Overall Rating
Overall Rating (1 Review)
4
(1 Ratings)(1 Review)
DIFFICULTY
5
SCENERY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SWAG
1
The Unlimited Breadsticks Half Marathon runs the length of the Seneca Trail from Boughton Park to the Historic Valentown Museum near Eastview Mall. The well marked trail covers miles of flowing single track, open fields, rail trails, and lots of hills! This is a point to point race, so you … MORE
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    seagroves87 FIRST-TIMER '20

    Due to Covid they couldn't give an unlimited buffet of breadsticks but even though they were limited don't worry you get a lot! This was a redemption race for Rochester … MORE

    Due to Covid they couldn’t give an unlimited buffet of breadsticks but even though they were limited don’t worry you get a lot! This was a redemption race for Rochester Running Company’s trail race series this weekend after the somewhat disastrous Friday night race. This one was definitely much better and all the production issues were things we were warned about. This is a point to point trail race starting at a golf course and ending near an Olive Garden. I got my bib Thursday at the store but you could also get it the morning of the race. Normally there is a shuttle that takes you to the start (I think but I haven’t done the race before so it may be the other direction with the shuttle) but this year you had to find your own ride or I guess could make it a marathon and run back. They said they weren’t able to provide a shuttle this year due to covid. That kind of surprised me as I know other races have used shuttles but I will give them the benefit of the doubt and assume it was a NY state rule and not that they didn’t feel like dealing with arranging a shuttle. Start was smooth. This time there was a timing mat at the start which just works better for spreading out runners since there isn’t an advantage to crossing the start line quickly. Again there wasn’t as strict of covid protocols as other races but everyone had a mask and spaced out and felt safe. The first mile is a mostly downhill road mile so you will have one fast mile but don’t expect anymore fast ones as the rest is mostly technical and quite hilly trails. There is a nice mix of different terrain and trails. Some more technical in the woods with roots and rocks other on smoother single track trail through some meadows and a small bit on a rail trail. More in the woods than the meadow which was appreciated as it got hot. There was some very pretty areas especially with the trees starting to change color but nothing that stood as as remarkably more scenic than any other pretty trail run in NY. This trail was very, very, very well marked as the email said. Unlike Friday, it would be very hard to have gotten lost. There were a few road crossings. This is one of the weaker parts of the production. They didn’t close roads and you potentially had to stop for traffic. The vast majority of the crossings were not busy and I didn’t have to stop but the last one is on a major road and you do need to wait for the walk signal. Not a huge deal for me as I was exhausted by then and could use the 20 seconds of rest but just an FYI if you plan to run this for a trail PR (you aren’t running this course faster than a road half marathon). The race was pretty much constant ups and downs. It was technically net downhill but a lot of up hills in-between. All of the steeper uphills weren’t too tall and there were a few taller but more gradual hills at the end right where you want them…not. I definitely hiked those ones. Overall there was just under 1000 feet of elevation gain. Most of it was runnable but I obviously hiked quite a bit given my tired legs. There were 2 aid stations with water bottles on the course but it was mostly self-supported. I’m assuming there are more aid stations normally. At the finish line you get your delicious food from Olive Garden. They had to do it prepackaged this year so each runner was given a bag of 5 breadsticks and a take-out box with pasta and salad. There was a choice of marinara or meat sauce (obviously I chose marinara). Fun fact the olive garden breadsticks along with being delicious are also accidentally vegan! Almost the entire meal was vegan except the salad dressing and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on the salad which made me very happy. What didn’t make me as happy was the lack of other swag. There is no medal or other finisher award (well there would be the pint glass if you signed up for the series but I will avoid that rant in this review). I feel like it should be a rule any race a half marathon distance or longer should come with an award but I get some of these more laid back, cheaper trail races don’t. There was a shirt you could pay for. I did since I wanted something to remember the races by but they weren’t ready so are being shipped. I obviously had a slow race since it was my third race and second half marathon this weekend and I am still pretty new at trails. My only expectation was to finish and I did that! I was surprised me and my running buddy from Friday who I also ran this race with (and who provided me a ride back so thank you!) were the last 2 runners. I know I am not fast but I ran quite a bit and there are always a few walkers and back of the packers behind me in the races I have done. I don’t really mind being last but I worry if I am last that there is something that makes a race not back of the pack friendly. After chatting with runners, I heard last year they pulled some of the trail markers before the back of the packers got there and they ended up getting lost and that probably discouraged them from running this race again. I didn’t have this issue this year but just a warning for any back of the packers interested in the race. While the race was tough it would have been a nice, moderately hard hike if you wanted to walk it all. I would consider doing this race again. The main reason I may not is it is usually the same weekend as Amish Country Running Festival like it was this year and while I enjoyed my 50K worth of running this weekend I don’t think I would want to run both these halfs in one weekend again and would choose Amish Country over this one. But if I didn’t want to deal with a hotel or needed to stay in Rochester for the weekend or it was a different weekend I would do this race again or maybe mix it up and do each race every other year. I’m open to another double half weekend but would choose easier halfs (not that I had a choice this year). I have now successfully completed 50K worth of races this weekend now I just have to do it continuously with no rest inbetween in April!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    1

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