My Profile

@ssabol1562

Lakewood, OH Raving since 2018 Boston Marathon finisher, 50 States hopeful/finisher, 100 Half Marathons Club active 4 months, 3 weeks ago

About Me

  • Running club(s):

    50 States Half Marathon Club; 13.1×100 Half Marathon Club

  • Rave race:

    Run The Bluegrass

  • Race that's calling my name:

    To many to list!

  • I run because:

    To reduce stress and keep myself healthy.    I travel to run to meet people and see the world 13.1 miles at a time!

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

Personal Bests (1)

Race Distance Location Date Result
Half Marathon Huntington, WV Nov 4, 2018 1:33:11

Future Races (0)

Race Distance Location Date Paid

Past Races (8)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
Half Marathon Waterfall, PA Oct 26, 2019 1:40:11
Half Marathon Pittsburgh, PA May 5, 2019 1:49:46
Half Marathon Cleveland, OH Apr 7, 2019 1:44:46
Half Marathon Cary, NC Mar 17, 2019 1:46:12
Half Marathon Virgin, UT Feb 23, 2019 1:55:12
Half Marathon Lahaina, HI Jan 20, 2019 1:54:00
Half Marathon Memphis, TN Dec 1, 2018 1:48:35
Half Marathon Huntington, WV Nov 4, 2018 1:33:11

My Raves

This race is held on the old Pennsylvania turnpike. It's an out and back course with two tunnels (1.25 miles & .75 miles). You definitely need a headlamp as there … MORE

This race is held on the old Pennsylvania turnpike. It’s an out and back course with two tunnels (1.25 miles & .75 miles). You definitely need a headlamp as there is no lighting at all in the tunnels.

I honestly thought that tough part of the course would be the tunnels but the surface in there was smooth and with no wind, I actually picked up time in there. The road outside the tunnels was the tough part as it’s open to the environment and is torn up. If you aren’t careful you could twist an ankle.

Overall this course is fairly flat. There are some hills but they are almost unnoticeable. I wouldn’t expect a PR due to the rough road but you can definitely expect a decent time. The scenery was beautiful as well with the fall colors in full bloom.

I definitely recommend this race. If you are considering it, I would not wait to sign up. While the race did not sell out this year, it did double in size from the prior year and due to the area that it is in, they will eventually have to cap the participants.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

To start, Pittsburgh is a fun city with plenty to do. Bring the whole family to this one as their race weekend has an event for everyone...from the Toddler Trot, … MORE

To start, Pittsburgh is a fun city with plenty to do. Bring the whole family to this one as their race weekend has an event for everyone…from the Toddler Trot, the Kids Marathon (1 mile), 5K, Half marathon and Marathon, they cover everyone.

The expo is decent size and has your usual vendors. Bib pickup is easy but make sure you have your ID. Swag is good..long sleeve tech shirt for the Full/Half and short sleeve tech shirt for the 5K. Each shirt is race specific too. Medals were fantastic this year and they do offer a bonus medal (Steel Challenge) for doing both the 5K and Half/Full.

The course is very scenic and hits a lot of Pittsburgh landmarks. A nice mix of uphills and downhills makes it fairly fast. if you are feeling really good on race day, it could have the potential to yield a PR. Only really tough spot is a pretty steep hill at 11.5 but it’s followed by the final mile being all downhill so you makeup the time there.

Considering it’s large size, this is a very well organized race. You do have to get into town early but if you talk to a local, they can give you the best routes to take. After the race, getting around town was very easy. This is definitely a race to put on your must-do list.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

This is a local race for me that I've done several times. I always refer to this as the little brother of the Fall Towpath Marathon/Half Marathon as it's the … MORE

This is a local race for me that I’ve done several times. I always refer to this as the little brother of the Fall Towpath Marathon/Half Marathon as it’s the lesser known of the two. It is smaller and takes place on a scenic, but not as scenic as the October race, part of the Towpath

This is a really fast course and the weather usually hovers between 40-60 degress so it definitely has PR potential. The first mile is a downhill start through the parking lot of the nature center and onto the Towpath. After that the only hills are two small bridges that you pass over around the 3 and 5 mile marks and then one more just after the 12 mile mark. The course does “corkscrew” so at about mile 9, you turn around and re-run part of the course before heading on to the finish. There were some issues this year with runners not being directed in the right direction but it didn’t add/subtract any distance and the race director acknowledged it afterward and promised to make sure it was fixed for next year.

The medal is nice (actually a little better than the fall race surprisingly) and a local bar hosts the afterparty so you can enjoy a good local brew while waiting for the awards to be given out.

Overall this is a good race and I’d recommend it…but if you are only going to be able to do one, the fall race is much better in my opinion.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

This is a great race! The first and last 2 miles of the course are on highway with a minor hill. The rest of the race is run on a … MORE

This is a great race! The first and last 2 miles of the course are on highway with a minor hill. The rest of the race is run on a very flat rail trail. The surface is a soft limestone so it’s easy on the legs. This course could easily bring you a PR or a BQ.

The swag is great. A standard tech t-shirt and sponsor gift (one year it was socks, this year it was a face cover). Since the race is on a rail trail, it always has a train on it. This year’s was one of their best yet (see photo).

Post race is a great time as well. They have the usual post race food along with Papa Johns pizza and a local brewery (AMB) providing some post race treats. They also have a results table setup so you can get immediate results.

Overall this is one of my favorite races when you combine the course, swag and post-race party.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5
My Media

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

I can't say enough good things about this race. The race directors got hit with weather and temperatures far below normal for this time of year. It was 9 degrees … MORE

I can’t say enough good things about this race. The race directors got hit with weather and temperatures far below normal for this time of year. It was 9 degrees at the start when it’s normally 50-60 degrees. Despite the weather causing them to have to make numerous last minute changes to race day logistics, they handled it smoothly and the race went off with as planned.

I would not call this race easy. The course could be described as rolling hills but it was more up than down plus being at altitude (about 3600 ft) with the cold, heavy air definitely slowed my pace down by about a minute a mile. However, this is a race where it definitely pays to take your time. This was by far the most beautiful course I have ever run. It follows the 13.1 miles that lead right up to the entrance to the park and the snow covered mountains all around us definitely took my mind off the hills and cold.

The swag for this race is good. The medal is beautiful and is one of my favorites. The shirt could be a little better in my opinion. The design is nice but the fabric is very light and flimsy. One other really awesome perk was that we received free professional pictures from the race. And they had photographers in multiple locations so you got several shots!

I do love the cupless concept that Vacation Races uses. It’s great to run through water stops and not see countless bags of garbage laying around. Although this race the cold hurt a little as the nozzles on the coolers they use for water froze up. However, the volunteers did a great job of innovating on the fly to make sure everyone got the hydration that they need.

The thing that impressed me the most was in the afternoon after the race, we received an email from the race directors admitting that the water stops were an issue and acknowledging that they could have done better. While I think they did the best they could with the circumstances, I think it says a lot when a race director calls themselves out and acknowledges where they came up short. I will definitely be putting many more Vacation Races on my schedule.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

First off, it's Hawaii in January so you should consider this race for that alone! Overall this was a nice race. Started at 6:30 AM so you caught the sunrise … MORE

First off, it’s Hawaii in January so you should consider this race for that alone!

Overall this was a nice race. Started at 6:30 AM so you caught the sunrise to over the ocean on your way out (it’s an out-and-back course). This helped but after the sun got up in the sky it was really hot and humid (Note..I don’t think that there is a race in Hawaii that’s not hot and humid).

There is only a minor elevation change on the course but it is more uphill on the way back. Water stops for the most part were plentiful but there was a point early and late in the race where there was almost 2.5 miles between water stops. That hurt on the way back when it was hot. Other than that they were every 1 to 1.5 miles.

My only real concern with this race is that they can’t really close down the road so all runners are coned off in the berm which isn’t very wide. Since it’s an out-and-back course it got really tight at points and some runners were pushed into the lane against oncoming traffic. I know it’s tough to get a 13.1 mile course that is close to the lodging on the island and doesn’t block off many roads but it would be nice if the race director tried.

The medal was nice but a nicer ribbon on it would have made it better. Shirt was a white dry-fit shirt with artwork on it by a local artist. Other than that there was not a lot of extra perks..but again, it’s Hawaii and that is the best perk you can have.

One awesome thing this race does that most do not is to celebrate the runners who are finishing their 50th state that day. All those runners get bib #50 so they can be easily identified by the crowd and they got an awesome bonus medal celebrating their 50 state finish at a ceremony after the race.

Overall, the pros outweigh the cons on this race…I recommend it for Hawaii

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

This is one of those races where I have to say it wasn't great but it wasn't bad either. Mother nature didn't help us out much...severe storms pushed the start … MORE

This is one of those races where I have to say it wasn’t great but it wasn’t bad either. Mother nature didn’t help us out much…severe storms pushed the start back an hour and a half. Once the storms blew out, we got sun and humidity. But you can’t really hold weather against a race but it might bias my opinion a bit!

Pros: Scenic course…ran past Beale Street and along the water front. Great crowd support..especially running through the St Judes campus where patients and their families were cheering us on! Nice medal and great post race party with local beer brewed specifically for the race. Also had a lot of aid stations on the course which was huge with the humidity

Cons: Very crowded. With 25,000 runners and some confusion about road closing times due to the delays, parking was a bit of a nightmare. You really have to arrive really early since the 5K/10K starts an hour before the half/full. Parking and traffic around the expo were also terrible. The course had steeper hills than I expected which were amplified by the humidity.

Overall, I would say this race and city are worth doing once. Graceland is a must see as are the Peabody Ducks. Beale Street is a big draw but we did not feel very safe there after dark. We also had some bad Uber experiences. HINT: if a driver tells you they need to get gas, insist that they bring you to your destination first.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

This is a spectacular race and very well organized! They do a great job of keeping everyone updated as race day approaches, the swag was great as we received a … MORE

This is a spectacular race and very well organized! They do a great job of keeping everyone updated as race day approaches, the swag was great as we received a gym bag, stocking cap, nice long sleeve shirt (with option to upgrade to a pullover) and a really nice finishers medal.

The course is very flat and fast..this is a great PR race (I had my fastest time of the year here!) Yes..it really is in West Virginia! If you despise hills, this is the race for you! This race has one of the coolest finishes as you run into the football stadium, get a football tossed to you and then run into the end zone where they have photographers ready to take photos which you later get emailed to you for free!

The course support is good. Plenty of water stops with great volunteers and cross roads are blocked off and watched volunteers and police.

Post race includes a beer tent, burgers/dogs and the usual spread of banana’s and water.

If you run this race, make sure you take time to go over to the memorial to the football team lost in the plane crash many years ago. I also recommend watching the movie “We are Marshall” before going to get the context of what you will see while you are there.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?