My Profile

@seagroves87

Rochester, NY Raving since 2020 50 States hopeful/finisher, 100 Half Marathons Club, Seven Continents Club, Marathon Maniacs #15648, Half Fanatics #18410 Active 15 hours, 56 minutes ago

About Me

  • Running club(s):

    NYRR, Greater Rochester Track Club, Greater Derry Track Club, 50 States Half Marathon Club

  • Rave race:

    Los Angeles Marathon 2020

  • Race that's calling my name:

    New York City Marathon

  • I run because:

    Running changed my life! I started running again after a many year hiatus to curb some bad habits and get a more positive outlook on life. As a result I am a much happier, healthier person since I started running again in Fall 2018 and I have no plans to stop any time soon! My ultimate goal is to run a half marathon or longer in every state, province and continent!

My Races

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

50 States Map
image/svg+xml FL TX NM AZ AK CA NV UT CO OR WA ID HI OK MT WY ND SD NE KS MN IA MO AR LA MS AL GA SC IL WI MI IN OH TN KY NC WV VA PA NY ME VT NH RI CT NJ DE MD MA DC

Half Marathon

Marathon

Ultramarathon

(Marathon or Ultra) + Half

Marathon + Ultra

Other

Future Races

Personal Bests (28)

Race Distance Location Date Result
Sprint Silver Lake, NY Sep 26, 2021 2:38:44
12 hr Honeoye Falls, NY Jul 17, 2021 17.12 mi
6 hr Shortsville, NY Nov 20, 2021 16.1 mi
50K Virgin, UT Apr 10, 2021 9:44:46
Marathon Los Angeles, CA Mar 8, 2020 5:20:34
30K Pacoima, CA Feb 9, 2020 3:45:00
25K Bath TWP, OH Nov 22, 2020 3:16:29
Half Marathon Pasadena, CA Jan 19, 2020 2:21:41
10 Miler Huntington Beach, CA Sep 21, 2019 1:48:52
9.3 Challenge (5K + 10K) Los Angeles, CA Jan 5, 2020 1:39:01
15K Philadelphia, PA Apr 2, 2022 1:50:28
8 Miler Ellicottville, NY Aug 16, 2020 1:56:45
Quarter Marathon Liverpool, NY Feb 12, 2022 1:25:37
10K Los Angeles, CA Nov 28, 2019 59:39
6 Miler Voorheesville, NY Oct 31, 2021 1:42:19
5 Miler Clyde, NY Nov 21, 2020 51:54
8K Rochester, NY Jul 21, 2021 52:28
4.5 Miler Honeoye Falls, NY Oct 18, 2020 1:06:04
4.4 Miler Webster, NY Nov 25, 2021 45:24
4 Miler New York City, NY Dec 13, 2020 45:07
3.5 Miler Webster, NY Sep 4, 2021 54:14
3.4 Miler Lewiston, NY Aug 9, 2021 45:06
3.3 Miler Brooklyn, NY Dec 12, 2020 36:28
3.14 Miler Baldwinsville, NY Mar 14, 2021 32:44
5K Los Angeles, CA Dec 14, 2019 28:40
3 Miler Bedford, NH Jan 17, 2021 31:03
2.2 Miler Auburn, NY Sep 19, 2021 25:02
1 Miler Londonderry, NH Jan 1, 2021 7:55

Future Races (57)

Race Distance Location Date Paid
5K Sodus Point, NY Jul 2, 2022
2 Miler Rochester, NY Jul 4, 2022
15K Utica, NY Jul 10, 2022
12 hr Honeoye Falls, NY Jul 16, 2022
5K Hamlin, NY Jul 16, 2022
5K Rochester, NY Jul 17, 2022
8K Rochester, NY Jul 20, 2022
Half Marathon Penn Yan, NY Jul 23, 2022
5K Mendon, NY Jul 24, 2022
Half Marathon Washington, DC Jul 31, 2022
20K Phelps, NY Aug 6, 2022
5K Bergen, NY Aug 13, 2022
5K Rochester, NY Aug 17, 2022
5K Chicago, IL Aug 20, 2022
Sprint Irondequoit, NY Aug 27, 2022
Half Marathon Mendon, NY Aug 28, 2022
5K Canandaigua, NY Sep 3, 2022
Half Marathon Spicewood, TX Sep 9, 2022
Half Marathon Southampton, NY Sep 17, 2022
10 Miler Bronx, NY Sep 18, 2022
Half Marathon Randolph, NY Sep 24, 2022
Half Marathon Rochester, NY Sep 25, 2022
Half Marathon Bristol, NH Oct 1, 2022
Half Marathon Portland, ME Oct 2, 2022
7K Le Roy, NY Oct 8, 2022
5K Rush, NY Oct 9, 2022
Half Marathon Kansas City, MO Oct 15, 2022
Half Marathon Des Moines, IA Oct 16, 2022
Half Marathon Portsmouth, NH Oct 30, 2022
Half Marathon Indianapolis, IN Nov 5, 2022
5K Kitty Hawk, NC Nov 12, 2022
Half Marathon Kitty Hawk, NC Nov 13, 2022
Half Marathon Seattle, WA Nov 27, 2022
Marathon Folsom, CA Dec 4, 2022
5K Auburn, NY 2022
Half Marathon Louisville, KY 2022
Half Marathon Hilton Head Island, SC Jan 14, 2023
Half Marathon Gulf Shores, AL Jan 28, 2023
Half Marathon Tucson, AZ Feb 18, 2023
Half Marathon Washington, DC Mar 18, 2023
Half Marathon Virginia Beach, VA Mar 19, 2023
Half Marathon Eau Claire, WI Apr 30, 2023
Half Marathon Tulsa, OK 2023
Half Marathon Townsend, TN 2023
Half Marathon Pass Christian, MS 2023
Half Marathon Buffalo, NY 2023
Half Marathon Estes Park, CO 2023
Half Marathon Melbourne, FL 2023
Half Marathon Anchorage, AK 2023
Half Marathon Lahaina, HI 2024
14 Miler White Sands, NM 2024
Half Marathon Fargo, ND 2024
Half Marathon Two Harbors, MN 2024
Half Marathon Gering, NE 2024
Half Marathon Eugene, OR 2025
Half Marathon King George Island, Antarctica 2025
Half Marathon Deadwood, SD 2025

Past Races (182)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
5K Irondequoit, NY Jun 25, 2022 51:52
Half Marathon West Yellowstone, MT Jun 11, 2022 3:43:28
5K West Yellowstone, MT Jun 10, 2022 49:52
Half Marathon St Charles, ID Jun 9, 2022 3:22:27
Half Marathon Wilson, WY Jun 4, 2022 3:22:58
5K Wilson, WY Jun 3, 2022 40:01
Half Marathon Buffalo, NY May 29, 2022 3:24:34
5K Buffalo, NY May 28, 2022 35:50
Half Marathon Chicago, IL May 22, 2022 3:07:36
5K Williamson, NY May 20, 2022 38:34
5K Geneva, NY May 14, 2022 36:53
Half Marathon Oakhurst, CA May 7, 2022 3:20:45
Half Marathon Newport Beach, CA May 1, 2022 2:53:34
5K Costa Mesa, CA Apr 30, 2022 39:27
Half Marathon Rochester, NY Apr 24, 2022 2:57:21
Half Marathon Derry, NH Apr 10, 2022 2:44:42
5K Concord, NH Apr 9, 2022 53:00
Half Marathon Atlantic City, NJ Apr 3, 2022 2:45:37
15K Philadelphia, PA Apr 2, 2022 1:50:28
Half Marathon New York City, NY Mar 20, 2022 2:56:31
Half Marathon New Port Richey, FL Mar 13, 2022 2:42:56
Half Marathon Little Rock, AR Mar 6, 2022 2:58:54
5K Little Rock, AR Mar 5, 2022 53:03
Half Marathon Atlanta, GA Feb 27, 2022 3:07:16
5K Atlanta, GA Feb 26, 2022 54:16
5 Miler Webster, NY Feb 20, 2022 1:44:39
4.4 Miler Webster, NY Feb 19, 2022 56:27
Quarter Marathon Liverpool, NY Feb 12, 2022 1:25:37
Half Marathon Miami, FL Feb 6, 2022 3:09:45
5K Miami, FL Feb 5, 2022 36:48
Half Marathon Baton Rouge, LA Jan 16, 2022 2:57:09
5K Allen, TX Jan 1, 2022 53:32
5K Allen, TX Dec 31, 2021 43:59
Half Marathon Allen, TX Dec 31, 2021 3:14:20
5K Montclair, NJ Dec 12, 2021 36:17
Half Marathon New York, NY Dec 11, 2021 2:43:54
Half Marathon Haverhill, MA Dec 5, 2021 2:54:08
3 Miler Manchester, NH Dec 4, 2021 32:31
5K Swampscott, MA Nov 28, 2021 52:55
4 Miler Concord, NH Nov 27, 2021 50:55
5K Amherst, NH Nov 26, 2021 35:08
4.4 Miler Webster, NY Nov 25, 2021 45:24
5K Buffalo, NY Nov 21, 2021 37:45
6 hr Shortsville, NY Nov 20, 2021 16.1 mi
5K Washington, DC Nov 14, 2021 35:03
Half Marathon Richmond, VA Nov 13, 2021 2:37:32
Half Marathon Relay Manchester, NH Nov 7, 2021 2:25:32
5K Manchester, NH Nov 6, 2021 32:51
6 Miler Voorheesville, NY Oct 31, 2021 1:42:19
Half Marathon West Haven, CT Oct 30, 2021 2:42:53
Half Marathon Ann Arbor, MI Oct 24, 2021 2:47:29
5K Akron, OH Oct 23, 2021 32:23
10K Lackawanna, NY Oct 17, 2021 1:14:15
10K Syracuse, NY Oct 16, 2021 1:14:52
Marathon Wichita, KS Oct 10, 2021 5:53:42
Half Marathon Hampton, NH Oct 3, 2021 2:28:50
5K Nashua, NH Oct 2, 2021 34:41
Sprint Silver Lake, NY Sep 26, 2021 2:38:44
Half Marathon Randolph, NY Sep 25, 2021 3:12:46
2.2 Miler Auburn, NY Sep 19, 2021 25:02
5K Watkins Glen, NY Sep 18, 2021 36:00
5K Canandaigua, NY Sep 18, 2021 36:45
Half Marathon Westerly, RI Sep 12, 2021 2:38:56
Half Marathon Manchester Center, VT Sep 11, 2021 2:50:12
5K Groton, NY Sep 6, 2021 37:09
5K Geneseo, NY Sep 5, 2021 35:55
3.5 Miler Webster, NY Sep 4, 2021 54:14
5K Webster, NY Sep 3, 2021 30:49
Half Marathon Mendon, NY Aug 29, 2021 2:38:43
5K Weedsport, NY Aug 28, 2021 33:35
1 Miler Rochester, NY Aug 26, 2021 8:28
5K Rochester, NY Aug 25, 2021 35:58
5 Miler Henrietta, NY Aug 21, 2021 1:12:03
5K Honeoye Falls, NY Aug 18, 2021 37:25
5K Chicago, IL Aug 14, 2021 32:36
5 Miler Churchville, NY Aug 11, 2021 1:14:03
3.4 Miler Lewiston, NY Aug 9, 2021 45:06
Half Marathon Emporium, PA Aug 8, 2021 2:44:35
10K Emporium, PA Aug 7, 2021 1:13:49
5K Emporium, PA Aug 7, 2021 35:00
5K Batavia, NY Aug 5, 2021 32:38
5K Honeoye Falls, NY Aug 4, 2021 35:03
Half Marathon Washington, DC Aug 1, 2021 2:44:07
5K Kennedyville, MD Jul 31, 2021 35:55
5K Wilkes-Barre, PA Jul 31, 2021 34:14
Half Marathon Mt Jewett, PA Jul 25, 2021 2:55:36
5K Liverpool, NY Jul 24, 2021 32:26
5K Mt Jewett, PA Jul 24, 2021 36:42
8K Rochester, NY Jul 21, 2021 52:28
5K Mendon, NY Jul 17, 2021 41:28
12 hr Honeoye Falls, NY Jul 17, 2021 17.12 mi
5K Auburn, NY Jul 14, 2021 34:49
10K Palmerton, PA Jul 11, 2021 2:22:32
Half Marathon Hamlin, NY Jul 10, 2021 2:35:07
5 Miler Webster, NY Jul 7, 2021 1:30:38
10K Rochester, NY Jul 4, 2021 1:14:27
5K Fairport, NY Jul 3, 2021 33:27
5K Savannah, NY Jun 27, 2021 36:56
5K Buffalo, NY Jun 26, 2021 32:08
5K Hampton, NH Jun 20, 2021 34:19
Half Marathon Rochester, NY Jun 19, 2021 2:40:27
5K Rochester, NY Jun 16, 2021 32:31
Half Marathon Wilmington, DE Jun 13, 2021 2:46:00
Half Marathon Philadelphia, PA Jun 12, 2021 2:46:31
5K Dundee, NY Jun 6, 2021 42:37
5K Henrietta, NY Jun 5, 2021 33:55
4 Miler Mendon, NY Jun 4, 2021 1:17:00
Half Marathon Potomac, MD May 31, 2021 2:39:24
5K Lorton, VA May 30, 2021 36:56
Half Marathon Purcellville, VA May 29, 2021 2:44:02
10K Rochester, NY May 23, 2021 1:10:59
Marathon Cary, NC May 15, 2021 5:49:31
Half Marathon Shelburne, VT May 8, 2021 2:44:57
5 Miler Rochester, NY May 5, 2021 54:45
Half Marathon Canton, OH May 2, 2021 2:44:45
5K Canton, OH May 1, 2021 32:30
Half Marathon Gettysburg, PA Apr 25, 2021 2:37:11
5K Bronx, NY Apr 24, 2021 56:54
5K Baldwinsville, NY Apr 18, 2021 32:25
50K Virgin, UT Apr 10, 2021 9:44:46
10 Miler Salt Lake City, UT Apr 3, 2021 2:10:00
5K Albion, NY Mar 27, 2021 30:42
Half Marathon Virginia Beach, VA Mar 21, 2021 2:34:15
8K Virginia Beach, VA Mar 20, 2021 57:05
3.14 Miler Baldwinsville, NY Mar 14, 2021 32:44
10K Washington, DC Mar 7, 2021 1:10:26
10K Lorton, VA Mar 6, 2021 1:14:18
Marathon Las Vegas, NV Feb 27, 2021 5:57:07
5 Miler Webster, NY Feb 20, 2021 1:51:20
3 Miler Rochester, NY Feb 14, 2021 41:37
Half Marathon Melbourne, FL Feb 7, 2021 2:42:08
3 Miler Bedford, NH Jan 17, 2021 31:03
5K Johnson City, NY Jan 10, 2021 35:27
Half Marathon Fairmont, WV Jan 9, 2021 2:29:49
1 Miler Londonderry, NH Jan 1, 2021 7:55
Half Marathon Brooklyn, NY Dec 20, 2020 2:41:51
5 Miler New York City, NY Dec 19, 2020 52:28
4 Miler New York City, NY Dec 13, 2020 45:07
3.3 Miler Brooklyn, NY Dec 12, 2020 36:28
5K New York Mills, NY Dec 6, 2020 32:53
Half Marathon Mahwah, NJ Dec 5, 2020 4:24:42
5K Henrietta, NY Nov 28, 2020 34:43
25K Bath TWP, OH Nov 22, 2020 3:16:29
5 Miler Clyde, NY Nov 21, 2020 51:54
3 Miler Honeoye Falls, NY Nov 13, 2020 55:05
5K Honeoye Falls, NY Nov 11, 2020 34:47
Marathon Manchester, NH Nov 8, 2020 5:48:56
5K Manchester, NH Nov 7, 2020 34:54
5 Miler Rochester, NY Oct 31, 2020 59:26
Half Marathon Ellicottville, NY Oct 24, 2020 2:29:16
4.5 Miler Honeoye Falls, NY Oct 18, 2020 1:06:04
5 Miler Erie, PA Oct 17, 2020 56:43
Half Marathon Concord, NH Oct 11, 2020 2:24:36
5K Rochester, NY Oct 10, 2020 32:22
Half Marathon Victor, NY Sep 27, 2020 3:28:33
Half Marathon Randolph, NY Sep 26, 2020 2:54:30
5 Miler Victor, NY Sep 25, 2020 1:26:12
5 Miler South Hero, VT Sep 20, 2020 52:46
Marathon Wellsboro, PA Sep 12, 2020 5:33:25
4.5 Miler Henrietta, NY Sep 9, 2020 1:09:08
10 Miler Auburn, NH Aug 29, 2020 1:55:30
3 Miler Henrietta, NY Aug 22, 2020 36:03
8 Miler Ellicottville, NY Aug 16, 2020 1:56:45
Half Marathon Hamlin, NY Aug 8, 2020 2:28:55
Half Marathon Canandaigua, NY Jul 24, 2020
Half Marathon Virgin, UT Jun 6, 2020 3:02:56
Marathon Los Angeles, CA Mar 8, 2020 5:20:34
10K Lake View Terrace, CA Feb 23, 2020 1:03:29
10K Los Angeles, CA Feb 16, 2020 1:06:04
30K Pacoima, CA Feb 9, 2020 3:45:00
Half Marathon Huntington Beach, CA Feb 2, 2020 2:26:29
Half Marathon Pasadena, CA Jan 19, 2020 2:21:41
9.3 Challenge (5K + 10K) Los Angeles, CA Jan 5, 2020 1:39:01
5K Los Angeles, CA Dec 14, 2019 28:40
10K Los Angeles, CA Nov 28, 2019 59:39
Marathon Long Beach, CA Oct 13, 2019 5:33:45
10 Miler Huntington Beach, CA Sep 21, 2019 1:48:52
10K Santa Monica, CA Sep 8, 2019 1:06:11
10K Los Angeles, CA Aug 10, 2019 1:05:57
10K Coto de Caza, CA Jun 28, 2019 1:23:38
Half Marathon San Diego, CA Jun 2, 2019 2:26:59
Half Marathon Irvine, CA Mar 17, 2019 2:30:24

My Raves

This is a local 5K for me in Irondequoit a suburb of Rochester about 15 to 20 minutes from where I live. Unfortunately due to injury I have to take … MORE

This is a local 5K for me in Irondequoit a suburb of Rochester about 15 to 20 minutes from where I live. Unfortunately due to injury I have to take a month off running and skiped my planned races last weekend (fingers crossed I will be good for the boilermaker!). I am on call this weekend and I had already signed up for this 5K and decided to just walk it since I shouldn’t be running. It starts at a church and there is parking and indoor bathrooms and packet pick-up. It’s a smallish race with about 200 participants. Packet included bib and a nice, long sleeved cotton shirt. It’s a nice red color. Good shirt for a small race like this. Race was well organized and chipped timed at the end only. I wasn’t going for a PR or anything and just stayed in the back. Course is a nice and very easy course through local neighborhoods. It’s a pleasant suburban view but nothing too exciting. There were a few spectators. It was very well marked and there were lots of volunteers directing things. Finish was at the church and the had food set up outside. I had to answer a couple calls so my time wasn’t even very fast for walking and it was hot but it’s fine. The food at the end was good. They had a large variety of soup which seemed a little weird for the heat but they had a vegan, cold gazpacho. There was also bagels, fruit and pizza. I was happy they had multiple vegetarian pizza options. No medals but that’s fine for a 5K like this. Overall it was a nice race. Not one I would go out of my way for but would definitely do if again if I am in town for the weekend.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

I ran this as part of the Grand Quad with vacation races. It is 1 week after Grand Teton. I did a whole bunch of hiking and nature viewing in … MORE

I ran this as part of the Grand Quad with vacation races. It is 1 week after Grand Teton. I did a whole bunch of hiking and nature viewing in between and even saw several bears. For this race I stayed in West Yellowstone. I drove up after the Bear Lake Idaho half on Thursday and stayed for 2 nights. I also did the 5K Friday. Since I picked up my packet at Teton I didn’t go to this expo. I splurged on lodging in West Yellowstone since I was only staying for 2 nights. I stayed at the Holiday Inn in West Yellowstone and for not much more a night got a room with a hot tub. It was more than I usually pay for a hotel but really, really nice. If you can afford it I would recommend it. The race starts and ends a few blocks from the Holiday Inn and most of the hotels in West Yellowstone so it is very convenient. I knew this was a trail race and my foot was starting to hurt from the other 4 races and the hiking this week and I wanted to make sure I can complete my half next weekend in Indiana so I was planning on walking most of this race and before the race said this was going to be my second slowest half marathon (my slowest being a crazy hard trail race in NJ). It is a loop and I walked to the race but there was plenty of parking. Logistically this was a very easy race with no shuttles. It is a trail race. If you have only run road races this will be the hardest race you have done. However if you have done trail running, this was an average difficulty/pretty fun trail course. I marked it 4 for difficulty but compared to road races it is a 5. The first ~1 mile is on the road to the trail and the first maybe 3 to 4 mile was pretty non-technical and quite runnable. I did run the road portion to bank some time to make sure I finished in 4 hours (though vacation races is generally not strict with the time cut off) and walked most of the rest just running a bit of the flatter and downhill sections. At mile 6 there is a very long, steep hill. Afterwards the next couple miles are a bit more technical with some rocks and mud. I thought it was less technical than the slick rock in Zion. It was very similar technicality to the trails I usually train on in Mendon Park near Rochester. I was walking today so it wasn’t hard to walk but some sections would be tough to run. If you are the type who never walks in a race you should know most trail races require a bit of walking in the technical sections even for the fast runners as I’ve seen them walk after passing me in some multiple loop trail courses. If you never ran a trail race just set expectations that you will probably be about 20 minutes slower and need to walk a couple short sections. If you have run a trail race this a nice, not super technical but technical enough to keep it interesting type of trail race. The scenery is very pretty but like Yosemite it is mostly forest. There are a few pretty mountain views and a view of a creek but you are mostly looking at trees. I do really enjoy running around trees just don’t sign up the race expecting to run past geysers. Aid stations were frequent though given how isolated areas of the trail were some just had water and some interesting pop up toilets. At the finish line you get your medal. Vacation Races medals are always nice but I think this was the nicest with the 150th anniversary of Yellowstone NP. You also get the snack box. Again they did not have enough challenge medals but took our bib numbers and emailed a form so we would get them. They did send out an email before the race so it wasn’t as disappointing in the moment. They still had the Grand Quad medal which is really cool so I did go home with one extra medal. For the swag for the races I took away a sneaker because of the missing medals but if they were there it would be 5 sneakers. As I expected and planned this was my second slowest half marathon but it was on purpose. I also did this in road shoes even though I had trail shoes because my road shoes were old and I just bought new ones for after the trip and my trail shoes were newish and the course was muddy and I just threw out my muddy road shoes after. It was fine (especially mostly walking) in road shoes but if you want a competitive time or to run most of the course trail shoes would be better. Overall I really enjoyed this race. It was not as scenic as Grand Teton but still a very pretty race. Personally I like the challenge of trail but if you don’t this wouldn’t be my first choice for Montana unless you are planning to combine with other races. If you do like trail races, then definitely run this race. Much like Teton I’m not sure I will do it again given the remote location and expense of the trip but I may come back another year once I finish my race travel goals. I was also lucky I left West Yellowstone a few hours after the race just when it started drizzling and missed the terrible weather that closed the park down. I hope everyone involved with the race and all the other people visiting and living in the Yellowstone area are safe.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

I did this as part of the Quad and you can read my review of the Yellowstone half for more details. The 5K is 6pm on Friday. I just walked … MORE

I did this as part of the Quad and you can read my review of the Yellowstone half for more details. The 5K is 6pm on Friday. I just walked over from my hotel around 5pm and it was easy. As I said in the half review, my foot was hurting a bit so I made the decision to just speed walk this 5K. It is similar to the first couple miles of the half with the beginning on road and the rest on non-technical trail. This had the same issue of the Teton 5K with not having a wave start with too much of a mix of pacing but the sectioned coned off on the road and the trail were both really wide so it didn’t affect this race much. There was almost nothing technical in the 5K and it was flat. I wanted to walk it in under 50 minutes and I did that. At the end you get your medal and box of snacks. Again the medal is a baby version of the half medal and is cute to have them side by side.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

Was this review helpful?

The Bear Lake Trifecta includes a half marathon or marathon in Idaho on Thursday, Wyoming on Friday and Utah on Saturday. I only did the race in Idaho. I had … MORE

The Bear Lake Trifecta includes a half marathon or marathon in Idaho on Thursday, Wyoming on Friday and Utah on Saturday. I only did the race in Idaho. I had already had planned to do the Grand Teton Half and Yellowstone Half with vacation races on back to back weekends and when I realized the Idaho portion of the trifecta was the Thursday in-between I couldn’t resist the opportunity to get 3 states in one trip. Packet pick-up and the suggested lodging is at Garden City, Utah on Bear Lake. It is about 2 hours from SLC which is the closest airport. It is also about 3 from Jackson, Wyoming and 4 from West Yellowstone if you are thinking of adding it to the Grand Quad. It is a bit out of the way but much less out of the way than traveling back to Idaho from the East Coast. Packet pick-up is at Water’s Edge Resort and Spa on Wednesday or the morning of the race. Packet pick-up went pretty late on Wednesday and I was able to pick up my packet then after driving from Jackson Hole in the afternoon. Packet pick-up was a little slow. The RD was extremely nice and apologized for it being slow but they were individually making the bags and didn’t have a great system in place since it was a little confusing with so many people doing different distances. Maybe separate lines for bibs, shirt and general swag bag may be quicker. It wasn’t super long or anything but it seemed like it could be more efficient. Packet included tech shirt and some goodies. If you did multiple races you got multiple shirts. Shirt is really fun and kind of 80s rock band themed with the bear logo. I stayed at the Water’s Edge Motor Lodge next to the resort. It was cheap and adequate for a night and price but wasn’t the nicest accommodation in the world. If I was doing the trifecta and didn’t spend so much on lodging in Jackson and West Yellowstone I’d probably rather stay somewhere nicer but if you are looking to save money it’s a fine option. The Idaho race is about 20 minutes from Garden City, UT and was an easy drive with easy parking. Lots of 50 states and half fanatics/marathon maniacs do this race so it is a fun one if you are a part of these running clubs. Production of the race was good but it was not the top notch production of vacation races. Although that is to be expected for a smaller race and production was better than most smaller races this size. There was a rolling start although it was an official start at 7 for the full and 7:15 for the half you could start whenever you wanted. The course is an out and back. This race is really pretty with lots of views of bear lake. It gets a bit repetitive being an out and back but it is an enjoyable course. There are also some cows. It is pretty hilly and the altitude makes it difficult but given you are probably running this along with other races the next couple days you probably aren’t going to try to PR anyways. There were a good number of aid stations. Had water and lots of snack options. More than just gels. Almost like an ultra race. I noticed there was no electrolyte drink the first half but it did appear in the second half. Not sure if it came late or if to make it last they were instructed to not serve it until later. The course was easy to follow and turn around well marked. At the finish line you get your medal. The medal is cool with the bear logo and has the specific state. It says “Idaho” really big so it is a good 50 state medal. My finishing time was about the same as Grand Teton. Again not going for a PR just trying to survive with 4 half marathons in 16 days and an injured foot. Post race snacks were pretty generic just granola bars, fruit snacks, etc. Fine for a half but I’d want something more substantial after a full. Overall I though this was a very good race and a very convenient way to get Idaho. If you are looking to get multiple states at once I would definitely recommend this race. You can do the traditional trifecta or add Idaho to the Grand Quad like I did. There were also members of the 50 states half marathon group who ran Bear Lake Idaho Thursday, Bear Lake Wyoming Friday and Yellowstone with vacation races on Saturday since they already had Utah and didn’t want as long of a trip as the Quad. One negative not related to the race so I did not let it affect my score but I think is important for people who may be planning this race is that there are very few restaurant options nearby since it is such as small town and it could be difficult to find food if you have dietary restrictions. I really couldn’t find anything vegan and had to cheat. If you do have strict dietary restrictions such as strict vegan or celiac I’d recommend getting lodging that has a kitchen and buying groceries in Salt Lake City and planning to prepare a lot of your meals on the trip.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

I ran the Grand Quad which is the Grand Teton 5K + half with the Yellowstone 5K + half as part of my goal to run a half marathon or … MORE

I ran the Grand Quad which is the Grand Teton 5K + half with the Yellowstone 5K + half as part of my goal to run a half marathon or longer in all 50 states. Let me say that out of the 50+ half marathons I have done this was the absolute most beautiful course and one of my favorites. The race starts in Wilson, Wyoming which is about a 5 to 10 minute drive from Jackson Hole and close to the entrance of Grand Teton National Park. For the trip I flew into Salt Lake City on Thursday and stayed there Thursday night and drove 4-5 hours to Jackson Hole Friday morning. There are closer airports but they have much more limited and expensive flights plus SLC is one of my favorite cities to visit. I would definitely book lodging early for this race. While this vacation was absolutely amazing it was not cheap. Jackson Hole where most of the hotels are is expensive. I as staying in Jackson for 5 nights and chose the super 8 because it was relatively cheap but it was still over $200 per night. It was fine but not as nice of a hotel as I usually stay at. It is a good option but if I did it again I might try to stay at a hotel in downtown Jackson where there is more restaurants and things to walk to (the super 8 was like a 5 min drive to downtown Jackson so not a huge deal). After I checked in my hotel I went to the expo. This time the parking lot was very spacious and it was easy to park. The expo wasn’t huge but had a few booths. For the Grand Quad you can get all your packets at the Teton expo. One minor complaint is they use the same bib for all 4 races. I understand being environmentally friendly and reducing waste but with a week between races it would be easy to lose the bib. Also I know a few 50 staters who collect bibs for each state (I personally don’t). I was also extremely close to throwing it out and forgetting to pack it when I left my hotel in Jackson. I’m sure this has happened and vacation races has a solution for it though. You also get a shirt for both Teton and Yellowstone and an additional swag item. I got a nice sweat shirt. Vacation Races are cupless and you can get a collapsible cup to take with you for the race. I did the 5K (which I will review separately) after packet pick-up. For race day morning there are a few options. Probably the easiest is to park at the race start as you can wait in your warm car. It was one of those days that was cold in the morning but got warm by the end of the race. If you are staying in Teton Village or downtown Jackson there is also shuttles that take you to the start. The start had water, coffee and cocoa available with a good amount of porta potties. There was maybe a 5ish minute wait. The start is very organized and in waves. Unlike Yosemite where there was a lot of time between waves, there was maybe 1 or 2 minutes so all runners were through the staring line by around 15 minutes. As I said before the course is absolutely gorgeous with stunning snow-capped mountain views pretty much the entire race. The only part of the race I didn’t love is the beginning is on the shoulder of the road. It is coned off but quite tight and hard to pass people. It was less of an issue during the half since everyone was running a similar pace. The next section is on a bike path. The rest is on more remote roads so traffic isn’t an issue. Pretty much the entire race has gorgeous scenery. You also pass by quite a few cows and horses. The course isn’t too difficult itself. It is mostly flat but is a point to point that is a gradual uphill so it’s not a super fast course but you could have a fast time as long as you prepare for the toughest part which is the altitude. Obviously with running Yellowstone next week I did not have the time to come early to acclimate. If you are just doing Teton I would try to arrive a week early to acclimate if you want a good race time. But don’t worry if you are not acclimated just plan to be about 20 minutes slower than usual which means 20 more minutes to soak in the scenery. There were pretty frequent aid stations about every 2 miles and closer together towards the end. They are cupless and have jugs with water and electrolyte drink. For vacation races my strategy is to bring a handheld water bottle for water and use the collapsible cup they give for electrolyte drink. I believe every aid station had gels and a few had fruits. They also had porta potties. I wasn’t having stomach issues so didn’t need to use them but the lines seemed shorter than Yosemite. The finish area is beautiful. You get your medal which is always really nice and a box full of snacks. I was pretty slow since my plan was to take it very easy this week as my foot has still been funky since Yosemite and I wanted to make sure I can get through all my half marathons this week and the one in Indiana the following week (after which I plan to rest my foot and let it heal). One major disappointment is they did not have enough Moose double medals due to supply chain issues. I wish they would have emailed us before the race. They did take our bib down and also sent an email with a link to submit your info if you didn’t get the medal so the medals can be mailed. They also sent a very nice apology and apologized for not letting us know sooner but they didn’t find out until it was too late. I do believe this is true since for Yosemite they did email before the race. It was kind of a bitter ending to what I would have otherwise consider a just about perfect race. Also there was a bit of a wait for the shuttle. It wasn’t terrible but about 20 minutes so account for that in planning. After the race I spent a few days in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park which were amazing and I saw so many animals. I saw a ton of bison, elk and antelope and even saw a good number of bears. With the exception of the issues with the challenge medals I have nothing but good things to say about this race and would highly recommend it. I doubt you will find many more scenic races. It was also an amazing vacation doing the Grand Quad. Even if you are not a 50 stater, if you are looking for the best race-cation definitely do this one. It is an expensive trip and not the easiest place to get to but I am so glad I did it once and I am considering coming back to do it again when I finish all my other running travel goals.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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I did the Grand Teton 5K as part of the Grand Quad. You can read by Grand Teton half marathon review for more details. The 5K is Friday evening and … MORE

I did the Grand Teton 5K as part of the Grand Quad. You can read by Grand Teton half marathon review for more details. The 5K is Friday evening and I ran it after packet pick-up. It is a loop and is similar to the half marathon. They did tell the fastest runners to line up front but the big issue with this race and why I took a sneaker away from an otherwise beautiful 5K is not having wave starts by pace for all the participants. There is a portion of the race along the side of a busy road with small coned off area. I started in the mid back since that seemed right as I planned to run-walk it in about 40 minutes. However there were a ton of slow walkers, people like myself run-walking with some fast walking breaks and even some faster runners. It was really hard to pass people and somewhat dangerous. There were times when I was trying to speed walk past some very casual walkers walking side by side while someone was trying to run past me. This was much less an issue with the half where we started in corrals by pace. I know it is annoying to do this for the 5K but it didn’t seem safe with mixed pacing in such a small area. At the very least, the walkers doing the untimed race should start 15 minutes after participants in the timed race to help space things out and have less slow walkers up front. I don’t have any issues with people slowly walking the race it is just not safe if they are up front in a narrow area with traffic. Otherwise the race is great, very scenic and flat with a water stop in the middle. At the end you get a mini version of the half medal which is so cute. I was aiming to be just under 40 minutes and missed it by a second oh well. I wasn’t setting any time records in that altitude

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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Last year I did the Buffalo 5K and this year I did the 5K and half marathon. I was also on call this weekend but the race starts super early … MORE

Last year I did the Buffalo 5K and this year I did the 5K and half marathon. I was also on call this weekend but the race starts super early at 6:30am so I was able to squeeze it in before having to go to the hospital. I went to the expo the day before right after the 5K. The expo was decent for a race this size. I would say it was pretty average. There were some vendors and samples. I have definitely been to better and worse expos. It is at the convention center in downtown Buffalo which is right by the start of the races. It is really easy to find free street parking in downtown Buffalo. There are also plenty of hotels within walking distance of the convention center and race start/finish so you don’t need a car. At the expo you get your bib and swag. As most of the other runner’s pointed out the biggest disappointment and why I took a sneaker away is no race shirts this year. Last year I got an amazing quality race jacket for just the 5K and was expecting 2 jackets this year since I was doing 2 races. I did just check my registration and it did say jacket and requested a size so I was really disappointed when we got tumblers instead. Granted they are nice cups with designs of Buffalo, I really wanted the jackets since I used mine from last year quite frequently. Also I know a lot of 50 staters who like to collect race shirts so bigger races that lots of 50 staters do should have shirts. Since I had a jacket from last year, I didn’t buy a shirt at the expo but that was an option. I had some issues with traveling to the race in the morning which were not the race’s fault so I got there only about 15 minutes before the start. I had absolutely no problem finding parking even so close to the start time. The start seemed organized and there were plenty of porta potties. They had signs to line up by pace. I ended up in the back but I was planning to take this race very slow since I have 3 half marathons and 2 5Ks in 9 days coming up next week. The course is really nice and definitely has the best sights of Buffalo. There are views of the park, the lake, and downtown with some cool architecture. There were a good amount of spectators along with musicians and race signs. Course was easy to follow and even though I was very slow due to purposefully taking a lot of walking breaks and having to answer a few pages there was always plenty of water and gatorade at all the aid stations and gels at one of them. There were also not long lines at the porta-potties. The elevation profile is nice. It is pretty flat. Not quite pancake flat but it’s mostly just inclines and no major hills. Could be a fast course if you pushed yourself which I didn’t. Although it can be hot on memorial day weekend so it may not be the best PR weather. Today was beautiful and not uncomfortably hot but a bit hotter than ideal running weather. They also posted on the website there is a 3:30 time limit which I did make but was pushing it but from what I saw aid stations appeared open later and people got finishing times who finished after that so this seems walker friendly and definitely got the full race experience even finishing close to the time limit. At the finish line they announce your name and you get a medal. The medal is a cute design with a buffalo but I agree with the other reviewers it is a bit cheaper looking than some of my other medals and the one from last year. This was one of my worst finishing times but the last thing I wanted to do was reinjure my foot with my plans for next week and I had to answer a couple pages so I just aimed to finish under 3:30 and I did that. You also got a huge box of snacks. There is an after party at the convention center that I didn’t have time to go to that had pizza and beer and probably other stuff. Overall this is a great course and probably the best urban NY course outside of NYC. If you are a 50 stater looking for an urban NY race and not wanting to deal with the logistics of NYC I would definitely recommend this race. However I really hope they go back to the jackets and think they need better swag if they want to keep attracting 50 staters. Since this is local for me it is one I am sure I will do again but even if the course is great they need better swag for a 5 star rating (or a cheaper entry fee).

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
2

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This is my second year doing this 5K. It is the day before the half/full marathon so a great add-on. You can see my review from last year and my … MORE

This is my second year doing this 5K. It is the day before the half/full marathon so a great add-on. You can see my review from last year and my review of the half this year for more details. I picked up my bib morning of the race at the convention center which was easy. This year it was also a Tumbler instead of a jacket. This didn’t bother me as much for the 5K so I did give the 5K five sneakers. I think a tumbler is a fine swag item for the 5K and I would actually kind of like it if the 5K had a non-clothing item and the half/full had a jacket so you get two different swag items. This is a 5K that is great as an addition to the longer races but is also a great stand along 5K. It was the same course as last year which is a very nice course. I had to answer a page just before the race so started in the back but it is on wide roads closed to traffic so I had no problem passing people and finding a rhythm. Nice scenery. Just one minor hill around the end of the first mile. Not as much spectators as for the longer races but that’s fine. At the end you get a medal. It is a smaller version of the half/full medals. I was quite happy with my finishing time. It was a bit slower than usual for how fast the course is but it was my best since my foot injury and close to my usual 5K time. I did have time to go to the after party at the convention center. It had pizza, coffee and bagels along with granola bars and other stuff. I loved that they had almond and cashew butter along with cream cheese for the bagels. I would definitely recommend trying to do the 5K if you are doing a longer race or looking for a 5K in Buffalo

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

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I love visiting Chicago and I do eventually want to run the Chicago marathon but I didn't want the Chicago marathon lottery to be the rate limiting step in my … MORE

I love visiting Chicago and I do eventually want to run the Chicago marathon but I didn’t want the Chicago marathon lottery to be the rate limiting step in my 50 state journey so decided to do this half in Chicago as an excuse to visit and get a new state. Chicago is a very easy state for me to fly to so I just flew in on Saturday morning and flew out Sunday evening. If you are looking for a race that is very easy to travel to I would definitely recommend this one. It is in downtown Chicago so you can just take the subway from the airport to downtown. Pre-race communication was fine but the athlete guide was a little sparse. It had the most important information but not all the information I would like. Packet pick-up is the day before at the Chicago Athletic Association which is by the race start. There is no race day packet pick-up but packet pick-up was open until 6pm. I was excited there were samples of a new vegan food brand Nature’s Fynd which had delicious samples of vegan sausage and cream cheese. Bib pick-up was easy and included bib, a bag with some goodies and short sleeved tech shirt. Shirt is nice. I was very grossed out to open the bag of goodies to see a big box full of turkey bites since I don’t eat meat. Really wish they would have the bags as optional samples and not give them to everyone. In terms of lodging there are a lot of hotels right by the start but they are expensive. I splurged for this trip on the hotel since I was just staying one night and not renting a car. If you are looking for cheaper options outside the downtown area it is really easy to get downtown from any part of Chicago and the start is right by most subway lines. The start was a short walk from my hotel. You are assigned a corral and given a wrist band you need to wear to enter the corral. I think it would be better if they just put a sticker on your bib which I have seen some races do. The wristband was fine but I left my hotel and realized I forgot to put it on and had to go back to my room. Really my only production complaint about the race is there is not enough porta potties. There were huge lines at the start and also on the course. The start was well organized with corrals and had pacers. My initial plan was to stick with the 2:45 pacers knowing this was a flat course. The weather was also perfect. Glad I didn’t decide to stay in NY and run Brooklyn this weekend. The beginning of the course is on road so you can spread out. The majority is on a public, paved trail through a park. This is a bit boring but understandable. For a race to be reasonably priced in a major city and have great swag, great production and great post-race festivities and not cost an arm and a leg it pretty much needs to be on a public park. This was similar to a Central Park race in NYC but an out and back and not a loop. The course does have some nice views of the museums and lake and the way back offers beautiful views of the Chicago skyline. Some views just look like a park that could be in any city but it’s a pleasant park. The elevation profile is perfect with about 100 feet of ascent with just some small inclines and declines. It should have been a fast course but unfortunately I was again having some stomach issues and needed to use the porta potties a few times and the lines were ridiculous and I lost about 15 minutes total. Other than the porta potties production was great. There were 10 aid stations so I didn’t need to bring my handheld water bottle. All had water and electrolyte drink. 2 had gels. There were accurate mile markers and clocks every mile. Course was well marked and easy to follow. Some parts were a bit congested though which is the only thing that may make it a bit tough to PR. The end of the race also had a lot of pedestrians and you had to weave around a few people. I didn’t like the last quarter mile. It was under a bridge and dark and a slight incline. It’s kind of hard to judge my time. It was not very good but if you take away the 15 mins I spent waiting for porta-potties it wasn’t bad. At the finish line they announce your name. There are water bottles and bottles of gatorade. You also get your medal. The medal is really big and nice. There is a really good post race celebration with a brunch buffet. There is also a place you can get a potted plant. I didn’t take one since I didn’t have any way to bring it back home since I was traveling very light but it was great for locals. The buffet had fruit, pastries, breakfast tacos with the tortilla served separately from eggs, hash browns and bacon. It had good vegetarians and gluten free options. Not the best vegan options though you could have fruit and potatoes. I was going to a Cubs game and didn’t have time for lunch in between so just ate vegetarian but generally prefer to eat vegan. A tofu scramble option would have made the buffet perfect. Overall I thought this was a good race. Not the most exciting course but well produced with good swag. Would just recommend more porta potties and vegan food. If you are looking for a half in Chicago this is a good one but I wouldn’t call it a must run if you’d prefer a race in a smaller or cheaper city for Illinois.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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This race takes place in Williamson which is a small town about 30 mins northeast of Rochester. It coincides with the Apple Blossom festival there. I was happy to find … MORE

This race takes place in Williamson which is a small town about 30 mins northeast of Rochester. It coincides with the Apple Blossom festival there. I was happy to find a Friday evening race since I was flying to Chicago Saturday morning and this gave me the opportunity for a 2 race weekend. The race starts at 6:45 so no stress getting there after work. The race was quite small with just under 100 participants. There wasn’t any pre race emails but thr website was updated and had all the info you need to know. The start is at a middle school and had plenty of parking. Packet pick-up was easy and included bib and a white cotton shirt. Not the biggest fan of white cotton shirts for swag but it had a fun design and it was a cheap race. The race started in front of the school. There was just a line drawn in chalk that said start. It was chipped time at the finish only not the start. The RD gave a few announcements and blew an airhorn and we went. The first part of the course was an approximately 3/4 mile loop which went through the downtown and past the festival and back to the Middle school. There were a ton of spectators for such a small race. The whole town was out. There were probably close to as many spectators as runners which made it really fun. The next portion was an out and back for about 1.5 miles. This part was more in the countryside and quieter neighborhoods and quite pretty. There were some spectators even here. Then you do another loop through the main part of town. It was kind of a confusing course but very easy to follow as there were volunteers at every corner and markings as well. Each mile was marked in chalk and there was an aid station around the halfway point. I took my time and just enjoyed the race and interacted with the spectators since it was a hot evening and I didn’t want to reinjure my foot. There were the most adorable kids with a lemonade stand on one of the corners and I stopped and bought some. They cheered me on at the end and one little kid from the lemonade stand told me “don’t worry your not last” as I was close to the finish line. My time was obvious pretty slow but I had fun. Results were posted right away and there was a good snack selection with granola bars, bananas, goldfish crackers and mini muffins along with water bottles and gatorades. This was a very nice small 5K. It obviously didn’t have the bells and whistles of a larger race but I was impressed with the effort put into a small race. I hope they can get more participants and grow this race more. I would definitely do it again especially since it’s a Friday as long as I am not traveling.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
2

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This is a 5K that takes place in Geneva which is about a 45 minute drive from Rochester and is located at lake Seneca one of the middle finger lakes. … MORE

This is a 5K that takes place in Geneva which is about a 45 minute drive from Rochester and is located at lake Seneca one of the middle finger lakes. The race raises money for a charity that helps support people fighting cancer in the Finger Lakes community. This was an excellent charity 5K. There was the exact right amount of pre-race communication and everything such as pack pick-up, parking, location was very clear. There is packet pick-up either Friday before the race or race morning. Since Geneva is a bit of a drive I just did it race day morning. For race day morning they gave info with all the areas for parking. This race starts very, very early at 6am. Even though I didn’t love getting up early. I actually liked the early start for 2 reasons. The first being that I was on-call and usually when I run races on call I have to leave as soon as I finish but the early start let me have time to hang out after the race and enjoy the finish. The second reason is that it has been really, hot this week and it would have been in the 80s around 8 or 9am but it was perfect weather at 6am. I had no trouble finding parking but I did arrive a little bit early around 5:15. You may have to park a little further away if you arrive closer to race start. Packet pick-up is in a community center and there are also indoor, real bathrooms (along with a few port-a-potties outside). Packet included bib and a nice, cotton shirt in a nice teal color. The race has about 500 participants and is very walker friendly. There were lots of groups walking. It is chipped timed. There is a finish arch and it is basically a loop on a paved trail through a park by Lake Seneca. It is very easy to follow. The trail is quite pretty with lovely lake views but a bit monotonous as there is one view for most of the race. At least it is a very pretty one. It is also flat as a pancake. My GPS said there was 7 ft of elevation gain total. There was an aid station in the middle with water. Not a lot of spectators on course but a lot at the finish line. No medal but that is okay for a charity 5K. The race was chipped time and times posted right away. My finishing time wasn’t my fastest but was exactly what I was going for. I reinjured my foot at Yosemite and I had to rest all week. Luckily my foot felt fine during the race but I didn’t want to aggravate it so I just ran comfortable 11:30 to 12 min/mil. While I though production was excellent for a charity 5K and I wouldn’t old this too much against the race, 2 things that could have improved the race would be a more spread out start since some parts of the trail were a little tight and mile markers. At the end there was a great spread of food. They had breakfast burritos including vegetarian (though not vegan), cake, bagel, water, coffee and juice. Better post-race food that some bigger races I’ve done. As I said before this was an excellent charity 5K. I will definitely do this one again if I am in town for it and would recommend it to locals.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

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I had a trip planned to visit Yosemite before I moved out of California in 2020 which I also had to cancel, so when I realized the Yosemite half was … MORE

I had a trip planned to visit Yosemite before I moved out of California in 2020 which I also had to cancel, so when I realized the Yosemite half was the week after the OC half and I was already planning to spend a week in CA I decided to drive up for this race. This is produced by Vacation Races so you can expect a beautiful course and great production. The race takes place in Oakhurst which is a bit south of Yosemite and a 45 to 50 minute drive from Fresno. Fresno is the closest airport but you could also drive ~3 to 4 hours from LA, SF, Oakland or Sacramento if you wanted to fly into a bigger airport. Since I started in OC, I drove up from Southern California on Thursday. I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Oakhurst. I booked the hotel room as soon as possible and got a pretty good rate. I would highly recommend staying at either the Holiday Inn, Fairfield Inn, Hampton Inn or one of the other hotels in the row there as this year they offered shuttle service from the hotel to the race which was very convenient. Packet pick-up is at Bass Lake and was about a 10 minute drive from the hotel. I was annoyed there was absolutely no parking at the expo. They did have drive through bib pick-up which was efficient and you didn’t need to park but I did not end up going to the expo because I would either have had to drive around looking for a parking spot or park about 1/2 mile away and walk and it didn’t seem worth it. Parking seems to be an issue in Oakhurst so I don’t know how to fix this but maybe having participants sign up for suggested time slots for the expo so not everyone comes at once. If you do really want to go the expo I would suggest going earlier in the day when less people are likely there. Packet included bib, a nice tech short sleeved shirt in a nice maroon color and the reusable hydroflask if you signed up for it. The start of the race is in a very remote area and you have to take a shuttle. There are suggested places to park to catch the shuttle. This year they also offered shuttles from the main hotels and said they plan to do it in the future. It was really easy. I just rolled out of bed, put on my running clothes and there was a shuttle. I did hear there was a delay in some of the later shuttles. It seems quite complicated to shuttle so many runners in such a small remote area so I’m not sure how much could be done to fix it. The shuttle was a nice bus not just a school bus. It was a long bus ride since the start is quite remote and took about 45 minutes. You start at higher altitude and quite early so it is cold at the start line but they have coffee and hot cocoa. Also lots of porta potties and water coolers and any pre-race needs. You are assigned a suggested wave but it is a rolling start. I’m the type of person who always worries about being late to a race so I got there quite a bit earlier than my expected start and decided to start earlier. The course was wide and since the start was rolling even though there were a mix of runners and walkers of different paces, it didn’t seem to be a problem. The first 5 miles are on a wide trail. It is not super technical but there are some rocks and bumps. You don’t need trail shoes or trail training but you do need to be careful with your footing. This part had some rolling hills. Nothing terrible though I did walk a bit hoping to save energy for the downhill. I think this was the prettiest part of the course and through beautiful forest. In terms of scenery it is important to set expectations. This is definitely more scenic than 90-95% of half marathons but not the most scenic vacation race. The race is quite a bit outside Yosemite and while there is beautiful forest views you don’t see the iconic water falls and granite cliffs of Yosemite. I thought the scenery was lovely but there wasn’t anything that took my breath away and made me stop and take pics like the Zion race I did last year. After the trail section there is about 5 miles and pretty steep downhill. I was hoping this would be really fast but I had a ton of issues on this section. I’ve been dealing with a foot injury so haven’t been able to do as much training and haven’t done hill training. Pounding the pavement hard on the downhill was causing pain in my foot. This is the first time I had pain in a race this month. Therefore I was not able to run at a very fast pace and had to take some walking intervals. This section is also quite pretty and had views of forests more in the distant. The final 3 miles are around Bass Lake. The scenery here is a bit mixed. The views of the lake are really nice. Some are just views of local businesses but this is the only place there are spectators so it makes it more fun. This section is tough. It is rolling hills. If you didn’t just do 5 miles of trail running followed by 5 miles of downhill it probably wouldn’t be as hard. Due to the pain in my foot I ended up walking most of this section which was a good call as my foot is feeling much better today. There were 6 aid stations on course. This is a cupless event. There are large self fill coolers with water and electrolyte drink. You can sign up to get a hydroflask collapsible cup. I used a handheld water bottle for water and the hydroflask for the electrolyte drink. There were also Honey stinger gels at every aid station and some fruit at a couple of them. There were also porta-potties. Along with foot issues I was also having GI issues. One minor complaint is the porta-potty lines were really long and I had to stop a couple times and lost about 5 minutes each time. There are no spectators for the first 10 miles which is completely understandable given how remote it is. But if you thrive on spectators or are hoping for a race a family member can see you multiple times this is not the race for you. The finish line though has lots of spectators, and an announcer calling your name. You get a beautiful medal. I think Vacation Races might have the best medals. They did run out of medals for the last finishers due to a shipment issue. They sent out an apology for this and gave Yosemite shot glasses and will mail them. I am glad I did receive my medal though. After the race you can also cool down in Bass Lake if you would like and you get a snack box and chocolate milk (I didn’t take the chocolate milk since I am lactose intolerant and already had an upset stomach). My finishing time was super slow. Like I said I was having multiple issues this race both with my foot and stomach. Even so vacation races are great races for a slow finisher time as they are very back of the pack friendly, there are a ton of other racers and I met members of some of my half marathon clubs and a slower race time means more time to take in the scenery. I did think this course was tougher than expected. It is advertised as a fast PR course. If you want to PR you definitely need to train specifically for this race with some trail training and lots of downhill training. It is definitely not so hard that you need to do specific training if you just want to enjoy the course only if you are looking for a fast time. After the race there are shuttles to take you back to the parking lot or hotel. The shuttle went to the parking lots first and the hotels last. It was easy to catch but did take about 30 to 45 minutes to get to the hotels so make sure you account for that if you are planning to leave Saturday. Overall this was a beautiful and well-organized race with a really nice shirt and beautiful medal. I will admit I personally didn’t love the course elevation profile. While the downhill could be fast having it in the middle of the course was a bit tricky as my usual race strategy is to take the middle easy to save energy for the last miles and the steep downhill hurt my foot. This is a race I am very glad I did once and got a chance to see Yosemite but it will probably be a one time race for me although if I lived closer I would come back. In terms of recommending it to 50 staters it would depend on your interests. If you are an outdoorsy person I would definitely recommend this one but if you are more of an urban person or want a race that is more convenient to travel to and near a bigger airport I would consider other options such as the beach city races or Pasadena all of which I also enjoyed and are easier to travel to.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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I was living in LA in the spring of 2020 and was initially planning to do this race May 2020. I was really excited for this one as I used … MORE

I was living in LA in the spring of 2020 and was initially planning to do this race May 2020. I was really excited for this one as I used to live in OC. So when the pandemic canceled all my spring race plans in 2020, this was the one I was most disappointed to not get to run before I moved out of California. I did run it virtually in 2020 to get my Beach City medal but I decided to come back and run it in-person this year. Packet pick-up is either Friday or Saturday at the OC Fair grounds in Costa Mesa. Very large, convenient area for packet pick-up. However you do have to pay $10 for parking both for the expo and on race day. It was a very nice expo especially for a not huge race. My only complaint about packet pick-up is you had to sign a paper waiver and 2 if you were also doing a 5K. Seemed like a waste of paper, it would be better to do it electronically although I don’t know all the rules so maybe it is unavoidable. There were plenty of copies at the expo if you didn’t print it before hand. You then got bib and T-shirt. Bibs were assigned before hand and were nice and personalized. The T-shirt is tech. I really like the design but I am disappointed it is white as I usually don’t run in white but may make an exception for this shirt. The expo also had vendors where you could buy race gear or supplies, other race companies, some samples of things like energy drinks, etc. Race morning was extremely early but extremely well-organized for a point to point race. The race starts in Fashion Island in Newport Beach and ends at the Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa. I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Newport Beach which is kind of inbetween the start and finish. For the race I parked at the finish which is recommended and took the shuttle. The only downside is you have to get up really early as the race starts a 6:15. You get a recommend shuttle start time which is generally around 5am. Other than having to pay $10 again, parking was extremely easy at the Fairgrounds. There were plenty of shuttles with very little waiting and also some porta-potties at the Fairgrounds. The shuttle dropped you off at Fashion Island. There were also porta potties and a bag check there. For the start of the race you are assigned a corral based on pace. There were 6 corrals. There was a few minute pause between each corral which spread runners out nicely. The race course is beautiful. You run mostly in Newport Beach past beautiful beach views and beautiful mansions. The first 6 miles are net downhill and quite fast and just lovely running. The race advertises itself as net downhill and fast and while it is true it is net downhill. The downhill is all in the first half and the second half is rolling hills so I didn’t think it was quite as fast as advertised but it’d definitely not a hard course. At around mile 6.5 there is the only significant hill of the race. The rest is rolling hills and they are all pretty minor. There is a pretty section through a nature preserve but the course is a little tighter there so it was hard to pass people. The end in Costa Mesa isn’t quite as scenic as Newport but the Fairgrounds are a great place for a finish festival. The course was very easy to follow. There were mile markers and plenty of aid stations. There were aid stations every mile for the last 4 miles or so. All aid stations had water. Every other aid station had gatorade and one of the aid stations had gels. There were porta potties by most of them. One minor critique is the aid stations were a little slow. Not sure what could be done to fix that and it wasn’t terrible. I just occasionally lost a couple seconds waiting for someone to fill a cup. This also isn’t a super spectator filled course. There were definitely some spectators and the ones out were great. I kind of knew it would be like this just how Newport is set up which a lot of the houses on cliffs and further from the streets. There is a nice finish arch with a finisher chute after where you get your medal and snacks. My finishing time was fine. I was hoping to be a little faster but as I said the course wasn’t quite as fast as advertised with the rolling hills at the end and it was also a bit humid which slowed me down a little. Snacks included bananas, clif bars, fruit cups and a few other treats. The medal is really nice. It was also very well labeled where to get your challenge medals. I got a second medal for also doing the 5K. There is a nice outdoor area for the finish festival with an 80s cover band and I even got to meet Mike and Katie in person!. Overall this was a great event with just a few minor hiccups. Of all the halfs I’ve done in Southern California this is probably my favorite course though I do think Surf City is a bit faster if you really want to PR or BQ. This is definitely one I would recommend to 50 staters. Plus it is a very fun area to visit and an excuse to go to Disneyland. Even though it is across the country I may come back and do it again.

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I usually try to run the 5K before a race if it fits in my travel plans and it is always interesting to see how they vary, Some (such as … MORE

I usually try to run the 5K before a race if it fits in my travel plans and it is always interesting to see how they vary, Some (such as the Miami 5K) are great races on their own with as much care as the longer races while others are clearly an afterthought with the focus more on the long races. I feel kind of bad saying this given how great the Sunday half marathon was but this 5K was clearly an afterthought. One thing I love is the 5K is at 5pm on Saturday so you can travel Saturday morning and still do the race. It also starts and ends at the Fairgrounds so you might as well do it since you have to pick up your swag there anyways. One negative about the 5pm start is it makes eating difficult. I flew into LAX Saturday morning and went to my favorite vegan burger place Monty’s Good burger (which I would highly recommend under any other condition) and ate a huge, greasy meal which did not sit well with me during the 5K…oh well. For the 5K you get your packet at the expo and then line up and run it. The start was extremely congested. We were packed like sardines. I get the pandemic is winding down but I have liked not being packed like sardines and this race really needed wave starts. The course was incredibly mediocre and incredibly crowded. It was mostly just through the fairgrounds, a bit on a college campus next to the fairgrounds and there was a section that was literally just through a parking lot. This was the least scenic course I have done in OC. To be fair I completely understand why you would have a course like this to avoid street closures but again it really needed a wave start. The course was super tight and there was the worst mixing of people of different paces I have every seen. I started in the mid-back as I knew I’d be a little slow and mostly ran ~12 min/mile pace and there were both super fast runners and slow walkers lined up next to me. I am not judging others by their pace it’s just there were literal log jams at tight sections where we all had to walk and you had to be careful not to hit anyone. I would definitely recommend splitting this race into 3 waves or something to help spread us out. We did pass by some cute farm animals at the end which I liked and the medal was very nice for a 5K. My time was really slow because I had to walk 1/4 mile in the middle due to stomach cramps lol. Even though it was a mediocre race the most important parts of the race such as the course being accurately measured and marked were there. As you have to pick up your packet anyways, if you are doing the half or full you might as well do this race but if you are looking for a stand-alone 5K there are definitely better ones.

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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
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3

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This is a low-cost, no frills half marathon or marathon produced by Millennium Running. It used to take place in Massachusetts but was moved to New Hampshire last year due … MORE

This is a low-cost, no frills half marathon or marathon produced by Millennium Running. It used to take place in Massachusetts but was moved to New Hampshire last year due to covid and kept in NH this year. The cost is only $26.2 which is the least I paid for a half marathon. I signed up for this race because I was going to be in NH anyways. I wasn’t expecting too much given how cheap it was just the usual excellent production from Millennium Running but the race exceeded my expectations. The race takes place on a paved rail trail in Derry, NH which is about 10 minutes south of Manchester and also not too far a drive from Boston. The marathon started earlier and there was parking at the start for the marathoners only. For the later half you were instructed to park at a park & ride and take a shuttle. Shuttles were very smooth and I did not have to wait at all. Packet included bib and you could pay extra for a shirt. It is a fine polyblend shirt. Even though it is not longer necessary for covid, Millennium kept the time trial format they did during covid to prevent the trail from being too crowded. Runners were given an assigned time and went 2 at a time every 10 seconds. Very organized and smooth start. The course is really nice. It is on a paved rail trail that is mostly flat. Not as pancake flat as Atlantic City but just some inclines and declines no true hill. The course was simple but was actually quite scenic with lots of trees and lakes and nature. I preferred this scenery to downtown Manchester. The half is an out and back that you do twice for the marathon. There are 3 aid stations that you pass twice, one at mile 1 and 12, mile 3 and 10 and mile 6 and 7. The aid stations had water and gatorade and the middle one had maple syrup. I can’t complain about the aid stations for the price but you do go as far as 3 miles without water so you may want to bring some. This is not the most spectator friendly race on the trail but I was surprised and happy with how many spectators were at the intersections of the trail. There were also plenty of course marshals for any road crossings. The course also had mile markers. For the finish you turn right off the trail and run a block through town which is coned off and then turn back on the rail trail and go left if you are a marathoner doing the second loop or right for the finish. This was smart for making the start and finish line separate but annoying as the only hill on the entire course was at the end. I was feeling pretty good and it was perfect weather and a fast course and knew I could break 2:45 as long as I had a decent finish but I wasn’t sure I was going to make it with the surprise hill. I still managed to just get my goal time. There is a nice finish arch. At the end you don’t get a medal because it is so cheap but you get a very funny and cute ribbon that says “I ran a half marathon and all I got was this lousy ribbon!” There was also decent post-race snacks for a cheap race with fruit, chips, granola bars and yogurt. Nothing special but enough. I was very surprised by how great this race was for the price. It’s production was as good as any race I have done and the course was really nice though obviously not as exciting as some of the more premier, expensive half marathons. Other than the lack of swag, this was as good as all but the top half marathons I have done. I would definitely recommend this race especially if you are looking for cheaper options. If I have the weekend off I would definitely do this one again.

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This is a fundraiser 5K one of the local NH runners holds to help raise money for a cancer research. It is a nicely done local 5K. For swag you … MORE

This is a fundraiser 5K one of the local NH runners holds to help raise money for a cancer research. It is a nicely done local 5K. For swag you got a nice tech shirt. One of the nicer shirts I have received from a small 5K like this. Most of the course is through the local community college so there are no closed streets. For the race I walked this with my parents so I wasn’t trying to go to fast. The course is boring but a smart course to not close down streets. It was well marked and there were volunteers at intersections. There was also a water station at the halfway mark. There was an announcer and there was someone manually timing the race. I have not seen the results yet which is my biggest complaint. There was a nice post-race spread of food with lots of pastries and other breakfast dishes. It was one of the better smaller races I have done

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I have done a half marathon in NJ already but it was a trail race without a medal so since NJ is a close state I wanted to come back … MORE

I have done a half marathon in NJ already but it was a trail race without a medal so since NJ is a close state I wanted to come back for a medal. I saw this half marathon as an option for NJ and was considering it but wasn’t sure about visiting Atlantic City since I don’t gamble nor really like casinos but when Hot Chocolate Philadelphia announced their race date I checked a map and saw Atlantic City was only an hour away from Philly and thought this would work great as a double and it definitely did. For the weekend I stayed in a hotel by Philadelphia since I went to a Flyers game Saturday evening and woke up early on Sunday to drive an hour to Atlantic City. For the race there is an option of race day packet pick-up but you have to sign up early for this. I didn’t realize this until it was too late as I never saw the email. When I looked through my old emails I realized it was in one with a subject of “It’s Party Time” which I didn’t read closely since it seemed like it was just about the post-race party and I didn’t realize would contain important race information. I was initially freaking out since I didn’t have time to drive back and forth to Atlantic City on Saturday. I did email the race and they did let me sign up for race day packet pick-up even though it was past the deadline which I appreciated. However I wanted to mention this so if you are participating in this race and need to do race day packet pick-up you look out for the sign up and for feedback to the race that if you are going to send an email with important race information to make the subject something like “important packet pick-up info” not “it’s party time.” Anyways it all worked out and I drove to Atlantic City Sunday morning and got my packet at the pick-up as Resorts Casino. Packet included a nice long sleeved green tech shirt and a drawstring bag with coupons along with bib. There is parking there which was $20. There were also deals you could sign up for at the casino for discounts if you want to pay less. If you are staying in Atlantic City it would be very convenient to stay at this casino since packet pick-up is there and the race starts out in front of it. One nice thing about starting at the casino is indoor, very nice bathrooms. One downside is smoky atmosphere of the casino. The race starts outside along the boardwalk in front of the casino. The start had a start corral with pacers. I was hoping to get back to a 2:45 finish time knowing this was a flat course so was happy there was a 2:45 pacer. It was a mass start but the boardwalk is wide and this isn’t a huge race with somewhere between 1000 and 2000 runners so it wasn’t too congested. Weather was drizzly and a bit rainy but luckily it wasn’t windy. From talking to other runners I know some years when it was really windy it made the race harder. It is an out and back. The first 3ish miles are on the boardwalk. This is a cool area to run out with lots to look at. Cheesy tourist attractions on one side and ocean views on the other. You do need to be a little careful on the boardwalk and I did see a runner fall. I actually really liked running on it as it was softer than pavement. After 3 miles you then run about 3 and half miles out and back on a road. It is just coned off and the rest of the road is open but there is very little traffic. There was not much scenery here and it was kind of boring. It is the street adjacent to the ocean so it was the nice houses and business at least and not the seedy part of town. Normally you pass the tourist attraction Lucy the elephant but she was under construction so we didn’t even see that. The turnaround was well marked and it is again 3 and half miles of pavement followed by 3 miles of boardwalk. It was an okay course but got boring after the first 3 miles. It was also the flattest course I have done and great for a PR. There were 4 aid stations which you passed twice so they were 1 to 1.5 miles apart. All had water, electrolyte drink and gels. There was definitely enough aid stations with great volunteers and no need to carry water if you don’t want to. The boardwalk is open but since it was rainy it wasn’t very busy. There were not many spectators. But there were some musicians and DJs for entertainment. I was feeling surprisingly good and managed to stay with the 2:45 pacer until mile 10 when I had to slow down a bit. I have been having trouble with mile 10 since my injury. I was happy I was still able to keep a running pace and was only about 30 seconds slower the last few miles and finished just over 2:45 which I was still very happy with especially since I did a 15K yesterday. Normally that would be an average to slightly below average finishing time for me I was very happy to be back to almost my normal pace and it was over 10 minutes faster than NYC. At the finish line you got your medal. The medal is really nice which is good since I mostly ran this race for the medal. It is jester themed for April Fools and big and sparkly. There was also water, lots of options for recovery drinks, bananas, granola bars, bags of kettle corn made locally and some delicious bagels with either peanut butter or cream cheese. It was a good post race food selection. You could also get a free beer from the bar at the finish line if you’d like. Overall I thought this was a very nice race and it is definitely a high four sneaker race. The scenery particularly the road portion was a little too boring for me to give it a five. This is one I am not sure I would travel all the way to do again but I’m glad I did it to get my NJ medal and I would definitely recommend if you live closer and it is a good choice for 50 staters.

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I love chocolate and wanted to do one of these hot chocolate races. When they announced they were back I saw the closest one was in Philly. It also coincided … MORE

I love chocolate and wanted to do one of these hot chocolate races. When they announced they were back I saw the closest one was in Philly. It also coincided with a half marathon I was thinking about doing an hour away in NJ so the date was perfect. For packet pick-up there is an expo on Friday or you can pay $25 to get packet mailed. It’s a little annoying for a Saturday race to not have packet pick-up and I had to pay the $25 to get it mailed since I wasn’t arriving in Philly until late Friday night. Packet came about 2 weeks before. It included bib, a really nice well fitted jacket, and a cooler with the race logo. It was very nice swag. I stayed in a hotel outside Philly so I wouldn’t have to deal with city parking and took an uber to the race. There are hotels close to the start and they gave instructions on parking if you do drive to the race. I starts at Eakins Oval by the Rocky Steps. It was a really cool area to start and the start/finish area was set up well with a DJ, a few booths with merchandise and products, blow-up decorations for pictures and plenty of porta-potties. There were absolutely no lines and this is a pretty big race with about 4000 participants total in each distance. The 5K starts 45 mins before 15 K which works out well so there is no overlap of runners from different distances. You were assigned corrals based on pace. Corrals left every 2 minutes or so. It was organized and allowed the runners to be pretty well spaced. I was worried I was in too fast a corral since I put my pace down pre-injury but I was able to keep up with the runners in my corral and actually felt great today. The course itself was kind of blah. The most exciting part is the start. Then there is a lollipop loop and then an out and back along the river. Other than the start there is really no other iconic scenery from Philly so I wouldn’t recommend this race as a tour of Philly. The course though was pleasant and flat. The best parts were shared with the 5K so you aren’t missing much if you do the shorter distance. There was just one hill that wasn’t very big that you go up twice. Course well marked and easy to follow. There were only 2 aid stations. One at around mile 2 and one at the halfway mark. An extra aid station or 2 would be an area for improvement. There was water and electrolyte drink. The first aid station also had marshmallows and the second had M&Ms and gummy bears. I was very happy with my pace and I was worried I started out too fast but managed to have a pretty consistent pace between 11 and 12 min/mil and actually had slightly negative splits. I only walked up the hill and through the aid stations. The finish line had a nice arch and you get your medal along with a water bottle. The medal is very nice and large. The medal itself is not specific to the location but the ribbon does say Philadelphia. I was extremely happy with my time. This was my best run since November and I would be pleased with my finishing time even before my injury. After getting medal and water I then went to get the chocolate. You got a cup of hot chocolate and then chocolate fondue with banana, graham cracker, marshmallow, and oreos to dip in it. It was delicious. If you want healthier post-race snacks this is not the event for you. Overall I thought this was a very fun event. I would recommend it for the chocolate and the swag. While the course was fine it was not the most exciting course in the world. I don’t know if I would regularly drive this far for this race but if I lived closer I would definitely do it again. And I may come back if it is a weekend where there is something else I want to do in Philadelphia.

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I love NYC so this race was near the top of my bucket list. This is a race that does not have guaranteed entry unless you are super fast which … MORE

I love NYC so this race was near the top of my bucket list. This is a race that does not have guaranteed entry unless you are super fast which I am not. The main other ways to enter are lottery, 4 out 6 (run 4 out of 6 options for NYRR races) and charity. However I got guaranteed entry for 2022 by running the virtual 2021 NYC half for guaranteed entry. It costs around $80 to do this (on top of the expensive race fee), but it is cheaper than charity or running 4 out of 6 races so definitely look into this option if you want guaranteed entry. The race cost $130 if you are a NYRR member so it was over $200 when you add the virtual but worth it for the experience of running in Times Square. I did think pre-race communication could have been better. The website is very useful and had all the information but I wish they sent an email or ideally a PDF with the information. The NYC marathon lottery entry started a few weeks before the race and it took like 10 minutes to log in to review race details due to internet traffic. For packet pick-up you pre-selected time slots on Thursday, Friday or Saturday before the race. I selected the 9am to 10am on Saturday since I was driving in Friday night. For the race I stayed in Times Square which isn’t my favorite place to stay but was convenient as you could walk to packet-pick up, it was close to the subway to Prospect Park and could walk from finish to hotel. Packet pick-up was relatively smooth and not too crowded given the staggered starts. You had to show ID and proof of vaccination. This appears to be the case for all NYRR events. Bib pick up was easy and you also got a shirt. The shirt is okay. It is a long sleeve tech shirt. It is not the best quality and it is kind of a simple design. I do like the color. It was a nice periwinkle blue so I will use it. The expo was mid sized but mostly just selling NYRR gear and their sponsors’ products. There weren’t local vendors like you see at some expos. I didn’t spend that much time there so I would have more time to spend exploring NYC. Race morning is a bit complex so definitely read the website and definitely get to the park by the recommended time if you want a smooth experience. This year there were 4 waves and multiple corrals in each wave. Each wave is given a time they should arrive at prospect park along with the time the corral opens, closes and the race starts. I was in wave 4. It said to arrive at the Park at 7:30, corral open at 8:30, corral close at 8:40 and race start at 8:45. The race is point to point and starts at Prospect Park. I took the train to Prospect Park. I gave myself an extra 20 minute wiggle room to arrive at 7:30 and thought for sure I would be waiting around forever in the beginning but I am glad I left so early. The train was kind of slow and I arrived at Prospect Park just before 7:30 (glad I had that wiggle room). You then walk about 15 minutes to the start in the middle of the park. By this time there were so many runners I just followed the crowd and it was easy to find. Then you spend about 15 minutes to get through security. Then the lines to the bathroom were about 15 minutes long. Then I had about 15 minutes to stretch and do my pre-race routine before the corral opened. So the time it said to enter was 100% correct. I saw many runners from earlier waves not think they had to be to the park as early as the website said who were stressed and scrambling to get into the correct corrals or stuck going in the wrong corral. Long story short – get to the park at the suggested time or earlier. Once in the corral it was very smooth and the race timing was precise. Each wave had 6 corrals and the corrals went off one by one. I was in corral C. Corral A left at exactly 8:45. My corral left a couple minutes later. It was really exciting to be in a race again with 20,000+ participants. This was the first race I have done this big since the LA marathon. The actual course and race was by far the best 13.1 miles I have run. It starts in Prospect Park which is nice. The start is quite crowded and almost impossible to pass people but everyone was running the same pace except a few people who arrived to late and started in the wrong corral who were struggling to pass people (again show up on time if you want the best experience). The race then goes through Brooklyn. It goes along Flatbush avenue and passes by the Barclay Center. There are a lot of spectators in this section which is fun. You then cross the Manhattan Bridge. It is really cool running across the bridge into Manhattan and there is awesome scenery. However the uphill on the bridge is quite steep and the toughest part. Almost everyone around me was walking this part. You then enter Manhattan and there is a big crowd of spectators. The next section is on FDR drive and probably the weakest part of the course but it is pretty flat. There are still some city views. There are less spectators here but anywhere there can be a spectator there is one. Mile 10 through 11 are probably the best mile of any race I have run. You then go onto 42nd street and run past Grand Central Station and Bryant Park and then turn up 7th Avenue onto Times Square. This part is amazing. It is full of spectators and so cool to run on one of the busiest streets in the world completely closed off to traffic. You then run up to central park and run about a mile in the Park to the finish. The course is extremely easy to follow as it is basically fenced off so outsiders can’t get in. There is no way you can get lost. There are mile markers with clocks each mile. There were aid stations about every 2 miles with gels around the halfway mark. Today was absolutely gorgeous and warmer than usual in the 60s. It was perfect running weather but I would have preferred a few more aid stations at this temp. Aid stations had water and Gatorade. The first one was a little slow putting out enough cups (though not slower than other large races) and the rest there was no delay. There were porta potties at the aid stations but they had line longs (I lost about 5 minutes waiting for one). The course has some hills in the parks and the big one up the bridge. My Garmin had a little under 500 ft elevation gain total. Seemed about average to slightly harder than average for a road race but the high energy and amazing sights make it an easy race to stay motivated. There is a nice big finish arch and there is an app that will give you your time as soon as you crossed. My time was decent. Under 3 hours and about 2 minutes faster than Little Rock. When you account for the 5 minute bathroom break and the fact I stopped for a few pics it was pretty good and I’m continuing to slowly get back. After the finish line is where most of my complaints are. The finish area is well organized but very impersonal. There is a long finish chute and no family members at the finish line. The medal was also disappointing. It is one of my worst half marathon medal and definitely worst medal for a race than is over $100. They used recycled materials and I do appreciate that but it is small and just has the race name. Would have preferred images of NY or something more special. It’s not so bad that I would not recommend the race because of it but this is not a race to run for the bling. There also is no finish party and you get a bag of recovery items with a water, gatorade, gatorade recovery drink, apple and pretzel which was not the best. Despite the kind of lame end and medal, this was an awesome race experience. If you love big city races I would add this to your must do list. However I could see how someone would prefer a smaller, more personal race with a less stressful start (in which case come to Upstate or Western NY for your NY race). I probably won’t do guaranteed entry or plan around this race now that I have done it once, but I do plan to enter the lottery every year I have the weekend off as I would love to experience it again.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
2

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I was originally planning to do a half marathon in NY this weekend but a the last minute had to change plans to go to Tampa so I decided to … MORE

I was originally planning to do a half marathon in NY this weekend but a the last minute had to change plans to go to Tampa so I decided to look for a replacement race. This was the only race I could find but I was happy to find something. I didn’t have high expectations as the race website was really terrible but somehow it didn’t even meet my low expectations. To be fair, while some bad races seem to be “money grabs” where race organizations care more about making money than putting on a good race, this race organizer seem extremely nice but extremely incompetent. I don’t think any issues were the RD trying to cut corners as much as the RD not knowing how to run a race. There were frequent emails though not particularly organized. Just random updates. The race takes place in Starkey Wilderness Park outside of Tampa. This was a very nice location for a race and the one major positive I have. Packet pick-up was at a Pavilion in the park. It was a “cold” day for Florida so they had a fireplace to warm up at. The packets were pre put together. You got a page with bib, shirt, and some packets of Gu. The shirt is a tank. It is pretty mediocre but what I was expecting. When registering they didn’t ask about cut (men’s/women’s) and I assumed this meant the shirt was unisex so ordered a medium but it was women’s cut and is a little small since I would have ordered a large if I knew it would be women’s. I also prefer men’s cut so would have liked the option. The course had a timing mat at the start and they had half marathoners go first, then 10Kers, then 5Kers. The course is on a paved bike path. It is a really nice for a public path course. It had nice scenery that had different vegetation in different areas along the park and was very flat (only about 50 feet elevation gain the whole race). It was very cold for Florida but absolutely perfect running weather coming from Western NY so I enjoyed the run. However the race aspects were pretty terrible. There were aid stations at the turn around for each distance. However the 5K aid station appeared to be missing the sign to turn around as I saw a bunch of 5Kers go too far and turn around after it. They were not able to get many volunteers so the aid stations were just mini water bottles laid out on a table with no garbage can next to it. I had a handheld water bottle and refilled it at a few stations and just left the empty water bottle on the table. The course was pretty easy to follow but there was one part with a split and there was only one sign for the turn on the way to the turn around point and there was no sign on the way back. It was pretty obvious but you could get lost if bad at directions. The worst part is they placed the half turn around point too early. Some people ran past it to make it a true half and others didn’t so not all participants went the same distance. I would have been really annoyed if I actually traveled for this race or if I chose it over a different race. As it was this race or nothing since there wasn’t another half near Tampa today I just let it go and at least I had a nice long run in perfect weather. Also the RD did send an email apologizing for the mistake which is better than the last race I did where this happened where the race company tried to hide the mistake. The finish line was terrible. There was no one at the timing station and no one cheering you on. There were also timing issues so they weren’t able to give age group awards. This was a pretty small race with maybe 300 total participants. Most other races I’ve seen even the chipped timed ones have staff members at the end double checking results and manually recording things. For a race this small, it does not seem that hard to do. This clearly was not a very good timing company (though again the person was very nice just very incompetent). I also have yet to see results. I found the website for the timing company (my race results) and there are like only 7 times recorded. I hope this gets fixed. My time was pretty good given I am still building back my endurance. There were medals at the table by the finish. They are pretty mediocre but about what I expected for this race. At the pavilion there were the cupcakes made by Sugardarlings. There were multiple flavors and they were delicious. This race itself was a hot mess and I would not recommend this race nor recommend this timing company. The course is nice and the cupcakes are delicious but you are better off just buying the cupcakes and running in the park on your own. I would however definitely recommend visiting Starkey Wilderness Park and getting Sugardarlings cupcakes if you are in Tampa.

Update – they did fix the results and I got an official time

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
1
SCENERY
4
SWAG
2

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I chose this race for Little Rock because of good word of mouth and of course the medals. I would've loved to do the full marathon for the biggest medal … MORE

I chose this race for Little Rock because of good word of mouth and of course the medals. I would’ve loved to do the full marathon for the biggest medal ever but I had to leave Sunday afternoon and wasn’t sure I would be done on time to fit with my travel plans so I did the half marathon. For the race I stayed at the Marriot which is the host hotel. This is super convenient as the convention center, which is where the race expo is and where the race ends, is connected to the hotel. It was on the pricier side but not too bad for a race weekend host hotel. There are other cheaper hotels in walking distance as well. The expo was pretty good. It was much better than Atlanta though not as big as Miami. Packet pickup was easy. I did the 5K and half combo. Packet included a short sleeve tech shirt for both, the two bibs and a race poster. The bibs were a very sturdy material and had your name. The expo had a good number of booths and the best was a pet therapy booth with rotating dogs. I stopped by the expo a few extra times to pet the dogs. Little Rock isn’t the most exciting town but there are a few museums such as the Bill Clinton Presidential Library within walking distance of the hotel. This is another race you don’t need a rental car though we did have one. There is also the River Market nearby which has lots of food vendors including a vegan restaurant. I was nervous for race day since the forecast predicted thunderstorms and I would’ve hated to travel to Little Rock for the race to get canceled and even if there wasn’t thunder I was not looking forward to another rainy race. Luckily the weather held off and it was in the 60s. It was a bit humid but pretty nice running weather. There was just an occasional drizzle during the race which felt good. The start is right behind the hotel so I just rolled out of bed and left about 15 minutes before the race starts. You are assigned a corral and everyone seemed to be in the right corral from what I saw but there was a mass start and no stopping between corrals to let runners space out. This did cause the course to be more congested than Miami and Atlanta and one recommendation I would have is to wait 2 minutes or so between corrals to help space it better. I will admit I did not love the course scenery and I almost rated the race 4 sneakers because of this but the rest of the race was so well done I kept it at 5 sneakers. The start in downtown Little Rock is relatively interesting. I mean as interesting as Little Rock can be. Then you go across the big bridge that crosses the Arkansas River and the next section is really, unscenic and not very nice few miles. You then crossed back on the bridge back to downtown then there are a few more miles that go through a park and neighborhood and are just okay. Near the end is the best part going past the governor’s mansion. This part is very nice and the governor is even out waving to the runners. This was an interesting race to contrast to Atlanta. While this race did not have the best scenery, there was a ton of spectator support and on course entertainment so the miles flew by. Even with the threat of bad weather and occasional drizzle the whole town was out. There were also lots of “unofficial” aid stations with goodies and alcohol if you drink. One other minor complaint I have is I don’t think there was quite enough official aid stations. I think there were 5. The volunteers were great and very high energy but I needed a lot of water due to the humidity luckily I was carrying water. Also the gatorade was watermelon flavored and very watered down. The course was very well marked and easy to follow and had mile markers. I didn’t think the course was too difficult or too hilly. I’ve heard it’s a hilly course but it had about half the elevation gain of Atlanta. My Garmin had 350 ft elevation gain. The only hard part was most of the hills were at the end with the beginning and middle more flat. At the finish line there are a ton of spectators and a large finish arch. Due to the high energy, good weather and not too difficult course I was able to finish my goal of under 3 hours which I was very happy with. I’m getting faster each race since my injury so I am hoping to be back to my usual half marathon time of 2:30 to 2:45 by next month. After the finish line you go back to the convention center for the post race celebration. There you get your medal. The half medal is huge and the marathon medal is literally the size of your head. You also get a combo medal if you did a 5K or 10K on Saturday. The design this year was for the 20h anniversary and included images from all the past races. To be honest I thought the design was a little busy but loved the size and quality of the medal. There was a good post race food selection that all appeared to be vegetarian with pasta with marinara sauce, bananas, chips, trail mix, soda, beer, milk, and yogurt. There were tables set up in the convention center. I had to get the airport around 12:30 so I didn’t stay but it looked fun. Another perk of the hotel is there is noon check out so I was able to shower after the race before I left. Overall while this was not my favorite course I loved the energy of the race and the huge medals. I would definitely recommend this race for Arkansas. If I lived closer or if Little Rock was easier to fly to I would definitely do this again and even so am considering coming back someday for the marathon for the huge medal.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
2
SWAG
5

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My mom visited Little Rock with me since she wants to visit every presidential library so wanted to visit Little Rock to go to the Bill Clinton Presidential Library. We … MORE

My mom visited Little Rock with me since she wants to visit every presidential library so wanted to visit Little Rock to go to the Bill Clinton Presidential Library. We arrived Friday morning and walked the 5K together on Saturday. I also did the half on Sunday and you can read that review for more details. We got our packets at the expo Friday afternoon and included a short sleeved tech shirt. This was also an easy race morning since the start was behind the hotel. Weather was beautiful Saturday. The course was a nice 5K through downtown Little Rock. This 5K shows some of the more scenic areas though I wouldn’t call Little Rock particularly scenic. It was a really nice race with a ton of participants in costumes and quite a few spectators for the shorter distances. It was well marked. It was pretty flat just a few gentle rollers. If I were running it and at my usual fitness level even with my really low threshold to walk hills I would have been able to run it all. Since I was with my mom we just walked but we were a few minutes faster than last week. Finish was also at convention center and even the 5K medal is huge. It is much smaller than the Little Rock half marathon medal but about the same size as most of my other half marathon medals. You also get a challenge medal if you do the Saturday 5K or 10K with the Sunday half or full. There was not great post-race food for the 5K just water and bananas. If you are able to I would recommend trying to add on the 5K or 10K to your race weekend

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5

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I chose this race for Georgia mostly because I enjoy visiting Atlanta and this is a nice time to travel there. I signed up very early and registration was super … MORE

I chose this race for Georgia mostly because I enjoy visiting Atlanta and this is a nice time to travel there. I signed up very early and registration was super cheap at $50 for the half. It progressively gets more expensive but it is on the cheaper side for a big city marathon. This does come at a price though while I would still say this was a good to very good race, it was missing some of the perks of other big city races I have done. There is good pre-race communication and they email an athlete guide with all the info about 2 weeks before the race. I stayed at the Omni hotel at the CNN center at Centennial Olympic Park. It was a little more than I usually pay for hotel rooms but super convenient as it was right at the start/finish line. There are also plenty of cheaper hotel options within a mile of the start. This is a great race for a trip if you don’t want to rent a car as there are a ton of museums and sports arenas and other things to do by the race start. We were able to walk to the Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, Civil Rights Center and an NBA and MLS game on our 3 days trip. You could easily spend 4 or 5 days just doing things within a mile or so of the race start. I did not rent a car for this trip because of this. I also did the 5K on Saturday. While I paid for Will Call race day pick-up just for the 5K Saturday morning, I did decide to go to the expo and pick up my bib on Saturday for the half since I wanted to just roll out of bed Sunday morning. The expo was at the aquarium ballroom which is right by the hotel and race start. It was kind of a lame expo with very few booths but the location was excellent and you could see whale sharks and belugas (the two highlights of the aquarium) from the ballroom. Packet pick-up was efficient and included bib and a nice, long sleeved green tech shirt. There were not a ton of free samples or vendors at the expo. Race day morning was a breeze. It was raining so I didn’t want to wait outside and I just left my hotel about 15 minutes before the start to avoid waiting outside too much. Race was divided into 5 corrals which left about every 3 minutes. It was well organized and allowed the race to not be too crowded. It was a medium sized race with a few thousand runners. The half and full share the same first 13 miles. I really enjoyed the course and thought they designed it to be as nice a tour of Atlanta as possible. It starts by going through Downtown Atlanta and also goes by the Jimmy Carter Library, by the Botanical Gardens and through some of the cool, pretty neighborhoods and then through Georgia Tech and then back downtown to the finish in the park. There was almost always something interesting to look at and really no boring stretches on the course. As a downside the course, as you have probably heard, is very hilly. I didn’t think it was terrible. It was about 750 ft of elevation gain in the half but it was just constant, rolling hills. There were no particularly tough stretches but also no particularly easy stretches. It is not a PR course but if you did hill training you could get a good finishing time. The course was a little tougher today with the rain though the temperature was absolutely perfect running temperature. The course was very well marked and the streets were either closed or half closed to traffic. There were plenty of course marshals and aid stations with water and powerade (this is coca cola country you are only getting coke products here) and plenty of porta potties on course. I can’t comment on porta potties at the start since I just rolled out of bed and didn’t use any. I have two negatives about the race. One is there were almost no spectators. I know it was a rainy day so I would expect less than usual but this was incredibly sparse especially for a big city race. I have done other races in the rain in smaller cities with more spectators than this. Based on other reviews this seems to be a race with little spectators even in nicer weather. At least for the half there are plenty of people running with you so it’s not like you are alone but if you love spectator support this is not the race for you. I understand a race can’t control spectator support that much but they could have had more on course entertainment such as Miami had (and while Miami had less spectators than other big city races I’ve done it had a lot more than Atlanta) or even simpler the race could place signs with jokes and encouraging messages along the course. The other issue which seemed to be a one-off is the bibs were made with less durable material than usual due to manufacturing issues and would not stay on. I was more worried about my bib falling off and not getting an official time than my actual finishing time since I knew I wasn’t going to be anywhere near a PR nor anywhere near not making the time limit so I spent a lot of time re-pinning my bib to keep it on. But I saw other runners lose their bibs and also stop to re-pin their bib. I managed to keep my bib on but almost came off in the final 0.1 mile of the race and I am holding my bib up in my finishing photos to make sure it registers. To give the race credit, they did within a couple hours of the race finishing email an apology and a link to upload results if you lost your bib. So this seemed to be a one off thing and I always appreciate it when a race acknowledges instead of ignores a mistake. The finish line itself was nice with an announcer and arch but the finish festival was pretty anti-climatic. My finishing time would normally be slow but it was exactly as I expected give I am recovery from injury and still building back endurance and did not push myself too hard to ensure I didn’t reinjure myself and I ended up a couple minutes faster than Miami. The medal is a nice flower design. While it is bigger than he 5K medal I actually preferred the 5K medal design but both were nice. They also gave a disposable jacket which was appreciated with the rain. What was not appreciated was the terrible post race food. This was the worst post race food of any medium to large race I have done (with some rare pandemic exceptions where races weren’t doing any food). There was just gogurt, fruit cups and bananas. None of which are very substantial. They also had a publix truck serving pork sandwiches but nothing vegetarian. I understand not catering to all dietary restrictions (though the last two larger races I did Louisiana and Miami were amazing about catering to just about everyone) but I thought pork sandwiches were a particularly poor choice. Atlanta is a very diverse city with tons of vegan options (I would recommend Herban Fix for a vegan restaurant) so it was surprising to have such poor vegan options at the finish line. Luckily I had bought breakfast to eat after the race just in case. Overall I thought this was a good race and I enjoyed the course but it was definitely lacking the elements of some other big city races I have done. It was kind of frustrating because this was so close to a great race. If they could figure out how to get more spectators or add more on course entertainment and have a better finish festival with better food options it would be a great race. I would still recommend this race if you prefer bigger city races and/or are looking for a very convenient race to travel to. I may end up doing it again since it is a Sunday race and Atlanta is one of the most convenient cities to fly to in the South.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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My mom visited Atlanta with me so we decided to walk the 5K on Saturday morning. I also did the half marathon on Sunday so more details are in that … MORE

My mom visited Atlanta with me so we decided to walk the 5K on Saturday morning. I also did the half marathon on Sunday so more details are in that review. We flew into Atlanta Friday evening. We paid extra for Will Call packet pick-up so we could get our bibs Saturday morning. It was very easy but it was $25 to add it. Packet also included a nicely designed polyblend T-shirt. Normally I prefer tech shirts but it was nice to get a non-tech T-shirt for the 5K and a long sleeve tech shirt for the half. The race also started in Centennial Olympic Park. It was not the most scenic 5K. It seems to take place on the least busy and also least scenic streets around the park. Not an awful view. Still had some sights of the city and some was in a park but they definitely chose the easiest streets to close not the most scenic route (which is completely understandable). Since I was walking it, it is hard to gauge the difficulty. There were some minor hills but nothing too hard. At the finish line there was a nice arch. There was the same not very good food although it was fine food for a 5K. The medal for the 5K was beautiful with a nice flower design. While it is smaller than the half medal (though still nice size for a 5K), it is actually a nicer medal design though both medals were really nice. I enjoyed this 5K and it was a nice additional to the weekend but it wasn’t a must run if you are not able to fit it in your travel plans.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5

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This is a winter trail race that takes place in the trails of Webster Park. I did this last year as well. It is a pretty tough course and the … MORE

This is a winter trail race that takes place in the trails of Webster Park. I did this last year as well. It is a pretty tough course and the weather is generally a challenge. Last year it was snowing during the race. This year luckily while the trail was full of snow and ice, it was a lovely day for running (or in my case mostly hiking) in the high 20s. This is produced by Yellow Jacket Racing and I got my packet at the store before the race. Packet also included a long sleeve yellow cotton shirt and some powerade gummies along with bib. There is race day parking as well. The start area is set up nicely with a big start arch and music. It was manually timed but this is not a PR course. If weather was good this would be a typical above average difficulty trail race but with the usual winter weather it is very difficult. This year without the active snow it wasn’t as bad but it was still tough with lots of snow and ice. Given that I am recovery from an injury and have very little experience with running in the snow since last winter wasn’t too snowy and I was injured most of this winter I mostly hiked this race. I was impressed because at one point I was the last racer and they had one of the YJR owners hike in the back with us to make sure everyone was safe and no one got lost. I ended up passing a few people at the end but still got cheered on even as one of the last racers. At the end you also get a water bottle and bag of snacks. There is an option for a 2 loop 10 miler as well but I do not enjoy the snow enough for that. Overall this is a good challenge. It is not my favorite race since I don’t like running/hiking through snow but it was more enjoyable without active snow. I added an extra sneaker from my last year review given the attention to detail for the back of the packers. Again this isn’t one I would go out of my way for but will do if I am in town.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
2

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The freezeroo series is a series of 6 races of varying distances held throughout the Rochester area during the winter months. They are sponsored by the Greater Rochester Track Club … MORE

The freezeroo series is a series of 6 races of varying distances held throughout the Rochester area during the winter months. They are sponsored by the Greater Rochester Track Club and are low key events to help keep local runners motivated during the cold months. The series was not held last year during the pandemic and this year I only did this race due to travel conflicts, injury, bad weather, etc. The winter has been especially rough this year and the series definitely earned the name Freezeroo. This race takes place in Webster, a suburb of Rochester, by Webster Park. Packet pick-up is in the White House Lodge and there are bathrooms indoors and you can hang out indoors to avoid the cold. The morning looked pretty miserable and was snowing on my drive but it cleared up for the 10am race start. The race is manually timed which is fine for a small, local, cheap race. It starts in the park about a block from the lodge and is two 2.2 mile loops around a long block. It is a very easy, straight forward course. There were marks on the corners to turn but it was easy to figure out. It is just through suburbs and past the park but it’s a pretty area so not an unpleasant course. The 2 loops is a little boring but understandable for not wanting to have deal with traffic and course marshalls. There were mile markers on the course as well. The course was medium difficulty. Some hills but nothing crazy. The hardest part was since it just snowed and the temps were in the high 20s there was some snow/ice on the ground. There would have been no way to clean the street before the race since it literally snowed like 20 mins before the race. I wore trail shoes even though it was road for more traction and it was fine. My time was kind of slow but okay for me still being in recovery mode and building up endurance again. The finish line itself was anti-climatic with someone just recording times. But there was a nice post race celebration in the lodge with pizza, cider and donuts. Very happy with the post-race food. It was better than some larger, more expensive races. Overall this was not the most exciting race but did what it was supposed to do in terms of providing a cheap, low key, winter race for local runners. I wouldn’t plan my schedule around these races but I would do them again.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
1

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This is a half or quarter marathon that takes place in Minoa, NY, a suburb of Syracuse. I did the quarter marathon this year since I was on call but … MORE

This is a half or quarter marathon that takes place in Minoa, NY, a suburb of Syracuse. I did the quarter marathon this year since I was on call but would have dropped down anyways with my injury. The race is located at a park and they send out an athlete guide with where to park. I arrived about an hour early and got one of the last parking spots near the start/finish line. Packet pick-up was indoors. Packet included bib and a really nice, colorful long sleeve tech shirt with a tote bag. There was also coffee and donuts inside. One critique of the start area is there was not enough porta potties. This is a mid size race with a few hundred runners so there was just a mass start with no corrals. It was fine for the size. As this race is in February in Syracuse you can expect bad weather. We lucked out this year and it was one of the warmer days with temps in the 30s. There was a bit of hail/show for about 10 to 20 minutes during the beginning of the race and some strong winds but the end was clear and I even saw a bit of sun. Overall pleasant weather for Syracuse in winter. The course is pretty boring just through neighborhoods. The half marathon is two loops of the quarter marathons. You just pass by houses but there are no unpleasant scenery and there is decent spectator support especially for a smaller race in the winter. Course really well marked and had mile markers. Mostly on coned off roads with plenty of marshalls so felt safe. There were 3 water stops (so 6 for the half). They called your name out at the finish line and you got a nice distance specific medal. In the indoor area there were lots of post race food – donuts, coffee, granola bars, monster energy drink, wraps – including vegan and gluten free, chips, etc. Overall it was not the most exciting course and the weather could potentially be terrible but it was well-organized with nice swag for a smaller, local race. I would do it again and recommend it to locals but it wouldn’t be my first choice for 50 staters unless it fit perfectly in your schedule or you really want to experience winter here

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
2
SWAG
5

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Miami is one of my favorite cities so this race was high on my bucket list. I decided to sign up last year after they had an offer to do … MORE

Miami is one of my favorite cities so this race was high on my bucket list. I decided to sign up last year after they had an offer to do the 2021 virtual race free if you signed up for the 2022 race. So last year I also did the 2021 virtual half marathon. While I will focus my review on the live race, I do want to say that this was the best virtual race I participated in. There was a very active facebook group where members shared their race experience and a virtual expo along with great swag. I was initially signed up for the marathon but dropped to the half due to my foot injury. Although this race does let you drop to the half during the race if you are registered for the marathon and decide at the split at mile 12.5 you don’t want to run another 13+ miles. For the race I stayed at the Comfort Inn downtown. It is a little under a mile from the start/finish so walkable at least for the half. It was relatively affordable and about $100 less than the host hotels although this is Miami and it will be not be the cheapest race-cation. The expo is at Miami Beach and not within walking distance of the start though they do have shuttle buses to the start from Miami Beach if you don’t want to rent a car. I was happy to see most people and vendors at the expo were wearing masks. It was a nice expo with easy bib pick-up. You also got the shirt which is tech and nice quality but white which isn’t my favorite color to run in. They had a whole section of food and drink items and there was a ton of free samples. They also had the typical expo booth to buy any race items you forgot. It was a good expo. I spent close to an hour there. Race morning was pretty smooth. You are assigned a corral and the athlete guide says the approximate time your corral will go off. This was great as I was in the last corral since I predicted to be slow with my injury so I knew when to arrive and do my pre-race routine and wasn’t waiting around for hours to start. I did find it a little confusing finding my corral as they are utilizing different side streets and not just one big line. I didn’t study the guide close enough and if I did the race again I would check closer where my corral is. I did eventually find it. We started a few minutes later than the guide said but generally around the right time. The start line was exciting and had an announcer and fun music. The corrals were spaced out pretty nicely. This is a race with 15,000 people so obviously it will be a little crowded but it felt much less crowded than other races I have done this size and felt more like the crowd of a mid-sized race which also made it seem safer. I was very happy they had pacers for the slow runners and even happier they had a run walk pacer for a 3:00 hour time goal. I was hoping to beat 3 hours but knew with my deconditioning and the heat I would need to run-walk. The pacer was great. Very enthusiastic and with even splits. The course is wonderful with most of it on Miami Beach. Miami is one of my favorite cities in terms of scenery and I love the beach views and Art deco architecture. It was so nice to be in a tropical area. Although it was again 80 degrees and humid which is not great especially when you are already deconditioned and haven’t ran in weather like this in 6 months. I was doing good keeping up with the pacer until mile 10 when I had to stop and walk most of the rest of the race. Although this is a back of the pack friendly race and there were plenty of people walking with me in the end and still people cheering for us. This is also a fun race to walk given the beautiful scenery and allowed me to stop and take some pics. There were frequent aid stations with water and gatorade about every mile with gels at mile 7. If you are not used to the weather though I would recommend using a handheld water bottle since you will want more hydration. Even though I was slow they did not run out of water or gatorade at any aid station. There were not as many spectators as I would expect for a big city race. There were a lot at the finish line but there were sections with almost no spectators. However the race had great energy from all the participants and there were frequent musicians and other entertainers which made up for it. The finish line was very exciting with a ton of spectators. I didn’t meet my goal of 3 hours but I realized I wouldn’t make it once I had to walk at mile 10 and met my secondary goal of under 3:10. I was happy that my foot felt fine afterwards and I was not limping at all. The difficult of the race was really hard to rate. The course itself was as easy as possible with just a few very gradual bridges as the only elevation change but the heat made it really tough. The medal is beautiful and one of my top 5 medals. The finish line festival was great and there were food options including kosher, vegan quinoa wraps and vegetarian pasta. I wish I could have stayed longer but I had to check out of my hotel and wanted to be able to shower before I flew home. Even if this was one of my worst half marathon performances, I had a great time and really enjoyed the race. As I love visiting Miami I’m sure I will do this one again. I would definitely recommend this for Florida especially if you like large, big city races. However if you prefer smaller races, would like a cheaper trip or hate heat and humidity this may not be the best choice for you.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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