Overall Rating
Overall Rating (4 Reviews)
5
(4 Ratings)  (4 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3.8
SCENERY
3.8
PRODUCTION
4.8
SWAG
3.5
The Flower City Challenge Half Marathon course takes you through city streets, historic areas and scenic neighborhoods and is certified to be accurate by USA Track & Field. All events will begin at the same location and finish at the same location. These are situated on the southern side of … MORE
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Recent reviews

    adamkhalil REPEAT RUNNER '22

    Of all the rochester races offered, this is my favorite. Great route, good scenery, nice crowd support. The first half is flat and the second half is more difficult, but … MORE

    Of all the rochester races offered, this is my favorite. Great route, good scenery, nice crowd support. The first half is flat and the second half is more difficult, but overall a good course.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    seagroves87 REPEAT RUNNER '22

    This is my second time doing the race but last year I did a modified course due to covid that was just on the canal trail and moved to June … MORE

    This is my second time doing the race but last year I did a modified course due to covid that was just on the canal trail and moved to June so this is my first time doing the real course on it’s usual date in April. This is produced by Yellow Jacket Racing. For packet pick-up there is an expo at the local Fleet Feet on Friday and Saturday but there is also the option for race day packet pick-up. The expo is small but decent sized for a race with about 1000 runners. There were several vendors and Saturday morning they had samples of coffee from a local coffee shop including oat milk lattes my favorite. Along with bib half marathon participants also got a nice short sleeved tech shirt, race buff, race sticker and a packet of powerade gummies. The shirt is fine. It has the race design. This year it is a charcoal grey. I preferred last year’s color but it is a nice quality shirt so I will wear it. The race starts a the hockey arena in downtown Rochester. While you could probably find free parking if you really wanted to there was an easy $5 parking lot right by the finish line. Starting at the arena meant indoor bathrooms and a place to hang indoors if there was bad weather but luckily today’s weather was perfect. Race starts at 7:30. The early start was good for me since I was on-call this weekend so it gave me to time to round in the morning after the race. The start and finish line are separate and about a block from each other. It is chipped time. There were 800ish runners for the half. It was just one big corral. I stayed near the back since I wasn’t planning to push myself too hard this race since I was on call and I have some much flatter and faster halfs coming up and used this more as a training run. Start went smooth. It starts on a wide street so easy to spread out. The entire course is on closed or half closed roads and easy to follow and safe with lots of road marshals. It is a really nice and interesting course. Much more interesting than the course last year behind my house. It starts in downtown Rochester and the first 6 miles are through Downtown Rochester, some of the more hip neighborhoods and some of the nicer neighborhoods. Lots to look at including going past Susan B. Anthony’s house. There was a decent amount of spectators. The first 6 miles were not too hilly. Just some gentle hills and inclines. Nothing that required walking but I did walk a bit since as I said I was taking this race more easy. Then at about the halfway mark there is a giant hill which is probably about 3/4 miles and quite steep. If you want to run this hill you will need to do hill training which I have not been doing so I walked. There were actually a bunch of spectators on the hill and it leads up the Highland Park which is lovely so it was a pleasant walk. Then it is about a mile through Highland Park which is quite pretty. Around mile 8 you get the Mount Hope Cemetery. This is a famous cemetery in Rochester where many influential people are buried. I was really cool but really hilly. Definitely recommend taking your time on the uphill and soaking in the history of the place. There are some downhill sections as well. At mile 10 you leave the cemetery and run by University of Rochester. Then the final 2.5 miles are on the canal path. The canal path is a bit more boring than the rest of the course but it is a flat and fast finish to make up some time lost on the hills. There were 5 water stops. One minor complaint is they just had water no gatorade or gels. This was communicated though so can’t complain too much and I brought a gel and the gummies we got in our race packet for nutrition. I also thought the last 2 aid stations were spaced a little far away with one aid station just past 7.5 miles and there wasn’t another one until nearly mile 11.5. It would have nice to have an extra one mile 10 a the end of the cemetery. As I said course was easy to follow but there were a few sections with uneven roads due to construction. This was obviously out of the race’s control and they warned us. The finish area was nice with an arch and the RD cheering the runners on. I finished just under 3 hours which was what I was aiming for. The medal is okay. It has a design of the city of Rochester but is a little small and not distance specific. Not a terrible medal but I wouldn’t run this race just for the medal. You were also given a bag of snacks from Wegman’s which I was happy were all vegan. There was also fruit along with post race massages and a band. I didn’t stay long because I had to go to the hospital to round. Overall this was a challenging but doable race with really cool scenery. As long as you aren’t too intimidated by hills I would recommend this race and plan to run it every year I don’t have travel plan. While I personally wouldn’t recommend this over the NYC half for 50 staters, if you are someone who would prefer a smaller city race with easier logistics than NYC this is a great option for New York.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    seagroves87 FIRST-TIMER '21

    This is normally a half marathon produced by Yellow Jacket Racing (YJR) that takes place at the end of April and the usual course is a super cool course through … MORE

    This is normally a half marathon produced by Yellow Jacket Racing (YJR) that takes place at the end of April and the usual course is a super cool course through downtown Rochester. Rochester has been strict about allowing events due to covid, so this year the race was pre-emptively moved to June and the location switched to Genesee Valley Park and the canal trail where pretty much every approved race in Rochester has taken place this year. While I definitely would have loved to run the original course, I doubt that would have been able to happen and think it was smart to instead focus on making the best race as possible that was 99.9% likely to happen. This course was particularly exciting for me (not) as it included a long section behind my house where I run 2-3 times per week. I should have called myself a repeat runner as it was almost the exact same course as I ran the virtual OC half marathon last summer. This year the race was split into waves from 7:30 to 9am and held on both Saturday and Sunday. You chose date and time at registration. I chose the earliest 7:30 AM Saturday slot since I was driving to NH after for Father’s days. Packet pick-up was either Thursday or Friday at the store and also available morning of the race. I went to store Thursday. Packet includes bib, chapstick, and a nice peri-winkle blue long sleeve tech shirts. Race day was very easy with lots of parking near the start. Set up was really nice with big starting arch and finishing arch. You lined up with your group of 50 and went during your wave. The morning was quite hot and humid in the high 70s and low 80s but not unbearably hot. The first half of the course you go over a bridge and then do an out and back behind the most important place in Rochester, my house! I knew this section of the course very well so it was a little boring but it is nice and flat. After this out and back you turn in the park and run for about 3.5 miles along the canal. This section is a little prettier and more shaded and goes past the second most important place in Rochester, my work! Then this is where the course diverges from my virtual OC half. Whereas I did an out and back for my virtual half for this half you go over a bridge to the other side of the park. This bridge had a beautiful view of downtown Rochester! Then there is another about 3ish miles along the canal back to the park. Again this is pleasant but slightly boring. The most exciting part was this super cool snapping turtle just chilling on the course. There were 5 aid stations on the course with water and gatorade. Again it was nice to have normal aid stations with cups handed to you. There weren’t quite enough aid stations for the heat but this was communicated and you were told to carry water which I did. The initial plan was for no aid stations and aid stations were only recently approved so I appreciated the 5 there were. Course was also extremely well marked and easy to follow. The only thing I thought could have improved the production of the course was to have mile markers. However since I knew the course so well I didn’t really need them personally. The end is rough and why I added an extra sneaker to the difficulty of an otherwise very easy course. There are the two steepest bridges right at the end and the finish was about a 0.1 mile slight incline on grass in the heat. Finish area was really nice and exciting. At the finish line you got a bag with your medal and goodies. The medal is nice. It isn’t the biggest half marathon medal I have but it features the skyline of Rochester which I like. The goody bag had chips, fruit snacks, cookies and a fruit cup. As YJR never misses a detail they even remembered a utensil for the fruit cup. This wasn’t my fastest half marathon but I thought I had a really fast time given the heat and humidity and the fact that I was still very sore from last week’s double. Obviously this wasn’t the most exciting race in the world being that it was practically in my backyard. However I decided to give it 5 sneakers as production was top-notch and the usual course is a 5 sneaker course and it seemed unfair to lower the rating of the race based on a smart move by the race company to change the location this year and ensure the race happens. Fingers crossed this is back to the original course next year!

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4
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    aldole55 FIRST-TIMER '18

    I really liked this race, it was challenging and enjoyable. Start was cold and got warmer through out the race. The neighborhood cheering challenge was great! Would recommend this to … MORE

    I really liked this race, it was challenging and enjoyable. Start was cold and got warmer through out the race. The neighborhood cheering challenge was great! Would recommend this to others for sure!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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