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 6 hours, 7 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 and to run 50 marathons before I turn 50.

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 (19)

Race Distance Location Date Result
12 hr Honeoye Falls, NY Jul 17, 2021 17.12 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
8 Miler Ellicottville, NY Aug 16, 2020 1:56:45
10K Los Angeles, CA Nov 28, 2019 59:39
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 Miler New York City, NY Dec 13, 2020 45:07
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
1 Miler Londonderry, NH Jan 1, 2021 7:55

Future Races (72)

Race Distance Location Date Paid
5K Kennedyville, MD Jul 31, 2021
5K Wilkes-Barre, PA Jul 31, 2021
Half Marathon Washington, DC Aug 1, 2021
5K Honeoye Falls, NY Aug 4, 2021
5K Emporium, PA Aug 7, 2021
10K Emporium, PA Aug 7, 2021
Half Marathon Emporium, PA Aug 8, 2021
5 Miler Churchville, NY Aug 11, 2021
5K Chicago, IL Aug 14, 2021
5K Honeoye Falls, NY Aug 18, 2021
5 Miler Henrietta, NY Aug 21, 2021
5K Rochester, NY Aug 25, 2021
5K Weedsport, NY Aug 28, 2021
Half Marathon Mendon, NY Aug 29, 2021
5K Geneseo, NY Sep 5, 2021
Half Marathon Manchester Center, VT Sep 11, 2021
Half Marathon Westerly, RI Sep 12, 2021
Half Marathon Randolph, NY Sep 25, 2021
Sprint Silver Lake, NY Sep 26, 2021
5K Nashua, NH Oct 2, 2021
Half Marathon Hampton, NH Oct 3, 2021
Marathon Forest City, PA Oct 10, 2021
5K Akron, OH Oct 23, 2021
Half Marathon Ann Arbor, MI Oct 24, 2021
Half Marathon West Haven, CT Oct 30, 2021
Half Marathon Voorheesville, NY Oct 31, 2021
5K Manchester, NH Nov 6, 2021
Half Marathon Relay Manchester, NH Nov 7, 2021
Half Marathon Richmond, VA Nov 13, 2021
6 hr Shortsville, NY Nov 20, 2021
3 Miler Manchester, NH Dec 4, 2021
Half Marathon Haverhill, MA Dec 5, 2021
Half Marathon New York, NY Dec 11, 2021
5 Miler Clyde, NY 2021
5K Henrietta, NY 2021
Marathon Baton Rouge, LA Jan 16, 2022
7K Gulf Shores, AL Jan 29, 2022
Half Marathon Gulf Shores, AL Jan 30, 2022
Marathon Miami, FL Feb 6, 2022
5K Miami, FL Feb 6, 2022
5K Hampton, GA Feb 26, 2022
Half Marathon Hampton, GA Feb 27, 2022
Half Marathon Oakhurst, CA May 7, 2022
5K Buffalo, NY May 28, 2022
Half Marathon Buffalo, NY May 29, 2022
Half Marathon Wilson, WY Jun 3, 2022
Half Marathon St Charles, ID Jun 9, 2022
Half Marathon West Yellowstone, MT Jun 10, 2022
Half Marathon Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada Jun 18, 2022
Half Marathon Salisbury, MA 2022
Half Marathon Allen, TX 2022
Half Marathon Little Rock, AR 2022
Half Marathon Atlantic City, NJ 2022
Half Marathon New York City, NY 2022
15K Philadelphia, PA 2022
Marathon Bath, NY 2022
15K Utica, NY 2022
Half Marathon Newport Beach, CA 2022
Marathon Folsom, CA 2022
Half Marathon Cleveland, OH 2022
Half Marathon Kansas City, MO 2022
Half Marathon Seattle, WA 2022
Half Marathon Des Moines, IA 2022
Marathon Anchorage, AK 2023
Half Marathon Indianapolis, IN 2023
Marathon Inverness, United Kingdom 2023
55K Page, AZ 2023
Marathon Staten Island, NY 2024
Dopey Challenge (48.6 Miles) Lake Buena Vista, FL 2024
Marathon Two Harbors, MN 2024
Half Marathon King George Island, Antarctica 2025
Marathon Deadwood, SD 2025

Past Races (97)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
Half Marathon Mt Jewett, PA Jul 25, 2021 2:55:36
5K Mt Jewett, PA Jul 24, 2021 36:42
5K Liverpool, NY Jul 24, 2021 32:26
8K Rochester, NY Jul 21, 2021 52:28
12 hr Honeoye Falls, NY Jul 17, 2021 17.12 mi
5K Mendon, NY Jul 17, 2021 41:28
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 half marathon produced by Wolf Creek Track Club located in Kinzua Bridge State Park in Northwest PA. It is directly south of Buffalo, just passed the NY … MORE

This is a half marathon produced by Wolf Creek Track Club located in Kinzua Bridge State Park in Northwest PA. It is directly south of Buffalo, just passed the NY state border. I chose this race since it was one of the closer half marathons this weekend to me and I liked that the 5K was the evening before so I could do the challenge and not need a hotel Friday since it is over a 2 hour drive from Rochester so would be a little far to drive for a morning race without getting a hotel. My biggest complaint about the race is the lack of pre-race communication. The website though is quite detailed. However they only sent one email out the day before the race. It would have been nice to have gotten the “our race is approved” email and maybe an update 1 to 2 weeks before and an update when the packets were sent. Also as you will see later in my review there was not enough details about what the course was like. For better or worse there were a lot of covid protocols in place. Now that I am vaccinated, I am pretty comfortable without all the protocols but I understand why a race would keep them since some people may not be comfortable without the protocols yet. The race packet was mailed. It included the shirt, a drawstring bag and the medal was also mailed. The shirt is a forest green short sleeved tech shirt with the race logo. It is a little plain but nice enough. The drawstring bag is just a generic one from the race company but its good to get extra swag. The medal is beautiful, nice quality and really big. However as I stated before in my 5K review they never sent me the Tornado challenge medal I was supposed to receive. If I was just doing the half marathon I would have given the swag 4 or 5 sneakers but I only gave it 3 due to the missing medal. I will change my review if they mail it as promise…hint, hint Wolf Creek Track Club if you are reading this. I drove down Saturday after my race in NY and did the 5K in the evening. Most of the closest lodging is in Bradford, PA. Just a warning it is about a 30 minute drive from Bradford to the park. Not a big deal but plan your time accordingly. Parking is very easy and there were porta potties by the parking lot and the start line. This had a rolling start from 8:00 to 8:30. Again a little anti-climactic as most races I have done recently have had mass starts but as I said I can understand why they kept it. It is chipped time so there is no penalty to starting late. The Kinzua Bridge is not part of the course. But the start is right by it and you can easily explore it before or after the race. This is also an out and back on the rail trail. The first 3.5 miles of the course are on gravel and quite easy. Then then next 3.5 miles were on trail and while I wouldn’t call it difficult or technical there were a lot of loose rocks. I wish I was warned about this earlier as I would have worn trail shoes. Unfortunately around mile 5 I twisted my ankle on one of the rocks. It was a pretty minor injury and I was able to complete the race but had to do so at a slower pace and walked a lot of the more trail area to prevent further injury. My initial pace the first 5 miles was solid at about 12 min/mile but I had to slow down quite a bit after. I was very happy to get back on the gravel trail as that felt better on my ankle and was able to run the last 3 or so miles pretty well. The course is pretty but nothing special on the rail trail. Other than the loose rocks, it is not difficult. There are no true hills just some gradual inclines and declines. There were mile markers and signs throughout to make up for there being minimal spectator support. Although there were a handful of people at the intersections. There were 3 aid stations. Another complaint I have is the aid stations. They were back to those annoying little water bottles and gatorade. Again I realize they kept the covid precautions so that is not my biggest complaint. My biggest complaint is the trash cans were right next to the aid stations not a few yards ahead. This was a real pain. Normally with the little bottles I grab the bottle, walk and drink it until the garbage can and use that as a walking break but I had to full on stop and drink the gatorade and then put it in the trashcan. Someone said they would pick up any bottles thrown in the woods but I absolutely cannot litter and throw bottles in a forest. Therefore I stopped at each aid station for at least 1 to 2 minutes which did not help my time. Also I cringed as I saw so many plastic bottles littering the trail. Adding extra garbage cans or moving them so there were a few yards away would be such an easy fix. Other than this, I thought the race was very well produced. My time was pretty bad since I was injured but I managed to finish under 3 hours. It was kind of anti-climactic to already have received the medal and not get one at the finish line. But there were bottles of gatorade and water along with chocolate chip cookies, granola bars, fruit snacks and bananas at the end. There was also a food truck in the park where you could get lunch. There was nothing vegan but there is nothing vegan in the area outside of taco bell so I had a cheese quesadilla and fries and an amazing blueberry milkshake from the food truck. I had a fun time this weekend exploring Kinzua State Park and I thought this was a fine race. There was nothing too exciting about the race itself but it was fine and only a couple hours from Rochester and it is a cool area to explore with lots of hiking. This isn’t a race I would highly recommend or go out of my way for but it’s relatively close to me and there aren’t a ton of summer half marathon options so I’d consider doing it again. It wouldn’t be my first choice for a half marathon for PA, but it’s not a bad race just remember trail shoes. Although they did say the park plans to make the rest of the trail gravel so it may not be as technical in future years. Now it’s time to rest my ankle so I can be healed for next week.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

I did this 5K as part of the Tornado Challenge with the Kinzua Half Marathon. More details will be in that review. I loved that the 5K is the evening … MORE

I did this 5K as part of the Tornado Challenge with the Kinzua Half Marathon. More details will be in that review. I loved that the 5K is the evening before and one reason I chose this specific half marathon for this weekend since it meant I could do 2 5Ks on Saturday and I didn’t need a hotel Friday evening to do the challenge. The 5K starts at 7pm. I arrived early and spent a couple hours explore Kinzua Bridge State Park which is pretty cool. The race had a rolling start from 7pm to 7:10pm. Starting area seemed well organized. I went near 7pm. Course is just an out and back on a nice but not super exciting gravel rail trail. Just some gradual inclines and pretty easy. It was kind of drizzly this evening. I purposely went at a slow training, pace. My finishing time was slow for a 5K but I was aiming to run a 36 minute 5K and ran a 36 minute 5K. The packet with all the swag was mailed before hand. For the 5K you got the race shirt and drawstring bag and you are supposed to get a challenge medal if you do both the half and 5K. However I was very disappointed my packet didn’t include the challenge medal. I did speak the the race staff members at the registration table who were extremely nice and wrote my name down and said they would mail it to me. We will see. If it does get mailed and depending on how nice it is, I will update and change my review accordingly. Overall this was a fine 5K but nothing special and kind of disappointing not to get the challenge medal.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

This is a 5K/10K race in Liverpool, NY right outside of Syracuse so about an hour from Rochester. This was the closest race I could find this morning and I … MORE

This is a 5K/10K race in Liverpool, NY right outside of Syracuse so about an hour from Rochester. This was the closest race I could find this morning and I love chocolate so decided to do it even though it was a little out of my way to my next destination. I chose the shorter 5K since I was doing 2 more races this weekend. The race takes place at Long Branch Park by Lake Onandaga. There was adequate pre-race communication including a funny email about how there would be a strange sun sighting (if you live in Western NY and haven’t seen the sun in about 100 days you would get it). There was packet pick-up either the evening before or morning of the race. I got it the morning of the race since its about an hour drive. Packet included the bib and the shirt. The shirt is tech with the chocolate logo and is neon pink. I like the bold neon pink color. Not sure if everyone did though. There were also a few additional booths at the packet pick-up area. The race had a mass start with the 10Kers going 5 minutes before 5Kers. Corral was set up well with music, announcer, finishing arch and the Syracuse Orange mascot was there. This was a relatively big race, a few hundred in each distance so some sort of recommended wave start would have been better but otherwise it was well organized. The course was very nice. Not overly exciting but a pretty course along the park and the water. It was very fast and flat. Just two minor uphills at bridges. I didn’t even think of walking them so you know they are not bad. Course was well marked and there were if anything excessive aid stations for a 5K which is nice compared to the minimum there usually have been during covid. My only warning about this race is that it is a theme (chocolate) that appeals to more casual runners and walkers so there was not the best runner etiquette on course. There were a lot of people who don’t run races regularly and lots of kids. I think it is great for an event to be inclusive so it didn’t really bother me but if you are a competitive runner be warned there will be people walking side by side or taking a walking break in the middle of the course and not going to the side, etc. The 10Kers merge with the 5Kers at the end so I saw the top 10Kers weaving quite a bit. Between the excitement of a large race, the flat course, perfect partly sunny weather and the promise of chocolate at the end, I ran this race faster than I intended to since I had 2 more races this weekend. Oh well. Finish area is the same as the start. You are handed your medal which is a very nice chocolate themed medal for a short race. At the finish line I saw chocolate milk and fruit but no actual chocolate, oh no! They did have Monster energy water which was amazing! I then walked to the packet pick up area because there had to be chocolate somewhere and was handed a huge bag of chocolate. It had a full chocolate bar, importantly a chocolate chip granola bar, a hot chocolate packet, and multiple smaller bite size candy bars. The finish area also had a food truck. But it was a BBQ truck that was just selling meat and beer so I passed. Overall this was a very fun, well produced race. Nice course, great swag and great chocolate! This is one I will do again and definitely worth an hour drive.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

This is the second Wednesday evening race produced by Yellow Jacket Racing (YJR) for the Run585 series. 585 is Rochester's area code. This one is an 8K and the longest … MORE

This is the second Wednesday evening race produced by Yellow Jacket Racing (YJR) for the Run585 series. 585 is Rochester’s area code. This one is an 8K and the longest of the 3. Race logistics were pretty much the same as the first with packet pick-up recommended at the store the day before. Today series participants got their large cooler along with beer Kozie, race sticker and bib. The swag is pretty good for the cost of the series. They kept the rolling start. I understand why they did this since it would kind of stink as a participant to plan your evening around the rolling start and have the race company change their plans but it was a little lame after doing so many races with mass starts. Something came up at work so I started this one on the later side of the rolling start window which made it extra anti-climatic as most participants already started. I again walked to the start from work since this was also at Genesee Valley Park. This also follows the canal path. It was beautiful weather tonight which was a relief after last weekend’s terrible weather. YJR can’t get a break and there was also construction affecting this course so they had to alter the course at one point a little bit. I don’t think the part of the canal path used for this race is as pretty as some of the sections we ran through during the first race of the series but this race does include the bridge with really pretty city views and I saw a cute rabbit and some cool birds. It also includes the evil, steep bridge I always walk which added a sneaker to the difficulty but is otherwise pretty flat. The course was well marked but it was kind of lonely. The rolling start and longer race meant I was running alone a lot but I did see some race participants here and there. There were no aid stations but this was told to us. I thought it would have been nice to have a water station halfway through as I just about finished the water I was carrying and had to conserve it by the end of the race. The finish line was set up really nice with loud music and a finish arch and people were hanging around and it felt like a real finish line and made up for the anti-climatic start. However I noticed the course was about 1/4 mile short. As a result I got an 8K PR! But it’s kind of a cheap PR but I was still running at a solid pace and with the right distance would have been well under my goal of 1 hour. I compared the map online to my Garmin and it seems the reroute due to the construction is what caused the shorter course so it appears to be a one off. At the finish line you get your goody bag. It is the same fruit snacks, chocolate chip cookies and chips that have been in every bag this year. I can now no longer eat Famous Amos bite size chocolate chip cookies since I’m so sick of them lol. There is also the medal which is a nice big 8 to go with the series. There was also cans of coke and non-alcoholic beer. The cold can of coke tasted so delicious after. Overall I have enjoyed this series so far but look forward to when it will have a mass start and a party at the end instead of the grab n go bags.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

I will preface this by saying I was not planning to and I did not run ultradistance. I was on call this weekend so had to do local races and … MORE

I will preface this by saying I was not planning to and I did not run ultradistance. I was on call this weekend so had to do local races and saw this one and thought it would be an interesting way to get a long run in. This was my first time doing a fixed time race and it was a blast. This is a race at the local Equicenter and the course consists of 1.07 mile laps around the center that you run all night from 7pm to 7am. You don’t have to run the whole time to be an official finisher, you just have to finish 1 lap. The weather continued to be pretty terrible and rainy all day and night. Packet pick-up was at the center starting at 5:30 PM. Runners were also able to set up their own personal aid station. I didn’t opt for this as there was a well-stocked aid station and I wasn’t planning to run 12 hours but good idea if you are. Parking was a little muddy. As I got out of my car I realized I wished I brought a hat since it was raining. Packet pickup was in a barn and included with the bib was indeed a hat! That was a convenient surprise. Before the race while the ultra runners were prepping their stations, I was wondering around the equicenter admiring the beautiful horses and also meeting the 2 very friendly barn cats. One of which who is appropriately named Bandit I caught banditing the course (see pic!). The race started at 7pm. The course was moderately difficult with about 100 feet of elevation gain per lap. It was figure 8 shaped. This was very convenient for being on call as I was never more than 1/2 mile away from my car so I didn’t have to worry about taking a pen and paper and taking calls on the course. The first part was on grass around the equicenter and past the horses. It started with a slight downhill then a slight uphill where a lot of the aid stations were set up. Then it was a bit on a gravel road followed by a bit on concrete and then a stepper downhill on grass through a meadow followed by a flat area, then a steeper uphill on grass, then a short downhill and short up. Then on a gravel road again where you pass the barn which is the aid station. The aid station was very well stocked with PBJ sandwiches, chips, candy, pickles, oreos, and some sodas. They didn’t have twizzlers but they had swedish fish my second favorite racing candy. At around 9:30pm they also had pizza delivered. I stopped at the aid station every 3 laps for some swedish fish and mountain dew to keep me going. After the aid station you pass the start/finish line. This was chipped timed. I like how just past the finish line they had a screen with how many miles you went. This was great so if you were looking to go a specific distance you could be sure you went far enough and not have to rely on your Garmin or mental math. Then you did it over again. It was fun chatting with runners and seeing the horses but the course got super muddy and it was really cold in the rain. I had one page during the race and I went to my car to answer it and it was hard to leave my warm car to go back out there. In order to get the medal you had to start your first lap at 7:30pm and finish your last lap at 6:30am. As I said I was not looking to run all night. I’ve stayed up all night enough in my life during medical training to never want to do it again. But I really love medals. I would never break the rules but I will bend them and there is no rules about what you have to do inbetween your first and last lap so my game plan was to run about 3 hours in the evening, go home and get some sleep and then come back and do another hour in the morning to get my medal. I ended up doing 16 laps or 17.12 miles total which met my goal of going at least half marathon distance. The medal is a typical wooden ultra medal. I then said bye to my new horse friends and left with some very muddy sneakers. This was a great weekend of muddy running in Rochester. As I said I have no desire to run all night ever and do this for 12 hours straight, but I would do this race every year that I am in town even if just for a few laps. I would definitely recommend this race if you are a fan of fixed time races, looking for a unstressful way to complete a marathon or 50K distance, or just looking for a fun way to get a longer run in or even if you’re not looking for a long run come and do a few laps!

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3
My Media

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This is a 5K or 10K in Mendon Ponds Park during Shark week that raises money for Sharkbytes a nonprofit aimed at protecting sharks. I feel like this is a … MORE

This is a 5K or 10K in Mendon Ponds Park during Shark week that raises money for Sharkbytes a nonprofit aimed at protecting sharks. I feel like this is a kind of random charity for Rochester since it’s not like there are any sharks in Lake Ontario but I like helping out wild animals of all kinds so I’m in! Packet pick-up was either the day before at Medved Running store or you could get it the morning of. Packet included bib, T-shirt, a goody bag and the best part is they asked if you would like an adorable plush shark. Obviously I wanted that. You got a choice of a whale shark or great white shark. I chose the whale shark since that’s my favorite type of shark. The T-shirt is a little neon but it’s not bad. The goody bag also had some pamphlets on sharks, a rubber shark bracelet, a shark sticker and some shark fruit snacks. Between the plush shark, the T-shirt and the goody bag this was great swag for a race I only paid about $20 for. The day of the race was not the best weather. The forecast had rain all day. I woke up and it was pouring. Yikes not the best for a trail run. Luckily the rain cleared and it was a pleasant drizzle when the race started. This race is in Mendon Pond Parks and utilizes the South Meadow Trail which is probably the easiest and least technical trail in the park and is conveniently about exactly 5K. 10Kers did it twice. The start was a mass start but this was relatively small with about 100 participants. It was chipped time. They used scanners not a timing mat. It seemed to work. The beginning didn’t seem that organized. The race started 5 to 10 minutes late. There were some cones that said start and finish at the trail head. Eventually they made some pre-race announcements and told us to go and we went. The first mile of the course was very nice. As I said this is a pretty non-technical trail. Mostly well trimmed grass and mulch. Occasional roots but nothing crazy. I wore trail shoes because of the rain but you wouldn’t need them in good conditions. There are some small rolling hills but nothing too steep and about 150 feet of elevation gain total. My first mile was the pace I was aiming for. Then the sky opened up and it was a downpour. My race plan switched to just finish without injury so my last two miles were very slow but I remained uninjured. I felt like I was tromping through a swamp most of the last mile. There were two aid stations with very friendly volunteers. The finish line was the same as the start. I was glad to be finished with this race after 5K. Although in good weather, I would not be against running this twice for a 10K. At the finish are there was granola bars (yay!), banana’s and Shark’s ice cream which is a local ice cream shop. You had 4 flavors to choose from. I got peanut butter cup it was delicious. There is also normally a bounce house for the kids but that didn’t happen this year. There were a lot of cute kids at the race many dressed in shark costumes which was adorable. I wish the weather was good as it seems it would be a fun finish line for a small race but I just took my ice cream and left. Overall this is a fun and (under better weather conditions) relatively easy trail race though it was quite difficult today in the pouring rain and definitely more difficult than your average fun run 5K. I thought the swag was excellent even with no medal. This is a race I would consider doing again but I wouldn’t make plans around it.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5
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I didn't really have much expectations for this event. Just that it was a 5K on a weeknight that supported a good cause and started late enough and was close … MORE

I didn’t really have much expectations for this event. Just that it was a 5K on a weeknight that supported a good cause and started late enough and was close enough to Rochester that I could get there after work. I am trying to run at least 100 races this year so I can’t say no to any weeknight races that work with my schedule. I really didn’t know much about this event or the city it is in. It is located in Auburn which is East of Syracuse and about an hour from Rochester. I loved that the race started at 7pm so there was plenty of time to get there after work. This 5K raises money for a local organization called Nick’s Ride 4 Friends which is a local non-profit dedicated to helping the opioid addiction and helping people struggling with addiction. I arrived at the race at about 6:15. There was parking by city hall. I was pleasantly surprised that along with packet pick-up there was sort of a mini-expo. There was a table to pick up packets, a table for day of registration and a few booths. There were 2 booths with organizations helping with addiction, a booth from a wellness center offering 5 minute reiki sessions, and a booth from the local chiropractor school that was offering free sessions. Packet included bib, race shirt and a small goody bag. Shirt is just a grey, cotton T-shirt with the race name and charity organization. It’s nothing special but as it’s a cause I’d like to to support I will wear it. The goody bag had a couple pens, a magnet calendar, a sample of biofreeze and most importantly a granola bar to eat after the race. While this wasn’t an official Willow Running event, Willow Running was there to help with race production. This was a small event with about 100 participants. The start area was not the best. It was just a really old cone but I did like that the race announcer joked about how old and terrible the cone was. This was manually timed. Someone gave a quick introduction and we went. The course was super nice. You could not ask for a more scenic race in a small town. The race start at the Equal Rights Heritage Center and the looped downtown and then went through this really cool street did another little loop through a neighborhood, back to the cool street and ended at city hall. The cool street was cool because it had historic mansions and many historic sites. I honestly had no idea there were so many interesting things in Auburn. I may have to come back and visit. The road was closed to traffic and there were police and volunteers who made the course easy to follow. The course while full of really interesting sights was also full of hills. This was a pretty hilly 5K. No hills were too bad but there was like 100% humidity and humidity is the thing that affects my running the most so I walked some of them. They said the course would only be open for 30 minutes and walkers would have to use sidewalks. Since I didn’t think I would finish in under 30 I was worried they may divert me to the side walk but they did keep the roads closed for the slow runners who finished a little over 30 minutes like me. I haven’t seen the official results yet but I did see the timer record my time at the end so I assume they got an accurate time. We will see. But my time was pretty meh. It was my usual, humid 5K time which is 1 to 2 minutes slower than my usual 5K time. The finish line also could be improved. There was like just a line on the ground. At the finish we were handed water bottles and there was a nice after party area where registration was. There was no beer or alcohol for obvious reasons but there was a live band and there was an ice cream truck and the people from Nick’s ride were selling hot dogs. I obviously passed on the hot dogs and found a local pub that served vegan burgers. I did get some ice cream from the ice cream truck on the way back to my car even though it’s not vegan since ice cream is delicious. Overall this race exceeded my expectations. The course was much better than I expected and it was nice having the small expo and after party. I did think some race production things like the start and finish line could be better but it was a well done local race and worth a bit of a drive. This was the inaugural year for the race. I would do it again next year as long as it didn’t conflict with the Run585 or Dirt Cheap series that are also on Wednesday evenings. Also if you were wondering this is race #50 for me in 2021 so I am halfway to my goal of 100 races this year!

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
5
SWAG
2

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I was looking for a second race this weekend and there were no local ones so when I expanded my search to a little further out, this one piqued my … MORE

I was looking for a second race this weekend and there were no local ones so when I expanded my search to a little further out, this one piqued my interest. I know some people who love Spartan races and I was curious about them but I don’t do obstacles and I definitely don’t do burpees but thought I can do a trail 10K. This is located a few hours away in PA. I stayed at a nearby Holiday Inn. This is an all weekend event and there were some obstacle races on both Saturday and Sunday along with the trail 10K Sunday. Some crazy people did multiple Spartan races here this weekend. There was initially a plan for a trail 10K Friday evening but that got canceled. I was not very impressed with the pre-race communication. The emails were kind of confusing and the race guide only showed the map for the obstacle races. The trail map was just posted to facebook and not on the website so like their facebook page and specifically the Spartan trail facebook page. The instructions also said to find your QR code in your Spartan account but I didn’t have one when I signed up and when I made one the race registration didn’t appear even though I used the same email I did to register for the race on Active.com. I had the QR code from my registration email from Active.com and I assumed that would work (and it did) but I sent an email to be sure and never received a reply. I was just expecting a better website and communication from such a large company. Race morning though was extremely smooth and efficient. It felt much more like a large rock n roll race event and not like local trail race which has its pros and cons. While it was missing the small community feel, it was nice to be somewhere so crowded and normal. You start with registration which was easy. You get a headband instead of a bib and a wrist timer along with some wrist bands for a free drink, etc. Then you go through a merchandise tent and then to the festival area. It was so nice to be in a large festival area. There were lots of porta potties and the start was well organized. The obstacle races and the trail race share a start and finish. The more popular obstacle course race went in separate waves throughout the day while the trail race started at 8am. The trail race had about 200 participants and was a mass start. The RD introduced himself at the start and talked about how this was a large Spartan trail community trying to tie in the community aspect of trail running. He also clearly explained what the course was like and how it was marked. He also said he would hang around after to chat. He did seem to genuinely care about the course and the runners. The first part of the course is brutal. I was expecting this to be as bad as the Battle at Bristol Mountain but as that got canceled this year (maybe forever…RIP), I needed a different ski mountain to torture me this summer and this was only 10K. The first mile is straight up. While the start area didn’t feel like a trail race, the actual race certainly did. Just about everyone is walking the first mile and chatting/commiserating and telling “war stories” from the brutal trail runs they have done. The first about 1/2 mile was on the ski hill area then it is another 1/2 mile up a steep trail. It takes about 30 to 45 minutes to get to the top then it is (almost) all downhill. The next 2 to 2.5 miles were amazing mostly downhill not very technical trail in the woods. The last 2.5 to 3 miles were more technical but much less technical than the first mile and had some ups and downs. This technicality of the last section was similar to the trail race I did at Campgaw in NJ. I thought it was a very smart and well thought out course. It was actually much easier than Bristol except the first mile but it was still probably the next hardest terrain I’ve run on. Although 10K is the perfect distance for me for this kind of race with just the right amount of masochism. The course was very well marked and easy to follow. There were 3, 6 and 9km signs along with motivation signs on the trail. My biggest complaint is the volunteers at the 2 aid stations were on their phones and did not seem to care at all. It has been so much fun interacting with volunteers now that things are opening up so this was disappointing. The photographers though were very friendly and encouraging. The views were quite pretty though not spectacular especially as there was construction at the top of the mountain. The finish is downhill and you pass some people doing the obstacles. I would much rather climb a mountain than that. The finish area is exciting with the fire pit and you are handed your medal. Obviously my finishing time was slow but it’s hard to compare this to other races since it’s so much more difficult. The medal is nice and good sized but while it is specific for a trail 10K race and has the year, it is not specific to the race location. It does not say Palmerton anywhere on it. I assume you get the same one at all their trail 10Ks this year. I get why they would do this to save money especially as it was probably unclear which races would happen this year, but it does give the runners less incentive to do another Spartan trail 10K in 2021 if they will get the same medal. There are drinks and bananas at the next table. I liked that they had liquid death water but the recovery drink was something called “Fit Aid” and was disgusting. Then there are the shirts. The shirts are nice, technical quality and specific for the trail race but again not the location. The shirts run teeny, tiny. I am usually a woman’s large and between a men’s small and medium. I like baggy shirts and usually get men’s mediums. I had to get a men’s large to fit me the way I like. After the race there is the festival area to hang out in. It was very nice to get to hang out with other runners. There was non-alcoholic beer from Athletic brewing company and alcoholic options. I wish there was more free food other than the banana but there was a tent you could purchase hot food and I got a black bean burger and fries. Overall there were many things I liked about this race. The race day was extremely well-organized and it was a festive event and the course was the perfect amount of challenge. I get why people love these races. It definitely had a more “corporate” feel than a local trail race but I think they tried their best to give the race a community feel. This wouldn’t be my first choice for a race as I’d prefer a race a little less difficult than this and if I had the option of a local race would choose that instead but I’d be open to doing another trail 10K with Spartan. Given the difficulty of the course, I would not do a longer race with them but the real masochists out there would enjoy it. I also refuse to do burpees so I will leave the obstacle courses to others.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

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This is my second year running this race. Last year it was my first road half marathon since the pandemic so it has a special place in my heart but … MORE

This is my second year running this race. Last year it was my first road half marathon since the pandemic so it has a special place in my heart but now that I am running road half marathons pretty regularly I would say this is a very good but not quite great half marathon. This year it was held on its usual date the second weekend in July. This race is located in Hamlin State Park along Lake Ontario and is produced by Yellow Jacket Racing. There was packet pickup the day before. Packet included bib, a packet of powerade gel, chapstick and the race tank. It is a nice technical tank and perfect to wear to the race. This year it was grey which is not my favorite color but better than last year’s white. The race started at 7am. Luckily it was cooler today than it had been with highs in low 70s but the race still felt very hot as there is very little shade. There was a mass start. Again there was no timing mat at the start but this wasn’t a huge race with a little under 200 participants so it’s not that big of a deal since everyone passed the starting line quickly. The first 2 miles are in the park which is the only shaded part. After the park is about 9 miles of farmland. This year they had to alter the course pretty last minute due to construction on the original course so it was different farmland than last time. It is nice and pleasant farmland but as I’m now almost always running by farms in races it was not as exciting as the first time I did this race. I saw some nice horses at one of the farms. I also saw a deer in the park. After the farms it is two miles back in the park. The last mile is along the beach and is gorgeous and cooler with shade and a breeze. There were 4 water stops with just water. This was communicated so I was prepared with my extra salty clif blocks but gatorade would have been nice. The volunteers at the aid stations and street corners were very nice and encouraging. This was of course very well marked with signs and volunteers at every turn so you could not get lost. The course elevation profile is so nice. It is flat but not quite pancake flat so you get to use some different muscles. About 200 feet of elevation gain total. My 2 complaints about the course and why I took a sneaker away from production and overall score were the lack of mile markers and lack of porta potties on course. Last year there were big mile markers. I’m not sure if there were porta potties last year. I didn’t need it but I saw a poor runner emerge from the bushes due to the lack of them. I know YJR is super busy with races right now and curveballs like construction on courses keep being thrown at them along with all the changing covid guideline curveballs so I’d imagine that’s why some details were missing. The finish area was really nice and exciting along the beach. The RD cheered us on. My time was quite fast today especially since it felt very hot in the unshaded farmland. I didn’t get under 2:30 but it was my fastest half in a while since I’ve been slower when I realized it was more fun to just run races every weekend then spend weekends training for races. At the finish line you got the same snacks I am now sick of and the medal. The medal was really nice and shiny and was different than last year even though it doesn’t have the date. While this wasn’t quite as exciting a race as last year when I hadn’t done a road half in like 6 months, it was still a very nice local race that I will continue to do. It was nice to have a mass start and more water stops than last year but hopefully next year things can be completely normal with water and gatorade, mile markers, porta potties and a barbecue at the end with vegetarian options!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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This is another one of the dirt cheap trail races put on by Yellow Jacket Racing. These are again low key, midweek 4 to 6 miles races held on trails … MORE

This is another one of the dirt cheap trail races put on by Yellow Jacket Racing. These are again low key, midweek 4 to 6 miles races held on trails throughout the Rochester area. This one was in Webster Park which is the same park where they held the Cabin Fever trail race last February. This race had a rolling start from 5pm to 6pm. Since they original planned it that way they kept it rolling but you were allowed to stay and hang out after you finished unlike the first one. This time they didn’t have packet pick up at the store and you had to arrive by 5:45 to get your packet first. I was nervous about making it on time since Webster Park is the furthest of the races from my work and I usually get out around 5. As I went to my car after work to head to the race I realized I forgot my trail shoes (luckily I was wearing sneakers). I thought about stopping home to get them but wasn’t sure I would have time and didn’t want to miss this race since I am trying to do 100 races this year so decided to just run the race carefully. Packet pick-up was easy at the park and the rolling start low stress although anti-climatic. This race was chipped time unlike their last 2 trail races which I like better. There is no swag because these races are dirt cheap. The weather tonight was back to being cool and grey which is so much better for running than hot and sunny. The first mile or so of this race was relatively easy trail. Not a big deal I didn’t bring my trail shoes. Then it got very technical oops I should have remembered them. The next about 4 miles were full of mud and roots and logs to climb over. There was even a creek crossing which made my poor road shoes so dirty. Had to walk a lot of this to avoid slipping. This actually wasn’t that hilly for a dirt cheap race. It had about half the elevation gain of Mendon Mauler. The mud and logs were the bigger obstacle which I actually think is more fun than ridiculous hills. Although I was super slow both races. The park was pretty and I enjoyed running and hiking there though I think Mendon and Durand Eastman are prettier. The race was a little long at closer to 5.5 miles. The end was just cruel. It was a really steep climb to the finish line. At the finish line you are cheered on by the RD and get your bag of goodies and water and non-alcoholic beer. The goodies were the same fruit snacks, chocolate chip cookies and Lays potato chips I’ve gotten at the last few races. I’m kind of sick of these snacks but understand it is cheaper to buy in bulk. I hope they mix it up at Shoreline this Saturday and give us something different lol. My time for this race was slow since I “ran” it very carefully but eh I was over 20 minutes faster than the Cabin Fever race so that’s a win. Overall a fun, low key but tough trail race. Looking forward to the next one!

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
1

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This is a 10K race in Irondequoit, another suburb of Rochester. This was the 49th year of this race. My parents decided to join me for this one and my … MORE

This is a 10K race in Irondequoit, another suburb of Rochester. This was the 49th year of this race. My parents decided to join me for this one and my dad also did the 10K and my mom did the 2 miler. For packet pick-up you could either go the day before and get it the morning of. We went to see a baseball game Saturday evening so got the packet the morning of the race. The packet pick-up and start of the race were at a Catholic school in Irondequoit. The packet included the bib and a very cheesy T-shirt. It is grey with this Eagle/American flag design that looks like a cheaply done tattoo. It was kind of a funny shirt. The 2 miler starts 30 minutes before the 10K. The start of both races was pretty simple. There was no start line or timing mat. We just lined up and the RD said go and we went. There was a mass start and about 300 participants spilt between the 10K and the 2 Miler. The first part of the course was along a highway. I liked the first 2ish miles. They were rolling hills but net downhill and it was a pretty shaded area up to Durand Eastman park. This road was closed for the first 2 miles. I did not like the next mile. It was an unshaded slog along a busier part of the highway that was coned off and was more uphill. I was making good time the first two miles and lost so much time on the third. I had a goal to run under 1:10 but after the third I realized that it was going to be tough to reach my goal especially because the last 3 miles are mostly uphill. The next 3 miles while slow were so much fun. It was through neighborhoods and there were so many spectators which was wonderful given how few spectators there were at races last year. The race had 3 official water stops but the neighborhood had many unofficial water stops and friendly neighbors were spraying runners with their hoses and sprinklers. Since I wasn’t going to reach my goal anyways I had fun interacting with the spectators and took water from most of the stops which mostly had cute kids who were so happy to help out. Near the end there is a brutal hill. Then it is the finish line which did have an arch and timing mat. My time was terrible. It was my slowest road 10K but I still had a lot of fun. My dad loved the course (except that 3rd mile on the highway) since he loves hills and liked that it was a “old timey” race. My mom also enjoyed her 2 miler. At the finish line you get your medal. It is the teeniest, generic medal but eh it’s better than nothing. There was also water bottles, bananas, and bagels for the runner and some carnival food you could purchase. This was definitely not my favorite 10K race in terms of elevation profile as the uphill second half is not a great way to have a fast time and it felt more uphill than downhill but it was really fun with all the spectator involvement and a festive way to start July 4.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
2

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This is usually a 4 miler in Fairport, a suburb of Rochester, produced by Yellow Jacket Racing (YJR). This year due to bridge construction it was switched to a 5K … MORE

This is usually a 4 miler in Fairport, a suburb of Rochester, produced by Yellow Jacket Racing (YJR). This year due to bridge construction it was switched to a 5K and the course was modified. They also received the permit only a few weeks before the race so some of the logistics may have been rushed but it was of course a very well done race. Packet pick-up was the day before at Fleet Feet. Along with the bib, packet included the race shirt and a sample of some power bar gummies. The race shirt is a white cotton shirt with a red and blue fourth of July design. It’s nothing special but the design is well done. The start of the race is about 1/2 mile from the finish. Parking and same day packet pickup were at the finish line but my parents were visiting and chose to be spectators for this race so they dropped me off at the start. Start was pretty exciting as this was YJR first mass start since March 2020. Although I didn’t love the start location. It was just on a street that was closed only about 5 minutes before the race so there wasn’t a great place to hang out before the race. There was also no timing mat at the start given the mass start which was fine but this was a big enough race that I probably lost a few seconds. There were about 300ish participants so it was a very nice size race. The start of the race was a nice about 1.25 mile tour through Fairport which was pretty nice. Again it was exciting to race on closed streets with a lot of people. Then you turn on the canal path for the rest of the race and finish in a park. The finish area in the park was nice and my parents and the RD cheered me on. There was a nice finish arch and a timing mat at the end. You are given your bag of snacks (fruit snacks, cookies and chips). There is no medal. My time was pretty average but that’s what I was going for. The course was fairly easy. The only slight difficulty was as it was point to point it was technical net uphill. There really was only one or maybe two very small hills and it was hardly noticeable but it made it so it wasn’t a super fast course. I did think this was a very nice, little local race and it was fun to have the mass start.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
2

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This race was a bit of a let down after the amazing 5K yesterday. This is a race produced by Willow Running who produce several races in Central NY and … MORE

This race was a bit of a let down after the amazing 5K yesterday. This is a race produced by Willow Running who produce several races in Central NY and this was probably my 5th race I’ve done with them. This race is located in Savannah which is a small town between Rochester and Syracuse near the Montezuma Wildlife Management Area. There is a half marathon, 10K and 5K distance. I was on call this weekend so chose the 5K. They offered packet pick-up both in Syracuse and Rochester so I picked up my packet Friday evening in Rochester. Packet included bib and a tank top. Not sure what I think of the tank top. It is neon yellow. Like the color of a highlighter. Bold choice. But did appreciate getting a swag item I can wear this time of year since all my recent races have given either long sleeve shirts or jackets which are too hot for the summer. There is also day of packet pickup if you couldn’t go early. It was very easy to get to the race and park at the Fire department in Savannah by the finish line. The start was about 1/4 mile away and easy to walk to. The biggest issue with the race which is mostly out of the race company’s control is that it was really, really hot today. The high for today is in the 90s and it was in the upper 80s during the race. The races started way too late for these temps. The half marathon started at 8:15, 10K at 8:30 and 5K at 8:45. While the race company can’t control the weather they can control the start times. This race is held in late June, while it’s a little hotter than usual, 90 degree weather can’t be a shock. The start times definitely should have been planned to be an hour earlier from the beginning. It sounds like the race company was considering moving the races to an earlier time when they saw how hot it would be but ultimately decided against it to avoid confusion which I would agree with that decision. They also did allow an early start for the half marathon but you wouldn’t be eligible for age group awards if you chose that. I would definitely suggest next year they choose an earlier start time. The start of the race was kind of lame. There was no starting arch or anything exciting just some cones. It was also only chipped timed at the finish with no timing mat at the start. The 5K was kind of small with under 100 participants (the half was a little bigger). The RD just said go and we went. My first mile was actually not too bad as there was a light breeze and it didn’t warm up too much yet. Then I had to answer a page and after that it really heated up and I couldn’t get back into the zone and had trouble with pace and motivation. This course was an out and back. Mostly flat with one small hill in the beginning. You start at the top of the hill so you only go up it on the way back. It’d be an easy course if it were 20 degrees cooler. Course was okay. I was hoping it would be really pretty and scenic with lots of wildlife but it was mostly just corn and farms and I didn’t see any animals. There were a few nice views of the wildlife area. I think the 10K and half marathon have better views. There was an aid station you passed twice with water, gatorade and ice pops. The ice pops were perfection. You then turn around and go back to the hill. At this point I was definitely walking the hill with the heat. The finish line is about 1/4 mile past the start at the firehouse. There was a nice finish arch and a nice lady cheering us on and telling us how well we did even though my time was awful. This is my record for worst road 5K I (mostly) ran. I have a few trail 5Ks and a few 5Ks I walked with my mom that are slower but I also have some faster trail 5Ks. You get a medal at the finish line. The medal is really pretty. The 5K one is on the smaller side which is fine as it is a 5K but it is glittery with the eagle race logo and very nice. I was expecting post race food since there usually is good food at Willow events. However this year they got approval for a BBQ a few months after registration was open and registration didn’t account for the BBQ so you had to pay $10 extra for the BBQ. The BBQ had BBQ chicken and also had veggie wraps for a vegetarian option. I couldn’t stay and hang around since I had to round at the hospital and $10 seemed a lot for a veggie wrap so I had to pass on the food. Outside the BBQ, there was just bananas and for some reason bananas don’t sit well with me after racing. There was also someone selling fresh squeezed lemonade for $3. That was also perfection. Overall this race was fine but I was a little disappointed in it. I thought the Earth Day Half Marathon Willow did was better produced and more festive even though it was when things were less open. This race was also way too hot and needed to start earlier. I’m definitely not jealous of the half marathoners even if they get a bigger medal. I’ll probably do this race again since it is close by but I wouldn’t go out of my way for this race and would be very cautious about signing up for the half if they don’t move it earlier.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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It was so nice to run a big city race with a mass start now that the pandemic is winding down and enough people are vaccinated that it is safe … MORE

It was so nice to run a big city race with a mass start now that the pandemic is winding down and enough people are vaccinated that it is safe to race normally. This was one of the first large races to take place in New York state without much in the way of restrictions and I thoroughly enjoyed it. First off I want to say I really appreciated how well the race organization communicated the potential plans for the race. Buffalo Marathon weekend is usually Memorial day weekend in May. This year in early winter they announced their race plan which included the original date, a second back-up date (this weekend) and a third back-up date in late August and also gave deadlines when they would make the decision. They clearly know how much goes into marathon training and understand that a lot of runners like myself are type A and like plans. This was much better than the “we didn’t get the permit and will move to race to a date to be announced later” that other races have done. This year to make it more likely to happen the race was only opened to people who deferred from 2020 with a few additional open charity spots that you had to raise $500 to run the half or full marathon. I was hoping to run the half on memorial day originally but since I knew I was on call this weekend which was the second back up date that seemed more likely, it didn’t seem worth it to spend the energy fundraising when there was a chance I may not be able to do the race due to call. Once the new race date in late June was confirmed I was hoping for a 5K bib since I didn’t have a race on Saturday and Buffalo is close enough to run a race before rounds. Luckily they opened limited 5K slots. The registration fee for these limited spots was expensive for a 5K at $75 but also raised money for the Children’s Hospital in Buffalo and since I’m a pediatrician I couldn’t say no. Lots of communication leading up to the race including a detailed athlete’s guide. Bibs were mailed to participants. One very minor complaint is the bibs were sent folded in half in a regular envelope without safety pins so the bibs were creased. Most other races sent the bibs in large envelopes with safety pins in a little zip lock bag. Again this is a very minor complaint and my car probably has at least 100 safety pins in it from other races so I didn’t really need them but this was a lot of people’s first race since the pandemic so they may not have had any. The race used the usual course in downtown Buffalo and there was plenty of street parking nearby. However I’m not sure if this is the case regular years with the usual number of runners. The start was pretty exciting as it was a mass start and the announcer was very cheerful and it felt like this was (hopefully) the beginning of some normalcy. The course was a loop through downtown Buffalo. Downtown Buffalo isn’t the most scenic or exciting city but the course showed off the best of Buffalo and it was so nice to run on closed city streets with a large group of people again. Even though the weather was cloudy and drizzly, everyone was very happy and cheerful. Course was pretty easy. Although there were some little rollers. Buffalo is a super flat city but this is probably the “hilliest” part. There was just under 100 feet of elevation gain total in the 5K. There were not a lot of spectators for a city race but this may have been just because it was the 5K not the marathon. I was pretty fast but with the excitement of the mass start my first mile was a little too fast so my second mile was kind of slow. The finish area was nice and my overall finishing time was quite good. At the finish line you get your medal, jacket, water bottle and box of food. I love the medal. It is nice size but not huge and has a cool looking Buffalo with sunglasses. The jacket is super nice swag item for a 5K and good quality. Also the food box was amazing! It was jam packed with everything and anything you could have wanted. There was at least 10 different snacks including an almond bar, popcorn, fruit snacks, pretzels and trail mix and they even included a Twizzler! (I think they read my reviews and know that is the key to getting 5 sneakers) The medal, jacket and snack box definitely gave me my $75 worth. Overall this was a great 5K! Definitely looking forward to doing either the half or full marathon sometime in the near future!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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I definitely do not run for beer but I was looking for a short race in NH to run with my dad for Father's Day. We were initially going to … MORE

I definitely do not run for beer but I was looking for a short race in NH to run with my dad for Father’s Day. We were initially going to do the equally unappealing RibFest 5 Miler by Millennium but when that ended up being one of the only races Millennium canceled this year, we decided to do this race instead. This race is produced by Loco the other big running company in NH. However Loco just announced last week they were bought by some new, big nation-wide running company called Ventures Endurance so I wasn’t sure how that might affect this race but it seemed to be a non-issue. It will be interesting to see how it changes things in the future though for Loco races since I am doing Rockfest this Fall. This race is in Portsmouth at the Smuttynose brewery. You signed up for waves. My dad and I signed up for the earliest 8am wave since we were going to a baseball game this afternoon. Parking and packet pick-up were easy the day of the race. The packet included a really, nice technical 3/4 length baseball style shirt that says “Will Run for Beer” very large. I will wear it ironically. You also get a beer Koozie. Start was organized well and waves left every 15 minutes. Course was sort of a lollipop with a few short out and backs around the brewery. It was an okay course. It was mostly wooded and shaded which was nice since it was hot. There was nothing too exciting to look at but it was pleasant. There was a busy street right along a lot of the course so lots of car noises so I’d recommend listening to music. I should have looked at course elevation more. I presumed it would be pancake flat as it was near the seacoast but it had some little rollers. About 100 feet of elevation gain. Flatter than most NH races and normally I’d hardly notice them but it was hillier than I was hoping for since I was so sore today from the 3 half marathons I did in 8 days. My biggest issue with the course is it was again slightly short at 3 miles (although I didn’t care so much today as I again was so sore). I’m pretty sure everyone is too drunk at these alcohol themed races to measure properly lol. I was actually shocked by how well I finished. I felt terribly sore coming into this race and I was actually able to run the entire race at a slow but reasonable pace. At the finish line there was water bottles and bananas. There was also a beer garden where you could redeem your 2 beer tickets and meal ticket on your bib. There was a barbeque with hamburgers, hot dogs, and veggie burgers and a gourmet grilled cheese truck! I did not redeem the beer tickets but I couldn’t say no to gourmet grilled cheese and it did not disappoint.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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

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

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4
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The Run585 series is a series of 3 races in Genesee Valley Park in Rochester by Yellow Jacket Racing. The 585 refers to Rochester's area code and the series includes … MORE

The Run585 series is a series of 3 races in Genesee Valley Park in Rochester by Yellow Jacket Racing. The 585 refers to Rochester’s area code and the series includes a June 5K, a July 8K and an August 5K so 585. This is the first race in the series. Last year I participated in the series in a “virtu-real” format where the courses were marked for a week period and you could track yourself on racejoy but this was my first time doing the live series. Packet pick-up is recommended the day before at the store but is also available race day. Every year there is a different swag item for each race and a big swag item if you do the whole series and an additional shirt you can purchase to show your 585 pride. Last year the small item for each race was cups and this year a beer coozie. The big swag item for the series was a tote bag last year and this year a cooler. Packet also included bib and a race sticker. This year there is a rolling start from 4:30 to 6pm. This is super, easy and stress-free as the park is about a 1/2 mile from work so I can just walk over and start. The rolling start isn’t super exciting but this is a popular race series with over 300 runners so there were enough people to add some excitement and I was hardly ever alone on the course. This race was chipped time. The weather tonight was perfect and this is a really nice and fast course along the Erie canal in Genesee Valley Park. The only hills are two bridges but I think these are the easiest bridges to run up in the park. This course goes through some of the prettiest areas of the park. The finish line was set up very nice and really exciting. This is a fast course and I had a very fast 5K for having run two half marathons in a row a few days ago. Last year when I did the course “virtu-really” and my legs were a little fresher from the lack of racing I had a sub-30 finishing time to give you an idea of how fast it is. The RD cheered on the runners personally at the finish line and you are handed a bag with medal and goodies. There was also water bottles and non-alcoholic beer from athletic brewing company. The medal is nice and is a big 5 with the race name. The snacks include chips, mini chocolate chip cookies, peanuts and fruit snacks but sadly no granola bar this time. The end of the race was in a field and there were space for runners to hang out afterwards. Normally there is a barbeque but not this year due to covid. I am curious now that NY has lifted covid restrictions if the format will change for the next 2 races in the series. While the rolling start was nice and stress-free, an exciting mass start would be great. I also wouldn’t mind some savory food since they always have vegetarian options at their races. This is a very nice, well done 5K and is super convenient for me. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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This is a really hard race for me to rate. This was an excellent half marathon, easily in the top 25% of races I have done but there was so … MORE

This is a really hard race for me to rate. This was an excellent half marathon, easily in the top 25% of races I have done but there was so much drama between Corrigan Sports (the race company) and the city of Wilimington preceding the race that is really left a sour taste in my mouth and made it hard to fully recommend this race. This race was initially scheduled for the end of April. Early to mid-March we received an email that the race didn’t have the permits. They said they were still working with the city and would have a decision by April 1 but would likely delay the race to late May/early June. They are a reasonable race company and offered everyone the option to defer or go virtual at this point given the uncertainty. One thing I didn’t like is they still kept registration open and the website said the race date was in April. This information about not receiving the permits was on the race page but if you quickly signed up for the race you may not have seen it. They should have paused registration at this point. I assumed the race would be postponed and my schedule was full except the weekend of June 12 to 13 so my fingers were crossed that that would be the date they would choose. On March 31, we received notification the race was indeed going to be postponed to the date I wanted June 13! Along with being my only open weekend, one of the races I was considering that weekend 1/2 Sauer 1/2 Kraut was the day before and only 45 mins away so it would be a perfect double and my favorite baseball team the Yankees happened to be in Philadelphia this weekend. The universe was really on my side here. At some point in April or May they announced a few changes including switching the 5K to a twilight 5K saturday evening and an earlier race start at the request of the city of Wilmington. Awesome! Since I am a crazy human being I realized I could do 3 races in a weekend 3 weekends in a row if I did the Saturday 5K. The earlier start would also give me more time to get to the Phillies game after the race. A little under a month before the new date, they announced they got the permits. Yes! At that point I pulled the trigger and signed up for the twilight 5K on Saturday. However about 2 weeks before the race they tell us the city of Wilmington decided the 5K should actually be on Sunday and that they should go back to the later 7am start. Ugh so I wasted money on a expensive 5K I then had to run virtually (the swag is excellent for the 5K though would be worth the expensive price tag for a live race). This already seemed a mess with Wilmington flip flopping their decisions about the 5K and start time and should have been a sign things would get worse. Then 4 days before the race, they announced that they had to cancel the marathon because they city of Wilmington couldn’t provide enough police support and the half course was changing from the usual course throughout Wilmington to an out and back on the Markel trail. What?! 4 days notice. Not cool! Especially since this is a race 50 staters travel all over the country for. They also forgot to close registration for the marathon for 24 hours. Thankfully I was signed up for the half marathon. I absolutely cannot see this kind of drama happening with some of the more organized race companies I have run with such as Millennium and Yellow Jacket Racing. To be fair to this race company, they realized what a terrible thing this was and did offer full refunds to marathoners even though their initial policy was no refunds. There were also a ton of very negative comments on facebook and the race company didn’t delete them and instead gave very professional responses. Still I was very not impressed. I can’t imagine this actually came out of nowhere. They had to have some clue the city might do this. Even if you want to give the race organizers the benefit of the doubt (which as I said before I usually do), this race company clearly doesn’t have the most foresight and is definitely not as organized as others. For instance, the city of Rochester is absolutely capable of pulling this kind of thing, so Yellow Jacket Racing pre-emptively moved their April race to June in a park to a course that didn’t require police or street closures and canceled their full marathon in the fall to ensure the half can happen. This race should have just canceled the marathon in April and switched the half to the Markel trail then. It would have been disappointing but better than announcing it 4 days before. Anyways I did not have high expectations leading into this race but was just keeping my fingers crossed the race would actually happen so I could get a new state and finish the mid-Atlantic region. I stayed at the host hotel the Double Tree in Downtown Wilmington the entire weekend. Good choice especially for half marathoners as it is about 1/2 mile away so you can walk and has noon checkout so plenty of time to shower after the race. Packet pick-up is the day before or you can have it mailed. I thought about having it mailed so I could spend the day in Philadelphia Saturday but after having to switch the 5K virtual I did not want to give this company more money. Packet pick-up was easy. It was not really an expo but the bib pickup was efficient and you could buy race gear. The people at packet pickup were very friendly and helpful which put me in a better mood for the race. The shirt is also a nice quality long sleeved under armour shirt in a nice dark red color. The design is a little simple but it says Delaware pretty big so good for a 50 stater. Since this is one of the biggest races in Delaware there was a lot of members from my 50 state half marathon club which made it extra fun. I walked to the race start with some of them who were also staying in my hotel. Race start was excellent and smooth and made me completely change my negative attitude. The race area had plenty of porta potties and was easy to navigate. The start had runners assigned a different color corral by pace and then had a pretty normal start. Start was smooth, quick and also well spaced. The course along the Markel trail was actually quite nice especially the first 2 to 3 miles along the riverfront and through some wetlands. It is all paved or a boardwalk. It is quite flat and easy except a bridge. The original half marathon course seems a little more interesting but hillier. I believe the second half of the marathon goes along this trail. This would be a nice way to end a marathon. There were self-fill aid stations throughout with jugs of water as you had to carry water but there were volunteers at the stations if anyone needed help. It was a simple course but there were mile markers and the relay portion which was the most complicated part seemed well organized. It was a little tight on portions of the trail which is why they said they couldn’t just have marathoners do it twice and I can see why that would be the case after running the course. It wasn’t the most exciting course but I really did enjoy it. Finish line was quite exciting and they call out your name as you pass the finish arch. I had a very good finishing time for this being my second half marathon in 2 days and reached my goal of beating yesterday and having a “negative split” for the weekend. Although this was a much easier race than yesterday, the only difficulty was it was very humid although temps again not bad for June. You are handed your medal and there is also water bottles and gatorade. The medal is very large and the ribbon is distance specific. I like that they have a magnetic challenge coin you can give to someone who helped you train as part of the medal. There was a large selection of post-race snacks including chips, bananas, cow tail candy, crackers, applesauce and multiple choices of different types of snack bars – fruit and grain, granola or protein (I chose the traditional granola bar)! I had to eat lunch at the baseball game since there wasn’t enough time in between and there was plenty of food to hold me over until then. There were also a choice of a local beer or a non-local hard seltzer if you drink alcohol. The start and finish in a park is nice to hang out at before or after race. This was an excellent race and I don’t think a race that is an out and back along a public trail could be done much better than this. After all the drama, I thought I would not want to do another race with Corrigan Sports but I have decided I am willing to give them another chance given how well this race was done. After I participated in the race, I genuinely think the Race Company was pretty blind sided by the city. This was clearly a very runner friendly race and the race company clearly cared about the runners from what I saw race day. I still have a hard time strongly recommending this race as the city of Wilmington does not seem to support the race very much and I would still be cautious about signing up for races by Corrigan Sports (they do several mostly in Maryland including Baltimore Running Festival) especially this year and especially a full marathon but I will give them a chance and do another one of their races in the future. Overall this was an excellent weekend in the Philadelphia area. I just wish the Yankees played better.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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This is a German themed half or full marathon produced by Uberendurance Sports in Pennypack park in Philadelphia. This is always held in June and is known to often be … MORE

This is a German themed half or full marathon produced by Uberendurance Sports in Pennypack park in Philadelphia. This is always held in June and is known to often be a very hot race. I had my eye on this race when looking for half marathons in driving distance this weekend and on almost the same day that Philadelphia announced allowing outdoor events making this race likely to happen, the nearby Delaware Running Festival that I was already registered for moved to the day after this race and I couldn’t resist the opportunity for two halves less than an hour apart in one weekend. This is a very cheap race ($60-$70) for a race in a bigger city. However it does not have a big city feel so if you wanted a high energy, big city race where you see all the sights of Philadelphia, this is not the race for you. If you want a more laid back, smaller race with easy logistics and a cheap price tag then sign up for this one. There wasn’t as much pre-race communication as some races but the week before you are sent a helpful (and very funny) race guide. Logistics were very easy and smooth. Packet pick-up is either the day before or the morning of which is great since its a Saturday race so I don’t need to take off Friday or find someone to pick up my packet. If you are doing race day packet pickup you have to park at the German club and then take a shuttle to the park. If you picked it up early you can park at the park. It is stressed a lot that for same day packet pick up you must go to German club first. This is a smaller race with about 500 participants so packet pickup was smooth and it was the perfect sized race for right now as it was small enough to pretty much be a normal race. I don’t think there were any special protocols except wear a mask on the shuttle. Packet included a long sleeved zipped jacket with a patch of the race logo. It’s pretty nice but kind of weird for summer swag as I doubt I will use it for several months. The shuttle was super smooth and easy. The start of the race was festive with an accordion player and there were enough porta potties that the lines weren’t too long. Weather was actually pretty good today in the mid 70s. We were lucky we didn’t have last week’s weather. The start of the race was just a normal mass start. It was a big enough race I think some self seeded corrals or at least signs to line up for pace may have helped but the race thinned out pretty quickly. As I said the course is through a park. The park is quite pretty but nothing special. It is as pretty but not prettier than parks we have here in Rochester. The course is a lollipop with 5.5 miles of paved road through the park followed by a loop that is mostly trail then you repeat the same 5.5 miles. The first 3 miles are pretty easy just some minor hills. None of them had to be walked though I did walk a few of them to save energy since I was doing two halves this weekend. The next 3 miles are paved and hilly. I definitely walked these hills and would have walked them even if I didn’t have a half the next day but if you actually hill train and don’t just walk hills like me you could run them. The next mile is bonkers. There is a short portion on grass. Gross I walked this since I didn’t want to get injured and don’t like grass and then a quite technical hill section up to “Mount Cuckoo”. I’ve done worse trails but this was harder than I expected. Not so hard that you need to do trail training or wear trail shoes for just this mile but hard enough to prevent you from reaching your time goals. Mount cuckoo was both my favorite and least favorite part of the course and definitely added to the quirkiness and charm of the race. You then finish the loop and do the steep hills and then the flatter section. The race was pretty well stocked with aid stations but given the potential heat and humidity I would recommend carrying water. It was nice to have normal aid stations with cups of water and gatorade handed to you. One aid station in the middle that you pass twice also had snacks and gels. Half marathoners go through the finish line while marathoners do it again. If you are on the fence about the marathon you are able to chicken out and get an official time and potential age group award for the half marathon (the age group awards are really cool but I’m way too slow a turtle to have a chance). At the finish line you get your medal and there is a nice selection of snacks before you take the bus back to the German club to celebrate. I was aiming for a 2:45 finishing time since I wanted to save energy for my half the next day. I was about a minute and a half slower than my goal. Mount Cuckoo….man. Despite just missing my goal I was super excited to see at the post-race refreshment table there were both twizzlers and granola bars, my two favorite post race snacks. There was also some delicious and refreshing watermelon slices. I think there was other stuff but I got too excited by the twizzlers to remember the rest. The medal is fine. It is on the smaller side for a half marathon medal but not tiny. It has a plain ribbon. It is not distance specific but does have the date. After I ate my granola bar and twizzlers, I took the shuttle back to the German club. There runners can go to the beer garden to redeem their two tickets they got at packet pick up for a beer and a brat (or a diet coke and an impossible burger in my case). Overall I thought this was a fun, solid race and a good price. It wasn’t the most exciting scenery or swag but especially if you are used to big city races this would be a nice break. I’m not sure I would drive down to Philadelphia for this race alone but I’m very happy I did it this weekend when I was practically in town anyways and would do it again if I were in Philadelphia for another reason and would definitely recommend it to locals.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

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This is a 5K at Fulkerson winery in the Fingerlakes region. It is produced by Confluence Running who have a few stores in Southern NY (Corning, Binghamton, etc.). This was … MORE

This is a 5K at Fulkerson winery in the Fingerlakes region. It is produced by Confluence Running who have a few stores in Southern NY (Corning, Binghamton, etc.). This was an inaugural race. Overall it was a much, much better experience than my last wine themed race (Virginia Wine County “Half Marathon” – the worst race ever!), but this race had a few things to work on. This year you signed up for waves of 50 every half hour from 10am to 11:30 am. This race is located about an hour and fifteen minutes from Rochester. I signed up for the last time slot so I could round first before the race since I was working this weekend. Rounding first was nice but the late start meant the race was very hot. It was 90 degrees and sunny today and the start time (even 10am) was way too late. I’m not sure much could be done about this since the winery opens at 10am. The RD though was very nice and let people from later waves start early given the heat which was great since I arrived about 45 minutes early. Packet pickup was right before the race. Swag included a nice tech material tank top and a wine tumbler. The tank top is bright pink and nice quality. It seems to be a nice material for running in but it seems a little weird for me to wear a shirt that says “Will Run for Wine” when I don’t drink alcohol. Oh well I do enjoy irony. The Tumbler is nice and has the correct race name. The area was absolutely beautiful. This is the scenery I was hoping to see in Virginia last week. The race was chipped timed and they let runners just go as a rolling start if they wanted to start before their waves. This made the start a little anti-climatic but I’m glad I wasn’t running during the heat of the day at 11:30. The course was gorgeous but harder than I expected. It is trail but not particularly technical but very hilly. You don’t need trail shoes. A lot of it is on grass weaving around the vineyard. Grass isn’t my favorite surface but this wasn’t bad grass to run on and it was neat to run through the vineyard. However there was no shade so I definitely walked most of the hills. There was also a smaller section in the forest which was more shaded. At some parts there were absolutely gorgeous views of Seneca Lake. My biggest complaint of the course and the race was I didn’t think it was very well marked. The markings were mostly just drawn on the ground and there were occasional flags. It would have been easy to get lost if you weren’t paying attention. There definitely should have been signs and volunteers. I’m also pretty sure one intersection wasn’t marked originally since I saw some of the early wave runners go off course running on the main road while driving into the winery which wasn’t part of the course and heard the RD mention it. To be fair, they did fix the mistake and by the time I got to the intersection you could not go the wrong way as there was a car and cones blocking it off. The RD cheered on all the runners at the finish. I did laugh that my Garmin showed the course to be just a tad short (3.0 miles vs 3.1 miles) but it is within normal error and not off by a mile and I’m not as concerned about the distance of 5Ks. There was only water at the finish line. I think it should be mandatory for every race to have some kind of granola bar at the end. I was super, super slow but is was super, super hot and there was about 300 feet of elevation gain. When I looked at the final results though I was in the middle of my age group and the overall winner was over 20 minutes so I think everyone was really slow today. There was also free wine tasting which is another perk over the Virginia Wine Country disaster but I obviously didn’t do the wine tasting. I thought this was a good race with a lot of potential. If they decide to hold this race again they need to do a better job with marking the course. I would also look into an earlier start but that may be out of the race company’s control. While there were some flaws, this was a much better wine race with beautiful scenery and nice swag. This is also a nice area for a day trip. If you are a wine drinker, there are lots of wineries to explore. If you are more of a hiker/outdoorsy person like me, Watkins Glen State Park is very close by along with other hikes in the Finger Lakes. I had to go home to catch up on some work right after the race but really enjoyed the views on the ride down and stopped in downtown Geneva on the way home for lunch. If this race is held again I’d be open to giving it another try if I’m in town.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
2
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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Very happy to find a local 5K to run this weekend while I am on call. This is a 5K that helps with the problem of hunger in the community. … MORE

Very happy to find a local 5K to run this weekend while I am on call. This is a 5K that helps with the problem of hunger in the community. It is located in Henrietta which is a suburb of Rochester about 10 minutes away from where I live so very convenient. Packet pickup was Thursday and Friday at the Henrietta Rec Center. The swag was excellent for a $20 local 5K. It included a fine cotton shirt, a water bottle, lip balm, and a finisher ribbon and came in a reusable grocery bag. I liked the finisher ribbon idea. While obviously not as nice as a medal, it is a good cheaper alternative as it is nice to have some kind of finisher item to place in my medal collection. The race started in a park in Henrietta. I wouldn’t call the start unorganized but you could tell the race organizers were just as confused as we all are about how much social distancing is supposed to happen now. It sounds like they originally had plans for waved starts and more social distancing but now that things are opening up they loosened the plan to make it more fun and it was sort of a rolling mass start. The course is pretty easy but nothing special. The only challenge was it was hot outside. The first 2 miles are through local neighborhoods. Kind of boring but safe and the streets were closed to traffic. The last mile is in a park on paved and gravel trail. Also kind of a boring park. I did see two direction signs that were placed incorrectly in the park (why I took away a sneaker from production) but it was easy to follow the main path through the park. I crossed the finish line at 3.1 miles exactly. My time wasn’t bad for the heat but not my fastest nor my slowest 5K. At the end there is a table with some water, a table with results, and then you walk to an amphitheater in the park where they give out food bags. The food bag is incredible. This race isn’t just about making sure community members don’t go hungry but also making sure the runners don’t go hungry. The bag had a water bottle, Wegman’s brand electrolyte drink, a granola bar, a fruit and oat bars (yes two bars!), a bag of trail mix, a banana and a clementine. There was definitely more calories in this bag than you burn in a 5K. Overall I thought this was a pretty well done local race. The course was nothing special but it went to a good cause. And the swag bag and food bag were very good for the price. This is one I would definitely do again if I were in town for the weekend.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
2
SWAG
4

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This is a Friday evening trail race produced by Yellow Jacket Racing that takes place at Mendon Ponds Park which has some nice and tough trails. You have the option … MORE

This is a Friday evening trail race produced by Yellow Jacket Racing that takes place at Mendon Ponds Park which has some nice and tough trails. You have the option of a 4 mile or 8 mile race. The 8 miler is 2 loops of the 4 mile and they allow you to drop down if you didn’t realize how hard they would make this course. I was on call this week so chose the shorter 4 miler. That was the correct choice as this course was brutal. I will write a caveat to this review that it has been an exceptionally busy week at work and I am very sleep deprived right now and it was also really hot out so I wasn’t really in the mood for a tough race but I’m trying to run 100 races this year so couldn’t say no to a local Friday race. Packet pick-up was the day before at the store. Packet included a T-shirt. it is just a cotton T-shirt but the design is cool with neon skeleton logo and its a nice forest green. This race also had a rolling start from 5pm to 6pm. Not the most exciting but convenient for being on call. I was driving in near the beginning of the race and it seemed at the start it was probably more exciting with lot of runners but by the time I parked and got ready it was the middle so a little anti-climatic. Mendon is a fun but tough place to run but this course was a little much especially for my current mood. The first 0.5 mile was mostly on grass which isn’t my favorite but it was at least relatively flat. The rest is through trails and is more fun but the hills are insane. I run at Mendon just about every week and I didn’t even know these hills existed. One of the downhills was even harder than the uphill. My Garmin had about 600 feet of elevation gain total. There were a lot of rocks, roots and horse poop to maneuver around as an added challenge. The trail is quite pretty. I was sad I didn’t see any of my deer friends on the trail like I usually do but I saw them on my drive out. Just a heads up the course is long and was about 4.5 miles but I have no right to complain about a long course after my rant about the short course at Virginia Wine Country half marathon. I really didn’t care that it was long, it’s just a heads up and they describe this as 4ish miles not exactly 4 miles. Ugh the end is again on grass to the finish line. Again the RDs know me so I got a personal cheer and a bag of goodies including a nutrigrain bar, crackers and chips so I can replenish my snack supply. In the past I think there had been medals but there weren’t this year which is fine since since they did not say there would be a medal this year and I don’t need a medal for every cheap, short race. It was also manually timed. But timing seemed precise. The times aren’t listed yet so I don’t know how accurate they were but I assume they are accurate based on YJR’s usual attention to detail. But I was super, slow since I was tired and hot and I wouldn’t mind if my official terrible time doesn’t get published. I think if it were 10 degrees cooler and I got 5 more hours of sleep this week and my deer friends showed up on the course, this might have been a 4 sneaker race. It was well produced and very well marked. It wasn’t my favorite race but I would do this again if I were in town since it’s a Friday night so not competing with other races. But I also wouldn’t stay in town for this race Friday night if there was a race I wanted to travel to that was several hours away on Saturday.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
2

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I initially signed up for this race as more of a checkbox race to get a half done in Maryland on a date when it was really the only half … MORE

I initially signed up for this race as more of a checkbox race to get a half done in Maryland on a date when it was really the only half marathon in driving distance. I didn’t have huge expectations. Basically just that it would be a 13.1 mile race (which apparently is too much to ask for sometimes) but this race surprised me and I actually really enjoyed it. This is also put on by Bishop’s Events. Bishop’s Events puts on cheap, low key, no frills races throughout the DC area. This race takes place on the C&O trail in Great Falls Park on the border between Maryland and Virginia on the Maryland side. Just an FYI they say the park requires for you to pay for parking but if you arrive early no one is there and you don’t have to pay. Bib pickup is morning of and is easy. The shirt was a nice purple color and had the logo of the charity which for this race was the Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation which was appropriate for Veterans day. I feel like Bishop’s upped their shirt game this weekend. Both shirts were nicer than the ones I got in March. Not amazing shirts but solid tech shirts that fit that I will wear. They also gave participants the name of a soldier who died in combat to honor their race with which was a nice memorial day touch. This was one of the larger Bishop’s Events with about 100 participants in the half. There were a good number of people from my half marathon clubs since it was one of the only halfs today which made it more fun than some smaller races. Half marathoners went off in 4 waves based on bib number with waves going off every couple minutes. I was in the last wave. The start went pretty smooth. I was expecting the course to be a boring but pleasant canal trail path but it was absolutely beautiful and amazing. It is on non-technical trail. No trail experience necessary but watch out for rocks. I was in such awe of the surroundings by the falls I may have tripped over a rock and bloodied my lower right leg. Very shallow cuts but scratched up a large area of my leg. Looked worse than it was. Along with beautiful views of the falls there were so many wild animals. Animal sightings is probably my #1 criteria for how much I like a course. I saw several deer, great blue herons, turtles, some ducklings, and lots of butterflies and song birds on the course. And of course I stopped to take pictures. When I put my headphones down I could hearing chirping birds and croaking frogs. It was so nice and pleasant. And also the weather was perfect! Also the half marathon turnaround point was where it was supposed to be to my relief. The course is quite easy with just gradual inclines and declines and only about 300 feet of elevation gain. I marked it 2 sneaker difficulty just to remind you to look out for the rocks! While the course was unexpectedly amazing, the rest of the aspects of the race were just okay. Again this is a cheap, local race that raises money for charity so okay is fine for a race like this. While there were no major production issues, this race is definitely lacking some production elements seen in larger races and this was more evident for a longer race like a half marathon than for the 5K and 10Ks I’ve done with Bishop’s. There were 3 aid stations you passed twice. The first and third had water and gatorade and second had just water. They had cups placed that were filled and also jugs you could get water from which works well. This race though was missing medical which I could have used to help cover my bloody leg. The volunteer at the first aid station was really nice and gave me some napkins to help clean it up but could have used bandages. I had to wait until I finished the race to clean up my leg properly but I did find a use for my Wine Country Shirt as I need a cloth item from my car to clean the dirt and dried blood from my leg. I also would have liked to see porta-potties and some kind of gel or chew on course. But again the basic production aspects were all there and the race was the correct distance and the timing was accurate. Another issue which isn’t really the race’s fault is since this was an open course and a beautiful day the last mile and a half were full of non-race participants and some had very poor trail etiquette so there was a lot of weaving around people but I did make up a fraction of the missing mile from Saturday with the extra weaving. At the finish line you get your medal. These races do not have the best medals. This one was at least a little larger and nicer than some of the other Bishop’s medals I have but one of my worst half marathon medals. It does have the date and race name/distance on the back. There is also some jugs of water and gatorade and usually a box of snacks but the snacks were very picked over today. There was just goldfish crackers which are okay. I thought my finishing time was very good for someone who ran 2 other races this weekend including an almost half marathon 2 days ago, injured themselves in the first half a mile of the race and took like a million pictures of wildlife. I actually ran about the entire course. I think I only walked for about 1 minute which is the least I’ve walked in a half marathon. Overall this isn’t the best produced or most exciting race but the course was gorgeous and the registration very cheap and you got exactly what you paid for. This was about half the price of the disastrous Virginia Wine Country half I did on Saturday and overall a much more positive experience and much more bang for your buck. I think even if the Virginia Wine Country Race was the correct distance, this still would have been a better race and was definitely more scenic. This isn’t the race to do for Maryland if you want a large, high energy race with great swag but if you want a convenient, cheap, no frills race that showcases a beautiful part of the state this turned out to actually be a pretty solid option and not just a checkbox race. I would definitely consider doing this race again or another Bishop’s event on this course.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3
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This was an event by Bishop's Events who produce small, low key events thoughout the DC area most weekends. This was the exact same course and pretty much the same … MORE

This was an event by Bishop’s Events who produce small, low key events thoughout the DC area most weekends. This was the exact same course and pretty much the same race as the “Rolling Hills” race I did there in March so I called myself a “repeat runner.” It even went to the same charity and it is an awesome charity helping out dogs and cats! You can read that review for more details. Today I just did the 5K as a “break” between half marathons. I really liked the shirt for this race. It is grey and has the dog and cat logo for the charity really big. I will wear it all the time to promote pet adoption. The course is super fun, single track trail. I wore trail shoes today and it was better with trail shoes especially as it was a little muddy but better condition that I was expecting. It is a super fun course. It is an easy trail race but a tough race if you are more used to road. I was also really impressed that they improved the course markings and had a volunteer at the one offshoot where there wasn’t someone last time based off (I assume) feedback from the runner who went the wrong way in March. It’s nice to see a race company respond to constructive feedback in a professional way after yesterday. I wish I just slept in Saturday and did this half marathon instead of that Wine Country joke of a race. Production for this race was solid though not amazing but these are low cost races and the distance was correct! The medal was the same as the Rolling Hills with the little paw print. As I’ve said before these are solid, low key races and great for combining for multi race weekends in DC.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

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What an epic disaster! I will start by saying do NOT sign up for this race or anything produced by Bad to the Bone Sports. This was the rudest, most … MORE

What an epic disaster! I will start by saying do NOT sign up for this race or anything produced by Bad to the Bone Sports. This was the rudest, most unprofessional race company I have ever dealt with and I race a lot. Also $100 for this “half marathon” was a joke. I will cut to the chase and say the reason I put “half marathon” in quotes is the course was about 1 mile short which is an egregious and unacceptable mistake and the response by the race company was even worse. Now for the full review. I was looking for somewhere to go for my three day weekend and the DC area seemed like a nice and appropriate place to spend memorial day and I found a race on all 3 days there. This sounded like the most interesting of the races offered this weekend so even though I am not a wine drinker, I enjoy pretty, farmland and thought this sounded nice and it had mostly good or at least decent reviews. Just some background info on the race. This race changed production companies a couple years ago. It used to be by “Destination Races” and the reviews from prior years are based on their production. This year it was done by Bad to the Bone Sports who also do the Charlottesville Marathon and a few other races if you want to know what races to avoid. This year the location also changed to Tarara winery in Leesburg. Okay, fine covid I get it. This race is located outside of DC. I stayed in a hotel by Dulles airport even though I drove since it was equidistant from all my races. One positive about this race is they offer morning of packet pick-up which I did since I drove in Friday. Friday night was very rainy, luckily the rain mostly cleared by Saturday morning but it made parking a muddy disaster. Should have been a bad sign. Packet pick-up was easy. I was actually pretty excited for the race as the bib was really pretty and personalized and this was a medium sized race (capped at 500) so was able to be pretty normal and still fit within size limits now that things are opening up. The start was just a normal start. I did think there should have been some kind of sign or something recommending to line up by pace but it was just a mass start. The field was small enough and it was chipped time so it was fine. The race is all on the winery property and it is multiple out and backs. It is described as “rolling hills” and we know what that means. As I’ve said before I don’t really mind a scenic, hilly course. However I wasn’t that impressed with the scenery. It was nice enough but I’ve seen much nicer farms in New York and Vermont. The course was kind of annoying where there was this one and back you did twice with another out and back inbetween. What made it annoying was the front of the pack caught up to the large back of the pack group I was in on their second out and back while we were on our first. The lead runner was escorted by police on motorcycles who yelled through a megaphone for us to get out of the way. I understand why this was done but it was obviously going to happen with how the course was set up and they should have figured out a better course. The course is a mix of paved and gravel roads. With the rain it was kind of muddy but not terrible. There were not mile markers every mile which I feel like for a $100 road race there should be huge mile markers. I did notice a 5 mile marker at the wrong place and thought it was just accidentally there but that should have been a bad sign. There were also pretty much no spectators which is not surprising since it is all in the winery and is in a rural area. However other races I’ve done in rural areas such as the EVL Halloween half marathon and Amish Country Running Festival placed signs throughout the course for encouragement in some of the more rural sections. I feel like if I pay $100 you can put a few signs up. The aid stations were really good and frequent though. One of my few positives. I liked how they did it. They had cups placed filled with water and gatorade and then also water jugs with foot pedals if you wanted it contactless. However the gatorade was very watered down. I swear they tried to cut costs every way they could. Anyways I get to the end of the out and back at the halfway mark and I noticed my Garmin only says 6.12 miles. At that point I realized the reason the 5 mile marker was off is the course was off by almost 1 mile! I immediately lost any motivation since I realized this was not going to count for any half marathon clubs and I wanted to save energy for my half on Monday. I walked all the uphill in the second half. I was pretty annoyed and it was hard to enjoy the rest of the race. I mostly just started looking for farm animals and saw a few cows in the distance, some ducks, a cat and a really cute alpaca. I made it to the finish line and my Garmin said 12.2 miles. Yes the course was short about a mile. And I confirmed this with several runners so it was not a Garmin error. Completely unacceptable. Especially for an expensive race that is billed as a “destination lifestyle experience” trying to attract runners from all over. I understand human error and if this was a cheap, local, mom and pop type race company that I paid $30 for a half marathon I could forgive them but not a $100 race. Absolutely ridiculous. If I spend $100 on a race I expect flawless production and at the very least an accurate course. At the finish line you got your medal and your shirt. The medal is really cute with grapes and a baby duck but is not distant specific and not year specific and it turns out was just the medal for 2020 that they reused. I mean I get why they would use the 2020 medals but what was my $100 entry fee used for. Also the shirts are literally the cheapest worst shirts I have every seen. They are black, just have the name and a picture of grapes in one color (so cheap) and made of scratchy polyester so not comfortable to run in or sleep in. And they are tiny. I get men’s mediums since I like baggy shirts and this one is tight on me which means it is smaller than a men’s small should be and it is definitely the men’s shirt because they initially handed me a women’s medium which looked like it might fit a toddler. Really what did they do with my money if the medals were reused, the shirt was cheap and production was terrible. There is also a wine festival but you have to pay an additional $25 to enter on top of the ridiculous entry fee. I don’t drink alcohol so didn’t participate but this race was so bad I was tempted to buy a glass and start drinking again. Also the free post-race snacks were super lame just a bag of chips and a small thing of M&Ms plus a banana and water bottle. There was a food truck you could buy food from but they advertised two food trucks so they didn’t even get that right lol. To add insult to injury, the race company was completely rude afterwards. I was waiting for an apology email or something but crickets. They seemed to want to ignore the measurement issue and pretend it never happened. Anyways someone commented on one of their posts on their facebook page that the race was short. Instead of apologizing, the race company just deleted the comment. People then commented again. Instead of apologizing the company again deleted the comments and made it so no one could comment on any posts. Super professional! They then offered an explanation saying the wind knocked down the turn around sign for the first out and back and it was placed in the wrong location. They did not apologize at all in the explanation. The tone actually sounded annoyed that runners would complain about their mistake. Also this message is in a comment on a facebook post and not an email sent to all participants so you have to look for it. I still have not seen an apology email or any apology for their mistake. I get it we all make mistakes. I expect less mistakes if I pay this much for a race but what I definitely expect is an apology when a race company screws up this bad. I have seen same day apologies for much, much, much more minor things by good race companies. The only good thing I can say about this race company is they have chosen the perfect company name because they truly are bad to the bone. Not in a cool, tough way but in that they are literally bad at their jobs to the bone. Avoid this race and avoid this race company at all costs. And the costs are high!

(also I am not usually this negative a person and I try to give race companies the benefit of the doubt – please read my positive reviews there are a lot of great races out there. If you are looking for Virginia, I highly recommend Shamrock in Virginia Beach)

***Just an update 1 week later and still no apology! But I did get an email to spend $49.99 on personalized race photos in case I wanted to waste more money on a race I am trying to forget***

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
1
SCENERY
3
SWAG
2

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The Lilac Festival held annually in May is one of the biggest events in Rochester and the accompanying Lilac Run 5K/10K is a very popular event with a few thousand … MORE

The Lilac Festival held annually in May is one of the biggest events in Rochester and the accompanying Lilac Run 5K/10K is a very popular event with a few thousand runners every year. The Lilac Festival and Run were canceled last year but this year they figured out how to hold them with social distancing protocols. I was on call this weekend so very excited to have a local race to do. This was by far the largest running event I have participated in Rochester, NY since I moved here and I assume the biggest running event here since the pandemic since I’ve done most of the races here. There were about 1500 runners with a little under 1000 doing the 5K and a little over 500 doing the 10K. Production of this race was absolutely amazing and they found that perfect balance between safety and normalcy which is impressive given the number of runners. This year the race was moved to Genessee Valley Park. Normally it is in Highland Park where the Lilac Festival is but by moving the race to Genessee Valley Park they were able to keep the course open for several hours and also help mitigate the crowd. This did make the race less festive since it was separate from the festival but was really the only option and Highland Park is only about 2 miles away so would be easy to go to festival after. Genessee Valley Park was also very convenient for me (especially on call) since it is about 1/2 mile from work so I could park at work and do my warm-up/cool down walk to/from the race. Packet pick-up was held at Medved Running store the week before and you choose the date of packet pickup when you registered. Packet pickup was outside the store which I think is best for safety. Packet included bib, shirt and a tote bag with some coupons for some local stores and the best part a $5 Dunkin gift card. Shirt is polyblend and its pretty nice but I don’t love the color. It is this greyish teal kind of color. It’s not actually a terrible color but it clashes with the race logo which is pink and purple. A light pink shirt would have looked so much better but I guess they didn’t want the shirts too “feminine” or something. Still a nice, comfortable shirt I will wear. For the race morning as I said I parked at work and walked to the park. The start was very well organized. Runners chose a time slot at registration and went off every 5 minutes. The 5K time slots were earlier in the morning and the 10K started at 9:30. Runners who deferred from last year got to pick first so the earliest slots were filled but I chose the next earlier at 9:40 which was the third 10K slot. At the start runners went through 3 corrals with their time slot of about 50 other runners: The staging corral, on deck corral and starting corral. Runners had to wear masks in starting area and everyone was complying. In the starting corral runners lined up in three rows at cones spaced 6 feet apart and 3 runners went off every 5 seconds. Worked very well, added some excitement and also felt very safe. Also this was many people’s first live running event since the pandemic started which added to the excitement even if it was about my 60th event since the pandemic. The course itself was fine. I normally do my runs on the canal path and frequently in Genessee Valley Park so it wasn’t too exciting of a place for me to run but it is a nice area and it is quite fast. It is pretty flat just a few inclines and declines and the only things resembling a hill are a few bridges you have to cross. The reason I added a sneaker to the difficulty is the end was the toughest part as there were two back to back bridges near the end and it ended on an incline. I had to take two calls during the run and it was a little hot and humid so my finishing time was mediocre but it was not due to course difficulty. This year there was only one water stop around the 4.5 mile mark for the 10K and about halfway through the 5K. They set it up with jugs of water to self serve and also left some cups for people who weren’t carrying water. I really liked this. Much preferred to the wasteful little water bottles. I was carrying water but as it was hot it was just in the right place for a refill but I do think given how hot it was it would have been better if they added an additional water station sooner for those not carrying water. But then again this was clearly stated in the pre-race instructions and they specifically recommended carrying a bottle so can’t really complain. The finish line are was in a separate park of the park to keep things spread out. There was a nice finish arch and the announcer called out each runners name as they went through which was a nice touch. At the end you were given your medal. It is a nice medal with the race logo and pretty pink/purple colors and good size for a 5K/10K medal but not bigger than my marathon medals which is the right size. They also had bags of food which included Biosteel Sports Drink, a banana and some candies. And the best part there was a Dunkin truck that had cups of coffees and bags of bagels and cream cheese to grab. The coffee and bagels were better post race food than the longer races I have been doing. It was probably a little hot for coffee for most people but I’m not most people and will always take coffee. Overall I thought this was a really well-done race and they did a great job hosting an event with over 1000 runners that felt completely safe and this would have felt safe even in the late fall before vaccination. This year I think the event felt a little less connected to the lilac festival being in a separate park which was a little disappointing but hopefully next year it will be back to Highland Park and the move was definitely better than not holding the race. I also did visit the Lilac Festival Saturday and it was fun and there are some beautiful lilacs (there were also few in Genessee Valley Park along the course but not as pretty as the ones at the festival). The lilac festival and this race are fun events in Rochester. I wouldn’t necessarily say they are worth flying across the country to attend but definitely a must do for locals and worth a couple hour drive for day trip. I don’t generally plan my schedule around shorter races but I will do this one again if I am in town.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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I initially had a couple days off around this weekend for a trip to California but my plans got canceled and I needed a new plan for my short vacation. … MORE

I initially had a couple days off around this weekend for a trip to California but my plans got canceled and I needed a new plan for my short vacation. I realized if I ran a marathon this weekend it would be 3 marathons in under 90 days and would qualify me for marathon maniacs so I decided to run one. I was looking for a race ideally in a new state in a location I wanted to spend 4 days. When Tobacco Road announced moving the race from March to this weekend, it sounded perfect. This was a really hard race to produce with local guidelines and the RD and those involved with the race production clearly went above and beyond to make this race happen. The marathon was changed to Saturday and the half kept on Sunday to allow more spacing. I actually ran the race on May 15 not 16. I flew into Raleigh on Friday. Luckily I had Friday off so I could arrive early. Out-of-staters had to go to packet pick-up the day before and show proof of being fully vaccinated or having a negative covid test. Packet pickup worked well. It was outside a running store and went smoothly. I liked that it was outside. Packet included shirt which is a nice, tech shirt. They were pretty spring colors, a light yellow for the full and a light blue for the half. They have the race logo and are a little simple in design but nice. You also got a thing of Gu and a race buff. If you needed anything else you could buy it in the store. I stayed at the host hotel the Embassy suite in the research triangle. It is nice but just a warning it is about a 15 minute drive from the race start. Race start was pretty smooth. This year you signed up for waves from 6am to 8am. The first waves were for people expecting to finish in under 3:30 or over 6:30. I expected to be pretty slow for this race since I somehow have neither fully recovered and tapered nor built up the necessary mileage for a marathon (all my long runs between the 50K and this race were half marathons which you can read the reviews about), but did expect to finish under 6:30 so I choose the next earliest 6:30AM time slot to allow for the course to be open longer and I realized it could potentially be really hot in North Carolina in May so wanted to run when it was cooler. I arrived about 45 minutes early. Parking was easy this year for the marathon but sounds a real pain during regular years. Plenty of porta potties at the start. They ended up letting people from later waves start early and it was more of a rolling start. Not super exciting but there was an announcer and music and it was very safe. Luckily the weather was actually pretty good today. It only got to the mid 70s by the end of the race and the first few hours were perfect running weather. The course is shaped kind of like a T with about 2 miles on roads before taking a right onto the American Tobacco Rail Trail where you then run an out and back and then keep going and run another out and back and then go back on the road for the final 2 miles. They used the regular marathon course this year but the half marathon is a modified course. The miles on the road are a little hilly. Nothing terrible just rollers. The trail is relatively flat but there are some inclines and declines. It is advertised as flat and fast. I wouldn’t quite call it flat but also wouldn’t call it hilly. It is a relatively fast course. If you actually trained and tapered properly you could have a fast time. It’s a pretty area so the road isn’t too bad to look at but the trail is really pretty and the star of the marathon. I really enjoyed running the trail. Mix of crushed limestone and a few paved sections so nice on the joints. It is a very pleasant, peaceful run although a bit monotonous running it for over 20 miles. The trail isn’t the best place for spectators but at all the intersections with roads along the trail there were lots of cheerful spectators. Just know there are some longer stretches without spectators. There were well spaced aid stations but ugh only little water bottles which are a pain and no gels or electrolytes but this was communicated and I was prepared. There was a nice amount of runners running the race so it wasn’t lonely but also well spaced. I actually think out and backs work well during the pandemic so you end up seeing more runners. It heated up a little in the second half but the trail was shaded so stayed pretty cool. The last 2 miles on the road were quite hot especially the uphills. I had a fast first half but kind of bonked out in the second half due to not really training or tapering. I didn’t really set a specific goal just to get an official finishing time so I would qualify for marathon maniacs and ideally finish under 6 hours and I did that. At the finish line you are given your medal. The medal is great. It is huge, specific to the distance and always train themed given the rail trail. This year along with a big train in the middle there is a little train on top that moves along the track. I don’t know if its quite as cool as the super bowl ring but its one of my best medals. Snack selection not the best since you know covid. You get a bag with a kind bar and pretzels and there were also bananas and chocolate milk (blech!) on a table you could grab. Overall I thought this was a really good race: nice and not too difficult course, great production, nice race shirt and nicer medal. Other than being a bit monotonous I have no other complaints. Also seemed to be the safest of all the larger races I have done during covid. I would definitely recommend this for North Carolina. It is a short enough flight I could visit in just a weekend so would actually consider coming back to run it again but probably just the half.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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I was heading over to NH for mother's days and thought I'd stop by Vermont on the way to run this inaugural race and check off a new state. This … MORE

I was heading over to NH for mother’s days and thought I’d stop by Vermont on the way to run this inaugural race and check off a new state. This is produced by Race Vermont and is located in Shelburne which is just south of Burlington. I drove up Friday night and stayed in the Holiday Inn Express in South Burlington which was very convenient. Race morning was smooth with parking and packet pick-up at Shelburne Field House. Due to Vermont travel rules, out of staters had to show proof of covid vaccine or negative covid test at check in and there was also a temperature screen. This made the race very safe. Packet included bib and you could pay for shirt. Shirt is nice poly blend shirt and has year on it but not distance specific. Race registration was very cheap even adding on the price of shirt it was less than most halfs. It was a pretty small race with about 100 participants in the half. For the start of the race participants stood in the field house in sections by pace. My only safety complaint is I thought it was odd for an otherwise extremely safe race to start indoors but absolutely everyone had a mask on properly (no noses to be seen) and everyone was 6 feet apart. The RD gave an intro to the course and race rules. He did say he thought this was a fast course and I have absolutely no idea on what planet this would ever be considered a fast course. Maybe on the hilly, hippie planet of Vermont. Anyways the racers were called out by pace and one by one went through the start line which was chipped timed. Very smooth, safe start. Both organized but also flexible. Wouldn’t work for a huge race but worked well for a race this size. The start of the course is on the sidewalk of a busy road this was the only part of the course I didn’t love. The rest of the course is through beautiful countryside and is wonderful. There are scenes of mountains and lovely farms. I saw some cows and horses but they were too far to get a good pic. Most of the race was on paved road, part was on a dirt road and a few miles were on non-technical trail which was a nice break on the joints. This was one of the most scenic road halfs I’ve done. It was also one of the hilliest. This was the second toughest road half I’ve done after Amish Country Running Festival. These hills were more than rolling and somewhat unrelenting. I don’t really run to PR so I don’t mind a hilly and scenic race but I wouldn’t plan on PRing this one. There was nothing crazy so I guess if you did a lot of hill training and really pushed yourself you could get a good finishing time. There was only one water stop around the half way point with small bottles of water. It was perfect running weather (cool and cloudy) so I carried water and refilled it there and was fine with only one stop. I do wish there were more water stops though just in case and also gels and electrolytes but this was told to us before. Course was well marked and there were plenty of volunteers and police to direct us and direct traffic since it was an open course. I enjoyed the course but it was a little lonely as it was a small race and I was running by myself a lot. I have a marathon next week so didn’t push myself too hard and walked a lot of hills. I was planning to finish around 2:45 and paced myself perfectly. At the finish line there was a table with medals and a table with snacks and water. The medal is pretty nice for a cheap race. Good size and sparkly though not distance specific. I also wish it had something to indicate the date or say something about it being an inaugural race. Food included fruit, granola bars and pop chips along with water. I did notice they started to close things down as I finished and there were a handful of runners behind me so this may not have been the most turtle friendly for them. After the race I went to Burlington for vegan food at Pingala Cafe and then drove to NH. I thought this was a good inaugural race. It was a little small and hilly but absolutely gorgeous. I’d consider doing this race again or another one of Race Vermont’s races since Vermont is one of my favorite places for a weekend trip. I’d recommend this race for someone who prefers small, beautiful races in the countryside but not for someone who needs high energy, crowded races or someone looking to PR.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3

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Now that things are starting to get back to normal, Yellow Jacket Racing (YJR) is holding their Wednesday evening Dirt Cheap Trail Races. This year they have three scheduled and … MORE

Now that things are starting to get back to normal, Yellow Jacket Racing (YJR) is holding their Wednesday evening Dirt Cheap Trail Races. This year they have three scheduled and possible will add more. These are low key 5ish mile evening trail races held on Wednesday evenings. They are dirt cheap with registration under $20 but as a result no swag. In the past if you signed up for the series you got a shirt but that wasn’t the case this year probably because they haven’t confirmed the exact number of races this year. This course was the exact same as the Dirt Cheap Halloween Edition Race in Durand Eastman Park last October so I called myself a repeat runner even though the race technically had a different name. This year the races have a rolling start from 5pm to 6pm. Packet pickup is recommended the day before but also available evening of race. I got my bib at the store yesterday. A minor complaint is the website advertised a chip timed race but this ended up being manually timed. The manual timing was extremely precise and results posted very promptly so not a big deal but they should update the website. YJR has been extremely busy planning a whole bunch of races now that NY is opening up so it’s okay that they missed a detail. At this point in the pandemic, I thought the rolling start was a little lame given this was a small race with only about 100 participants. I usually critique that things aren’t safe enough but I do think now things can be a little more normal but I understand erring on safety. I did find the rolling start to be very stress free as I just left after work, did my pre race routine and went. It just was not too exciting. I did start more in the middle of the time frame so it may have been more exciting in the beginning. The race course was really nice. It was absolutely beautiful in the springtime and now things are starting to be green. The best views were by the lake where some lovely swans were swimming. I have gotten much better at trail running training for my ultra. I remember thinking this course was really tough last fall. I wouldn’t call it an easy course but it seemed much easier. I ran almost all of it except the steepest uphills and downhills. As a result I shaved 5 minutes off my time. The race seemed completely safe as I was running alone a lot. I think I saw more people on my non-race trail run yesterday. I still really enjoyed the trail and the course was very well marked. The RDs know me by now so that made the finish line a little more exciting since they cheered me on. As I said, my time was very fast for a hilly trail race. You then got your bag of snacks so I will no longer have to go hungry now that YJR is supplying my snacks again. This was an enjoyable run, I look forward to the next one.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
1

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I'm a huge football fan and Canton, Ohio is a nice distance away from Rochester for a weekend trip (about 4.5 hours), so this race was on my radar even … MORE

I’m a huge football fan and Canton, Ohio is a nice distance away from Rochester for a weekend trip (about 4.5 hours), so this race was on my radar even before Covid and I was excited they were planning a live race when the other large races nearby this weekend on my bucket list (Pittsburgh, Flying Pig) were canceled or postponed. This race was very large for a race during the pandemic and a ton went into the planning and production. There was if anything too frequent communication. There were emails with updates at first monthly, then weekly, and then daily. I appreciated the check in but it was a little confusing since there wasn’t one email with all the info but more is better than less. Bib was mailed this year but normally there is an expo on Friday and Saturday. I drove in Friday night and did the 5K Saturday (try to do it if you can the medal is great – see my previous review and pic). Marathoners parked at the stadium and half marathoners parked at the Beldon Village Mall and took a shuttle. Parking was very easy and shuttle was very smooth. There is a lot of lodging by the mall. I stayed in the Holiday Inn Express in Beldon Village which was very convenient. The course was changed this year and started and ended at the stadium at the Pro Football HOF. This year the race was sent off in waves and you were assigned by predicted finishing time. The marathon went first and started between 7 and 7:15. The half marathon waves started between about 8:00 and 10:00am and were set up so that you would join marathoners of a similar pace at around the halfway point of the marathon. This was a pretty smart way to space out the runners and not keep the course open for 10+ hours and I hadn’t seen it done before. However there were two downsides 1. As a slower runner I started close to 10am and it was hot as heck today and 2. the half marathon course basically felt like the second half of a marathon course i.e. super boring just miles to make the measurement work. The start at the stadium was super cool. Also there were hardly any lines for the porta potties. The waved starts worked well and allowed enough space for social distancing. At first it felt a little sparse but as soon as the marathoners joined there were the perfect amount of runners around. Although I’m guessing they were quite jealous of our fresh legs. The course as I said was super boring. Just an out and back zig zagging through the suburbs. Literally that was all it was house after house after house. The good thing about the suburbs though is there was a lot of spectator support. The most I’ve seen during covid. The course had rolling hills. They weren’t too bad. Slightly less elevation gain than Gettysburg. However it was like 80 degrees out and the slower runners were out in the middle of the day so it was oppressively hot and even short inclines were killer. Shout out to the woman spraying us with her hose even if it is wasteful of water it was just what I needed. I carried water but there seemed to be plenty of aid stations. However again it was annoying little water bottles. Also no gatorade or gels but this was communicated. I do wish they figured out how to change this. It was not really safe to run without electrolytes today. I was prepared since I knew this in advance and had a pack of extra salty margarita flavored clif blocks that I ate throughout and bought this pouch of gatorade from target that I drank half way through. While the course was boring it was in a safe neighborhood and was not unpleasant and the finish line was awesome in the stadium! The energy from the stadium gave me a last minute push to finish under 2:45. This was one of my slowest road halfs but with the heat I completed my main goal of finishing and not getting heat stroke. Outside the stadium they had tables set up with finisher awards and food. The medal is absolutely amazing. It is designed like a super bowl ring and is big and sparkly and super cool. I think it might be my favorite medal. This is the last year they are doing the ring designs. I kind of wish they would do them every year since I would then have to do this race at least 8 times so I could say I have more rings than Tom Brady but looking at past pics it seems the medals that aren’t rings are usually equally cool. The shirt is meh. It is black poly-blend with the race logo. There is also a finisher blanket that is really nice. Food was kind of lame this year with granola bar, chips and Ho-Hos. I hadn’t eaten a Ho-Ho in like 10 years so that was kind of fun. I heard there is normally better food. The shuttle back to the mall was super easy. There are lots of places for post-race food and beverages at the mall. I went to the Melt Bar and Grilled which makes these giant, very extra grilled cheese sandwiches and the best part most of their food can be modified to be made vegan! While the course was boring, this was a very fun weekend. I also explored both the Pro Football HOF (normally you get free entry with the race but not this year) and the Rock & Roll HOF in nearby Cleveland. As a sports and music nerd I loved both museums. I thought production and swag for this race were top-notch and made up for the mediocre course. If you are a football fan you should do this for the swag and to check out the museum. If you are a local it is a well-produced race. If you are not a football fan and not a local and looking for an Ohio race, there are probably better ones.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
2
SWAG
5
My Media

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I did the 5K as a warm-up run for the half marathon tomorrow. More specifics regarding the race and the weekend will be in that review to follow. The 5K … MORE

I did the 5K as a warm-up run for the half marathon tomorrow. More specifics regarding the race and the weekend will be in that review to follow. The 5K is not at the football stadium but in downtown Canton. For the 5K this year there was in-person packet pick-up the morning of the race as opposed to the larger half and full marathons which had the bibs mailed to participants this year. One great thing about this race is that there is always race day packet pick up for the 5K so you can arrive at 10pm Friday and do both races without having to pay extra for mailing the bib or finding someone else to pick it up. I arrived just when bib pick up opened up at 6:30 and had prime parking. Bib pick up easy and plenty of porta potties at start. Weather today was nice. A little cool at the start but warmed up quickly. My biggest complain is the corrals and why I took a sneaker off production. For the start of the 5K you lined up based on based and were sent off in groups every couple of minutes. The race was chipped timed and this should of worked well but about 5 to 10 minutes before the start they had us move forward and packed all together way closer than 6 feet apart which was completely unnecessary and I would have felt very uncomfortable with this if I were not vaccinated especially as while almost every runner had a mask only about 75 to 80% of runners were wearing them correctly. There is no point to a mask if your nose is showing please wear it properly. Once we left though the race was perfectly spaced out. The course was actually nicer than I expected. It isn’t the most scenic 5K you’ll ever run but downtown Canton was nicer than expected. The course elevation profile is real nice and exactly how I like it. No hills but some gradual inclines and declines so also not pancake flat. About 50 feet of elevation gain total. It could be a fast course but the reason I added a sneaker to difficulty is as many of the other posts have said there are a lot of potholes and uneven footing so you have to be careful. Since I’m doing the half tomorrow I ran this at a comfortable pace but I’d worry if I were trying to PR I would trip and face plant on a pothole. The finish area was nice in a park. There was a finish arch and water and snacks which included chips and my go to post race snack granola bars. My finishing time was exactly what I aiming for which was a comfortable 10:30 min/mile pace since I didn’t want to over do it since the half is tomorrow. The medal for this race is ridiculously big. Almost offensively big like I’m pretty sure my marathon and 50K medals are going to be offended that this medal is just about as big as them. It is fun with a draft scene on it. The actual medal part doesn’t have the year on it but the ribbon does. They also give a race T-shirt at the end. It is a fine but not particularly exciting just a grey polyblend T-shirt with race distance and year. This year they gave extra finishing blankets from 2020 since they had leftovers but normally you don’t get a blanket for the 5K. Overall this was a nice warm-up run with a ridiculously big medal for a 5K. I just wish the corrals were better done in terms of social distancing. Again hopefully that won’t be an issue next year. If you are planning to do the half or the marathon, definitely try to fit in this 5K just for the medal!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5
My Media

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I was initially signed up for two other half marathons this day which both changed dates but was determined to run a half that was within driving distance of both … MORE

I was initially signed up for two other half marathons this day which both changed dates but was determined to run a half that was within driving distance of both Rochester and NYC and ended up running this one. And I am so happy I did! This ended up being one of my favorite half marathon courses. This year due to covid there was not race day packet pick-up. I paid extra to have it mailed before since I didn’t want to be stressed about making packet pick-up coming from the Bronx. It was only $10 extra to mail the packet which is not bad compared to other races. Packet included bib which is one of those obnoxiously big ones with lots of race details and the shirt. Unlike my last two races which had amazing shirts, this one had a very ordinary shirt. Not a bad shirt just a very safe design. It was also a nice, comfy polyblend shirt. It is a really nice brick red color. It just has the race logo in the front corner and a Abraham Lincoln quote on that back. It’s a fine shirt that I will wear but they definitely played it safe this year. I stayed at the Wyndham which is the host hotel in the Gettysburg Gateway Complex right by the start line. Very convenient and with the race discount was about $150 and was a very nice room for that price. This year due to covid, each event had a 10 minute rolling start and there were two waves for the half marathon. The marathon started at 8:00, half wave one at 8:10, half wave two at 8:20 and the 5K at 8:30. There were a large number of participants for a race during covid with just over 1000 all together with all the distances. The wave starts seemed to keep things pretty spread out. This is a really nice sized race where you are always running with people but you also aren’t constantly weaving around people. I was in the second wave and let the masses go first and started around 8:22. The course is fantastic. It is a lollipop loop with a short out and back at the end. The best part is definitely going through Gettysburg National Military Park and running past the battlefields. Fun fact, I was actually a double major in college and also studied history so this was a perfect race weekend for my college degrees. Any history buff will love this section. The next section isn’t quite as amazing but is still great through some very pretty farmland and farmland means farm animals. The race passed by some really nice cows and I stopped and took some pics. You then do the loop through farmland with the small out and back and then go back through the National Military Park to the finish line. The race is very hilly, I don’t think there was a single flat section. There are no crazy long or steep hills but it is constant up and downs. Not crazy difficult but a harder than average road race. The aid stations were frequent about every 1.5 miles. But it was little water bottles and gatorades so there was so much waste. Also its kind of a pain. I feel like a lose so much time opening bottles that it probably adds a couple minutes to my time compared to grabbing a cup but safety first. At the finish line there are water bottles and gatorade and then you go to the finishing tent to grab prepackaged food and your finisher awards. This is my only production complaint. This line was long, too long to social distance and while I think the runners were doing their best with masks today, most of us were recovering and drinking water and gatorade. It would have been better, especially because there was enough space, to set it up like they did at the Run for the Wild yesterday where there were two separate tables with food and two separate tables with prizes to space us out. There were food and prize tickets on our bibs so it would have worked. I like that the pre-made snack bag was put in a drawstring bag with the race logo instead of just a paper bag. There was a nice selection of snacks including a bagel with peanut butter, banana and some snack mix and chocolate milk (blech! I gave that back as nothing upsets my stomach more than chocolate milk). For the prizes you get the medal and a pint glass. I like that there is more than just a medal and shirt for swag but the medal was kind of disappointing this year. I did appreciate that it had the year and was distance specific. But is quite small and looks cheaper than the medals pictured from previous years. It’s not terrible I was just expecting something better and my 5K fun run medal from yesterday was bigger. Both the shirt and medal seem less exciting than what is pictured from prior years. I suspect this had to do with the financial difficulties for racing companies during the pandemic and I would rather have a great racing event and medium swag than great swag at the expensive of production so I will forgive them. My time for this race was okay. It was not my fastest but not my slowest. It was a somewhat tough course and this was my first long run since the Zion 50K. Also I probably shouldn’t stop and take pictures of cows if I want a good finishing time but I can’t help myself. We got an email saying there was some issues with timing but my result perfectly matched my Garmin and I had no issues with timing. Overall I thought this was a great race. It is definitely worth the 4 to 5 hour drive from Rochester and I will definitely consider this one again. It also seemed like a fun area to explore and I wish I had more time but had to drive back right after the race. This is a great choice for Pennsylvania especially if you are a history buff and/or prefer small town races.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3
My Media

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I actually lived in the Bronx for 8 years and I love the Bronx Zoo. Back in college when I was studying to become an ecologist and not an endocrinologist, … MORE

I actually lived in the Bronx for 8 years and I love the Bronx Zoo. Back in college when I was studying to become an ecologist and not an endocrinologist, I actually volunteered at the Bronx Zoo. So I was very excited when the Bronx Zoo announced plans for a live Run for the Wild this year. My parents were excited too and are recently fully vaccinated so they decided to join me and we walked it together. I will warn you this is an expensive 5K. It is $50 and you have to raise $35 on top of that but it does include free entry to the zoo and the zoo does some great behind the scenes conservation work which I can tell you about from first hand experience. It is also an untimed fun run so it is not an event for competitive runners hoping for an award but it is still a super fun and well done event. There were a lot of covid protocols in place and they really found that perfect balance between safety and normalcy. You had to sign up for half hour blocks that went most of the morning. We picked 9am. There is also a family 3K that is later in the morning. This year packets were mailed. Packets included bib. The bib was more of a ticket than a functioning bib since it was untimed. Bibs were color coded by time slot so it was easy for race staff to see what time the participants were signed up for. The packet also included race day instructions and the absolute cutest race shirt. This year the theme was lemurs and the shirt has this adorable ring-tailed lemur. It is a very comfy, nice quality polyblend shirt. It is a very nice purple color. I am not a huge purple person but I even liked the color. Almost every participant was wearing the shirt during the race because it was so cute. The start of the race went off without a hitch. Parking was super easy and luckily the race started at the parking lot near my old neighborhood so we could visit after. I stayed in a hotel outside the city and getting there in the morning was easy-peasy. After parking you went to bag check, then temp check, then the starting area. The starting area was set up so you lined up 5 runners (or walkers) at a time and went off every 20 seconds. There was loud music and an announcer making it a little more exciting. The race was perfectly spaced. There were generally other participants around but hardly ever was there anyone within 6 feet of you. It couldn’t have been spread out better. The race itself is really nice all through the zoo property. I didn’t see quite as many animals as I would have liked to on course. I did see nice views of the hyenas and the flamingos. Even without the animals the zoo is quite nice looking with lots of vegetation. The course was extremely well marked and easy to follow. You could not get lost. The finish area was set up great for social distancing but still being fun. After going through the finish arch you are handed a water and there are multiple tables spread out. There were two tables with snacks, two with medals, and two with additional prizes such as a cute lemur stuffed animal you could get if you fundraised enough. The medal is super cute with the lemur design. It is one-sided and the ribbon is boring but it’s a very good medal for a 5K fun run. There was solid snack selection with pumpkin seed bars (which are vegan and gluten free and quite tasty), fruits and fruit snack. Obviously this was not a fast time for me since we walked but my mom has some health conditions so completing a 5K was a big deal for her and I helped pace her well below her goal of 1 hour. She was very happy and proud. I marked our performance 5 sneakers for her. Afterwards you could enjoy the zoo. This year the zoo was only open to participants on race day and we could see all the exhibits. We then had lunch at the diner in my old neighborhood and then I left for Gettysburg. While, this is not the event for a competitive runner, it is a super fun event and organization was top-notch this year. I actually think it being untimed allowed everyone to have more fun and enjoy themselves. It is a great event to enjoy with your family or use as an easy warmup run before a longer race on Sunday. I will definitely do this again every time it works well with my schedule though I wouldn’t necessarily plan around the event and I would highly recommend it as long as it being untimed wouldn’t bother you.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5
My Media

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This is an annual Earth Day themed half marathon and 5K produced by Willow Running in Baldwinsville, NY. Baldwinsville is about 20 minutes west of Syracuse and a little over … MORE

This is an annual Earth Day themed half marathon and 5K produced by Willow Running in Baldwinsville, NY. Baldwinsville is about 20 minutes west of Syracuse and a little over an hour from Rochester. I did the 5K because I was on-call this weekend and ran a 50K last weekend so wanted to take it easy. I really appreciated that they offered packet pick-up not just in Syracuse but also in Rochester and Utica. I was able to pick up my packet at a local Rochester running store Thursday evening. The packet included a bib which has a timing chip since this is chip timed which I liked since I’ve had issues with the manual timing at Willow Running’s event. The packet also includes the most amazing race shirt I have ever seen. I am not sure if it is amazingly good or amazingly bad but it is amazing. It is a long sleeved tie-dyed tech shirt. Its not just tie dyed it also has runners, trees, fish, birds, frogs and other nature images interspersed with the tie-dye design along with the race name and location. It didn’t have date so it may be the same shirt every year but who couldn’t use more obnoxious tie dyed tech shirts. It is a very nice quality, detailed shirt down to having thumb holes. It is by far the wackiest and most creative race shirt I have and I must have gotten close to 100 race shirts by now so that’s saying something. I both love it and hate it at the same time. It is nice quality so I will definitely wear it running and will also wear it to the next Phish concert I go to if concerts ever happen again. The race started at Emmi’s Farm Market and there was a large parking area. There was also day of packet pick-up if you couldn’t get it before the race. The half marathon had a wave start from 7:45 to 8:15. Then the half marathon relay went at 8:20 and the 5K had a slow mass start at 8:30. I did not think the 5K was social distanced enough. There was almost 350 5Kers. I feel like they should have split us into waves or something. It was supposed to be a gradual mass start and the starting corral was small so not everyone left at once but it was much more crowded than other races. This is why I took a sneaker away from production. Kudos to the runners though as I didn’t see a single runner not wearing a mask at the start line and I only saw a handful out of hundreds not wearing it properly. The course was pretty nice. it was an out and back through some farmland. It wasn’t spectacular (although maybe I am spoiled by the views last weekend) but it was a pretty and pleasant place for a run. The course was as flat as possible for the area. There was one small hill at the turnaround and two kind of bumps. Total elevation was 76 ft about half that of the Pi day race I did here last month. I didn’t even think about walking and I have a very low threshold to power walk hills so that tells you how easy the “hills” were. It’s a somewhat hilly area so I’m assuming the half has some rolling hills but they appeared to make the courses as flat as possible for the area. I did think the course was a little congested with the mass start. It was actually kind of nice as it felt normal but we aren’t there yet with the pandemic and it should have been more spaced out. Also I forgot how annoying it is to weave around people walking in groups of two to three. I still enjoyed the race and I don’t think passing people while running outside is very high risk but it could have been safer. There is a nice finish arch and a festive finish area. My time was pretty good considering I ran a 50K last weekend. You got your medal which is nice and spins but my first medal broke so I had to get a replacement. I’d rather have a non-spinning medal that doesn’t break. The broken medal is why I took a sneaker away from swag but the shirt is so epic I almost gave the swag 5 stars even with the broken medal. There was lots of finish line food: cookies, bananas, chocolate milk, wraps, and chips. Along with a booth with monster energy drinks and a booth with beer (but no beer for me since I don’t drink and even if I did it would be a bad idea to have a beer before rounding in the hospital). There was also a vendor selling plant based power bars. I bought some since I like to support local, plant-based environmentally conscious businesses. There were also a few foods trucks. I wish I could have hung around more but I had to leave to round. Overall I thought this was a nice race. I would recommend it just for the race shirt. I do wish they had better social distancing for the 5K but hopefully that won’t be a problem next year.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4
My Media

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I enjoyed the Zion at Night half marathon so much I decided I wanted to run it longer and in daylight and therefore signed up for the Zion 50K for … MORE

I enjoyed the Zion at Night half marathon so much I decided I wanted to run it longer and in daylight and therefore signed up for the Zion 50K for my first ultramarathon. Pre-race communication was excellent with frequent emails and a very detailed race guide. They had to change the starting area due to issues with parking and make some course changes. I’m not sure if these are permanent changes or not since they didn’t specifically seem to be related to covid. Bib pick up was the day before. Vacation races has the drive through bib pickup down. This was the best bib pickup I had seen during covid. Very organized with the volunteers giving out the bib and shirt to you in your car. The bib is small (which personally I don’t mind as I can’t stand huge bibs you can’t find space to put on you) but I like they added a first time 50K design for first timers. The shirt is tech and nice quality. The design has some nice personal touches but I don’t like the color (dark grey). There was also a mini outdoor expo with a few vendors that if you were comfortable you could go to but if you’d prefer not to you could skip along with an area to drop off drop bags. I didn’t use a drop bag but it was an option for 50K runners. It didn’t seem worth it as the aid stations were very well stocked and I didn’t want to wait for my drop bag or get it paid to be shipped to me. There was a rolling start with each distance having a half hour time window. The 50K started between 7 and 7:30. I started close to 7 to run as much as I could while it was cool out and I had a lot of pre-race jitters. Just a warning the new start area is a little out there and kind of far from hotels (I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Washington as it was so much cheaper than Springdale and it was about 35 minutes from start). The start was exciting at 7am as a lot of runners were waiting in the starting area. I was prepared for this race with trail shoes and a hydration pack unlike Zion at Night. The start of the race is mostly downhill on a dirt road. Then you enter a loop through Grafton Mesa. This was my favorite running portion. This was mostly a single track dirt trail. It was technical but not crazy technical at least for most of the loop. It was beautiful during sunrise. The last mile or so was a little more technical but not too crazy. Then you go back on the dirt road to the first aid station around mile 8. This aid station had honey stinger, Gnarly electrolyte, water and a few other things but wasn’t as fully stocked as the later ones. The next portion is about 7 miles on the dirt road and mostly uphill to gooseberry Mesa. This part was kind of tedious and I power walked a lot of the uphill to save energy but since it was not technical even walking it was quite fast and there were a few very runnable downhill sections. There were some nice views here too. Then you get to the really big aid station which had everything (except twizzlers) including water, gnarly, chips, fruit, pickles, PBJ sandwiches, tortilla with Nutella, trail mix, etc. However there was no social distancing at the aid stations just a warning. Then you do a long about a 12 mile loop through Gooseberry Mesa. This loop is beautiful but brutal. There was some absolutely jaw droppingly beautiful scenery. But the terrain was tough. A lot of it was on slickrock and included some scrambling on the rocks. This was killer on my feet as it was very hard. It was also hard to get a good running pace this section due to technical rock scrambles so I spent a lot of this section hiking and just enjoying the scenery. Most runners with me were hiking this part too. Course was pretty well marked with pink ribbons but there were a few areas I thought could use a few more. There is an aid station in the middle of this section. One complaint I have is the guide said it was mile 22 but it was actuly mile 24. Then at around mile 28 you exit Gooseberry Mesa and go back to the big aid station. Then it is back on the dirt road for the finish. This is a nice finish and if the slickrock didn’t kill my feet it would be quite runnable since it was more downhill. It is brutal though the last mile is uphill. Also the course was 33 miles not 50K so that didn’t make it any easier. There were lots of people cheering runners on at the finish line. Even for the slow turtles like me who were mostly walking at the end of the race. My time was really slow but this course was really tough with 33 miles some of them very technical and just about 4000 feet of elevation gain so I actually think I did okay given all that and was well under the 11 hour time limit and there were over 100 runners behind me. You also got a box of snacks which are great. There is also chocolate milk but I hate milk so I didn’t take it. There is then a tent with awards. You got a choice of medal or homemade mug. The mugs were nice but I obviously chose the medal since I love my medals. It is a really nice medal. I especially like the ribbon which is very thick, has nice designs and the distance and date. This was definitely the toughest race I have ever done but it was beautiful and very rewarding and I am so proud to have finished it. I’m not sure it is the best choice for a first 50K since it is so tough but I did it and I am not particularly fast and there is a long 11 hour time limit. If you do choose this for a first 50K make sure you’ve run a good number of marathons first and get a lot of trail training in. I would also recommend training on slick rock or other more rocky trails. This is something I didn’t do and as a result was much less comfortable on the slickrock than the dirt trail. If you are an experienced ultra marathoner, this is a fun one just don’t expect to PR.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
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4
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I decided to fly into Salt Lake City for my Zion 50K because I have never been and flights were much cheaper to SLC than Las Vegas. I was planning … MORE

I decided to fly into Salt Lake City for my Zion 50K because I have never been and flights were much cheaper to SLC than Las Vegas. I was planning to spend a week exploring Utah before the 50K and thought I’d look for a 10K to 10 miler this weekend as a warmup run in even higher altitude than Zion to hopefully help me acclimate and I found this one. This race is a point to point race that mostly goes down emigration canyon road. There is a half marathon and a 10 miler option. The half marathon starts 3.1 miles away from the 10 miler and eventually converges. In terms of pre-race info I feel like the important things were covered but some minor details were missing. We also never got the “we are officially approved” email but that’s okay the race did happen. You have the option to either park at the finish line and get dropped off at the start or park at the start and be brought back at the end of the race. They do not provide shuttles. I parked at the start so I could wait in my car and also because day of packet pick up was at the start (they also had packet pick up Thursday and Friday). The volunteers seemed kind of confused at packet pickup but maybe it’s just because I was one of the first people to come pick it up that morning. Packet was just bib and T-shirt. The shirt is pretty terrible. Just a cheap grey shirt with the race logo but it does have the year. You could opt out of getting a shirt and save $5. That’s probably a good idea unless you need another pajama top or dish rag. It’s a cheap race though so wasn’t expecting a high quality tech shirt. The race was on the smaller side with maybe about a hundred or so runners in each distance so there weren’t any specific covid protocols since the size of the groups fit Utah gathering limits. The start wasn’t the greatest set up. There was just some cones indicating the corral. We were instructed to wear masks at start and finish. Not everyone was following the rules but there was enough area so everyone was at least 6 feet apart. This was again chipped time with a timing mat at the finish but not at start. The start was a little awkward because the announcer was on the phone with the person who was leading the half group to make sure we started the same time. It wasn’t the best start. I suspect more attention was spent on the start of the half marathon which is fair as they are running more. The first two miles of the course are rough and a steep uphill. I power walked the majority of this. I also just flew in last night and got in around midnight so was sleep deprived, not well hydrated and not acclimated to the altitude at all. So this was rough but the scenery was beautiful and a nice distraction. Also I appreciated they closed half the road so you didn’t have to worry about watching out for traffic. Once you get to the top the rest is almost all downhill and much nicer. I had a pretty fast 5 miles from mile 2 to 7 and then just bonked out at mile 7 due to the altitude. The entire course was quite lovely with mountain views. The foliage was a little brown due to the time of year but otherwise it was beautiful. Weather was also gorgeous. I didn’t like how they used shared mile markers for the 10 miler and half which meant the 10 miler markers were off by 0.1 miles i.e. you came to the 1 mile marker at 0.9 miles. A minor detail but annoying. I was also disappointed the aid stations had no electrolytes or gels/chews. I don’t think this was communicated with us and if it was it wasn’t clearly stated. There were 4 aid stations and they just had little Dixie cups of water. Maybe it was enough for acclimated runners who weren’t dehydrated from flying but I needed a ton more water and needed electrolytes than the race offered. Luckily I had my handheld water bottle but I would have brought chews with electolytes if I knew there wouldn’t be any on course and had some hand cramping. The volunteers at the aid stations though were excellent and wearing masks and gloves properly. As I said I bonked out at mile 7 and did run walk intervals the rest of the race. The finish line was nice with a big finish arch. There were lots of family members cheering runners on and it was on the more exciting side for a pandemic race. My time was terrible but I was expecting that going into the race. Also just a warning there is a tight 3 hour cutoff as they reopen the road and take down the timing mat at 11am (3 hours after the race). So not very turtle friendly for the half especially as it’s a tough race. I’m not 100% sure I could have finished the half today in 3 hours since the 3.1 miles added are mostly uphill. Also not so exciting is the lack of medals and food. This was not a surprise but I’d like at least a cheapo medal and a granola bar. The worst part was it took about 45 minutes to get an uber to get me back to my car at the start so I was starving (my first uber in nearly 13 months since the LA marathon crazy!). But my hunger did allow me to really enjoy my vegan breakfast burrito from Vertical Diner. Overall I did think this was a beautiful and challenging course. There were many things that could have improved the production but there were no terrible production mistakes. I would recommend this race to locals or if you happen to be in town like me but I would not recommend the half marathon for a 50 stater who is traveling just for this race and plans to only run one race ever in Utah given lack of swag unless you don’t care about those things at all. Just splurge and do one of the Zion races with Vacation Races for Utah instead even if they are like 3x the price of this one

DIFFICULTY
5
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3
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1

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I was on call this weekend so I was looking for a short, live, local race within an hour drive of Rochester and this one fit the bill. I wasn't … MORE

I was on call this weekend so I was looking for a short, live, local race within an hour drive of Rochester and this one fit the bill. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this race. This race is produced by Wolfpack multisport which is a smaller racing company that I don’t know that much about that produces mostly triathlons in western NY. Overall I was pretty impressed with the race and the production was better than I expected. The race is located in a very small town inbetween Rochester and Buffalo in honor of a local man named Wayne Burlison. This year, the race had waves every 10 minutes from 1pm to 1:30pm. This was kind of weird timing for me with rounding and eating but did mean I could also do a 3 mile run this morning with my local running group, then round at the hospital and then run this race. It was a little difficult to time eating so I had a medium sized breakfast just before rounds and ate lunch after the race. The race started at a school and had raceday packet pick-up. Packet included the bib and the swag item this year was a pair of gloves with the race name. It was okay swag but this is a cheap, short race that raises money for charity so I don’t need much swag. The start of the race was well organized with small waves. It was chipped timed with timing mat the finish but no timing mat at the start but the waves were small so you pretty much passed the start at the same time. The course was a lollipop loop along a pleasant enough rural street and then went through a loop in the cemetery. This seemed kind of morbid for a memorial race especially as you apparently pass by Wayne’s gravesite but I wasn’t really reading the tombstones as I was running through to confirm this. My dark sense of humor got a kick out of running through the cemetery for a memorial race. I hope Wayne’s would too. The course was actually on the tougher side for a 5K with lots of rolling hills especially in the cemetery but I was really fast today. I was close to a sub-30 finish which surprised me since I already ran 3 miles earlier today. The course was also marked extremely well with cones, direction signs and arrows and lots of volunteers. The finish line looked nice with a big arch but there was no medals and only water with no other snacks. Oh well again it’s a 5K that goes to charity. I had a good time at this race and it was better than I expected. A few improvements that would bring it to 5 sneakers would be earlier start time, timing mat at start, and some post-race snacks. I would definitely consider doing this one again if I was in town and I actually decided to sign-up for one of Wolfpack’s events in the fall for my first triathalon since I enjoyed this event and it is a “paddle-bike-run” triathalon and I don’t swim.

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3
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3
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2

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I am trying to run a half marathon every month and this was the only weekend in March I could squeeze in a half marathon between my work schedule and … MORE

I am trying to run a half marathon every month and this was the only weekend in March I could squeeze in a half marathon between my work schedule and marathon/ultra schedule. When I was looking for races this one caught my eye but I wasn’t sure how it would be possible to hold this race this year. Well you know what they say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Race directors definitely got a bunch of lemons this year (so please be kind to them!) but j&a racing did the best they could to make lemonade and hold a safe and fun event with what they were given. Logistics: this was held from 7am to 5pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday on an open, official course with chip timing and limited to about half the normal participants but still a whole lot more participants than most races this year. I arrived in Virginia Beach mid-morning on Saturday. A plus of this modified race was I was able to do the dolphin challenge (8K + half marathon) which I normally wouldn’t be able to do without taking Friday off. As soon as I arrived in Virginia Beach I picked up my packet at the host hotel which is the Hilton right by the start. FYI if you want to stay at the host hotel book your room asap it was sold out when I booked hotels but I stayed at the Ramada which was right nearby and very convenient. Packet pick up was spread over 4 days and opened for several hours each day so I understand why it had to be inside and the conference room was very large, easy to space out in and well ventilated. Not as safe as outdoor packet pickup but as safe as indoor could be. This was set up as kind of a mini expo where they were selling some other Shamrock gear and some gels and chews for the race. At packet pickup you get your swag and the swag was amazing. It came in a tote bag and for the half you got a long sleeved tech shirt, blanket, hat and a cup plus with the dolphin challenge I got all the 8K swag too. You also got your medals at packet pickup which I get that it is safer to hand out everything at once but it was a little anticlimactic and this is the one thing I wish they figured out how to change. The medals are beautiful and sparkly and are all bottle openers since it is St. Paddy’s day themed and appropriate size for the distance. For the dolphin challenge you get 3 medals and the dolphin one is amazing and my favorite medal besides my Beach city sea turtle medal. I did the half on Sunday morning. The open course made race morning very unstressful. I wanted to start around 7am so I would have time to shower and relax after the race before 11am hotel check out time so I just rolled out of bed put on my running gear and walked to the startline and went. The start is not too exciting but the RD is there to cheer on runners which was appreciated (and allowed it to meet criteria for half fanatics/marathon maniacs during the pandemic – I confirmed with them it will count if anyone wants to know). The course is quite nice. The first 5 miles are an out and back along the boardwalk. It was lovely to be near the ocean. Also the boardwalk is cement not wooden boards so don’t worry it is fast. Weather was absolutely perfect on Sunday and there was not much wind. Course was well marked but one place I was slightly confused and had to stop and look around but quickly saw a course sign. After the boardwalk it is about a mile on the main street of Virginia Beach then an out and back that consists of few miles of pretty neighborhoods and a few miles through a nice and shaded state park where there is a turn around. It was pancake flat until the state park where there were some easy rollers which were actually a nice break to use some different muscles. The out and back nature of this course actual worked great for this race format and you were always with other runners. There were limited aid stations this year but they had 2 set up that you passed twice (four times for marathon) with self served water and Nuun. There were also mile markers on the course. There were a couple road crossings which maybe made me lose 30 to 60 seconds but they did a good job making a course with minimal road crossings. The marathon ended up being 2 loops of the half due to flooding on the initial course. The course this year was similar to the usual course from what I saw online but this year did not go through the military base. After the out and back you turn back on the boardwalk and run to the finish line. It’s a little anticlimatic with no medals at the end but the RD and lucky the leprechaun and a lot of runners are there to cheer you. No issues with the timing mat for my half marathon. My time was actually faster than I meant it to be due to the easy course and encouragement from other runners. I meant to do this at more of a training pace and finish around 2:45 since I’m tapering for my 50K but was closer to my usual goal race time of 2:30. Oh well I had fun and didn’t get injured which was my main goal. There was no post race party this year but several local restaurants and bars had deals for the runners but I chose instead to get some delicious vegan junk food for a post race meal from the Bumbling Bee which is about 5 miles away from the race but worth the drive if you love vegan junk food as much as I do. Overall I thought this was a very fun event and they definitely made the best of a bad situation. It wasn’t perfect and I definitely miss large races but this was definitely better than going fully virtual, deferring to next year, rescheduling to the fall on a date when I’m probably already registered for another race or even worse holding an unsafe event. I am planning to do the NYC Half Marathon next March (I did the virtual half for guaranteed entry in 2022 this year) which usually falls on the same weekend as this race but I absolutely want to come back and do this race again one year to see what it is like without the modifications. If it is this good with all these modifications I’m sure it is amazing without them.

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I did the 8K this year as part of the dolphin challenge. You can read my review for the half for more details but the silver lining of the modified … MORE

I did the 8K this year as part of the dolphin challenge. You can read my review for the half for more details but the silver lining of the modified Shamrock experience this year was I got to do the 8K and the dolphin challenge. The 8K swag was great for a short race and included a short-sleeved tech shirt, a drink cozie, and a really nice medal although appropriately smaller than the half and full medals. Since I did both the 8K and the half I got the dolphin challenge medal which was amazing! I did this race right after packet pickup. It started with an out and back on the boardwalk and then about a mile or so on a main street in Virginia Beach before turning back on the boardwalk. It was a nice, pancake flat 5 miles. The only difficulty is there was a strong headwind on Saturday when I ran it. There was issues with my chip timing for the 8K and they seemed to miss my finish line time but it sort of got fixed but now my listed time is 2 mins slower than my Garmin. Oh well I still had fun and the swag is great and had no issues with the timing chip for the half marathon

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5

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This is a 3.14159265... mile race celebrating pi day. It worked out great that Pi day was on a Sunday this year. This race is located about 15 to 20 … MORE

This is a 3.14159265… mile race celebrating pi day. It worked out great that Pi day was on a Sunday this year. This race is located about 15 to 20 minutes outside Syracuse and is a little over an hour from Rochester. I was on call this weekend so happy to find a short live race to run. This was produced by Willow Running who produced a couple other races I’ve done last year (Turkey Chase and Ugly Sweater). I think their races are pretty good and they always have nice swag but I’ve seen a few hiccups in production and timing. This race was similar. This race started at a bar called Average Joe’s Beernasium which is definitely not a place I would normally go to. They had packet pick-up offered before the race or morning of race. Since it’s a bit of a drive, I got it the morning of the race in the bar. A complaint I’ve had before regarding their races is I wish packet pick-up was outdoors as it’s just safer but everyone was wearing masks and it was efficient. Swag included a nice mug, a collapsible water bottle and the best part your choice of a small apple, blueberry or cherry pie. You had to pay for a shirt but I thought the mug and the pie were more than enough for swag for a 5K. The race had waves every 15 minutes. I chose the earliest 9am wave in case I had to round in the hospital afterwards. This was not chipped time. The RD just used an airhorn to signal the start and we went. Course was pretty blah through a very generic suburb but it was a smart choice for an open course as it was safe and there was not a lot of traffic. Also I was surprised to see a number of people out in their lawns to cheer on the runners which was nice. The course was very well marked and there was a volunteer at any confusing turn. There was also a water stop you passed by twice. Course wasn’t too difficult. There was one kind of tough hill just after the first mile. Not tough compared to red rock but a little harder than expected for more of a fun run. The rest was mostly small inclines and declines. The end was at an incline which was a little annoying. At the finish line someone records your time and I had no issues with getting my time recorded this race but I prefer chipped timed races. I had a solid time. I ran 11 miles yesterday so wasn’t expecting a PR. Another complaint is the medals and post race refreshments aren’t at the finish line but you pass them walking back to the bar. Not a big deal but it made the finish line less a little less fun. Along with the medals which were very, very nice for a 5Kish race (although they didn’t have date and neither did mug) there were Monster energy drinks, water and some fruits. Pizza and chili was also available at the bar for runners. However the food wasn’t being served until 10am and as I finished at around 9:30 it wasn’t ready when I finished. I really don’t like being inside bars during the pandemic and didn’t stay for the food so I can’t comment but the pie I got at packet pick-up was absolutely delicious. This was a nice, fun race with good swag and delicious pie. I would do this one again if it fit in my schedule.

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This is another event put on by Bishop's Events. You can read my review from yesterday for more details about their events. This was in East Potomac Park in DC. … MORE

This is another event put on by Bishop’s Events. You can read my review from yesterday for more details about their events. This was in East Potomac Park in DC. The 10K was a double out and back. This race was on paved roads and as flat as possible. My Garmin recorded 8 feet of elevation gain total. Park was nice with waterfront views and views of Washington monument. I thought it got a little boring doing a super flat double out and back but not a bad course. Would be good for a PR if your legs weren’t as tired as mine. I had a mediocre time since my legs are still tired from my Vegas trip and the race yesterday but I was happy I didn’t have to take any walking breaks. Swag for this race included a tech shirt which was periwinkle blue which I prefer over yesterday’s and a small, generic medal but does have the race name, distance and date on the back. Again these Bishop races are good, convenient, low key events if you’re in the area but aren’t the most exciting races around.

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4
SWAG
3

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This is a race put on by Bishop's Events. Bishop's Events puts on races most weekends throughout the DC area in various parks in DC, Northern Virginia and Maryland. Their … MORE

This is a race put on by Bishop’s Events. Bishop’s Events puts on races most weekends throughout the DC area in various parks in DC, Northern Virginia and Maryland. Their races are cheap, low key, on the smaller side and in parks so no traffic control or strict course time limits necessary so they are the perfect events to hold safely during the pandemic. I knew Bishop’s Events were holding just about all their races and I was curious how they are done and had no options closer to home so thought I would check out a couple of their races this weekend. This race is in Northern Virginia about 20 to 30 minutes outside DC. I chose the 10K because I didn’t want to push myself too hard with a half marathon after the marathon last week. I like 10Ks so much more than 5Ks for a shorter race distance so was happy this distance was offered as I feel most races just offer half marathon and 5K options. I stayed at the Holiday Express in Lorton which is about 1.5 miles from the race so very convenient. For the race you just pick up your packet the morning of the race. Along with the bib you also get a tech T-shirt. It is fine with the race name but not distance specific and I would prefer a color other than white but a decent shirt for the cost of the race. This race also raised money for a pet adoption group (yay!) and they had a booth next to packet pickup and were selling a few things. I wasn’t really sure what to expect for this race since there wasn’t a very good description of the course. I knew it would be rolling hills but I thought it would either be on paved trail or gravel trail since it was not advertised as a trail race. The race had wave starts with about 10ish people per wave with the half waves first, followed by 10K and last 5K with faster runners first. I was in the second 10K group. One of the staff members gave a quick introduction and explained the course before we went off. The course was 2 loops of the 5K course. It started with a quick out and back and then was a lollipop loop. He said to watch out because the half marathon loops had a slightly different course than the 5/10K loops but that there would be signs where the course diverged. The beginning of the race was as I expected with about 1/4 mile on paved road including the very short out and back with the turn around clearly marked though two runners in front of me missed it and we had to scream to let them know to turn around. Then there is about 1/4 mile that is dirt road then surprise! The rest of the course is single track trail. This was a very pleasant surprise for me since I love running on single track trail but wish I knew since I would have worn trail shoes and I also ran the first 1/2 mile a little too fast thinking the rest would be similar difficulty. The single track trail was really fun with lots of ups and downs but nothing too technical. I loved running on it but its a little slower and more challenging than pavement. There was nothing too technical about this trail. I was wearing road shoes and had no issues but I did see one runner fall. As someone who does quite a bit of trail running, I thought this was an easy, fun trail run but some of the road runners were not quite as excited about the surprise. You definitely don’t need trail experience or shoes for this race but it would be good to know ahead of time to temper expectations. I thought the trail was well marked and easy to follow but at one of the sections where the half and 5/10K diverged there was no volunteer. We were told this ahead of time and I easily saw the sign and went the right way but the runner ahead of me asked which way to go and as she said one of the other runners (one of the same ones who missed the turn around) went the other way so I guess it could have been marked better but at some point you have to blame the runner not the RD for getting lost. There were plenty of water stations with cups of water and a cooler to refill your own hydration if you were carrying a handheld water bottle or hydration pack. You then do the loop again. It was fun so I didn’t mind doing it twice. The hills were a lot of fun. A little over 300 feet of elevation gain total so about 150 feet per loop. All were gradual and runnable. I ran the entire first loop. I walked a few of the hillier sections the second half as I ran out of gas from starting a little too fast. At the finish line you get a medal. Medal is small with a plain ribbon and not the best but it does have a pawprint which is a cute reference to the charity and the back says the race name, distance and date. There was a table with water and bags of chips for post race refreshment. I thought this was a really fun course but I do think they should have described it better. I still would have definitely ran it and actually would have been more excited about it if I knew it was more trail, but I think I could have been a few minutes quicker if I paced myself appropriately and wore trail shoes. My finishing time was slow for a 10K but not bad for a trail run. My overall impression of these events is they are solid running events. I wouldn’t travel for one of these Bishop’s Events’ races alone during a year when I have more options but I will definitely look into them if I am ever in the DC area for a conference (if those ever happen again) or another race as they offer a race just about every Saturday and Sunday so are great for combining for two race weekends (or three race weekends as I have planned for Memorial day). If you are a 50 stater and care more about convenience than great swag and super exciting race experience (again you will get okay swag and a solid race experience), I would definitely recommend looking into these as you could easily add one of their races to another event to make a combined Maryland and Virginia double race weekend and some weekends they even offer both a Virginia and Maryland half. These events are also very back of the pack and walker friendly with no time limits and they even have a back of the pack series for locals who run them often.

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