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@ShellyL

Mechanicsburg, PA Raving since 2016 active 5 days, 16 hours ago

About Me

  • Running club(s):
  • Rave race:

    Flying Pig Marathon, Marine Corps Marathon

  • Race that's calling my name:

    Boston Marathon

  • I run because:

    Health, to challenge myself, sanity!

My races

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

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Half Marathon

Marathon

Ultramarathon

(Marathon &/or Ultra) + Half

Marathon + Ultra

Other

Future Races (0)

Race Distance Location Date Paid

Past Races (13)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
Marathon Bath, NY Oct 1, 2017
10K Harrisburg, PA Mar 18, 2017
Marathon Arlington, VA Oct 30, 2016
Half Marathon Gardners, PA Jun 11, 2016
Marathon Buffalo, NY May 29, 2016
Marathon Gettysburg, PA Apr 24, 2016
Marathon Harrisburg, PA Nov 8, 2015
Half Marathon Hershey, PA Oct 18, 2015
Marathon Forest City, PA Oct 11, 2015
Half Marathon Hatfield, PA Oct 4, 2015
Half Marathon Bird In Hand, PA Sep 12, 2015
Half Marathon Harrisburg, PA Jun 28, 2015
Half Marathon Cincinnati, OH 2015

My Raves

Wineglass Marathon & Half Marathon

Wineglass Marathon & Half Marathon

Wineglass is known to be a great race to PR or BQ. I would recommend it for that reason. The expo is located at Corning Glass. It's a small expo … MORE

Wineglass is known to be a great race to PR or BQ. I would recommend it for that reason.
The expo is located at Corning Glass. It’s a small expo with just a handful of vendors. You walk through the glass gift shop, so there’s obviously an attempt to get you to spend some time and money there. With your bib, you get a small Wineglass marathon glass and tiny bottle of champagne (for those over 21).
There was a lot of traffic on race morning. I stayed about 4 miles away from the finish area and it took a good 25 mins to get there. It is a point to point course, so you board a bus at the finish and they drive you to the start. We were huddled in a building that had small heaters and there was a big tent with heaters also. This was nice so you didn’t have to stay out in the cold.
The bag check trucks were right there, so you literally could wait until the last few minutes to check your bag. No need to toss your sweatshirt and lose it.
The course is good. I honestly didn’t think it was scenic (as advertised) but maybe other people saw things I didn’t. At times you run parallel to a highway, which is kind of boring and loud. There are a few “bumps” – not big enough to call them hills. It is generally flat. There are adequate aid stations with lots of volunteers. If you like big crowds during the whole race, this is not the case here. There are pockets of people, but many times you run along in silence.
The finish line is pretty cool. You turn left and come into town, running down the main street for about 3 block. There are a ton of people here and they are excited to cheer for your final stretch.
The medal is a big draw, as it is glass and very unique. The food at the end is plentiful: soda, water, sports drink, cookies, pizza, bagels, etc. They actually hand you a plastic bag so you don’t have to juggle your banana and lose it.
I would definitely do this race again. They limit the field size (which is great), so I’d plan ahead and register early.

DIFFICULTY
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Lucky Charm 5K/10K

Lucky Charm 5K/10K

This is a small race in its 2nd year. Put on by the local Fleet Feet running store in Mechanicsburg, PA, it is developed by runners for runners. There are … MORE

This is a small race in its 2nd year. Put on by the local Fleet Feet running store in Mechanicsburg, PA, it is developed by runners for runners.
There are 3 days of packet pickup, 2 at the store prior to race day and then at the start/finish line on race day. Parking in the city of Harrisburg is sometimes difficult, so you will want to park on City Island and walk (or run) the half mile to the start. This means if you want to do race day packet pick up, you will be going back and forth unless you have someone to hold your stuff.
The course is flat and fast. Only one tiny hill. Part of the 10k course is an out and back, like a double lollipop – loop at the beginning, out and back and then loop at the end. The 5k and 10k start at the same time but within the first mile you separate.
The shirt is cotton, the newer brushed and softer cotton. Last year was kelly green and this year was dark gray.
You do get a medal at the finish of this race and it’s quite nice. Not a generic, plain medal. See the photo for medal and t-shirt from 2017. You also get a gift card of at least $10 to use at Fleet Feet and there are other random, larger amounts.
Afterward, you can gather at a specified local pub for one free beer during the awards ceremony.
Overall a nice, local, smaller race that I think will continue to grow.

DIFFICULTY
5
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4
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3
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Marine Corps Marathon

Marine Corps Marathon

I love Marine Corps Marathon. I've run it every year since 2012. It is a popular race but there are several ways to get in. There is a lottery, which … MORE

I love Marine Corps Marathon. I’ve run it every year since 2012. It is a popular race but there are several ways to get in. There is a lottery, which is how most people registered. If you are active military, you can get early registration. If you are a member of the MCM Runner’s Club (run 5 or more MCM), you can register before the general public. They have a race called the 17.75k and if you can get in (only a couple thousand people get in and it sells out in a couple minutes), finish the race and get a “golden ticket” for a guaranteed entry. You can also take the charity route. There are dozens of charities that have entries and fundraising may be as low as a few hundred dollars. The charities have their own finish line area, with tents and activities.
The expo has been in 3 different places in the last 3 years. 2016 was the first year at the National Harbor. There is only one way in and out, so traffic is an issue. MCM has buses for shuttling from a couple locations. I arrived very early on Friday and had no issues getting in but when I left later in the morning, the traffic was backed up waiting to get in.
The expo is moderately big. All the typical vendors, plus a lot of things geared toward military interests. If you want any MCM gear in your size, you really should go on Friday. The line for buying Brooks MCM apparel is always LONG and you will wait, so be prepared.
MCM continues to give a turtleneck as their official race shirt. In the last couple years they have made it a “technical” fabric. I like it because it is unusual, but a lot of people voice their displeasure of the nontraditional shirt.
Race morning can be hectic. Public transportation is full. There’s really no place to park at the finish or start area. If you can get a hotel near the start or finish (Crystal City, Arlington, Pentagon), it is best to walk to the start. There are security lines that take some time to get through, so plan on a very early start.
The race start is great with military aircraft flying overhead and a loud cannon to start the race. It will be a good walk to the actual start line, unless you are fast and start at the front. There are signs to tell you where to line up based on pace, but no corrals.
The course is fabulous. You run through DC and the surrounding areas. You will see monuments, historical sites, neighborhoods, wooded areas and tons of people. The Marines are everywhere. They provide direction, motivation, aid station support and give you your medal at the end. And that medal is one of the best ever!
The finish line is good. You can have your photo taken at the Iwo Jima memorial with your medal. They shuttle you through an area where you get post race fluids and a box of food. One box per person, no stuffing your pockets with 15 bags of chips or pretzels.
I highly recommend this race if you like big race day atmosphere. If you don’t like crowds, this is NOT your race. Logistics can be difficult, so plan ahead and ask someone who has done it before for recommendations.

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Iron Run Half Marathon

Iron Run Half Marathon

Let me start by saying this is a real trail run. Not a mountain climb, but not a crushed gravel, flat rail trail. This is roots, rocks, downed trees, snakes … MORE

Let me start by saying this is a real trail run. Not a mountain climb, but not a crushed gravel, flat rail trail. This is roots, rocks, downed trees, snakes and bears trail run. It’s held in Pine Grove Furnace State Park and partially runs on the Appalachian Trail. (If you know anything about the AT, PGFSP is famous for being where hikers stop to eat a half gallon of ice cream in celebration of the near half way point on the trail.)
This race is small, about 200 people for both the 5k and half marathon. The 5k starts about 15 minutes after the half and runs on the end of the half course. Therefore, you are highly unlikely to merge with the 5k race.
Packet pick up is same day.
Race instructions are easy to understand. The trail is VERY well marked. They have arrows warning you of an upcoming turn, double arrows when you turn and “X” on turns that you should not take.
This is an up and down race. Expect long climbs, although not much above sea level, so altitude is not an issue. Your feet will get wet and muddy. Most everyone finishes with mud and stories of at least one fall.
There are 6 aid stations, stocked with water, sports drink, candy, gels, pretzels, peanut butter, bananas. This was pretty impressive given the small size of the race.
There are age group awards (pint glass, sticker). There is a t-shirt if you sign up ahead of time, but no finisher swag.
They have a very nice finish area, well stocked with chips, pretzels, several different kinds of candy, bagels, hard boiled eggs, juice, apples, oranges and other items. I think they really put a lot of time and thought into taking care of the runners.
I would recommend this race as a good, but challenging entry into trail racing.

DIFFICULTY
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Buffalo Marathon

Buffalo Marathon

This is a nice race. The expo is moderate in size with typical vendors. Packet pick up at the expo was easy. It was held in the Buffalo Niagra Convention … MORE

This is a nice race. The expo is moderate in size with typical vendors. Packet pick up at the expo was easy. It was held in the Buffalo Niagra Convention Center, which is also where the start and finish line areas are located. Race shirt this year was a long sleeve 3/4 zip with an embroidered logo.
This is a marathon and a half marathon. Both start at the same time, in the same location. This year there were about 7,000 runners. There is also a 5k the day before, but I didn’t run that race.
The starting line festivities culminated with fireworks and we were off. The course is nice, running along the waterfront and through a marina, parks and numerous neighborhoods. There was a lot of support from the locals, who were cheering and had additional aid stations set up. The weather was hot and humid, more so than typical for this time of year in Buffalo. Many of the residents turned on hoses and sprinklers to allow the runners to cool down.
The roads were well controlled by police/sheriff and volunteers but they were not 100% closed to traffic. They would allow cars to go through at gaps.
Because most people run the half, once they split off, the amount of people around you diminishes. This is good because you have more room, but can feel rather lonely when you’re out there “all alone”. The most disheartening time was when you reach mile 12.5, the half marathoners peel off to the finish and marathoners take a right turn into the 2nd half. It was a harsh reality that they were done and we weren’t even half completed.
The finish line was sparse. Volunteers placed your medal and they handed out bottle openers in the shape of a buffalo. The only refueling items that were immediately available was water, Gatorade, orange slices and half bananas. I didn’t realize it, but there was beer and pizza inside the convention center. I would like to see more snacks offered immediately (chips, pretzels, snack bars, etc.).
Overall, a good race, nice course, good support. I could see where it would be a good place to PR, if the weather cooperates. Not sure I would go back because it is a long drive, but if I lived local to Buffalo, I would surely do it again.

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Gettysburg North-South Marathon

Gettysburg North-South Marathon

This was my first year running the Gettysburg Marathon. It is a small race, with good organization. There is same day packet pick up, which I always appreciate. Because there … MORE

This was my first year running the Gettysburg Marathon. It is a small race, with good organization. There is same day packet pick up, which I always appreciate. Because there were only a couple hundred runners, you can park, sit in your car until the last minute and walk right up to the starting line. No need to freeze, get wet, get up way too early.
The course goes through a small portion of the actual battlefield. There are a lot of hills, including a rather big one within the first mile or two. I would not anticipate this would be a PR race for most people. The rest of the course winds its way through the countryside, with many farms and orchards to see. Not many spectators, but there were enough water stations with good volunteer support. They have announced course route changes for 2017 with the elimination of a lot of the hills, so stay tuned.
The finish line was at the same location as the start. Simple, basic finish area with drinks and a few snacks. Nothing fancy and don’t expect to eat a meal.
The medal was unique this year with a canon and a spinning wheel. They also have a competition between “north and south” and if you pick the correct team, you get a bonus pint glass. The t-shirt was nice, again basic, and they gave a sinch sack when picking up your packet. See my attached photo for these items.
Overall, a good race, small, hilly (but course changes in the works). If you like these qualities, you won’t be disappointed.

DIFFICULTY
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Harrisburg Marathon

Harrisburg Marathon

To be clear, I've only done this race as a relay participant, but I live near Harrisburg and run the entire course frequently. This was the first time I've participated … MORE

To be clear, I’ve only done this race as a relay participant, but I live near Harrisburg and run the entire course frequently.
This was the first time I’ve participated in a relay and it was a lot of fun.
You can pick up your packet the day before or the morning of the race. Parking is ample on City Island and this the where the race begins and is a short walk from where it ends. You get a nice brushed cotton t-shirt, which I like. I have enough polyester running shirts.
The course was changed in 2015 for the better. It used to run through Wildwood Park, which has many short, steep hill that came at mile 20+. This has been eliminated. Now the entire course is basically flat. It runs along the riverfront, through the city and a short section on crushed gravel. Overall support is great, adequate aid stations and traffic control (although not all roads are completely closed). Relay exchange points are easy to navigate and there is an ankle bracelet that is transferred. The finish line was also moved to 2nd street within the city, which provided a more festive atmosphere. There was enough food, with bagels, fruit, sandwiches, drinks, cookies.
The medal is nice. Relay participants get the same medal only a smaller version, which I think is proper.
If you are looking for a flat course, well run race (they’ve been doing it for 40+ years), small in size (about 1,000 runners), with easy logistics, this is a great race to consider.

DIFFICULTY
2
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3
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Hershey Half Marathon

Hershey Half Marathon

I've run this race every year since inception. The organization has improved since the beginning. There's not much of an expo, just a few local vendors and the "always present" … MORE

I’ve run this race every year since inception. The organization has improved since the beginning. There’s not much of an expo, just a few local vendors and the “always present” running store that’s at every expo (you know who I mean). You can pick up your packet on race morning, which is convenient. There are no corrals, so it’s a mass start. The course is fine, a few hills, some local support (which has improved throughout the years). The best part of the course is running through the Milton S. Hershey School. The kids are out and scream, cheer, high five you during your trek through the school. At mile 11 or so, they had out Hershey candy. The other aid stations are adequate and there are enough for a half. You do run through HersheyPark for a period, but most of the race is through the town. The finish is on the track at Hershey stadium. One of the things I like best is they hand you an insulated lunch bag full of snacks and a handmade cookie. There’s no running out of food because the early finishers took more than they should. I wish all races did this. The medal has evolved and has become very nice. It has featured a different Hershey candy character. Unique!

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Steamtown Marathon

Steamtown Marathon

I really like Steamtown and will run it again this year. The expo is VERY small. It's held at a local college. There are only two vendors, one of which … MORE

I really like Steamtown and will run it again this year. The expo is VERY small. It’s held at a local college. There are only two vendors, one of which is the race selling a few additional pieces of Steamtown merchandise via a local running shop. The other vendor is the “big name” vendor that’s at every expo selling stuff at deep discount prices. I think I spent 10 minutes total during packet pick up and the expo.
There aren’t a lot of big chain hotels in Scranton proper, so I stayed outside of town, but only about 5 miles away. They do not have a “host” hotel and there aren’t any special group discounts either. If you want to run and stay overnight, make reservations early.
On race morning, you park in the city, board a bus that takes you on a 45 minute ride to the start. It is a point to point race. They drop you off at a school, so you can go inside and stay warm, relax. They had coffee, hot chocolate, donuts and pastries inside.
The course winds its way through many of the communities in this northeastern part of PA. There is generally good support, but there are also times when there is no crowd at all. You spend some time on a trail, which I like. It is a paved rails to trails, so no worries about mud. It is a net downhill race, but there are several hills. None of the hills would make you blink an eye if it were a training day. However, they come at the end of the race, when your legs can be tired. Respect them, plan for them and run hills on fatigued legs during your training.
The medal was simple, nice, with a train on it. The finish line area was nice. A few snacks and drinks. You can hang out in a grassy area in the center of town. They do the awards right there too.
They do it right in Steamtown and they have been doing it for 21 years. I would recommend this race for anyone looking for a smaller-ish race (I think registration caps at 3,000 or 4,000) with a PR in mind.

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3
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4
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Octo Half

Octo Half

Very nice effort for a first year race. Small field of runners, packet pick up on morning of race, able to park near start and just get out of your … MORE

Very nice effort for a first year race. Small field of runners, packet pick up on morning of race, able to park near start and just get out of your car and walk to start line. The race winds through a lot of residential subdivisions. The roads were not closed, although they report they are changing the course to limit the amount of time spent on “open roads”. The last few miles are spent on an out and back, which is not really that appealing to me. Finish line was simple, with a few drinks and snacks. No fan fare. Limited spectators.
The medal was nice (see photo), unique. You got two shirts, both long sleeve, one “technical” fabric, one cotton. You could purchase a hat with the race logo, but that’s the only merchandise.
Age group awards were personalized and mailed to winners several weeks after the race.
I think there’s a lot of room to grow with this race. The course can be improved (less time on “open roads”). The finish line can use a little more excitement (you basically just grabbed your medal and drinks and walked to your car to leave). I would consider doing it again in a few years, keeping an eye on changes that are made.

DIFFICULTY
2
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3
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3
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3
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Bird in Hand Half Marathon & 5K

Bird in Hand Half Marathon & 5K

I've run this race 3 times, including the inaugural. It is very well run. It is growing but still a smaller sized field. Parking is in a field, so if … MORE

I’ve run this race 3 times, including the inaugural. It is very well run. It is growing but still a smaller sized field. Parking is in a field, so if it has been raining, prepare for muddy feet.
At the start, you literally line up beside the Amish. They are an integral part of this race. They cheer, they run with you in the race, they man the water stations (even the littlest of kids), they ride their bikes on the roads and you’re guaranteed to see at least one horse and buggy. Watch out for the “road apples” though.
The course is not easy. This is the rolling countryside of Pennsylvania. The temperature can be hot in September, so prepare for it. There were a lot of runners needing medical treatment at the finish line due to the heat. There were ambulances stacked up, taking people to the hospital.
The finish line area is nice. They have a few vendors, including Amish selling baked goods. There is one lady who will make a quilt out of your race t-shirts and she does outstanding work. There is food to purchase, but they have a picnic with hot dogs, burgers, sides, snacks for everyone, including your family. They only ask for a head count prior to the race so they can plan accordingly.
I have to say the medal is one of my all time favorites. It is an actual, used horseshoe forged by Amish blacksmiths. If you do their “sister race” (Garden Spot Village), you get a “Road Apple” award. Look it up, if you don’t know what road apples are.
I would recommend this race, but do it for the scenery, fun atmosphere and medal. Don’t expect a PR. Slow down and look around.

DIFFICULTY
4
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4
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4
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4

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Harrisburg Half Marathon

Harrisburg Half Marathon

I've run the Harrisburg Half several years. In 2015 it was moved from a fall date to summer. We were lucky to have a mild temperature day. It has since … MORE

I’ve run the Harrisburg Half several years. In 2015 it was moved from a fall date to summer. We were lucky to have a mild temperature day. It has since been moved back to fall. I think there was a lot of (negative) feedback about the summer date.
This is a small race. You can pick up your packet before race day or same day. Parking is easy, as the race starts on City Island and there is ample parking. They have nice brushed, soft cotton t-shirts. No other frills though and no expo.
The course is flat and fast. You could plan on a PR for this course. It is run along the riverfront, through the city and a short portion on a crushed gravel trail. There are lots of places for family to see runners, although the overall crowd support is moderate (at best).
Post race food is good, typical fare of drinks, bagels, cookies, fruit, coffee, etc. Medals are nice, not fancy, but not cheap, generic medals either.
If you like a basic, well run race, a flat course and easy logistics, this is a race to consider.

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Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon

Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon

This race is one of the best organized series of events. I've run the 5k, 10k, half, marathon and the challenges. The swag is great, Asics brand shirts, always some … MORE

This race is one of the best organized series of events. I’ve run the 5k, 10k, half, marathon and the challenges. The swag is great, Asics brand shirts, always some sort of very nice bag, yearly poster and the medal – seriously one of the best – features a flying pig! The crowd support is great, even when the weather has been *not ideal*. The aid stations are plentiful, enthusiastic, and feature a different theme. There is a competition among the aid stations, so they always go above and beyond just handing out drinks. The finish line features a lot of snacks and there’s always enough. The after race festival features free food, a band, many vendors, immediate results print out and a merchandise tent. I can’t say enough positive about this race and the organizers. The race director is always at the expo and races and she’s friendly and always talks with participants. Highly recommend!

DIFFICULTY
3
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5
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4
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