Overall Rating
Overall Rating (4 Reviews)
3.8
(4 Ratings)  (4 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3.3
SCENERY
3.8
PRODUCTION
4
SWAG
2.8
In partnership with the Bristol Fourth of July Committee, the Independence Rhode Race half marathon presented by Tufts Health Plan, will follow the beautiful downtown streets of America’s quintessential community when it is decked out in its finest – during the Oldest 4th of July Celebration in America. The course … MORE
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H (°F) 82 76 83 72 75
L (°F) 64 60 63 64 61
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Recent reviews

    thestudadam FIRST-TIMER '22

    EXPO/PACKET PICK UP: I did not go to the early packet pick up for this race (there is no expo to speak of), I was supposed to fly from Seattle … MORE

    EXPO/PACKET PICK UP:
    I did not go to the early packet pick up for this race (there is no expo to speak of), I was supposed to fly from Seattle to Boston and arrive the afternoon before the race (Wife is a teacher, last day of school was Thursday), then rent a car for a quick 45 minute drive to Providence/Bristol. However as many people are experiencing in 2022 flights can be dicey. We got an email at 1am Friday that our flight was cancelled, woke up and spent an hour on the phone with Alaska and the best we could do was a flight to Newark 3 hours later than scheduled. By the time we flew in, got our car and made the 4 hour drive we got in bed at 1am, 5.5 hours before the 6:30 am start. Combine that with getting over being sick during the week, the humidity, and the hilly course and it was clear that a PR attempt was never meant to be. You had the option to do packet pick up on Thursday, Friday or Saturday up to 15 minutes before the race. They even allow registration up to 15 minutes before the start. Bib pick up was extremely smooth, you don’t have an assigned # until you pick up your bib & shirt, then they just search your name in their registration app, hand you a bib from their pile and assign it to you electronically on the spot. A first for me, but very smooth and fast. They were out of at least 1 shirt size by the time I picked up 20 minutes before which might be related.

    Parking/Access: Downtown Providence is a 20 minute drive away with tons of hotel options. They had several advised parking lots (which were full when I arrived 45 minutes before the start) but street parking was free and easy to find within a few blocks and due to my late arrival I don’t imagine that many people were parking after me or had any trouble.

    T-Shirts/SWAG: The medal for this race was one that I liked. It isn’t the prettiest one on my medal rack but it does accomplish what I find most important about a race, it was sturdily made and depicts something unique about the state or area. The medal had some translucent blue water with the Mt Hope Bridge (the thing most dominating the surrounding skyline) on it. During the race you run right up to the bottom of the bridge and while they missed me the photographer got many iconic shots of runners with the bridge behind them.(See Attached Picture). The medal is also part of a series of races in Rhode Island that can magnetically attach to a larger medal with 5 slots. The shirt this year was fairly plain red tech shirt (See Attached Picture), it did have a nice 4th of July themed logo on it which makes sense because the race is part of the towns celebration of it but nothing really special about this shirt.

    Aid Stations: The aid stations were well stocked and spaced every 2 miles they all had Gatorade and water except for the 2 mile station which only had water. I did notice energy gels or chews being handed out at like mile 10, a bit late, but I carry my own so this was a non issue. I didn’t hear anything about supplies running out at any time during the race. I was near the front so I was never really in a group, and most stations only had 3-5 people which is sufficient but may have caused an issue or two when the big pace groups came through but the race said ahead of time that volunteers were really tough to come by this year so I give the volunteers who were there an A+ for doing the job, being really clear about who had water or Gatorade, and being happy cheerleaders for each runner who came through. If I could make one critique it would be to have a few more garbage cans 100 yards after the stations, and maybe add a station or 2 in the 2nd half especially if this humidity is normal (which I think it is).

    Course Scenery/Elevation Difficulty: The course is hilly over 90% of the course, however you do finish where you start so the net gain is zero. That being said while the hills are rarely extremely steep you are always on a hill which can be draining and really difficult to pace yourself. Overall though as difficult as constant elevation change can be the real difficulty in this course is the New England weather in the summer. If you are/were like me and planning a trip to the New England in the summer and thought with like 8 states within easy driving distance I should have a real pick of races if my dates are flexible, you would be wrong. People don’t have races on the east coast in the middle of summer for the most part because the heat/humidity combo can be extremely difficult and possibly dangerous. This was nearly my only option. Thankfully having struggled in a humid race in the past I backed off my normal goal pace by 20-30 seconds/mile to ensure I wouldn’t have a medical issue. I finished in the top 30 and I still saw people in front of me walking or stopping and even saw 2 people go down and have race staff radio for one of the emergency vehicles which were prowling the course on the roads while we ran on the shoulder. During my walk back to my car I even saw one back of the pack runner just throw up his arms, curse then turn and walk off the course towards his car. From what I could see when comparing the start #s to the finisher #s there were a whole lot of people who either had a DNF or DNS and the race time weather was 70-80 during the race on the way to an afternoon high in the high 80s. The weather was bad but can certainly be even worse. I think the race did a great job with medical/emergency response but the real point here is unless you get a magical perfect cold New England Day during the summer be careful during the race and slow your pace accordingly. As for the scenery it was quite interesting. Probably 3 miles felt like part of my high school cross country days, a combo of dirt roads, crushed shells, across a grass field and even a muddy puddle or two to jump. The other 10 miles were on the road. They apparently changed the course this year so we lost 3 miles through a city park directly along the coast so that they could better feature a typical New England town with older houses. There were the occasional great water views (see attached picture) but otherwise it was mostly in neighborhoods. Being from the Northwest I found it interesting and unique, if you live in New England I think you would have a hard time differentiating the scenery from many other states/towns.

    Weather: 70-80 degrees for me with pretty high humidity. This seems pretty typical, I went into pretty good detail about the weather affects in the previous section. That being said if you live on the east coast and run and race in this humid summer weather frequently, I tip my cap to you. I’m just not sure if you are a Bad***, Crazy, or some combination of both.

    Race Management: This Race was very well run overall for such a small race. I found their emails and website to be the best source of information. They didn’t have a ton of bathrooms but the lines were never very long, I think they had it just right. As described earlier packet pick up was a breeze and the course was very well marked with people stopping traffic when needed. The race only had 591 finishers (a bit down from a normal year). They had pace setters from 1:40/1:50/2:00 then every 15 minutes to the 2:45 hour time. The time limit for the race is 3.5 hours but they offered an early start option for people who may have needed a little more time. They had age group awards in 10 year increments (a nice touch for a small race) and plenty of the usual finish line fare (bagels, water, electrolytes, oranges). They also have free race Photos.

    Overall I would say this race is a pretty good way to check Rhode Island off your 50 state list. It is a well run race put on by “Rhode Races” who do several other non summer races in the state including at least one full marathon. In states this small your options are pretty limited, but I still think this was a fine way to check off Rhode Island.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

    1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

    M_Sohaskey Jul 06, 2022 at 8:30pm

    Sounds like an adventure! Congrats on the top 30 finish and on notching one of the tiny East Coast states... despite its size RI almost feels like it should count… MORE

    Sounds like an adventure! Congrats on the top 30 finish and on notching one of the tiny East Coast states... despite its size RI almost feels like it should count as two states, since it's such an expensive logistical challenge for us West Coast folk. And even in an ideal situation (which obviously this was not), chasing a PR on the opposite coast is tough. Not to mention, running in heat is BRUTAL—whenever I've raced in hot temps, I've been amazed not by how many folks end up walking but by the few heat-trained warriors who seem unfazed by it all. And agreed on the medal, I share your criteria and this one fits the bill with that nice stained glass-type effect. Thanks for another terrific review Adam, loved running this one vicariously through your eyes. Run well in WY this weekend... I'm guessing another hot one awaits, though hopefully the start line's a bit easier to get to! 🤞 LESS

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    cmbrln7 FIRST-TIMER '22

    This race was hilly and hot! The water stations were 2 miles apart, but by mile 7 I needed water more frequently. I regret not bringing my camelback! The open … MORE

    This race was hilly and hot! The water stations were 2 miles apart, but by mile 7 I needed water more frequently. I regret not bringing my camelback! The open roads got very busy by the end of the race, if you’re a back of the pack runner like me. Many times I opted for the sidewalk because the traffic was moving fast and not every intersection had someone to stop traffic.
    Luckily, the course is clearly marked, because there are a lot of turns!

    I liked the shirt and medal, and how patriotic the town was.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    Rebolation FIRST-TIMER '19

    I believe it starts before 7, as it can get very warm in Rhode Island. Good aid stations providing water and food throughout. Bristol is beautiful town, which surprised me … MORE

    I believe it starts before 7, as it can get very warm in Rhode Island. Good aid stations providing water and food throughout. Bristol is beautiful town, which surprised me a lot. Production from Rhode Races was very good, as usual.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    1

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    dkbeasley FIRST-TIMER '19

    Mostly flat course through town and nearby state park. Roads were open to traffic, but it was an early start so the traffic wasn’t much of a problem. The volunteers … MORE

    Mostly flat course through town and nearby state park. Roads were open to traffic, but it was an early start so the traffic wasn’t much of a problem. The volunteers were nice (nearly all middle and high school students) and everything seemed well staffed. Post race spread was nice with plenty of water and a variety of small bites for calorie replacement. If you live nearby or need a Rhode Island race this is a solid choice.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    2

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