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Race that's calling my name:
Honolulu Marathon 2022
I run because:
I have always been a poor runner, and I decided 2022 would be the year I overcame my fear of running. I also use running to supplement my other fitness activities, such as CrossFit and rock climbing.
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50 States Map
(Marathon or Ultra) + Half
Marathon + Ultra
Personal Bests (5)
|Honolulu Marathon||Marathon||Honolulu, HI||Dec 11, 2022||7:28:17|
|Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon||Half Marathon||Hampton, NH||Oct 2, 2022||3:19:00|
|NH 10 Miler||10 Miler||Auburn, NH||Aug 27, 2022||1:45:37|
|Ribfest 5 Miler||5 Miler||Merrimack, NH||Jul 17, 2022||54:53|
|Seafood Fest 5K||5K||Hampton, NH||Sep 11, 2022||29:03|
Future Races (0)
Past Races (9)
|Race||Distance||Location||Date||Result||My Raves||My Performance|
|Honolulu Marathon||Marathon||Honolulu, HI||Dec 11, 2022||7:28:17||
|Fisher Cats Thanksgiving 5K||5K||Manchester, NH||Nov 24, 2022||33:11||
|Manchester City Marathon, Half Marathon, Relay & 5K||Half Marathon||Manchester, NH||Nov 13, 2022||3:49:07||
|Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon||Half Marathon||Hampton, NH||Oct 2, 2022||3:19:00||
|Halfway to St. Patrick’s 5K & 10K||10K||Manchester, NH||Sep 18, 2022||1:11:52||
|Seafood Fest 5K||5K||Hampton, NH||Sep 11, 2022||29:03||
|NH 10 Miler||10 Miler||Auburn, NH||Aug 27, 2022||1:45:37||
|Ribfest 5 Miler||5 Miler||Merrimack, NH||Jul 17, 2022||54:53||
|Smuttynose Will Run for Beer 5K||5K||Hampton, NH||Jun 19, 2022||30:59||
Note: This was my first marathon, let alone my first “world-class” marathon, so I can’t speak to how this race stacks up against others of its kind. Note: Due to … MORE
Note: This was my first marathon, let alone my first “world-class” marathon, so I can’t speak to how this race stacks up against others of its kind.
Note: Due to a knee injury in October 2022, I completed this race as a walker.
PRODUCTION PROS: The Expo before the race was efficient and orderly; bib pickup only took a few minutes despite how many participants there were. There were a bunch of vendors selling a wide variety of items, and there were Expo specials/discounts on many items. (I purchased three unique racing singlets and a tech hat for about a hundred dollars total: cuter and cheaper than the stock at my local running store in NH.)
The website was very helpful in terms of providing the information we needed to make it to the start line. The race shuttles were double-decker tour buses.
The race itself began with a bang (literally) as the runners were treated to a lengthy fireworks show at the start line. Water, Gatorade, Bathroom, and Medical stations were all present where the course map indicated. Most of the water stations were self-serve, and I used them as opportunities to re-wet my cooling towel. Many stations also had Vaseline, which was a godsend. All the volunteers where cheerful, encouraging, and enthusiastic, even 7+ hours into the event.
PRODUCTION CONS: The front of the “yellow” or 7+hr zone was almost a mile away from the starting line, and it took me 17 minutes to reach the start line after the race began. This is not a complaint against the race, just something to keep in mind if you’re planning to complete this or another large event as a walker/slow runner. A complaint I do have is that all the mile markers appeared to be off by 0.33-0.45 miles FARTHER away than anticipated. Several other runners I encountered noticed this as well. My Garmin watch indicated that I walked 26.98 miles from the START line to the FINISH line. The total distance from my “start spot” to the finish line was 27.5 miles.
COURSE PROS: It was awesome to walk through Honolulu at night, passing several famous landmarks all lit up for the event. The views were beautiful throughout much of the course, and those faster than I had the opportunity to see the sun rise on the beach. Mount Mauna Loa was erupting during the 2022 event, which made my course photos quite unique. I had hiked Diamond Head a couple days before the marathon (highly recommend!), and it was great to see the crater up close as we went around it. It was also really neat to see landmarks on the ground that I’d seen from the summit of DH (such as the lighthouse). The parts of this course that were enjoyable were incredibly enjoyable, and where there were views, they were stunning. Many locals came out to cheer and support, including a drumming team, a local band, and others holding up signs or wearing costumes.
COURSE CONS: Unfortunately, almost half of this out-and-back course was highway during which we had to watch other runners coming back. Walking on the black top was very hot, and there was no shade or scenery for many of the miles. In addition, I’d hoped for more beach than gentrified neighborhoods on this “race in paradise.” One final annoyance is that the bathroom lines were about 15 minutes *each* for the two stops I had to make.
SWAG: The medal for this event is amazing. It’s huge and gold and marks this race as the 50th anniversary of the Honolulu Marathon. The finisher shirt for this year is a gorgeous, universally-flattering green, with a beautiful logo design. For looks alone, these are by far my favorite two pieces of race swag. They did not give out shell necklaces as they had in previous years for this event. The only other “freebie” from the race pack was a large sticker commemorating the 50th anniversary of the race, which we received when we picked up our bibs.
AFTER-PARTY: Despite my slow finish time, the finisher area was still lively with enthusiastic staff. The medal volunteers were very smiley and congratulatory. The production unfortunately ran out of malasadas before I finished the race, so I went to Leonard’s Bakery the next morning on a local’s recommendation to get some. (AMAZING!) At the finish area, the production provided water, cold cans of coconut water, a banana, and one package of wafer cookies. It was a bit of a walk to find the finisher shirts, but they were very well-organized with different lines for men/women and each size, which made picking up my shirt very efficient. They had a huge video screen with the finish line video running on a 40-minute delay, so there was plenty of time to hydrate, refuel, change, and recover with legs up before walking over to the screen to watch my finish. They didn’t have any music or finish line events/attractions, but this made the park less crowded and noisy, which I appreciated.
OVERALL: For my first marathon, I don’t think I could have done better than this race. The lack of time limit made it a stress-free experience even knowing I’d have to walk every step, and the “aloha spirit” was present from the other runners, spectator/supporters, and volunteers. Overall, this was a great event, and if I lived in Hawai’i I’d probably do it every year. Mahalo!
Fisher Cats Thanksgiving 5K
It's turkey lurkey time!
Fisher Cats Thanksgiving 5K
PRODUCTION: This Millennium Running event was produced as smoothly as others from the company. This race did NOT have a gear check, so a lot of people had to run … MORE
PRODUCTION: This Millennium Running event was produced as smoothly as others from the company. This race did NOT have a gear check, so a lot of people had to run back to their cars after checking in to drop off their warm layers in the minutes before the race. There was a common start/finish line on the field level of the Fisher Cats stadium, and the finish line action was shown on the jumbotron, which were nice novelties. I was very pleased that the finish line announcer pronounced my name correctly! Photos were primarily taken at the finish line. As of this writing three days post-race, I haven’t received the usual email with a link to the finisher video and invitation to check out my images (though it was quite easy to get my photos from the event’s page on the MR website two days later), and I also haven’t received the email regarding the Elliot Running Series jacket points. I imagine that due to Thanksgiving, they’re shorter-staffed than usual. I hope all the Millennium Running folks had a wonderful holiday!
COURSE: A simple out-and-back loop in Manchester, NH. There wasn’t much scenery except the people in front and in back of you, but since many racers wore fun turkey-themed outfits, there was more to look at than usual for a city race. There were some hills, but it wasn’t too bad, and I used the downs as an opportunity to decrease my time.
SWAG: This year’s shirt was an olive green tech tee with “Thanksgiving 5K” printed on it. No XS option as usual. Registrations also came with one free ticket (a single, not a pair) to a Fisher Cats (minor league baseball) game, redeemable in April, 2023.
AFTER-PARTY: Because of the size of this race and the freezing temps, the “after party” was more of a “grab your snacks and go” affair. They ran out of yogurt and some of the other snacks toward the end, so slower runners and walkers weren’t able to get much. Despite the huge crowd and amount of interesting swag some of the tents offered, people were courteous, took what they wanted, and moved along.
OVERALL: This was my first “Turkey Trot,” and my first time running in sub-freezing temperatures due to having injured my knee two months ago. I really enjoyed this event and will definitely make Thanksgiving racing part of my holiday routine. Would race this event again.
P.S. This was my first doctor-cleared run after injuring my knee in early October. I set a goal of 36 minutes and surprised myself by hitting 33 despite the cold.
P.P.S. HAPPY THANKSGIVING AND WINTER HOLIDAY SEASON to everyone at Millennium Running and to this whole community who made me fall in love with running!
Manchester City Marathon, Half Marathon, Relay & 5K
Manchester City Marathon, Half Marathon, Relay & 5K
I can’t provide my usual detailed review because due to a knee injury I had to withdraw from in-person participation in this race and instead switch to virtual and complete … MORE
I can’t provide my usual detailed review because due to a knee injury I had to withdraw from in-person participation in this race and instead switch to virtual and complete it as a walker. My “shoe” ratings above are based on friends’ reports.
SWAG: The shirt was a long-sleeved tech shirt in red with the marathon logo on the front and “Running Free Because of the Brave” on the back. (This year’s charity was a veterans’ organization.) The medal is NOT the one with the Manchester cityscape pictured on the website for most of the year; it’s an American-themed white shield-shaped medal with blue stars and red vertical stripes. It’s huge and heavy.
I have to give a shout-out to Millennium Running’s customer service, who were very understanding and helpful.
Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon
Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon
PRODUCTION: I arrived at 6:00 a.m. as suggested by the pre-race email and was able to find parking right near the start/finish area. Parking was free for the event. Roads … MORE
PRODUCTION: I arrived at 6:00 a.m. as suggested by the pre-race email and was able to find parking right near the start/finish area. Parking was free for the event. Roads were closed for the race and it felt very safe. There was no starting banner or pacing corrals, so I made a guess about where to seed myself in the big start line crowd. There was no pushing or anything at the beginning, though, and despite being in such a large start funnel, I felt safe. They had speakers blaring music in a couple places and a live band at the Seashell Stage, but the vast majority of the run was quiet. The volunteers were friendly and enthusiastic. I had to visit the medical tent at the end of the race due to injuring my IT band, and the provided good care.
COURSE: Extremely flat with just a few little rollers in the residential areas. A lot of it was along the ocean, but due to the height of the wall, it was impossible to see the sea as I ran. The out-and-back course included passing the finish line around mile 6, which was kind of a heartbreaker. If you plan to run this race, definitely bring more layers than you think you’ll need unless you’re confident in being able to maintain a fast pace throughout. Despite being in the 50s, the ocean winds were brutal and definitely made the run less enjoyable as I didn’t have gloves or a hat/earmuffs.
SWAG: Awesome tech hoodie and big medal that looks like a vinyl record.
AFTER-PARTY: Because I injured myself on the route and had to walk the second half of the race, I arrived at the very end of the after-party, so I can’t give an accurate review. The lobster sliders were decent, and the hot chowder was a blessing given how cold it was. I didn’t use my beer tickets as I didn’t think consuming alcohol would be a great idea given the injury. The host (same fun guy from the Smuttynose Will Run for Beer 5K) kept up his energy and enthusiasm as he encouraged slow runners at the finish line.
OVERALL: I enjoyed the flat course, enthusiastic volunteers, and ocean views. I didn’t enjoy the wind or lack of accurate self-seeding at the start line. Love the swag. I’d consider running this race again next year if I’m able to return to distance running.
Halfway to St. Patrick’s 5K & 10K
Irish Eyes Half-Smiling
Halfway to St. Patrick’s 5K & 10K
PRODUCTION: As usual, Millennium Running put on an efficient race, complete with their signature self-seeding corrals. The start and finish lines were in different locations for this race, but it … MORE
PRODUCTION: As usual, Millennium Running put on an efficient race, complete with their signature self-seeding corrals. The start and finish lines were in different locations for this race, but it was very easy to find the start as it was a straight line from the bib pickup/finish area. I arrived very early to obtain street parking near the finish line (free because it was Sunday). Celtic-themed music was blasted from the speakers and a local bagpipe player performed before “The Star Spangled Banner” to follow through with the Irish theme. I appreciated these little touches. The pickup/finish area, aid station, and course-marking volunteers were all very friendly and helpful as always. My photos arrived the following day.
COURSE: Roads were blocked off for the race, and it felt very safe. No scenery to speak of (unless cityscapes are your thing). It was mostly flat with little rollers and a couple hills. Most of this loop course was long straight lines, then five or six quick turns at the end of the first loop/finish line. 5Kers completed one loop, and 10Kers completed two of the same loop. The 5K/10K split was very well-marked.
SWAG: My least-favorite swag of all my races so far. Runners ONLY received a thin, green, polyester, tartan, elastic-waisted skirt that they called a kilt. And they only had Larges. I had to get creative with safety pins to get it to stay up (I usually wear XS). I decided to wear it for the race as I didn’t think I’d ever have use for it in any other context (even a Halloween costume), as it was oversized and just plain looks/feels cheap. It was cool to see the majority of my fellow racers wearing it too, though.
AFTER-PARTY: The post-race beers were served in a local bar. We could choose between 2 IPAs and Sam Adams Oktoberfest. Guinness beer was not covered by the beer tickets (though the bar had it on tap), which was surprising as the event website depicted pints of Guinness when advertising the “free beer” amenity. The festival area had the usual results/awards tent, snacks, yogurt, bananas, etc. Division winners received an event-branded pint glass. There was a small stage where locals, such as Irish step students, performed. The event website had mentioned a city Celtic festival as the after-party, but I didn’t see anything in the town that appeared to be a Celtic Festival, nor did the few locals I approached know anything about it either.
OVERALL: This race was okay. If you like flat, city-based loop races AND you don’t care about swag or after-parties, this race will suffice quite well.
P.S.: I signed up for this race very early in the year as part of training for my first marathon. This race fell on my 11-mile training run day. Rather than cancel either, I combined the two by arriving very early and running 5 miles before the start of the race. I was able to time it so there was only a brief pause between finishing the pre-run and arriving at the start corral. I deliberately ran this race slowly as it was part of my “long easy run.” (I finished 11.3 miles in 2h10m and some odd seconds for my then-longest run ever.)
Seafood Fest 5K
Flat, Fast, and Fun!
Seafood Fest 5K
PRODUCTION: Millennium Running always seems to put on organized events. I arrived at 7:00 a.m. and was able to easily find metered parking near the start line ($2/hr). By 8:00 … MORE
PRODUCTION: Millennium Running always seems to put on organized events. I arrived at 7:00 a.m. and was able to easily find metered parking near the start line ($2/hr). By 8:00 the closest spots were almost a mile from it. This race had a “yoga on the beach” event. I hadn’t brought a mat, but signed up after being told most of the poses would be standing and I therefore wouldn’t need one. This turned out not to be the case, and I became pretty sandy. The yoga was a great warm-up, though, and I was happy I’d participated in the end. There was a short “little lobsters” run for children. One of the kids made a false start which turned into the entire race (about 30 seconds). I thought they’d offer to try again and give the kiddos a proper gun start, but instead the announcers made a joke about needing to get better at kids’ starts and everyone moved on. It wasn’t a big deal as it was a non-competitive run, but I’d have been frustrated as a child if I’d trained for a race and had that experience. The starting area had pacing corrals, which I always appreciate. As usual, MR created a joyful finish line experience as they announced runners’ names over the loudspeaker and volunteers handed finishers bottles of water right away.
COURSE: This was the flattest 3.1 miles I’ve ever run. It was a straight up-and-back course (including a very tight U-turn). The start and finish lines were right on the beach. This added a fun element (and created unique, lovely race photos) but the sand made the first and last 20 seconds of the run challenging. I found I had to power-walk the beginning and couldn’t sprint to the finish line. (I believe I would have had a sub-29m time without these elements.) Much of the course provided ocean views. A few locals came out and shouted encouragement for the runners, and one couple blasted the “Rocky” theme from their apartment window. I PRed at this race with my first sub-30m 5K (29m03s), which I credit to the flatness of the course and invigorating ocean breezes.
SWAG: This race does NOT provide a finisher medal. The race shirt is a performance tee. The 2022 design was burgundy and inspired by the Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” logo with the word “Run” subbing for “Sun.” No XS option.
AFTER-PARTY: MR always does a great job providing after-race fuel to the runners, including PowerAid, water, bananas, chips, pretzels, and yogurt. At this event, the finish line area was right on the beach. Then, of course, there was the Hampton Beach Seafood Festival, which was a blast! Overall, the prices were reasonable considering they were offering fresh (delicious!) seafood. My beer ticket was redeemable in the festival’s beer garden, where I could choose beer, seltzer, or canned cocktail with my drink ticket. Despite how popular this event is, it didn’t feel too crowded, and I didn’t wait in line more than a minute or so to order anything. Attendees and vendors alike were friendly.
OVERALL: This is a great event for a first-time racer due to the flat course and casual vibe. Arrive earlier than you ordinarily would for a 9:00 start to get municipal parking near the start line, bring a yoga mat or large beach towel if they offer yoga, and definitely pack beachwear and sandals to change into after the race so you can feel fresh while enjoying the seafood festival and/or post-race beach day.
NH 10 Miler
NH 10 Miler
PRODUCTION: As usual, Millennium Running put on an efficient race. I definitely wish I’d arrived earlier, as I had to parallel park along the race course almost a mile (uphill … MORE
PRODUCTION: As usual, Millennium Running put on an efficient race. I definitely wish I’d arrived earlier, as I had to parallel park along the race course almost a mile (uphill from the finish line) away from the festival area. The gear check, shirts, course info, etc. were all very easy to find and the check-in process was smooth and efficient. They used corrals at the start and asked runners to self-seed based on pace, which cut down significantly on starting line chaos. There were water stations along the course every two miles, two of which also had Gatorade. It was nice to see local teens and tweens out volunteering and cheering. There were several timing stations along the course as well.
COURSE: The T-Shirt didn’t lie; there are a lot of hills! I was pleasantly surprised to see a LOT of downhills, and honestly felt I was spending more time running downs than plodding on ups. There were two very big hills where the majority of those around me walked, but I was able to maintain a consistent pace throughout the run using a mix of sprinting the downs, walking the big ups, and jogging the flats and small ups. There was a lot of tree shade, and a few residents hung outside and cheered, including one who left a cooler full of ice and small bottles of water out for the runners. Beautiful scenery between the shaded trees and lake views.
SWAG: My favorite race shirt so far. The 2022 design was black with white-and-red lettering saying, “Why the HILL Not?” No XS option. The 2022 medal is huge and beautiful with the “sunset” race graphic framed in a rectangle and the name/date of the race engraved on the back.
AFTER-PARTY: The after-party took place at a local restaurant where you could redeem your beer ticket. I raced alone and decided not to attend the after-party. The festival area had the usual post-race fuel, including water and Powerade (both warm), bananas, several kinds of yogurt smoothies, pretzels, chips, and peanut butter cracker snacks. There was plenty of everything to go around for everyone. The volunteers at the finish line were friendly. At the finish line, the announcer called everyone’s name. I was a late finisher compared to most of the field, and he still had enthusiasm in his voice announcing finishers and made little positive comments about folks as they came through.
OVERALL: This was my longest race, and in fact my longest run at this point. I was apprehensive because I heard how difficult the hills were and pictured a hellish (hillish?) run. I needn’t have worried. There were a lot of downhills and flats, some little rollers, and 2-3 big hills over the ten miles. This was my personal favorite race experience to date (for whatever that’s worth as it was only my third road race) and would love to do it again next year.
Ribfest 5 Miler
Hilly and Hot
Ribfest 5 Miler
PRODUCTION: I chose the VIP parking. There was plenty of signage and enough lot attendants to make parking quick and easy. I was able to park just steps from the … MORE
PRODUCTION: I chose the VIP parking. There was plenty of signage and enough lot attendants to make parking quick and easy. I was able to park just steps from the starting/finishing area, which was very convenient. They had a few tents from services/products giving free samples plus a Millennium Running Store tent at the start. The start line had pace markers, so it was easy to self-seed without worrying if I was too far ahead or behind. They had an official timer at the 3-mile mark as well as the finish line. At the finish line area, you could check your overall results on a computer screen as long as you waited for your bib number to pop up. Division winners received a large lunchbox-sized Ribfest 5-Miler canvas cooler. The finish line “festival area” had water, Poweraid, bananas, oranges, chips, pretzels, other snacks, and free samples from Stonyfield, Olivia’s Organics, and a few other tents. The water and PowerAid were unfortunately warm. I assume my photos/video will be posted/emailed in a few days. Smooth, easy production.
COURSE: Loop course which starts on a big uphill, then continues mostly uphill on highway blacktop for the first two miles. Then you get about one mile through a neighborhood with a little tree shade. Many residents faced sprinklers toward the road and/or cheered as we ran past, which was nice. It was a relief that on the last two miles we were able to run down the hills we’d run up earlier! There were four water stations with local volunteers handing out the cups.
SWAG: Aside from the free samples, we just got a tech shirt. It says “Flipping Awesome” with a spatula graphic on the front, which I find very cute, but the shirt a very bright orange, so I don’t think I’ll wear it too often. It is quite soft, though. No XS option.
AFTER-PARTY: The Great American Ribfest was the after-party (in addition to the mini finish line festival described above). There were several options for the free beer. (I got a Land Shark Lager.) $19 for 3 ribs, coleslaw, beans, and a roll was the cheapest option to get “award-winning” ribs from at least one place. Delicious, but I was hoping to be able to buy small plates from multiple places instead of one big plate from one place. For me, this was less of a “Rib Festival” than a food truck festival with 3 expensive options for rib dinners. You can see the list of food vendors on the Ribfest’s website if you’re curious about what else was there. It was fun, but overall was a letdown for me, perhaps because I didn’t have accurate expectations.
OVERALL/SUMMARY: I’ve only done a couple of these races and this was my first 5-miler, so I don’t have much basis for comparison. I had a good time and would consider running this race again. The main drawback for me was I found the RibFest itself disappointing.
Smuttynose Will Run for Beer 5K
Smuttynose Will Run for Beer 5K
Note: This was my first “official” 5K race, so my review is based solely on the experience of this race without comparing it to any others. Production: The volunteers were … MORE
Note: This was my first “official” 5K race, so my review is based solely on the experience of this race without comparing it to any others.
Production: The volunteers were very friendly and helpful. Parking, sign-in, swag pickup, and gear check were all easy to find and smooth, quick processes. Plenty of port-o-John’s. A funny, friendly MC. Well-marked starting area, finish line, and finish party area. Volunteers handed out medals and a cold bottle of water to runners immediately upon crossing the finish line. The medal was a nice, heavy bottle opener on a pretty patterned ribbon. There was minimal “bunching”/chaos at the start/finish lines given how many participants there were. Finisher photos were uploaded to the official race website (which you could get to by scanning the QR code on your bib) within a few hours of the conclusion of the event.
Course: The race itself was as described on the event site: relatively flat through woods-lined paved country roads. It was well-marked and there were volunteers every half-mile or so cheering and pointing the way. Residents cheered from their front yards. The Mile 2 aid station was staffed with volunteers handing out cups of water. My GPS said that the race was 3.17 miles, which impacted my finish time a little.
After-Party: BBQ burgers/hot dogs/veggie burgers and a taco truck, a local band playing live music, friendly fellow participants to chat with on the long food/beer lines. You could choose lager or pale ale. The beers were pre-poured into plastic cups and were ice cold. Winners were awarded a wooden coaster with the event logo on one side and their place/category on the other AND a pretty branded beer bottle cozy. To learn your results, you had to scan the QR code on your bib after the race concluded, then claim your prize yourself; no winners’ names were announced.
Overall Impressions/Summary: I had a great time at this race. As a first-time 5Ker, I appreciated the laid-back, friendly atmosphere. While there were advanced racers there, this was a chill, non-competitive event. With my time of 30m59s, I finished in the top 44% overall. I’ll definitely run this race again next year! Highly recommend.