do is get home, and that doesn’t seem too daunting. And you get a nice gradual downslope at 23 miles, when your legs are killing, and by that time you can see the town, and know the finish is very close. At the finish line, it’s all you can eat pancakes and sausage!

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5
My Media

6 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

lap9197 FIRST-TIMER '17

This race was difficult in the fact that the scenery you expect to see while running in Hawaii was not there. Never went by the water and spent about half … MORE

This race was difficult in the fact that the scenery you expect to see while running in Hawaii was not there. Never went by the water and spent about half of the race running through the lava fields. Outside of that it was great. Volunteers were plenty and supplied enough water and Gatorade throughout. (This was my concern going in based on other reviews. It appears the race leadership has addressed that issue.) The only real thing I did not like was where the 5k & quarter marathon turned around onto the half marathon and marathon course. That was very chaotic and with lots of people walking and not looking out for the incoming runners.

The shirt was a wicking race shirt they had women’s and men’s options. They did allow you to switch your shirt at the race if it didn’t fit or you didn’t like a v-neck, etc at the finisher’s area. Shirts ran a little large.

I think this group put on a great race. For me, it was more about running in Hawaii and I wasn’t disappointed except that I never saw the water during my run. The Race Director is great, she makes the race one to remember. I had a question that I submitted to the general email and the race director called me and discussed it. In conversation she inquired as to why I would go all that way to run in Hawaii. I explained my goal of a 1/2 or greater in all 50 states + DC. She told me to notify her in May how many I would have when I finished Hawaii so I did and she told me to find her at the finish. For all runners doing the 50 state challenges (If she knew about it) she had your bib done to signify the number of your half or full (ie #37 for 37th full or #1037 for 37th half), on the towel that they list all runners names they put “Congratulations 37 + my name) and finally she had painted tiles made with an engraved plaque with the race name and the numbered state you had completed. All above what I ever expected in the swag area.

If you find yourself running in Hawaii look this race up and check them out. They also offer a discount sometime in December for $15 off the entrance fee. Just keep an eye out for it during the first tier of pricing.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
1
SWAG
5

6 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

TBurgess FIRST-TIMER '17

This was the worse, must unorganized, half marathon event I have ever participated. Such a shame too, because the course is a great location. I was so excited to run … MORE

This was the worse, must unorganized, half marathon event I have ever participated. Such a shame too, because the course is a great location. I was so excited to run in Brooklyn, New York. I hope they fix these issues for future participants.

This is where it gets long & wordy, but I wanted to provide full details.

Let’s see. Where to start? First, the webpage is horrible. It provides little information. It stated pre-race packet pick-up “to be announced”, but then 2 or 3 days before the event, it finally changed to “n/a”.

Second, the start time was set at 9 am. I’m not a morning person, but I prefer at least an 8 am start time; especially in June to avoid the heat. Note: looks like they have the 2018 start time at 8 am, per their updated webpage.

Third, absolutely no communication from the organizers until 14 1/2 hours before the event (the night before). In the message, they didn’t check transit updates, because they provided false information since the closest subway station was closed for the weekend. They had to send out a follow up message 30 minutes later, informing people of the issue. This meant that people using transit system had to go to the next stop, which required about a mile long walk to the start line. I suggest taxi/uber/lyft to avoid any issues & save your legs for the half marathon.

Fourth issue, buried in that late email, at the very bottom, they had this nice little announcement: “We are also sorry to announce that our medals did not arrive due to the weather. We will mail with in the United States to all finishers.” I understand not everyone runs half marathons for the medals, but many of us do. And the most enjoyable part of finishing is receiving that medal to have something to show for our accomplishment. And “due to weather”??? What weather? It’s June! What kind of weather issues could delay delivery? A sorry excuse to cover for someone that failed to order in time for them to arrive. [When we finally get our medals, I’ll update this post to let you know how long it took to receive them – ARRIVED 17 days after the event] – Note: 2018 event states that medals will be mailed, not given at the end of the event.

Last, and most importantly, they ran out of water way too early. They were expecting thunderstorms and rain, but the clouds parted and it was sunny and hot. 80 degrees with 80% humidity. It was HOT. I do carry water with me. Since it was so hot, I rationed my own water, but used it all up heading to the 2nd turn-around point, thinking they’ll have water there that will get me through the last 2.45 miles. Nope! They were empty. All they could say was “sorry”. So I had to run the last 2.45 miles, dry-mouthed, feeling the heat, all the way back. Then get to the finish line and no water there either. Again, they just said “sorry”. Not, “we have someone going to get water” or advice on where we can buy some water or find a water fountain. This is dangerous. I saw 2 people, while on the course, being treated by medical personnel for heat conditions. I would not be surprised if there was more. No matter what you expect the forecast to be, organizers of June events should buy twice the amount of water they think they’ll need. No excuse for running out.

I won’t even go into details of the unorganized morning packet pick-up or the unorganized snafu at bag check. Again, I truly hope they get these worked out for future events, because the location in Brooklyn, New York has such great potential.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
1
SCENERY
4
SWAG
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My Media

5 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

TerriB FIRST-TIMER '17

This was my 15th half marathon and by far the worst organized. I sent Texts and emails to the number and email provided on websites, questioning my son not being … MORE

This was my 15th half marathon and by far the worst organized. I sent Texts and emails to the number and email provided on websites, questioning my son not being listed as a participant and they never got back to me. Packet pick-up was at 7:30 the morning of the run, Run started at 9:00. So, we sat around in the heat awaiting the start of run. A start of 9:00am in June was to late as it was VERY hot and humid. Multiple runners were taken off course with heat exhaustion. After I finished and was awaiting my ride, my family assisted another runner on a bench with heat exhaustion. I ran to the finish line as my husband was taking care of the runner and asked if any medical personnel was available. They told me no, the have all left.
They ran out of water, and we were told Medals did not come in on time and will be ship to us. They best part of doing a half marathon for me, is getting the medal at the end for completion.
On a positive note, The scenery was beautiful. Race shirt is nice.
So disappointing, to travel to Brooklyn and have it be such an unorganized race. I would not recommend!!!!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
1
SCENERY
4
SWAG
1

5 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

mikebeckwith REPEAT RUNNER '17

Make no mistake about it. I do like this race. Keep in mind, I'm running all of Livermore anyway. 🙂 Every. Street. Race started an hour early this year, at … MORE

Make no mistake about it.
I do like this race.
Keep in mind, I’m running all of Livermore anyway. 🙂
Every. Street.

Race started an hour early this year, at 7am.
Understandably, I was very happy about this.
Now for some bullets on the race.
Scenery is very beautiful in some parts—wineries, etc.

Lots of friendly supporters on the course.
I live very close to the start, so I walked over.
Very cool to have pacers out there helping.
Extra porta potties at the start would’ve been nice.
Race expo is the only place to get bib and shirt (day before).
Might I suggest expanding that a little.
One other thing, is that the shirts were unisex only (which means Male).
Running this race is still very fun.
Expect to see me there again.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

5 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

Lani REPEAT RUNNER '17

EVENT INFO For your convenience the following is my description from last year, which still applies for 2017: If you're looking for a challenging but scenic trail race, the Wildcat … MORE

EVENT INFO

For your convenience the following is my description from last year, which still applies for 2017:

If you’re looking for a challenging but scenic trail race, the Wildcat Half may be for you. The course quickly starts with an uphill that serves as a little appetizer of what’s to come. Outside of a short segment on an unmaintained paved road, the rest is a combination of unpaved and single track trails.

You find two substantial uphills on this course, and they will feel like they go on forever. Fortunately with a little patience and willingness to walk up the toughest portions, you’ll get through them just fine.

[Added for 2017: There are a few really noticeable uphill portions, and they are both at the start and end of the race… which doesn’t really make sense since that portion is an out and back. Essentially, there’s about a quarter mile of relative level trail at the start of the race, and then it quickly starts going uphill. On the way back, after you go past that long downhill portion, you get to visit aid station 2, which marks the turn onto the big hill. This big hill does seem to go on forever, and it’s really only until the last mile or so that you can start really heading downhill.]

There is also a small water crossing, but it’s over a narrow brook and you can easily step on a rock to cross, without getting wet.

Sam the race director warned us about a big swath of mud around mile 9, but it turns out most of it was dried. Unfortunately, the dried mud was very uneven, making for some real ankle-twisting fodder. I rolled my ankle twice (fortunately I wasn’t injured) but it does require you to keep your eyes peeled. I’ve started wearing high-contrast yellow lens sunglasses and they help me make out the bumps on the trails better now.

Near mile 10 is a steep downhill segment to watch out for, if you’re timid about unpaved downhills like me. If you are, just head to the edge of the trail and walk down the grassier sections to avoid slipping.

The uphills may be challenging, but you will be rewarded with some beautiful views. You get to cross a few cattle guards (if you don’t like stepping over them, there are side gates you can use), and you’ll get to see some cattle on the hills.

Brazen Racing puts on some of the best trail races around, and you can’t go wrong with Wildcat. It traverses the hills of Tilden Park (on the East Bay) — what a great way to spend Saturday morning.

AID STATIONS

The half course includes four aid stations, all equipped with water, sports drink, jelly beans, M&Ms, and all the other great energy boosters Brazen always provides.

GOODIES/BLING

Finisher’s medal: Brazen always rewards every finisher with a beautiful finisher’s medal that is specific not just to the race, but to that year’s race. No generic race medals, or an undated version with the date just printed on the lanyard. This race was no exception.

This year’s medal was pretty huge! Much larger than their normal medals. Apparently this was unintended.

Age group medal: If you are fast enough to earn an age group medal, Brazen made a custom version specific to this race. If you find out you won an age group but didn’t get an AG medal, let them know so they can get it to you.

For this race, the age group medals were made of wood and were really pretty awesome. It was unlike any age group medal Brazen gave out before, and people were very happy with them.

Race shirt: Gender-specific shirts were available in male, female, and youth sizes, and you could choose between tech fabric and cotton versions. 5K and 10K participants get a cotton shirt and half marathoners get the tech, although 5K and 10K folks can pay extra to upgrade to a tech shirt.

You can pick up your shirt before the start of the race so you can wear it for the race–or if you’re like me, change into it after the race so you have a clean shirt to wear when you go and have brunch after the race.

POST-RACE INFO

Brazen is known for generous post-race snacks. Lots of fruit, bagels, chips, cookies. They won’t replace a sit-down protein meal, but it’s perfect for a quick refueling after a race. As always, they offer It’s-It Ice Cream sandwiches (pro tip: Look for the white styrofoam coolers by the post-race food tables. There is usually a volunteer there who will hand you one; it’s free–just ask!).

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

4 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

M_Sohaskey FIRST-TIMER '17

BOTTOM LINE: Way Too Cool earns its name, from the awesome scenery to the race day temperatures to the chilly water that awaits at every stream crossing. As the largest … MORE

BOTTOM LINE: Way Too Cool earns its name, from the awesome scenery to the race day temperatures to the chilly water that awaits at every stream crossing. As the largest trail race in the country, it’s a bucket list event for serious dirtbags. And you may never find a more scenic and diverse course than the network of trails you’ll follow on your 30+ mile journey along the Middle Fork of the American River Canyon and through the Auburn State Recreation Area. The North Face Endurance Challenge, my benchmark for trail races in California, is a much different course than WTC—its jaw-dropping vistas of the Pacific Ocean and Golden Gate Bridge notwithstanding, the trails and scenery at TNFEC are less varied than at WTC.

The reasonably challenging course (4,000 ft of elevation gain/loss) is predominantly single-track with no two-way traffic, so slower runners need never worry about the possibility of colliding with speedier oncoming elite and sub-elite runners. There’s even significant overlap (roughly 12 miles) with the iconic Western States 100 Trail. Along the way you’ll have the occasional croaking of the locals (it’s frog mating season in Cool) to relax your mind and remind you that you’re far away from the chaotic hustle and bustle of urbania. Plus, in early March you can be confident of cooler race day temps—the real variable when it comes to the weather is how wet you’ll get.

The icing on the cake at WTC is… well, the icing on the cake. Cupcake that is, since you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy the race’s signature frog cupcakes at the finish line festival. What better way to quickly normalize blood sugar levels?

PRODUCTION: Smooth sailing with no real complaints. Pre-race packet pickup gave us an opportunity to support the local Auburn Running Company, which feels like a shrine of sorts to the iconic Western States 100 Endurance Run.

Race day itself flowed seamlessly: the course was well marked with ribbons, leaving no chance for a wrong turn even after my mind switched over to auto-pilot mode in the later miles. And the finish-line festival offered one of the more interesting assortment of vendor tents, with the presenting sponsor Clif Bar joined by GU, Camelbak, Dickey’s BBQ, Red Bull, Sufferfest Brewing, Salomon, Rock Tape, KaiaFit, Squirrel’s Nut Butter (great to prevent chafing!) and Monsters of Massage.

Aside from the number of stream crossings, the only real issue for most runners will be the sparsity of aid stations, which were few and far between at miles 8, 14, 19, 26 and (I think) 29. Thanks to the cooler temps I didn’t need to carry my own hydration, but I did bring my own baby food pouches just in case I felt my blood sugar dropping.

*A note about parking: At our pre-race dinner the night before (at La Fornaretta, a comfy Italian restaurant in nearby Newcastle), there was anxious discussion about how early folks—including several WTC veterans—were planning to arrive the next morning to secure a good parking spot. Many folks planned to show up over two hours early and nap in their cars, just so they’d be assured of a parking spot as close to the start line as possible. Not willing to forego that much sleep but wanting to play it safe, Katie and I decided to show up just over an hour before the start (way early for us)—and we ended up parking easily in the empty “overflow” lot of the local Holiday Market, no more than a five-minute walk from the start line. Other cars continued to park near us for the next hour or so as we sat waiting. IN OTHER WORDS, PARKING IS EASY NO MATTER WHAT TIME YOU GET THERE. Cool is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it town so there’s no traffic, even on race day. Many runners park directly adjacent to the fire station (start line) on St. Florian Ct, which the race organizers close to traffic an hour or so before the race, But there’s no need to park that close unless maybe you’re expecting heavy rain and want immediate access to your car after the race. And you’ll benefit much more from the two+ hours of extra sleep than from the primo parking spot.

SWAG: Not much to recommend here. Honestly, the shirt was awful—a thin, poorly fitting Greenlayer tee that went immediately into the donation pile. Luckily the finisher medal was better, small and simply designed with the race name and frog logo (apparently the medal is the same every year, the only difference being ribbon color). The swag was the only aspect of the race that wasn’t way too cool, though trail races get the benefit of the doubt since trail runners tend not to be swagophiles like the typical road runner. If only cupcakes counted as swag…

Want to know more about the WTC 50K? Check out my race report at https://blisterscrampsheaves.com/2017/04/19/way-too-cool-50k-race-report/

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
My Report
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3
My Media

4 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

woodshc FIRST-TIMER '16

The website for the race claims it's one of the most beautiful races around, and they aren't lying. The whole course is gorgeous, from running through the forested Presidio, down … MORE

The website for the race claims it’s one of the most beautiful races around, and they aren’t lying. The whole course is gorgeous, from running through the forested Presidio, down to the Golden Gate, and finishing up along the bay.

I was a little nervous for the hills (the Presidio’s reputation precedes it) but there actually weren’t any terrible climbs. It was a surprisingly gentle course, with lots of aid stations, cheering spectators, and clear directions. The only fly in the ointment was that a lot of runners seem to forget to pull to the right as they run along the bridge, making it tough to pass at times.

Not only was the race itself fantastic, but the expo at the end was equally fun. There were bloody mary’s, beer, hot breakfast, and tons of swag from reputable vendors (not a dry rice cake to be found!) Additionally, the race was super well organized- lines for bib pick up and sweat check were super short (probably because everyone was standing in the booze lines) and the band was a fun addition.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3

4 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

mikebeckwith REPEAT RUNNER '16

This is one of my favorite races. It's a doozy of a climb, but it's so cool! It starts and ends at Sanborn Park in Saratoga. The starting area is … MORE

This is one of my favorite races. It’s a doozy of a climb, but it’s so cool! It starts and ends at Sanborn Park in Saratoga. The starting area is small which I really like. It’s a bit more intimate than others. This year I decided to do the 10k instead of the half marathon. It’s a pretty tough 10k, coming in with just below 2,000 feet of elevation gain (1,846′). It starts off on a nature trail before joining the Peterson Memorial Trail for a short bit. This then joins the Sanborn Trail and continues the climb up to Skyline trail. 10K runners turn around at this point (aid station #1), heading back down the Sanborn Trail, meeting with the San Andreas Trail. This year there was also a small loop added (the extra loop is fun, about .5 miles, and about 200 feet of gain in the first .2 miles of this). The first half of this race is all uphill basically, so it’s a ton of fun to run down the second half. 🙂 Be careful though. There is some technical trails, and there are roots and rocks. Also, there is a great deal of shade on this course (which is awesome!) but the bits of sun rays that come through the trees can cause issues with seeing some parts of the trail at times. Just take it easy. No need to wear sunglasses on this course (for me).
The weather this year was warm, and felt a bit humid. Also, there were some mosquitos at the start, but of course Brazen took care of this by having Yoly walk around offering to spray folks with mosquito repellent.
As always, Brazen is the best of the best. Great medal, shirt, course, everything. Thanks again Brazen.
-Streaker #111

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

4 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

IRun2live FIRST-TIMER '17

This is my first Sasquatch Racing event, and it was smaller race, and had fewer aid stations and items at the aid station. They don't have chip times for the … MORE

This is my first Sasquatch Racing event, and it was smaller race, and had fewer aid stations and items at the aid station.

They don’t have chip times for the start, but they do for the finish. Not sure why that’s the case, so just be sure you are in the lead.. Then again, you have 13.1 + to catch up and pass.

Not only do you get a medal and a tech shirt, but they have these Woodallions lying on the course. Should you find one, you get get a special prize at the end. I found 4 and one of the prizes i got was a free race for Tick (guess i will e running that one too).

The other differences with this organization is that they do have beer at the end, and instead of getting a goody bag in the beginning, you get a paper lunch type bag full of goodies.

That said, if they added one more AS earlier on, that would have been a help, but i came well prepared and didn’t really need it much.

I used Strava and Fitbit to record my race and it registered 14.1 miles, and 2497 feet for Strava, and 13.7 miles and 2504 feet, so it varied of course. There is a little mismatch on what they say the distance and elevation is, but for me i don’t pay much attention to that..

This was a beautiful course and awesome views of far off mountains.. I was impressed. It had remnants of Double Dipsea with the switchbacks and dodging the roots, and feelings of Trailquake.

There is only one real complaint i have. First, there was one section that it was hard to know if you take a left or a right, so put the flags right after the correct route, rather than at the intersection to the direction you should not go. There was a large area in the redwood switchback section where there was no flags and a bunch of us thought we were lost until we asked a guy if he saw any red flags which he said he had.. Had he not come down with his dogs, we might have turned around. It’ts my belief that the this section probably was marked but probably someone removed the flags, so maybe the day of, have someone go once more through making sure they are still there especially if you know this is a problem areas as i heard one of your people say.

All this said, i highly recommend doing one of their races yourself. They do well.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
My Media

4 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

ShellyL REPEAT RUNNER '16

I love Marine Corps Marathon. I've run it every year since 2012. It is a popular race but there are several ways to get in. There is a lottery, which … MORE

I love Marine Corps Marathon. I’ve run it every year since 2012. It is a popular race but there are several ways to get in. There is a lottery, which is how most people registered. If you are active military, you can get early registration. If you are a member of the MCM Runner’s Club (run 5 or more MCM), you can register before the general public. They have a race called the 17.75k and if you can get in (only a couple thousand people get in and it sells out in a couple minutes), finish the race and get a “golden ticket” for a guaranteed entry. You can also take the charity route. There are dozens of charities that have entries and fundraising may be as low as a few hundred dollars. The charities have their own finish line area, with tents and activities.
The expo has been in 3 different places in the last 3 years. 2016 was the first year at the National Harbor. There is only one way in and out, so traffic is an issue. MCM has buses for shuttling from a couple locations. I arrived very early on Friday and had no issues getting in but when I left later in the morning, the traffic was backed up waiting to get in.
The expo is moderately big. All the typical vendors, plus a lot of things geared toward military interests. If you want any MCM gear in your size, you really should go on Friday. The line for buying Brooks MCM apparel is always LONG and you will wait, so be prepared.
MCM continues to give a turtleneck as their official race shirt. In the last couple years they have made it a “technical” fabric. I like it because it is unusual, but a lot of people voice their displeasure of the nontraditional shirt.
Race morning can be hectic. Public transportation is full. There’s really no place to park at the finish or start area. If you can get a hotel near the start or finish (Crystal City, Arlington, Pentagon), it is best to walk to the start. There are security lines that take some time to get through, so plan on a very early start.
The race start is great with military aircraft flying overhead and a loud cannon to start the race. It will be a good walk to the actual start line, unless you are fast and start at the front. There are signs to tell you where to line up based on pace, but no corrals.
The course is fabulous. You run through DC and the surrounding areas. You will see monuments, historical sites, neighborhoods, wooded areas and tons of people. The Marines are everywhere. They provide direction, motivation, aid station support and give you your medal at the end. And that medal is one of the best ever!
The finish line is good. You can have your photo taken at the Iwo Jima memorial with your medal. They shuttle you through an area where you get post race fluids and a box of food. One box per person, no stuffing your pockets with 15 bags of chips or pretzels.
I highly recommend this race if you like big race day atmosphere. If you don’t like crowds, this is NOT your race. Logistics can be difficult, so plan ahead and ask someone who has done it before for recommendations.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4
My Media

4 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

Joerobe FIRST-TIMER '17

Overall Rating: Pretty good with a couple of things I didn't love. Course Difficulty: Rolling hills on streets and in neighborhoods for the first half, nice flat rail trail for … MORE

Overall Rating: Pretty good with a couple of things I didn’t love.

Course Difficulty: Rolling hills on streets and in neighborhoods for the first half, nice flat rail trail for the second half.

Course Scenery: The first half was the local community; the second half was nice (running in the shade next to a creek).

Race Production: Good, for the biggest part. We rolled in at about 3am and the road crews were out in full force, slept a little and when we woke at 5am the parking guys were already in place and doing a great job. Race morning packet pick up was smooth. And then the things I didn’t love…at 6:35 we received an alert that the 6:45 start of the race was going to be delayed by 15 minutes due to traffic problems, it was cold and windy, and this made everyone who had planned correctly and gotten there on time a little grouchy…then, at 7am the announcer said we would have another delay for 10 minutes…WHAT??? I know I run more marathons than a lot of people, but come on, everyone (even newbies if they’re honest with themselves) know you need to get there 1-2 hours before the race start if you want to get parked and prepped, and if you’re a poor planner or just love to sleep in, then the race is going to start without you. It’s chip timed, so maybe it would have been better to leave the start mat in place a little longer.

I learned a couple of rules when I started working-If you’re early your on time, if you’re on time you’re late, and if you’re late your finished, or how about his one-poor planning on your part doesn’t constitute an emergency on my part. I could go on, but why…

Any way, rant over… from my observation, the kiddie race was probably the main issue, and it is likely why most races move this and shorter distances (5k-10k) to the day before the marathon and half.

Race Swag: Really good. Nice spinner medal and good tech shirt.

My Performance: The knee was still not good, so it was pretty slow. Happy to finish and cross Kansas off the state list.

Even though it was a pretty slow run, the rain went away and it was a beautiful day, I met some great people who I will be seeing at future races, and I crossed Kansas off the list. Fix just a couple of issues, and this race will move from good to great.

I’ll take it.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

Fitbrit FIRST-TIMER '17

It's an early start in the dark as you arrive to the usual suspects and volunteers at a brazen race. I woke up at 3:30am and drove approx 70 minutes … MORE

It’s an early start in the dark as you arrive to the usual suspects and volunteers at a brazen race.
I woke up at 3:30am and drove approx 70 minutes to get there early to change my distance from the half to the 50k.
I was greeted with big smiles and friendly staff/ volunteers. It was easy to change my distance and time to mingle with my fellow racers.
The usual casual start line had a touch of excitement and apprehension not noticed before at any brazen race.
It was rather cold at the start but getting a swag bag and finding room to get ready was easy.
There were bathrooms and Porto potties so no waiting to use one. I brought some food and had time to eat and stretch then take a few start photos.
I was offered a map but that was redundant since I can’t read small print without my glasses, so I declined.
Besides I really just follow everyone else anyway. Which was easy for almost all of the course by the way.
Our start did run a couple minutes late at 6:33 am just in time for sunrise so no need for a head lamp just bring one to walk from the parking lot to the start area.
Now I don’t remember any name of each trail we hit but we started at the horse stables at Castle Rock park and ran some light rolling hills through about 12 streams , most knee high in the first 2 miles. This was by far the most fun part.
After this we got into some damp and muddy terrain before ascending for what seemed about 4 miles . Then some very wooded area coming down to our first aid station.
This is where you can refill your water bottles or camelbaks. I chose nuun at home then refilled at every aid station. I didn’t stay too long at any aid station. I grabbed and ran. To get to the 1st aid station took 90 minutes.
In other words bring your own bottle and gu’s , food with you.
I arrive at the 2nd aid station manned only by one woman who is doing her best but the food is gone and no water or drinks are out or Gu’s.
It was a sort of help yourself kind of station.
I get going quickly it’s mile 12.5 and I soon find the first big tree down going up the hill.
A very nice man helps me over it as it was kind of big and too high for me.
I’m climbing up a few miles in a wide trail, there aren’t many places on this race that has enough space for more than single track.
I kind of ran walked this part and ate some nuts as I started go get hungry.
The 3rd aid station I think was where we bumped into the half marathoners. It was crowded and a bit chaotic. Runners running in all directions .
Never the less the search and rescue people and volunteers were very helpful and also be prepared to be checked in every aid station.
Everyone is monitored and recorded to make sure you arrive before each cut off time.
So far so good. The weather is warming but I’m not hot . I start going again and now I find myself running with new people. We chat and share stories.
We are heading up to the first summit.
I look at my hands they are swelling up and I started to feel a little delirious .
I was hydrating often so I was a little surprised.
I’m not quite sure how high Mt Diablo is but I think it’s about 3,700 ft. At mile 19.5 I made it to the summit.
This aid station was the most organized and seemed to be very aware of how out of it we were . They took my camelbak and filled it for me gave it back and really checked in with everyone.
There were chairs to sit and rest but I knew if I sat down I wasn’t going to get back up.
A few pictures and potato chips later I took off.
Apparently we had to now run down a mile the back up a mile to the 2nd summit.
Really this was quite something.
I stubbed my toe coming down and almost flew down the mountain, which has beautiful green hills all around . The wild flowers were out and everything looked very lush. Now that near fall actually hurt my back. A reminder don’t run and enjoy the views just stop and enjoy then run on.
This part is single track and there were plenty of hikers coming from the opposite direction.
Now getting to the 2nd summit deserves a mention.
It is very steep and uneven and lots of small gravel for you to slip on.
I was on all fours going up and on my butt coming down. It’s about a quarter of a mile up and down of hell but you will survive.
You get a sense of I’m 2/3 there and you know you will make it.
It’s warm and I’m now sunburnt on my neck and shoulder as I forgot sun block. It’s stinging but I plod on .
Turns out the course was long and I had 11 more miles to go not 9.
Anyway down the hill and it’s steep and nasty . My knees are really talking to me and I am almost walking down for miles.
It’s rugged, bushes and very windy. This was a very difficult part for me .
I am now running with a man called Bryan.
We take it easy and steady coming down the cow pasture and steep hill.
We are within the time limit and decide we will be safe and walk a few miles.
We get to the last aid station and its bitter sweet. I thought I had 1.5 miles to go but the volunteers told us it was another 5k.
Now we are heading through knee high grass and rolling hills and eventually back to the streams .
I get a chance to wash off my muddy shoes and enjoy the cool water. It felt good to cool down my swollen feet and bad ankle.
We can sense the finish line just ahead so we get going again and run the last half mile .
The canyon was beautiful with lots of caves and rocks above us with hawks flying over .
We finish in just over 9 hrs and 36 minutes.
The finish line had familiar faces and cheers from the other runners.
The medal was as always large and lovely. As a bonus I got mine engraved for free.
Food was also brisket, pulled pork and beans or potato salad.
I was hungry and managed to eat easily.
Now I may have sounded like I didn’t enjoy this course but I really did in fact it was my favorite Brazen race maybe even the most fun yet very hard to date.
In all , my watch said 32 total miles , elevation unknown as my watch ran out of battery.
Approx 8,400 ft I think .
This was a very technical and hard race one you won’t forget or want to.
I can’t wait to do it again.
You get 11 hours to run this so it’s very doable . You will feel supported all the way from start to finish.
The other runners were very supportive too.
You will see a lot of each other as there are a few out and backs .
A big shout out to Oscar and Oscar Jr who marked the whole course the day before . Well done and thank you Brazen Racing

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

PeteSinCA FIRST-TIMER '17

Event & Course Description: I'm going to deviate from my usual outline a little and state up front a factor that may color my review. I am discouraged with my … MORE

Event & Course Description:
I’m going to deviate from my usual outline a little and state up front a factor that may color my review. I am discouraged with my finish time for this 10K. The course was tough enough, but it ate me alive and spit me out. The simple reason is that I’ve not been able to maintain the regularity of my training – almost none at all – and my endurance is wa-a-a-ayyyy down. I had to take two 5 minute rests, something I’ve never done before.

Coastal Trail Runs’ Grizzly Peak Trail Run is run in Tilden Regional Park, east of Berkeley, CA. As is typical of Coastal’s races, the various distances are formed by connected loops, sometimes repeated by the longer distances. The 10K course is part of the courses for the half marathon, 30K, marathon, and 50K distances. The start is near Lake Anza, runs near the lake briefly and also passes near a golf course. The 10K course is a “lollipop” out-and-back. There are two fairly steep climbs in the first half of the course, with lots of rolling between the hills, and then the last ~40% of the course is almost all downhill. Over 90% of the 10K course is dirt roads and single track trail.

Courtesy of a wet winter and rain showers a couple of days before race day, there were a LOT of muddy patches on the course that were the full width of the trail. One had to pick which way to go, around or through, and a couple of muddy patches were also pretty steep (I skated and fell in one in which I was going downhill). Oh, and we were warned that there was poison oak for those who went off the trail (Welcome to trail racing!). So one had to watch for that if one went around a muddy patch. The “upside” of 2017’s weather and the season of the year was that the course was very green, with redwoods, eucalypti, and more trees than I could identify. It was a beautiful forest trail run!

Organization & Production:
Coastal Trail Runs is a class organization! Online registration and race day check-in were smooth and quick. Online info was complete. As usual, the course was well marked, and there were course marshals at the 3 road crossings on the 10K course. Aid station locations depend on access. For a couple hundred pounds of water plus other goodies, aid stations need to be located where the course comes near or crosses a road. It isn’t unusual for some 10Ks not to have any aid stations. Grizzly Peak Trail Run had an aid station about 1.7 miles from the start with water and sports drink only. 10K runners passed through this aid station twice, and I got my water bottle refilled both times. I didn’t see the other aid stations, but Coastal typically has a variety of salty and sugary snacks plus fruit at their aid stations. A runner doing a Coastal race need only worry about getting there (which was a little more complicated that other races I’ve done, but with Google Maps on my cell phone, I managed) and running their race. Coastal’s venues and organization provide an excellent race experience.

Swag & Goodies:
Bib: Coastal does simple bibs – organizer’s logos and slogan (“Have Fun Out There”) and the bib number on a white background.

T-Shirt: Coastal gives runners of all distances the same tech type race T-shirt. The Grizzly Peak Tee is uber-bright chartreuse, with the race name and logo on the front, with the distances and date. The logo features a mountain peak that has morphed into a roaring grizzly bear. The back has the logos of the race sponsors and organizer.

Finisher’s Medal: The medallion is wire-brushed finish and silver colored,very substantial. It duplicates the front of the race T-shirt, with the race name, logo, and distances. The mountain peak – roaring grizzly is in very dramatic relief. The ribbon is light blue with the year in black letters.

With being frustrated with my finish time, being 1/4 covered with mud, and needing to get home for some family time, I didn’t wait to see how I finished in my age group. I’d been around 6th place in previous Coastal races, so I didn’t expect to place much higher. A few days later, checking my time for this Rave, I found that along with being the 10K DLF I was also first (= only) in my age group. So I emailed Coastal, and they were good enough to let me pick up my extra medal at the next Coastal race I was doing. The First place medal is bright gold with a wave pattern background. In the center is Coastal Trail Runs’ name and logo.

The finish area food emphasizes carbs – definitely appropriate for runners who have burned off 1500-X000 calories – with chips, pretzels, cookies, and candies. There was also an ice chest well stocked with cold water and sodas, and maybe beer (I was too muddy and spent to notice). Someone was also grilling burgers. There were a good number of picnic tables at which one could rest, recover, and replenish.

My Opinion of the Race:
Coastal does budget-conscious trail races ($45 for the half marathon at Grizzly Peak and many/most [all?] other Coastal races! One could do two Coastal half marathons for the cost of one Rock-n-Roll half marathon, and in much more beautiful surroundings), but whatever they do to cut their costs, they don’t cut runners’ race experience. There was no park entry fee for Grizzly Peak. Would I do Grizzly Peak again? I don’t know, but that’s a reflection on my current capabilities, not the Grizzly Peak Trail Run or Coastal Trail Runs. I’ll ask myself that question next year. Would I do another Coastal Trail Runs race? Absolutely! I’m planning to do one next month, and having done 3 Coastal races in 2017, I’m eligible for a 5% discount. Looking further into 2017, there are 3 other Coastal races I’m considering, depending on how my year goes.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

DebW FIRST-TIMER '17

Western Pacific Marathon was a toot-toot tootally awesome time!! I ran the marathon portion this past weekend in Fremont and I will not lie, it was hot, damn hot, like … MORE

Western Pacific Marathon was a toot-toot tootally awesome time!! I ran the marathon portion this past weekend in Fremont and I will not lie, it was hot, damn hot, like hawt-hawt… with the sweaty hawt. It was the hardest marathon I’ve ever done, but the most rewarding and the best managed event I’ve ever participated in. Everyone, and I mean everyone, from the racers to the support crew to the volunteers to the production team, was so incredibly nice, supportive and wonderful. Brazen Racing has a top-notch production staff that loves running and loves their runners. Every aid station was thoroughly stocked with liquids, GU, electrolytes and fabulous volunteers to dump sponge-fulls of water on top of your melting head. The course was definitely flat and mostly gravel. I can see where this race would be much more attractive when 20 degrees cooler but the sense of accomplishment I felt after finishing was none other. The medals are AWESOME with a big train; it’s my favorite medal I’ve ever earned. The food at the end of the race was like a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving: pretzels, Its-Its, Pirate Booty, Oreos, Red Vines, fruit, bagels… anything a hardworking runner could ever want. The atmosphere was so chill; not a huge production so it was easy to park, keep my gear in the car and packet pickup 45 minutes before the start. I would say if you’re not worried about your pace and you want to run a mello, friendly, well-run race with supportive, caring staff and participants, sign up for the Western Pacific. You’ll be glad you did and you’ll have an awesome time!

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4
My Media

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olau822 FIRST-TIMER '17

If there was an award for best website and logistics for a race, this one is it. You can tell they really want to make the race the best it … MORE

If there was an award for best website and logistics for a race, this one is it. You can tell they really want to make the race the best it can be and they really thought about all the little things that make a race special. They go out of their way to explain everything so there is no confusion about the race. It’s really the only race I’ve reviewed so far that I really don’t have any recommendations to make it better. They even had a tent portapotty station at a trail race. Now that’s kicking it up a notch. The stations were great. The views were amazing. I just wished there were more single track instead of fire roads but it was clearly stated that there would be 70% fire roads. It’s just a terrifically organized race.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
My Media

3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

a5mowat REPEAT RUNNER '17

This was my first year running the 3-way challenge and my third time running the Flying Pig Half Marathon. I keep coming back to this race because it is so … MORE

This was my first year running the 3-way challenge and my third time running the Flying Pig Half Marathon. I keep coming back to this race because it is so well run and so much fun. I hope to eventually run the full marathon.

Expo:
I went to the expo around lunch time on Friday. It was quite busy at that time but you were still able to move around the vendor booths. The expo is huge with a lot of different vendors to browse. The packets were at the entrance (I personally had 4 packets with the 3-way challenge and the Little Kings Mile) with the shirts and other items at the back of the expo. With the 3-way challenge you received a plaque to hang the medals from the races, a race shirt for each race (5k and 10k shirts cotton and half marathon tech tee), a backpack, a poster, and a 13.1 magnet. Great amenities and plenty of freebies from the vendors (particularly P&G) at the expo.

10k
This was my first year running any of the Saturday races. The 10k was the first race and I went in deciding to go for a PR. The 10k started similar to the half marathon going across to Kentucky and running through Covington and then back to Ohio to finish. I loved the course. It has 3 water stops with Gatorade (I didn’t take the first stop) and had 3 food stops (cookies, pretzels, and candied oranges). I don’t take food while running but it was nice to see all of the volunteers along the course. Plenty of crowd support and the hills on the bridges kept the course challenging. I did get my PR by a minute so that makes it much sweeter. Finish area had a few snacks as well as water and Gatorade.

5k
The 5k race route was very similar to the last half of the 10k and it is common in these 5k and 10k double events to share courses. I ran the 5k with my dad so I took it at a slower pace than I typically race a 5k. We started in corral D which was middle of the pack. The 5k definitely had a lot more families running and a lot more walkers. It definitely had more of a family fun run atmosphere than the 10k earlier. The last 2 miles of the course were the same as the 10k and included 1 water/Gatorade stop and 2 food stations (pretzels and candied oranges). Finish area had fewer snacks than the 10k but still had your fluids (I know my mom wished there were bananas though). I had fun but I definitely enjoyed the 10k race more.

Half Marathon
The race that keeps bringing me back! We took advantage of the free carpool parking offered by the race which parked us close to the start area. Gear check was easy, just find the bus with your bib number and there were a lot of port-a-johns by the gear check with short lines. I’ve learned my lesson not to use the restroom in the corral since those lines are super long. There is a ton of energy at the start from the other runners. The course is hilly. With running on Saturday my quads were feeling the hill on miles 7-9. There were plenty of water/Gatorade stops (I believe there were 11 on the half marathon) and lots of snack stops along the course. Plenty of crowd support (cheers to the guy motivating us to “get the F up the hill”!) and a large enough race where you are always running around other people. The last 3 miles of the half are downhill and flat making a great end to the race. I did my best time this year for this race.

Overall I will definitely be returning to the Flying Pig. I will definitely consider doing the 3-way challenge again and I hope to do the full marathon some day (I am planning to run my first marathon in October!).

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

smorda REPEAT RUNNER '17

This is my second time and I did this again because the medals changed for this year! I did the 10k also last year so I brought my trekking poles … MORE

This is my second time and I did this again because the medals changed for this year! I did the 10k also last year so I brought my trekking poles to help me get down some of the steep parts. The elevation gain for the course is steep and not for people who have not trained on flat courses. The course is beautiful and well worth the view once you get up the hills. The swag bag is great with a beautiful backpack this year. The food at the race was great: coffee, bagels, cookies, and egg rolls! The stations also have great food and drinks besides water and you get a station at every mile of the 10k. This year they made more 50k medals than 10k medals so I got a 50k medal for doing the 10k! Also, you get free photos from the race! Overall, it is a great local race that soon more people will come to do because it is challenging and worth your time and effort to try to complete.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
My Media

3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

CheriRichardson FIRST-TIMER '17

The race was run in two heats to accommodate the large number of runners and cars. Since the start line was in a remote area outside of the park, every … MORE

The race was run in two heats to accommodate the large number of runners and cars. Since the start line was in a remote area outside of the park, every runner had to be bussed to the start line. No exceptions. The first heat began at 6:00 AM, so the first heat’s runners departed their assigned parking lot at 4:30 AM. I have no idea how many busses it took – but doing the math: 1500 runners per heat divided by 50 seats per bus = 30 busses. That looked about right.

About that 4:30 AM departure – our hotel was only five minutes from the parking lot, so we left at 4:20. Big mistake. So did every other carload of runners, and the two lane highway with a single stoplight at the turn to the parking lot was backed up for a couple of miles. It took 20 minutes to make that 5 minute drive. Thankfully, there were plenty of volunteers to direct the cars to the overflow parking, and plenty of busses to get us to the start line – with about 10 minutes to spare. Not enough time for the porta-potty line. Thank goodness for the bathroom on the bus!

The first five miles of the race were on a decent dirt road with only a few muddy spots. The race staff had roped off a couple of significant trip hazards. Then it was downhill most of the way, with miles 5 – 10 being quite fast but not so steep that you needed to brake.

At about mile 10, beautiful Bass Lake came into view, and rolling hills past beach houses and shore-side businesses dotted the course. The race finished at the site of the race expo, on the shores of Bass Lake.

Vacation Races is the most environmentally friendly racing company that I’ve run with (hopefully there are others I don’t know about). Their races are always cup-free, but they provide a hydro-pouch as part of registration. It clips to your belt so you can carry it with you and fill as needed. There were trash and recycling receptacles at the start and finish lines and at all the aid stations.

Vacation Races also makes a big deal of the awards – complete with a podium honoring the five places overall and in the age divisions. The only downside was that those of us in the first heat had to wait for the second heat’s results before they could start the awards – cutting into our time at the park. But that was OK – standing on the podium is the very best!!!

A couple of tips: 1) my GPS couldn’t find the Race Expo, resulting in an unexpected tour of Bass Lake. Be sure you get accurate directions, and 2) Yosemite National Park was very crowded on race day. Plan to stay an extra day or two so you can really see the park.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
My Media

3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

Donnald69 FIRST-TIMER '17

I stayed at the host hotel, Little Rock Marriott. For ease of life, this is the place to stay. Prices are reasonable, the expo is in the basement, and the … MORE

I stayed at the host hotel, Little Rock Marriott. For ease of life, this is the place to stay. Prices are reasonable, the expo is in the basement, and the start and finish of all races this weekend, is just a couple minute walk away. There are other local hotels. If the purpose is to save some money, feel free to look around. If you want your stay in Little Rock to be drama free, stay at the Marriott.
On Saturday I ran the 5K, when a 10K was also an option. If you run a race on Saturday, and again on Sunday, you could earn 3 medals, if you are a collector, I am not. Much like the 5K, the marathon on Sunday started close by, so for the 7 a.m. marathon start, I left my hotel at 6:40. That was awesome! The race takes you all around the city, with only a few hills. There is a mile long or so hill around mile 16, but it wasn’t that steep and by no means over whelming. Most of the course was flat, with several turns, to keep you from getting too bored. You do cross over the river and back early in the marathon on one of the many bridges around Little Rock. There were plenty of water stops, there were plenty of GU stops, but more importantly to many people, there were TONS of beer stops. There were nearly as many beer stops as water stops, and yes, I did stop and took imbibe in more than a couple, sampling the local beer. The course finished very close to where it started, and once across the finish line, you have draped around your neck, possibly the largest medal I have ever witnessed. I would guess it was close to 3 pounds? And after running 26.41 miles, the last thing I want draped around my neck was a 3 pound medal. Luckily for me, since I ran the 5K the day before, I was given a medal that showed that I completed the “combo”, which was of “normal” medal size. I kept this medal, left the 3 pound medal behind and headed to the “after marathon” party, held in the basement of the Marriott. More beer, lots of food, t-shirts and other souviniers to purchase if you missed them at the expo. It was a nice party. All in all, this was a nice, well organized marathon. If looking for a nice race in March, head to Little Rock.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

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Joerobe FIRST-TIMER '17

Overall Rating: Excellent. Logistics were all good, course was nice, volunteers were fantastic. Course Difficulty: Pretty tough for a flatlander. Lots of hills and a mountain to cross in the … MORE

Overall Rating: Excellent. Logistics were all good, course was nice, volunteers were fantastic.

Course Difficulty: Pretty tough for a flatlander. Lots of hills and a mountain to cross in the middle; it’s West Virginia, and the course description was accurate.

Course Scenery: Nice. Constant views of the rolling hills, tons of shade the first half of the course, running along the river the second half.

Race Production: It was excellent. No frills expo (which I love), local girls club helping with packet pickup (excellent), volunteers everywhere who were knowledgeable and willing to help out. If I have one complaint, and it is tiny, the RD opened up a campground at a local community center which worked well, except there were no bathrooms…I was ok, but my wife didn’t love this…I’m sure, based on what I saw at the rest of the event, this will be corrected by next year.

Race Swag: Good. Unique medal, tech tee, branded Mason jar, and ear buds in the custom drop bag.

My Performance: Ok. The first eight miles were really good, but my knee started to soften on the downhill side of Blackberry Mountain (really steep), so the rest was a little slower and more painful. Eventually the knee won’t be a problem, but for now, still being cautious.

This is a small race, but really enjoyable, certainly one of my favorite runs to date. If you’re looking to cross KY or WV off this list, I can highly recommend this run.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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Tessa REPEAT RUNNER '16

I just looked at my past review and it was probably a good thing that I skipped a year. This race is like having a baby. I needed time in … MORE

I just looked at my past review and it was probably a good thing that I skipped a year. This race is like having a baby. I needed time in between to forget the pain before going back for more!

All joking aside, this race is awesome. This year I went up in my AG, so I started pretty early. My goal was to just finish this year. I had just run SOTG 50k the week before, so I wasn’t expecting a great time, but I was sure hoping my legs would get me through the ups and downs.

I will concentrate on the things that were different from my previous rating. First of all, the weather was PHENOMENAL. It really was perfect in all ways. Last year I volunteered at Insult, ran it the year before that, so I’ve had experience this race as a volunteer and participant. This year it “felt” like it was even better organized (if that is possible) than the past 2 years. The Aid Stations were so great! I think one of the AS ran out of some food items but for the most part, I had what I needed, when I needed it. I don’t have much more to add. This race is not easy, but when you cross that finish line, you know you have just finish a very special race.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

woodshc FIRST-TIMER '16

This was a pretty standard Brazen race, in terms of production, swag, scenery, etc. It was also par for the course with regard to course difficulty. Slow and steady is … MORE

This was a pretty standard Brazen race, in terms of production, swag, scenery, etc. It was also par for the course with regard to course difficulty. Slow and steady is pretty much the only way to get through the climbs, since you need to save your legs for the flat/downhill.

I would venture to say it was maybe smaller than their usual events with regard to attendance, though that may just be because the 5Ks are less popular, and I just didn’t know.

While the race was fun as ever, it was not for the faint of heart- I love that they warned people at the starting line that they may regret signing up for a trail run. Though said in jest, it was probably too true for some people. The race started with a pretty mean climb, which I’m guessing was a surprise for quite a few participants. However, Brazen being the thoughtful producers that they are, did put an aid station at the top, which was a total life/sanity saver. The volunteers were super encouraging, and it made the sprint back down the hill that much more doable.

On a final note, it was a great race for people who want to explore a little more of the bay area. Saratoga isn’t a place that tops my list of towns to see on a weekend, but it was fun to visit since I was racing in the town anyway!

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

JCRinCO FIRST-TIMER '17

I just completed the Grand Teton Half Marathon for the first time after spending the prior week in Grand Teton/Yellowstone with the family. I had to drive back up from … MORE

I just completed the Grand Teton Half Marathon for the first time after spending the prior week in Grand Teton/Yellowstone with the family. I had to drive back up from Denver for the race but it was completely worth the drive.

The course is breathtaking as you have unobstructed views of the Grand Tetons for the last 7 miles of the course. There are a couple minor climbs in the first 6 miles, but nothing too steep or long. From mile 6 to the finish, it is a gradual uphill climb, but very doable. The challenge for many is running at elevation (over 6,200 ft.).

The race organization, Expo, swag and staff are fantastic. This was the 3rd race I’ve done with the group at vacationraces.com and they delivered a quality, fun event yet again. From the race expo to the recovery/food area after the finish, they put the runners as their priority and do all they can to make everyone comfortable and provide a safe and fun environment. Parker was available at the race start, but you had to arrive early as they closed the lot at a certain time to ensure safety of the runners preparing for the race. There were shuttles running from 2 other areas if you couldn’t make the main lot in time. I got there before it closed and had no problem with parking. The race is point-to-point, so shuttles were bringing people back to the parking areas after the race. About 30 minutes after finishing, I wound up standing in line for maybe 10 minutes before boarding a bus back to the finish. The buses were comfortable and running regularly.

Bib pick up was available at the Expo the day before. I volunteered and once again found a fun event, with a number of vendors and tons of volunteers working to streamline the process for those picking up bibs and gear. There were a few waits, but considering over 2,000 people participated in the event, those waits were understandable. I saw from behind the counter the effort and dedication of the vacationraces.com staff and volunteers.

The course is not the most challenging, unless you’re not used to running at higher elevation. My time wasn’t the best based on a back injury the month before. But I was happy with my performance, considering the injury.

Plan ahead so you can spend a couple days touring Grand Teton National Park before or after the race. You’ll be glad you did. There’s so much to see and do for the entire family.

I’ve included a pic from the course on race morning.

Enjoy,
Jay R.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
My Media

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

Profile photo of Barbara Rausch
noneleft FIRST-TIMER '17

All I can say is, "WOW!!!". This is my first time running this race, but I did volunteered the past two years at Little Pine Aid Station. All races start … MORE

All I can say is, “WOW!!!”. This is my first time running this race, but I did volunteered the past two years at Little Pine Aid Station. All races start and end at Castle Rock Park in Walnut Creek at the base of beautiful Mount Diablo. I ran the 5k. Because of all the rains that we’ve had this winter and spring, the 5k had ten (10) water crossings. These were not water crossings that you could jump over. These were stream crossing that you had to go through. Most were ankle to shin high, but I did step into one or two that the water came up to my knee. The water was COLD, too. The 5k measured 3.12 miles with 558 ft of elevation. There were some technical parts of the course, but the water was the most challenging aspect. I had not done a water run like this before. As I approached the stream and realized that there was no way of avoiding the wet, I just went for it and got my feet soaked. Wow! The water was cold.
The 5k had one aid station that we saw twice. The 5k turnaround was just past the aid station and another stream crossing. Eager volunteers were there to hand out water and sports drink. I did not stop, but Brazen AS are stocked with sweet and salty snacks, Gu, and fruit.
All runners get a race shirt. 5k/10k get cotton and half marathoners get a technical fabric tee. The 50k runners get a special 50k shirt.
Brazen Racing medals are first rate and this one did not disappoint. As you crossed the finish line, Sam, the race director, called out your name. This is always special after a tough race.
There was food and drink at the finish as well as the traditional It’s It ice cream sandwich.
I won 3rd place in my age group and was awarded a special age group medal. That was fun and exciting to get another medal.

A special note about this race from the Brazen Racing website:
For over 40 years, Save Mount Diablo has worked tirelessly to preserve and increase the open space on and around Mount Diablo. In that time, their efforts have taken us from 6,788 acres of open space to over 100,000 acres of open space on and around the mountain!

With distances suitable for everyone from those hitting the trails for the first time to experienced ultra-runners, the Diablo Trails Challenge was created to help celebrate and support these achievements. A portion of all entry fees will go to Save Mount Diablo to help them continue preserving open space and trails for all of us to enjoy.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

Profile photo of Barbara Rausch
noneleft FIRST-TIMER '17

This race took place at Redwood Park in the Oakland Hills. The weather was beautiful and so was the scenery. This was a small race with about 200 people across … MORE

This race took place at Redwood Park in the Oakland Hills. The weather was beautiful and so was the scenery. This was a small race with about 200 people across the 5k/10k/half marathon. There were 65 people that participated in the half marathon. The course measure about 13.7 miles with about 2500 ft of elevation. There is a lot of storm damage at this park from all the heavy rains that we had the first few months of this year. We had to climb over a couple of downed trees. There were some technical parts with a lot of exposed roots and rocks and some minor water. I don’t think I got my feet wet at all. There was A LOT of poison oak, that, luckily, I was able to avoid touching.
There course was well marked in some sections, but the middle section of the course had very few ribbons. We think that someone either vandalized them or took them down because they thought they were garbage. I thought I was lost at one point until I saw a hiker and asked if he had seen ribbons ahead and he had, so I knew i was heading in the correct direction.
There were three aid stations on course that were stocked with sports drink, water, Gu, potato chips, and fruit. There were also course monitors that were placed at confusing intersections. That was a huge plus.
A fun thing that Sasquatch Racing does it to have a treasure hunt. They place silver woodallions on the course and if you see one, you bring it back to the finish and you get to pick out a prize by reaching into a bag. I found two and got some peanuts and candy. Previously, I won a $25 gift certificate, so there are some good prizes.
At the finish, I got a really awesome medallion. It can function as a screw driver, has a 4″ ruler, and the Sasquatch emblem spins. We also got a lunch sack filled with some really great full size samples. There was a DJ and beer. All racers get a technical gender specific tee.
This was my fourth Sasquatch race. They are very well organized. The volunteers are great. I am already signed up for the Tick Trailblazer and the Honey Badger. If you’re looking for a small race in the great outdoors on some beautiful trails in the Bay Area, give Sasquatch a look. You won’t be disappointed.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

PeteSinCA REPEAT RUNNER '17

As a whole, my description of the course and organization of Dirty Dozen that I posted last year is fairly complete. I’ll just add that Brazen Racing is very consistent … MORE

As a whole, my description of the course and organization of Dirty Dozen that I posted last year is fairly complete. I’ll just add that Brazen Racing is very consistent and has lots of experience in working at Point Pinole (where Brazen put on their very first race; this was the 8th running of Dirty Dozen). Dirty Dozen is a day-long (7 AM to 7 PM and beyond) running party and family picnic that doesn’t compromise the serious.

The Dirty Dozen 6-hour and 12-hour races can be used multiple ways: distance goal; time endurance goal; seeing where you are; and more. For me, DD has been seeing where I’m at together with a distance goal. This year I found out where I am at, well short of my 20 mile distance goal. And well short, in multiple ways, of where I was a year and 2 years ago. I understand much of why I am where I am – much of it my fault, in a direct sense, and much of it frustratingly unexpected. Any challenging race, to some degree, tells you where you’re at; Dirty Dozen does so perhaps more plainly and bluntly.

Swag & Goodies: Brazen’s refuel snacks at aid stations are the most varied I’ve seen – candies, cut up candy bars, cookies, fruit, and sodas besides water and electrolyte drink. At DD things like salted red skin potatoes and Otter Pops are added as time passes and runners’ energy is burned off. The finish area replenishment goodies are usually a super-set of what is available at aid stations plus the fabled It’s It ice cream sandwiches, but Dirty Dozen features much of that plus a catered barbecue lunch that is served from 11 AM to ?? PM. In the past, 10K and 5K runners paid a bit extra to partake of the barbecue, but this year it was, “Your bib is your meal ticket,” for all runners.

Bib: Bibs at DD were simpler than Brazen’s usual bibs. There are a wide and a narrow time-coded horizontal stripes at the top and bottom of the bib, with a wide white stripe in the middle. The wide stripe at the top has the race name, location, date, and time. The narrow stripe at the bottom has Brazen’s name in script and a couple of hashtags. In the white stripe are the runner’s name and bib number. The stripes color for the 12 Hour runners is reddish brown, and green for 6 Hour runners.

T-Shirt: Brazen does the race apparel for Dirty Dozen differently that it does for its other races. 6- and 12-hour runners receive with their registration a hooded sweatshirt. It will be several months before I use my DD VIII hoodie, but the ones I have from 2015 and 2016 have been really good quality. 2017 was a pull-over, like in 2015; 2016 was a zip-up. 6- and 12-hour runners can also buy for $7 when registering, a tech type race T-shirt. For those who use their race Tees for work-out or other wear I recommend buying this. Brazen’s race Tee designs are always somewhere between really nice and amazing. Both the DD VIII race T-shirt and sweatshirt are green. The upper arms and lining of the hoodie are yellow-gold. The colors are similar to the Oakland Athletics team colors. The front and back designs for each are the same. The front has the race name, year, and location in a rectangle on the upper left. The back has a running clockwork man with handle-bar mustaches, with the race name, times, location, and date encircling him. 5K and 10K runners had their own unique race T-shirts and finisher’s medals, which I did not see.

Finisher’s Medal: The medallion for 6- and 12-hour runners at DD is a ~4” coaster, very substantial. I don’t mean to give the medallion short shrift, but it is the same design as the backs of the race Tees and hoodie – the running clockwork man encircled by the race information. It’s a very striking medallion. The ribbon is yellow-orange with tan gears along its length, the running clockwork man, and the race information, also quite nice

I seriously do not want in any way for my opening paragraphs to discourage anyone from doing Dirty Dozen, in whatever distance or time that sounds good. DD is well organized, with a gorgeous course (I’ve done 6 Brazen races at Point Pinole, and still love the views). And it really is like a family picnic (without ants or bickering, though). I will be back – maybe Nitro Turkey, maybe Nitro Trail, maybe DD IX, maybe some or “all of the above”.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

lizcoxon FIRST-TIMER '16

Not my first race at Mt Diablo, but my first official 50K, and the most challenging race I've run so far. Finishing this race changed me as a person, absolutely … MORE

Not my first race at Mt Diablo, but my first official 50K, and the most challenging race I’ve run so far. Finishing this race changed me as a person, absolutely for the better, and taught me a lot of tenacity and determination. The course was very well-marked, so I always knew I was in the right spot, which was extremely helpful give that it has the most difficult and technical terrain I’ve ever experienced. You climb to the Summit, as well as North Peak. The Summit is hard enough, but North Peak is a different animal. It’s steep and very slippery, I had to go slow to establish my footing on the way up, then I had to crab-walk on hands and feet on the way down. I was scared of falling, and I had come so far that I refused to wipe out and get injured now. I just sat down and carefully made my way to the bottom of the hill. That was a first! I think the best way to look at the race is to load up on sunblock and be prepared to be on Mt Diablo for the day. It’s more of a journey than a race, and the level of difficulty is intimidating. But, I just kept putting one foot in front of the other and I refused to give up. I ran when I could, and wasked the rest. I cried when I reached the last mile, I couldn’t believe I did it. One mile to go, and I was the most emotional I’ve ever been finishing a race so far. I was so grateful for the opportunity to go out and accomplish something that daunting and difficult. But I did it! And I placed 2nd in my age group:-)

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
My Media

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

runforbeer REPEAT RUNNER '17

The expo was held on Friday and Saturday at the Los Angeles Convention Center. I had originally planned to go on Saturday after the LA Big 5K. Unfortunately, having a … MORE

The expo was held on Friday and Saturday at the Los Angeles Convention Center. I had originally planned to go on Saturday after the LA Big 5K. Unfortunately, having a pub run the night before and not being able to sleep well, I missed that. The expo was held in the west hall this year and was noticeably smaller, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The first step was to get my bib, but they didn’t have it at the numbered bib section. It was at expo services not too far away, presumably because we were upgraded to start line hospitality. Next up, I got my super nice Skechers race shirt and gear check bag. The race once again offered a virtual event bag, which I’m always a huge fan of. It’s way less waste and there were plenty of vendors handing samples out. The giant Skechers Performance race merchandise store was the first thing that everyone had to pass through. I don’t usually buy stuff at the expo, but this year was an exception. I grabbed two nice visors (on sale) and the official race shirt. After that, I did my usual vendor browsing. There was one handing out samples of non-alcohol beer (Erdinger N/A), which I actually liked.

The Race: My alarm went off at 2:30 and I managed to get up on time for once. All of the things I needed were already laid out, just had to wash up and get ready. I was on the road by 3:00 since my shuttle reservation was at 4:30 and it’s about an hour drive with no traffic. I got to Santa Monica and parked right at 4:00. My parking was pre-paid weeks in advance, which is highly recommended if you park here. It was about a 5-10 minute walk to where the shuttles left from, so I had plenty of time to be on one by 4:30. Or so I thought. This was the major issue I know that everyone is complaining about. The line to board the buses was insanely long and was barely moving, even with a lot of buses just sitting there. Also, the porta-potties were directly beside the shuttle line. Volunteers were slowly “checking” bags and checking to see who was wearing running vests, waist pouches, etc. They were giving out red wristbands to attach to them, but I’m not sure why. I finally got on a bus just before 5:00, cutting it close to get to the hospitality tent for the 5:30 ambassador meet-up. Once we were close to the stadium, it appeared the off ramp the said buses only was completely closed and not even letting buses exit. All of the shuttles ended up in the same line as vehicles dropping runners off. More confusion set in once at the stadium, a few buses got turned around near the academy gate. They pretty much said screw it and dropped us off there, so I got in a good warm up walk to the stadium. On to the race itself, which started at 6:45 with the elite women, followed by the elite men and the full field. It seemed as if the weather was finally going to be on our side, around 50 at the start! I was put in corral B, but in no way did I train enough to maintain that pace. Since this day wasn’t about a PR or even a course record like the previous 2 years, I decided to go full on tourist and have fun with it. Once they announced there would be close to 40 Snapchat filters along the course, that made my decision even easier. Geo-filters are the only reason I really use SC, so I thought it would be fun. The race started with the usual shuffle out of the Dodger Stadium parking lot onto the streets of LA. The first 4 miles are in the downtown area through Chinatown and Little Tokyo. The course then went on to pass through Echo Park, Silver Lake, Little Armenia, and into Hollywood. I was trying to stop at all of the major landmarks to Snapchat and see what filters were available. It was really fun to finally just take this course in and pay attention to the sights and sounds. After passing through all of Hollywood, the course went through Beverly Hills and on to Rodeo Drive. Just after that, I spotted the first LA Road Runners aid station. I remembered seeing them post that they would have Hot Shot pain shots (like an alcohol-free shot of fireball for pain). I grabbed one and downed it, which didn’t sit well on my stomach for a few minutes. After getting water at the next aid station, that issue went away. I also tried to stop whenever I saw icy hot spray being used at medical tents. My longest run prior to this was the Pasadena Half in January, so my knees were starting to ache. The next few miles were a combination of running and walking to keep from getting an injury. This part of the course is where you really learn to appreciate the support the city shows to this race. There is never a dull moment and you will never have to worry about not having water, fruit, snacks, candy, or even a shot of beer or two. That’s the #1 reason I love this race and this city. I have never seen so much support and encouragement from complete strangers (and even fellow runner friends not running the event). The last few miles went through the community of Brentwood with a gradual downhill to Santa Monica and Ocean Avenue. The last 1/2 mile is barricaded off to keep out bandits and was packed with people cheering. At this point, the race was 5 1/2 hours old and it felt like I was coming down towards the finish line in the top 10. Again, I F’N LOVE this city. I hit the finish at 5:33 with a smile on my face. Not my best, not my worst, but without a doubt the most fun I’ve had during a marathon.

Post Race: Once I received my medals and took my picture, I went to get my stuff from gear check. This was an area the needed to be improved on from last year and they nailed it. It was done by bib number this year and not last name, which did not work very well. The sign pointing towards the finish festival and beer garden was after the exit chute to get there, so a lot of people had to turn around to head that way. Another issue I had was the number of friends and family members over-crowding the entrance to the festival, it was nearly impossible to enter and spectators were practically stepping on runners feet. They definitely need to move them further back next year. That is the last thing people need after a marathon in a cramped space like that and the risk of injury. Once in the beer garden, I could tell it was much larger than last year. We got one free beer with our bib, which I really think should be at least 2. Angel City brought four beers this year versus the two last year. Overall, it was another fantastic event from Skechers Performance and Conqur Endurance Group. The support from all cities involved and the volunteers was world class. It was an honor to work with them during the season and I hope to be back next year. If not, I’ll still Conqur LA again!

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
My Report
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
My Media

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

mikebeckwith REPEAT RUNNER '16

Saying this is a tough race is an understatement. This course is really, really tough. Always an awesome time at this long running race. It starts at Stinson Beach, then … MORE

Saying this is a tough race is an understatement.
This course is really, really tough.
Always an awesome time at this long running race.
It starts at Stinson Beach, then goes out about 7 miles to Mill Valley.
Runners start in waves, based off age/sex, and it has a handicapped finish times.
Scenery is really nice in this race.

Stairs. Did I mention there are stairs?
This race totals over 4,500 feet of elevation gain.
Another cool thing is since it is an out and back, you get to see everyone twice.
I would recommend putting in your calendar the date that registration opens.
Recalling last year and the year before, it sold out pretty quick.
Stay tuned to next year when I do it for a third time.

Did you notice any pattern in my post?
S
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A
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R
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T
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and more stairs!! 🙂

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

meggayman FIRST-TIMER '16

This course makes you feel like you're floating on air. The unique start of running 2 miles through a pitch black tunnel to crossing bridges and seeing waterfalls and rock … MORE

This course makes you feel like you’re floating on air. The unique start of running 2 miles through a pitch black tunnel to crossing bridges and seeing waterfalls and rock climbers along the way makes for interesting scenery.
A couple of words of advice:
1) Don’t rely on pacers for your BQ. There aren’t many pacers for the BQ times you’ll need. Pace band and accurate timing via TRT is the way to go because the tunnel will mess with your GPS.
2) Bring your own water and fuel. I ran with a pack and didn’t stop at any of the water stations that could potentially be enough for some runners, but I know i needed my pack, most people have hand held water bottles.
3) Wear a headlamp through the tunnel. It’s easy to drop it off at the bag check specifically for the headlamps at the end of the tunnel.
4) Train for downhill running. Even though it’s gradual, if your quads aren’t prepared the last few miles will be very tough.

While this race is small, there’s some pretty good competition out there. This particular race can sometimes straddle the Boston Entry Window so if you BQ in it, you could potentially use the race for the following year and the year after (I qualified in 2016, which meant I was able to register for Boston 2017 and can register for 2018 off of this same race)

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
My Report
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

Trevinds REPEAT RUNNER '06

As of today, April 11, 2017, I have run the Marine Corps Marathon a total of 15 times; this year will be number 16. I run this race because 1) … MORE

As of today, April 11, 2017, I have run the Marine Corps Marathon a total of 15 times; this year will be number 16. I run this race because 1) I live in Northern Virginia, and 2) as a Retired Navy Veteran, I support the Marine Corps, and the Army (Army Ten Miler). The Marines do an outstanding job on total organization, and are supportive to all the runners – a class act all the way. The course takes runners through parts of Northern Virginia – beginning at the Iwo Jima Memorial, and the District of Columbia – going pass Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, The Capitol, and other sites. Runners finish up at Iwo Jima. The course is filled with spectators, and once you get to the finish – the crowd support is tremendous – wall to wall people.
Plenty of fluids throughout the course, and gels/other snacks are given out at certain points in the course. 2009 was my best time for this course; 2016 had me coming in at 4:37:04. I highly recommend this race to any, and all, runners. A must do event!

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

dtm3000 REPEAT RUNNER '17

This is my second year running and again it was a wonderful experience. I just re-read my review from last year and it still pretty much sums it up for … MORE

This is my second year running and again it was a wonderful experience. I just re-read my review from last year and it still pretty much sums it up for me so I will just re-post it next.
A couple of new notes – Last year (2016) they offered a general 1-mile fun run as part of the Junior Carlsbad 5000 on the day before. I enjoyed this immensily last year and I am bummed it is longer happening. Running a mile under those conditions, picking up my bib and watching the kids run was fun.
Last New Note: Beer Garden opens at 8am sharp. Bring your ID. You get 2 free beers.
Here’s 2016’s review:
“I’ve always heard about this run and I always wanted to do it even though it is about a 65 mile drive. I was lured in by a $20 pre-sale a whole year ago (they are again offering this pre-sale rate for 2017 until April 10, 2016).
This was a great experience and lived up to the hype. The Carlsbad 5000 is billed as a fast 5k and it sure felt like that.
This takes place in beautiful Carlsbad Village and you get some great ocean views along the way. It seems like the whole community is out there to cheer you on. This is now part of the Rock n Roll Run Series and is a great production with a great T-Shirt, great Medal and some great Swag. The Expo is a fine mixture of samples, promotions and retail shops. Even with as many people show up for this there was never any waiting for the portapotties.
They run the races in 4 public runs that start as 7 am and then later in the morning they hold Men’s and Women’s Elite races which get some big media attention. There is a 20K experience available that allows you entry in to the first 4 runs.
The run is capped off with a craft beer garden sponsored by a local merchant, Pizza Port (There are 2 drink tickets on your race bib) where they have a live band.
Parking is wherever you can find it. I parked on Madison Street which was a little more than a 1/2 mile away. As I was looking for parking I noticed a couple of larger lots in the area but they looked pretty full.
Some other things of note – There was one water station at the 1.5 mile mark….and…my only gripe – in the finish chute you are handed a great deal of swag but no bag. So everyone is left trying to juggle everything.”

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
My Report
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
My Media

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

roxy031 FIRST-TIMER '17

This was my first time running this race, which is literally in my backyard - we ran by my apartment around mile 11. Maybe because I run this course several … MORE

This was my first time running this race, which is literally in my backyard – we ran by my apartment around mile 11. Maybe because I run this course several times a week, it felt like the easiest half marathon ever for me (it was my 15th). The course is beautiful and the race wasn’t crowded, so it was never frustrating like some races can be when there are too many people and not enough space. The 5k and 10k started several minutes after the half, so we were pretty much out of their way by the time the fastest ones caught up to us on the course, and they turned around soon after.
I only have 2 complaints. The first is that it seems the distance was over 1/2 mile too long. My GPS, my husband’s GPS and several others we asked, all measured at least 13.6. My GPS was dead on with the race markers on miles 1-12, which makes me think my GPS was accurate for mile 13-13.6 as well. It’s not unusual for courses to be slightly off, but 1/2 mile is a bit much. Having a course that’s too long can be frustrating for a few reasons – mentally and physically, but also in my case, it means a race that should’ve been a PR now is not. It’s not a huge deal, but it’s kinda disappointing and seemingly totally avoidable, esp. for this course.
My other complaint is about one of the pacers. My husband and I were running together, and averaging 9:55-9:58 miles. The 2:20 pacer was DIRECTLY behind us for several miles (miles 3-8). Not only was he running too fast for his pace group (2:20 pace is a 10:41 overall pace), he was running WAY too close to us. I could almost feel him breathing on me, that’s how close he was. We even moved to the side at one point to let him pass us, but he didn’t – he stayed right there, right behind us. Just terrible race etiquette all around. If I was running in the 2:20 pace group, I would’ve been so mad that the pacer was running so fast and off pace. We finally lost him around mile 8, and never saw him again, so hopefully he slowed down a lot and ran the pace he was supposed to run. I’ve run several Brazen races and have never had any complaints about pacers before, so I don’t blame Brazen for this one rogue pacer.
Besides those 2 minor complaints, I loved the race. The aid stations were well-stocked with snacks and water, and the volunteers were awesome. I heard there were supposed to be ice cream sandwiches at the finish line but I didn’t see any – but I wasn’t hungry afterward and couldn’t have eaten one anyway! I’ll definitely be running this race for as long as I live in the neighborhood, and hopefully the distance issue will be fixed next year.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

dalmx416 FIRST-TIMER '16

The communication and organization of this event is second-to-none. The half marathon course winds through the country-side with multiple musicians scattered across the course, a grand pianist early on in … MORE

The communication and organization of this event is second-to-none. The half marathon course winds through the country-side with multiple musicians scattered across the course, a grand pianist early on in the race, and the locals cheer from their front yards as you wind through the downtown streets. The race has an incredible community feel and was a very well-orchestrated event overall.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

bioprofsd FIRST-TIMER '17

The 50K distance was a point to point course through the Sheyenne National Grassland via the North Country Trail. The first 6 miles of the course were very flat grasslands … MORE

The 50K distance was a point to point course through the Sheyenne National Grassland via the North Country Trail. The first 6 miles of the course were very flat grasslands intersected frequently with cattle trails. Fortunately, the race director marked this part of the course very well. The rest of the course was over short, rolling hills interspersed with aspen and oak trees. We were blessed this year with almost no snow and dry trails except for under some of the wooded areas. There were only 3 aid stations along the 31 miles of the course. The first one was at 6 miles, the 2nd was after 9 more miles, and the third was about another 6 or 7 miles. This was quite a bit fewer than most 50Ks that I’ve participated in, but added to the aura of the isolation out on the prairie. It seemed to add a little more of a challenge which made the run that much more memorable. I was pleased with my sub-7 hour finish, which is the best for me in the last couple of years. The weather was cool, but comfortable, and there was good food at the finish.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
4
SWAG
1
My Media

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

runforbeer REPEAT RUNNER '17

This event has a 10K partial trail race, 5K, and option to do both dubbed the "Hero Race", it's located at Cal State University-Channel Islands in Camarillo. I did the … MORE

This event has a 10K partial trail race, 5K, and option to do both dubbed the “Hero Race”, it’s located at Cal State University-Channel Islands in Camarillo. I did the Hero Race in 2015 and the 5K this year. This event always sells out a few days before race day, which is why I missed out last year. Proceeds from the event benefit the Autism Society of Ventura County. Packet pickup was at Road Runner Sports in Thousand Oaks on Saturday with the option for race day pickup as well. I grabbed mine Saturday on the way to LA for a concert. Participants received a bib with timing chip (timing by Vendurance.com), soft cotton t-shirt, and choice of a pair of costume sunglasses. I wanted the minion glasses, but my wife vetoed so she could get the pink power ranger ones.

The 10K started Sunday at 7:00, which meant you needed to run a decent pace if you signed up for the 5K starting at 8:30. Parking was quick and easy with plenty of volunteers directing traffic. It was about a 10 minute walk to the start area, perfect time for a quick warm-up. The start and finish area are a short distance apart to cut down on crowding since this is a large event, around 200 for the 10K and 2,000 for the 5K. The 5K was delayed about 20 minutes while officials made sure the course was clear of traffic and 10K’ers. The weather was nice, but no cloud cover and I forgot my visor, so I was baking before it even started, totally my fault. The course is almost completely flat with a few small inclines that turn around immediately and drop back down. There were two water stations, more than enough for a 5K. At the finish festival there were vendors and booths supporting the Autism Society. Results were posted near the finish and available online as well. Race bibs had tickets for pancakes and a small jamba juice. Starbucks also had free iced coffee which was awesome after a warm race! The medal is always shaped like a puzzle piece so it can connect to previous medals, only difference is the lanyard design. This is one of the best events in Ventura County and I’ll definitely be back next year.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5
My Media

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

patvencool FIRST-TIMER '16

This was a flat inaugural road race. Yeeaahh.... It was windy on race day and heavy clouds were above. The course took us through abandoned naval base housing and through … MORE

This was a flat inaugural road race. Yeeaahh…. It was windy on race day and heavy clouds were above. The course took us through abandoned naval base housing and through current thriving neighborhoods. Eventually I was on the shores of Alameda running right toward the USS Hornet and through the former thriving Alameda Naval Base, now a ghost town of metal and rust. As I ran toward the USS Hornet and through the U.S. Naval Base I begin to reminisce about my husband who shipped from these dock out to Viet Nam in 1968 U.S. Navy, Don E. Venerable (1948 – 2004). Course monitors were awesome as they supported every runner even those such as I that were still running in the down pour. I arrived at the finish line soaking wet yet met with happy, enthusiastic volunteers. This was a running festival that offered several distance races: A Family Fun Run, 5k, 10k, and Half Marathon. Fabulous finishers medal.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
2
SWAG
3

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jonoringading REPEAT RUNNER '17

The Brazen Victory Half Marathon is the second part of the 2 race series with Bay Breeze 2 weeks earlier. Both are fast and flat courses. I was a pacer … MORE

The Brazen Victory Half Marathon is the second part of the 2 race series with Bay Breeze 2 weeks earlier. Both are fast and flat courses. I was a pacer for both for the 1:50 Group. The Victory was a tiny bit on the long side, and has a little hill that was muddy this year. Give yourself an extra minute. The shirt was awesome as were the medals. Brazen always does a great job keeping things safe and organized!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
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3
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5

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jonoringading REPEAT RUNNER '17

The 408K Run to the Row has a really fun vibe. It is family friendly, with the wonderful "Mariachi Mile" at the end, and the "Memorial Mile" honoring veterans in … MORE

The 408K Run to the Row has a really fun vibe. It is family friendly, with the wonderful “Mariachi Mile” at the end, and the “Memorial Mile” honoring veterans in person. It is also a fast course, and a perfect step up from a 5k.
I was nursing an injury, and supporting a friend taking photographs, so this was my slowest year.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
2
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3

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

PeteSinCA FIRST-TIMER '17

Event & Course Description: If Brazen Racing could be said to have a “home park”, Point Pinole, the venue for Nitro Trail, would be it. Brazen’s first race was Nitro … MORE

Event & Course Description:
If Brazen Racing could be said to have a “home park”, Point Pinole, the venue for Nitro Trail, would be it. Brazen’s first race was Nitro Trail, and Brazen does 3 races there throughout the year: Nitro Trail, Dirty Dozen, and Quarry Turkey. Point Pinole is a really beautiful setting – once the site of an explosives manufacturer – with coast and bay views and fragrant eucalyptus groves. The courses are mostly dirt fire roads (with a few just visible patches of old asphalt, brick or cobble stone) and asphalt access roads, with some double- and a little single-track trail.

Like most Brazen events, Nitro Trail features 3 distances, 5K, 10K, and half marathon. The 5K course, also used by the other distances, travels the southern coast of the point along open coastal trail and through some eucalyptus groves, crosses the tip of the point, and then goes down the center of the point back to the start/finish area. The 5K course is has a few brief, not at all steep, hills. Just short of the 5K finish, the 10K course turns to double back down the center of the point – by a different route – goes back close to the tip of the point, skirts a marsh on the north side of the point, goes briefly near the shore, and then crosses the base of the point back to the finish. The 10K course is a double-lobed loop. Mostly, the half marathon course is doing the 10K course twice (you won’t get bored!), with some added trail to make the half marathon distance, including ~3/4 of a mile on trails the 5K and 10K courses do not use. All runners go along at least some coast, through eucalyptus groves, and along an open elevated spine with panoramic views of San Pablo Bay. The courses aren’t flat, but the 2 longest uphill climbs are about a half mile long each, and 50-70 feet of climb.

There were 2 aid stations. 5K runners came to an aid station near their mile 2 and then finished. 10K runners came to each aid station twice, because of how the two lobes of the loop are laid out, which means half marathon runners come to each aid station 4 times.

Organization & Production:
From checking out the race on Brazen’s website through leaving the parking lot after the race, runners’ “only” worries are getting there and doing their race. The website information is very complete – schedule, course maps, elevation profiles, FAQs, etc.. As with most (all?) Brazen races, bib pick-up could be done the two afternoons/evenings before race day at a local athletic store, or on race day. I usually do race day pick-up, and that is always efficient.

Brazen always marks its courses thoroughly, with color-coded flags and chalk or flour arrows. Trail branchings that go off-course are also marked so runners don’t go there. Brazen aid stations are always well stocked with water, electrolyte drink, Coke, cut up fruit, candies, cookies, chips, and very encouraging volunteers. I was THE last half marathoner to go through the stations, and both made sure they had liquids and snacks for me.

Swag & Goodies:
Brazen’s finish area food is all but legendary – many of the same snacks the aid stations have, in greater variety, pie, cakes, and perhaps a half dozen flavors of It’s It ice cream sandwich. As late as I was in finishing, they still had a lot available. The pineapple was very tempting, as were mint or cappuccino It’s Its, but I was too exhausted, and was feeling full from all I had drunk and snacked on the trail. Brazen Racing is very meticulous and consistent about taking care of its runners (Brazen wants them to finish in one piece, leave happy, and come back for more!).

Bib: Some races’ bibs are very plain, white, plus or minus a color stripe, a logo or two, and the bib number. And that’s fine. Bibs are not a large part of a race experience. Brazen racing goes all the way to the opposite extreme! Brazen’s bibs are practically works of art! The background of the bib is a picture from a 19th century advertisement for the explosives manufacturer whose factory facilities had been located at Point Pinole. The picture shows a strong giant shaking the hand of a miner at his claim. In the top right is the logo for the race, and just below that the distance done and the date. To the left of the distance is the distance-specific color-coded bib number, and below that a color-coded stripe, with the runner’s name. Brazen Racing’s logo is across the bottom.

Finisher’s Medal: The finisher’s medal is huge and heavy, usable as a coaster. It’s a ~4” diameter dull finish brass-colored disc with a relief of Alfred Nobel (inventor of dynamite; the company that had used Point Pinole was licensed by Nobel to produce dynamite), wearing sunglasses and a sweatband. To the right of Nobel is the race date in Roman numerals, and to the left the race name and distances. Engraved on the back – a first for Brazen – is a little of the history of Point Pinole and Brazen. There was still ample room for a runner’s name and finish time to be engraved.

T-Shirt: The tech T-shirt is RED. On the front is the race name in yellow script, and in smaller white script are the distance, date, and location. On the back is the drawing of Alfred Nobel, described above and the logos of the sponsors and Brazen Racing. Did I mention that the Tee is RED?

My Results & Opinion of the Race:
I’ve done 4 Brazen races at Point Pinole, though this was the first time I had done Nitro Trail. Nitro was also sort of a grudge race for me. It was the third half marathon I had started in 2017, but the first two resulted in DNFs. In both cases, health stuff were the root of my not finishing, but it was still been very frustrating. So I was going to finish Nitro, if it took me more than 5 hours (or whatever Brazen allowed). My actual time was I’ll-take-it-grade, but it’s where I am, and it’s a FINISH time (Brazen typically has race finish times available online within 12-24 hours). That monkey is off my back and relaxing in the Point Pinole Monkey Sanctuary!

Nitro Trail is not a flat course race. Nor is it a hilly “true” trail race. It’s kind of a hybrid, a pleasant introduction to trail racing. The views – coast, panoramas of the bay, marsh, and eucalyptus groves – are just short of spectacular. And Brazen Racing does Nitro Trail well!

Speaking of which, this was Brazen’s 9th running of Nitro Trail, and 8th anniversary as a company. Taking a special annual picture of all who were there was part of the pre-race activities. Wearing red was the “rule” of the day (which the race Tee aided … did I mention it is RED?), so I wore a Tee from a previous Brazen race (2016 Brazen Goonies, very piratical) instead of my RaceRaves Tee.

Would I do Nitro Trail again? Very likely. I’m doing Brazen’s Dirty Dozen at the same park in a few weeks, and plan to do Nitro Turkey again this year as well.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

Tessa FIRST-TIMER '14

It is hard for me to review this race because all I can really remember is being miserable because of blisters, and my DIL running me into the finish. I … MORE

It is hard for me to review this race because all I can really remember is being miserable because of blisters, and my DIL running me into the finish. I think she might have been a bit worried about this old gal finishing 🙂 This is not an easy race, but it shares trails with another race I really love that Brazen does later in the year. The trails are pretty, but there are some steep climbs and the heat can be kind of tough in the more exposed areas. Loved the bling for this one!

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

UKCathryn FIRST-TIMER '14

I loved this race. From the minute we runners got on the ferry to the island to the minute we got the ferry back, it was great. Very small indeed … MORE

I loved this race. From the minute we runners got on the ferry to the island to the minute we got the ferry back, it was great. Very small indeed but well organized. Brutally cold at the start but fine once we got running.
You can choose from 5 miles, 10 miles and 15 miles covering 1,2 or 3 loops of the island respectively. The 10 miler runs one loop half way up and around and one loop up to the top and around. You pass the start line at the half-way point and that’s where the one aid station is located. The views on both laps were fabulous. The trails were beautiful and well maintained. Just be careful of the steep, nerve-wracking steps on the way down. Got a great race t-shirt (one of my favorites) and a good medal and I even placed in my age-group which made my day. All in all, a fantastic race that I’d heartily recommend.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
My Report
SCENERY
5
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4
My Media

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

KevinD FIRST-TIMER '15

First, I should say that I love San Francisco and was super excited to run this race. But for me, it really fell flat and did not do the city … MORE

First, I should say that I love San Francisco and was super excited to run this race. But for me, it really fell flat and did not do the city justice at all. Yes, the marathon (and the first 1/2 marathon) have the allure of running across the Golden Gate Bridge, but runners should also be aware that since the race begins so early, you could run the Golden Gate Bridge at 6AM on any given Sunday and have a similar experience as there won’t be any pedestrian traffic at that time.

As I mentioned, the start time is super early. While I don’t objectively have any issue with early start time, in SF you get the impression the purpose is solely so cars aren’t inconvenienced. After all, it’s rare you would experience a hot day there, so it would be nice to at least begin after the sun came up.

For a big city race, prepare for virtually no crowd support. It was bizarre. You also spend a lot of time looping around Golden Gate Park during the 2nd half of the marathon, which is quite boring. Lastly, the run through the city doesn’t take you through any particularly charming areas, which is a disappointment. I think this could be a really amazing marathon to showcase the city, but they don’t seem to utilize the beautiful SF scenery and architecture to the race’s advantage.

On the other hand, summer marathons are hard to come by in CA, so it’s nice to be able to have something on the calendar in July. With that said, I wouldn’t rush to run it again unless I got a really, really great deal. It’s not that the event was bad, per se, it’s that it could have been so much better and it fell short. People also talk about the hills, but honestly, I think this course was pretty middle of the road in terms of difficulty. None of the hills are particularly long or challenging. San Diego and San Luis Obispo are certainly far more challenging courses, and I’d say SF for me was on par with Los Angeles in terms of course difficulty.

I said I’d never run it again, and nearly 20 marathons deep SF is still among my least favorite races because it could have been so amazing, but it doesn’t seem to be something the city wants to showcase. What a shame. With all that said, I do feel a little bit of FOMO not having it on my race calendar this summer.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
4
SWAG
2

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

dittyc REPEAT RUNNER '17

This is an amazing race because of the scenery, course and small town atmosphere. Someone said it was flat...it isn't! There are gentle rolling hills until about mile 8 or … MORE

This is an amazing race because of the scenery, course and small town atmosphere. Someone said it was flat…it isn’t! There are gentle rolling hills until about mile 8 or so. Then a few tough ones that eventually flatten out for the home stretch. The swag is good with the exception of the unisex shirts this year. I was not happy about that I was led to believe I was ordering a women’s large shirt and then get a unisex men’s. Which by the way I had to ask to have mailed to me. Past years have had men and women’s shirts which make a huge difference. It was nice that the wine area wasn’t completely enclosed which made for easy maneuvering. Liked the early start, the goodies at the finish line and the race overall. Also, glad they changed the course a bit, awesome support. Big thanks to all the volunteers. See you next year!

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

dantelm FIRST-TIMER '17

Parking was super easy. Race started at the Irving Convention Center and the parking garage was available. It was $8 to park...that didn't bother me because I got my race … MORE

Parking was super easy. Race started at the Irving Convention Center and the parking garage was available. It was $8 to park…that didn’t bother me because I got my race entry free (Mellew, the production company, has a deal where you get free races in exchange for volunteering at events).

Packet Pick Up…I had to pickup on race day (I hate doing that). Packet pickup was at the top of 3 flights of outdoor stairs…it was cold and misty, I was kind of worried about slipping. Also the stairs were odd…they were extra wide which meant a normal gait would have you stepping up on the same foot every time. I made a point of switching every 5 steps, but this seemed like it could be a bit much on the knees for some people (no elevator was available, the convention center would not allow us inside). Packet pickup itself was easy.

Bag Check…was really easy…but apparently during the race they moved our bags downstairs and outside (near the award tent). When I dropped off my bag, that would have been a great time to have told me where bag check would be when I was done. No one told us. So, after the race I climbed the steps again. I passed a cluster of 10 high schoolers who were volunteering. When I reached where bag check was I learned it had moved. So I went back down the stairs and to the race results table. Asked them where bags were…she didn’t know. She did quickly find someone who did. He took me to bag check and told me that there were volunteers at the bottom of the steps to tell people that bag check had moved. Apparently that was the cluster of high schoolers. I told them they hadn’t said a word to me–he apologized and I got my bag. As I was walking back to my car I passed him as he was getting on to the high schoolers.

Race…the race itself was well marked and the course was very clear. I did hear some people saying that the 5m was short changed, but they were just confused. My watch and everyone I knew’s watches clocked in between 5.05 and 5.10m.

Swag…beautiful medal, really nice tech shirt. My only complaint is both the medal and shirt say “Texas Half” with no mention of the 5m. I ran the 5m and it feels a little weird to wear a half shirt and medal when I didn’t run that distance. I’d love to see “& 5m” added to the medal and shirts or a different medal and shirt for that distance.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3
My Media

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

Stefanryser REPEAT RUNNER '14

If you have done only road races, but want to do trail races, the Badger Cove Brazen race might be the right race to start a new life style in … MORE

If you have done only road races, but want to do trail races, the Badger Cove Brazen race might be the right race to start a new life style in running. It is not the hardest course, however tough enough to be part of the Brazen Ultra Series championship that ends on October 3, 2015, i.e. a true trail race. Brazen never disappoints, flawless organization, great aid stations, creative finisher medals, and enough volunteers to pick up bibs and shirt on race day without waiting too long. The course is interesting, panoramic views are phenomenal. Runners with St. Patrick’s Day outfits are always fun to watch.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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