My Profile

@wonderjess

Blacksburg, VA Raving since 2014 Marathon Maniacs #11517 https://wonderjessrunning.wordpress.com/ active 1 day, 23 hours ago

About Me

  • Running club(s):
  • Rave race:

    Philadelphia Marathon

  • Race that's calling my name:

    my next relay!

  • I run because:

    I enjoy the way running makes me feel, and the sense of accomplishment that I get from it. It doesn’t hurt that it keeps me in shape, and I get to meet amazing other runners (I’m a super-social runner, and tend to overshare on long runs).

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 (5)

Race Distance Location Date Result
50 Miler Steamboat Springs, CO Sep 16, 2016 12:50:00
50K Carthage, MO Dec 3, 2016 5:05:32
Marathon Philadelphia, PA 2013 3:56:43
Half Marathon Oakland, CA Mar 23, 2014 1:51:23
10 Miler San Francisco, CA 2014 1:27:012

Future Races (1)

Race Distance Location Date Paid
Marathon Detroit, MI Oct 20, 2019

Past Races (36)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
10 Miler Montvale, VA Mar 16, 2019
50K Eleanor, WV Mar 24, 2018
25K Winston-Salem, NC Jan 6, 2018
7 Miler Blacksburg, VA Oct 28, 2017
50K Carthage, MO Dec 3, 2016 5:05:32
Marathon Philadelphia, PA Nov 20, 2016
Half Marathon Healdsburg, CA Oct 9, 2016 1:54:25
50 Miler Steamboat Springs, CO Sep 16, 2016 12:50:00
Marathon Pawhuska, OK Jul 17, 2016
Half Marathon Coalgate, OK Jun 11, 2016
Marathon Oklahoma City, OK Apr 24, 2016
Marathon Little Rock, AR Mar 6, 2016 4:17:52
25K Tulsa, OK Feb 27, 2016 3:36:00
25K Tulsa, OK Jan 23, 2016
Half Marathon Tulsa, OK Dec 13, 2015
50K Los Gatos, CA Jul 26, 2015
6 hr San Pablo, CA Jul 11, 2015 27.5 mi
Marathon Wallsburg, UT Jun 13, 2015
12K San Francisco, CA May 17, 2015
Marathon Big Sur, CA Apr 26, 2015 5:05:00
Marathon Relay Oakland, CA Mar 22, 2015
10 Miler Foster City, CA Jan 18, 2015
Half Marathon Saratoga, CA Dec 13, 2014
Half Marathon San Rafael, CA Oct 25, 2014 2:21:00
200 Mile Relay San Francisco, CA Sep 19, 2014
Marathon San Francisco, CA Jul 27, 2014 4:32:07
10K Oakland, CA Apr 26, 2014
Half Marathon Oakland, CA Mar 23, 2014 1:51:23
50K Winston-Salem, NC Jan 4, 2014
10 Miler San Francisco, CA 2014 1:27:012
10 Miler Chapel Hill, NC 2013 1:30:43
5 Miler Raleigh, NC 2013
208 Mile Relay Mouth of Wilson, VA 2013
Marathon Philadelphia, PA 2013 3:56:43
Marathon Virginia Beach, VA 2012 4:29:45
Marathon Kitty Hawk, NC 2010 4:53:03

My Raves

Montvale 5 and 10 Mile Trail Races

Montvale 5 and 10 Mile Trail Races

The Montvale Trail Races are the 3rd in a series of 6 run in the Roanoke area to highlight local trails and provide non-ultra trail races. I'll be honest, I … MORE

The Montvale Trail Races are the 3rd in a series of 6 run in the Roanoke area to highlight local trails and provide non-ultra trail races. I’ll be honest, I loved this little race. I know a lot of people that run the RNUTS (Roanoke Non-Ultra Trail Series), and speak highly of Mountain Junkies (the production team).

I’ve never run these trails, nor in Bedford County, VA at all — the park seems to be a somewhat recent addition, and in addition to the trails, there’s a new playground – that’s quite big, and a shelter. The trails were awesome — packed earth, not super technical, there seem to be a system of overlapping trails. I think one could get lost out there, although there was also a lot of signage.

The race itself has 10 milers (running two loops) and 5 milers (running one loop). Registration is capped at, I think, 250, and is between 20 and 35 dollars based on distance and timing. It was a really well-marked course, and a friendly volunteers. We were crowded at the start, but within a mile we spread out nicely. If you’re a 10 miler, note that the 5 milers start in a second wave, and the fast ones will be coming to pass you.

Bottom line: cheap, friendly, competitive, runnable, do it.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
My Report
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Haulin’ in the Holler Trail Race

Haulin’ in the Holler Trail Race

Full Disclaimer: I love random little trail race. A tiny little race (typically 20 to 35 finishers for the 50K), held in a small town about 30 miles outside Charleston … MORE

Full Disclaimer: I love random little trail race.

A tiny little race (typically 20 to 35 finishers for the 50K), held in a small town about 30 miles outside Charleston WV. This race is co-sponsored by the West Virginia Trail Runners and the local Boy Scout Troop, with all proceeds going to the Boy Scout Troop.

Production: great volunteers, great aid stations, informal instructions. Directions to the race and the bib pickup were slim, but if you’re resourceful, you’ll figure it out. The race director has a 10 minute announcement at the beginning of the race. The course is well marked with ribbons.

SWAG and Awards: the shirt is optional, but it’s a Patagonia quarter zip, so worth the $20 (I think). The awards are handmade by the Boy Scout Troop – and I think they vary year to year. Because of the small field, the likelihood of winning is higher — i won the ladies race in 2018, and won a $100 gift card to Altra.

Course: this is a challenging course. There are really limited flats, everything is up or down. With all that being said, the course is super runnable. Really great trails, and glorious single track that isn’t too technical (I never fell!).

Bottom line: I really like this race. Everyone was super friendly and happy to have you there. There isn’t a lot of crowd support, but it’s a trail 50K. You get the trees! Warning — weather is unpredictable in WV in the late spring.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
My Report
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Brush Mountain Breakdown

Brush Mountain Breakdown

This is a local race, and one of the only trail races in the series put on by RunAbout Sports (LRS in Blacksburg and Roanoke). Entry is cheap, and you … MORE

This is a local race, and one of the only trail races in the series put on by RunAbout Sports (LRS in Blacksburg and Roanoke). Entry is cheap, and you get a long sleeve technical shirt. The only weird thing is that the race doesn’t start until noon on Saturday — kind of a weird time.

The race runs through Jefferson National Forest/Pandapas Pond area. The trails are great. This is mostly run on single track, with just a little bit of fire road in there. October in the mountains is gorgeous, great scenery, and because of the small field you’re almost guaranteed a AG place!

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

You Don’t Know Jack

You Don’t Know Jack

You know, this is one peculiar little race. It has every distance you can think of from the 5K to the 100K, somehow they even made a 50 mile option. … MORE

You know, this is one peculiar little race. It has every distance you can think of from the 5K to the 100K, somehow they even made a 50 mile option. It’s all on the same stretch of the Ruby Jack Trail – a converted rails to trails that runs from Carthage MO to almost the KS border.

The trail is flat and fast, the scenery is repetitive, the volunteers and runners are enthusiastic. The 50K was a double out and back, and a friend of mine ran the 100K – a quad out and back. I’ll be honest, I signed up because I was in shape, and I wanted to knock out Missouri.

I don’t know if it was just the year I ran, but a lot of people dropped distances. The race administration let anyone that wanted drop down during the race — so no DNFs, just shorter distances. Worked out, I ended up being fourth overall for the 50k, and first lady. Only 2 people ran/completed the 100K.

The race director mailed me my finishers award – it looks like an award for showing cattle! and they were very nice to interact with. I will warn you, the timing company and many of the runners are overtly religious – I believe we started the race with a prayer – not good or bad – it just is, and if you’re not used to it, it can be a little weird.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
2
SWAG
3

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Philadelphia Marathon

Philadelphia Marathon

Second time running, Philly, and while there were some changes this year. It's still a great race. In 2016, they broke apart the half and full - half on Saturday … MORE

Second time running, Philly, and while there were some changes this year. It’s still a great race. In 2016, they broke apart the half and full – half on Saturday and full on Sunday. I was curious what this would do to crowd support, and it did bring it down a bit – but not as much as I expected. I love this race for numerous reasons:

COURSE: I love a city marathon. The course brings you through downtown Philly, through the South Side, up around the Zoo, and then out to Manayunk (I love it there). People are out, crowd support is still good. Manayunk is always a crowd pleaser. There are hills, mostly in the first half, and the second half is fast. This is a fast course. I like it. My two fastest marathon times are here.

PRODUCTION: Great!! I think this is year 23 for them. No hiccups, everything goes as planned (except for the weather). Aid stations are plentiful, as are friendly volunteers. Lots of port-a-potties.

SWAG: They had gender specific tops this year. Lots of shirts and gear for purchase. The medal is kind of nice – very detailed, and it looks like it would stand up on it’s own without the ribbon.

LOCATION: This city is connected to the marathon. Philly is the city of brotherly love, and they are so glad you are there and running. Seriously. I always have a great time visiting.

WEATHER: Unpredictable. In 2013, it was sunny and hot. In 2016, it was a high of 71 on Saturday, and of like 43 on Sunday + wind, wind, and more wind. It’s November.

I typically don’t repeat races. Philly is hands down one of my favorite races ever, and the only marathon I’ve run twice =)

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Healdsburg Half Marathon

Healdsburg Half Marathon

There are two 'Healdsburg Half Marathons,' and I think this one is the cheaper of the two. Honestly, someone else picked the race, and I gladly went along. Pre-race: registration … MORE

There are two ‘Healdsburg Half Marathons,’ and I think this one is the cheaper of the two. Honestly, someone else picked the race, and I gladly went along.

Pre-race: registration was super easy. Communication seemed just right. Packet pickup was in downtown Healdsburg – a couple tents for the race, and the Healdsburg Running Company had a tent set up. They did have cute stuff. We did packet pickup on Saturday. You also had the option to mail your bib or for race day pickup (but both those were for an additional fee).

Race Production: off without a hitch. I think there were about 700 runners. Bountiful port-o-potties at the start and one the course. No hiccups.

Course: It’s all road, some parts prettier than others, but you’re running secondary roads through wine country. It’s quite nice. There were some rollers, and a biggish climb at the end (around mile 9 or 10).

Post-race: At the finish line, you pick up your beer or wine glass, and then there is food (rice and beans and chicken). There was beer, but I guess I didn’t have any. It was pretty festive. I think this race is part of a 3 part series, and series finishers got a bottle of wine.

Misc: Healdsburg is adorable, but as I understand expensive. We stayed in nearby Geyersville, which had great restaurant options.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
My Report
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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Run Rabbit Run

Run Rabbit Run

I'm not sure why I picked Run Rabbit Run as my first 50 miler, but I did, and I ran it, and I'm here to tell you about it. Don't … MORE

I’m not sure why I picked Run Rabbit Run as my first 50 miler, but I did, and I ran it, and I’m here to tell you about it. Don’t be intimidated, do it!
Website/Registration/Communication: I found most stuff that I needed on the website. Registration was easy, and the RC communicated a lot leading up to the race.
Location: Steamboat Springs is gorgeous. We were able to rent a pretty affordable condo close to the start. We took the free bus downtown. I had never been to the Boat before, and it was a great experience.
Course Difficulty: Difficult!! Very Difficult. The course is between 6500 and 10500 elevation. It starts with a 6 mile 4000 foot climb, and at the midpoint, is the steepest climb of all. And then all the running in between is up and down, and up and down. With all that being said, you mostly run on great single track, not too technical, and about 2 feet wide. Some areas more rocky or rooty than others, but mostly good.
Course Scenery: SPECTACULAR. Seriously, it was so gorgeous. When I was just there the leaves were starting to change, there were greens and yellows, and just a touch of red. Running in the Colorado Mountains is breath-taking.
Race Production: GREAT! Run Rabbit Run builds a loyal fan base, and they’ve earned it. Race production went off without a snag. The volunteers were great! No hitches with production at all.
Race Swag: Also great. There were gender specific shirts. We also got an off brand buff with the RRR logo, some smartwool socks, and there was limited additional gear for purchase (mostly previous years shirts, and a visor). Note: everything is branded as the 50 and the 100, and I don’t think the 100 gets anything more than the 50 gets.
Overall: loved it! Do it!

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
My Report
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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Osage Hills Trail Marathon

Osage Hills Trail Marathon

This was the second year of the TATUR Osage Hills Relatively Flat Trail Marathon, held in Osage State Park in Oklahoma. This is a pretty small marathon put by a … MORE

This was the second year of the TATUR Osage Hills Relatively Flat Trail Marathon, held in Osage State Park in Oklahoma. This is a pretty small marathon put by a dedicated group. All in I think less than 20 marathoners and 18 marathon finishers. There were a larger group completing the half, and the race is multiple loops, so it feels a little larger that it is.

TATUR and more specifically TZT – Trail Zombie organize the race. They always deliver pretty flawless race administration in their own kind of laid back way. Packet pick-up day of is never an issue, and communication leading into the race is good. This race allowed you to camp out in the state park prior to race day. You can’t reserve spots, they are all first come, first served. Instead of risking not getting a spot, we drove up the morning of. The park is 1:45 from Stillwater, and I think 1 hour from Tulsa.

About the course and support and all that: Osage Hills State Park is gorgeous!! we ran fire road, single track, through fields, through woods, along rivers. It really is a nice course, and nearly all of it is super runnable. Including a good amount of shade – it is held in July in Oklahoma. There were definitely rocky parts that slowed you down if you’re a cautious runner. The course for marathoners was three loops – which I thought would be tortuous, but I ended up enjoying it. There were many out and back, and mini loops that would bring you back to the same aid stations. I didn’t really figure out the course and the layout until the third loop. The aid stations were AMAZING!! Tatur gets the best volunteers. All the volunteers are trail runners themselves, and are super proactive as you roll in. It was a hot day, and a lot of volunteers had ice ready as you approach.

All in, a great race! Highly recommend. I talked to one other marathoner that was a marathon maniac and had flown in from Tampa, FL just for this race.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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Mowdy Ranch Mustang Run

Mowdy Ranch Mustang Run

I signed up for this race about 2 weeks prior, and planned to run it as a training run. There are 5 races: 50K, marathon, half marathon, 10K, and 5K … MORE

I signed up for this race about 2 weeks prior, and planned to run it as a training run. There are 5 races: 50K, marathon, half marathon, 10K, and 5K – with staggered starts from 5:30 to 8. I ran the Half, which runs a figure 8 of sorts through the north side of the property, and then to the south side of the property (50Kers and Marathoners have to run the figure 8 twice). You’ve got to love a race that states: “RULE NUMBER 1 – IF YOU’RE A WUSS – JUST STAY HOME!”

Logistics: Coalgate is kind of in the middle of no-where, and this ranch is 10 minutes north of Coalgate. The ranch owners have some bunkhouses and cabins (sold out), and they offered up their land for camping the night before. I camped with another runner. It worked out great! They gave us food the night before, there were bonfires, and morning of, I literally rolled over to the start. Port-o-potties were plentiful. Everything worked out.

Course and support: The course is gorgeous! The terrain varied from open pastures to single track to running around boulders with no shoulder on one side. It wasn’t too technical – except for a few parts on the northern loop. I think what made this so difficult was running in full June sun through the fields. Course support was spectacular. I remember at least 4 aid stations, and the volunteers were great!! Super supportive, and really assisting all the runners as they came in (a lot of the volunteers were pro-active and would ask each runner what they needed).

SWAG: The SWAG bag at packet pick-up was good! We were given race t-shirts, plus a bandana with the course map, also a koozie, a first-aid kit, sunglasses, a carabiner clip, and chapstick. Not to mention the included meals (pasta dinner before, barbecue at the finish, plus beer, watermelon, icee pops). There were also medals (I’m not much of a medal person).

Mustangs: There are wild mustangs at this ranch. It’s an eco-tourism ranch, and they provide refuge to wild horses. I think they said that about 170 mustangs live at Mowdy. They corralled most, but left about 20 running free in the field. We watched them at the start and throughout the day. Spectacular. Proceeds from this race are contributed to their upkeep and care.

Final verdict: Yes, loved this race!! It was tough, and beautiful, the people that came out to run it definitely were not wusses. I loved that we could camp ahead of time. Welcome to Oklahoma!

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
My Report
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
My Media

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Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon & Half Marathon

Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon & Half Marathon

I think I went into this race with really high expectations. I moved to OK almost a year ago, and many residents here raved about the OKC Memorial Marathon. In … MORE

I think I went into this race with really high expectations. I moved to OK almost a year ago, and many residents here raved about the OKC Memorial Marathon. In their raves, they praised the course, the meaningfulness, and above all the crowd support. The course was okay, the reason for the race, and the meaningfulness of it were dead on, and the crowd was not as big as I expected, but the people that did come out were AMAZING!

What works really well for OKC: (1) This race is a memorial for the 1995 OKC Bombing, and it’s an important memorial and remembrance. It’s all very moving, and many people in OKC are very connected to the events from that day. The fire stations all send decked out firemen to walk the Half Marathon. There is a campaign to raise money. It remains very tied to the mission of memorializing the victims and the event. (2) The race is really well-organized, there no hitches with production, no hiccups anywhere, great execution. They’re on their 16th year, and all the wrinkles are ironed out. (3) The expo was actually pretty great. Tons of vendors, the local running community (running stores and running groups) have great booths. (4) The volunteers and spectators were great! I mention below that I expected more spectators, but seriously everyone that was out there on Sunday wanted to be there, and they did make the event great. (5) I’m not huge on SWAG, but the medal is nice, and you get two t-shirts (I don’t know why two – one at the expo and one for finishing).

What I wish would have been better: (1) I think I just expected much more support, that was all anyone talked about. It wasn’t that the support was non-existent, and the people that were there, were fully there. Just from what I had been hearing, I expected more. There were definitely desolate areas. (2) The course is also at fault for taking you through some desolate areas. There are beautiful parts of OKC, and not so beautiful. Running up Classen through an industrial area was not the greatest. I wish they incorporated in more neighborhoods. (3) The roads in Oklahoma are horrible, all over, and OKC is no exception. I ran on tons of uneven pavement, big cracks, pot holes. (4) It felt difficult to find information on their website. It’s a fine website, but from the UX perspective, things weren’t where I expected them to be, or possibly weren’t there at all. (5) This is really a Half Marathon event. The website says marathon, but the vast majority of people are running the half. There were 9500 HM finishers and 2200 Full finishers.

All in all, it’s a perfectly fine city race. I love a city marathon, and this one was good. I’m just not sure I would travel super far to run it.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
2
SWAG
3

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Little Rock Marathon

Little Rock Marathon

Overall, high scores to the Little Rock Marathon. They've got a well-organized race, in a super-friendly town. I signed up for this race because of it's proximity to my home … MORE

Overall, high scores to the Little Rock Marathon. They’ve got a well-organized race, in a super-friendly town. I signed up for this race because of it’s proximity to my home in Oklahoma, and the timing worked out. Other reviews had said great things, and people really seem to love the big medal.

Pre-Race: Registration was easy, there was a discount for Marathon Maniacs. I thought the communication was clear, maybe a little too many emails, but not so bad. The website had great maps, and details about the course, and an FAQ.

Expo/Day Before: There are some smaller races on Saturday. I did bib-pickup at the end of the day on Saturday. The convention center is convenient, we stayed at an alternate hotel in downtown and walked over. One complaint: vendors were packing up at 3pm on Saturday (expo is open till 5). Otherwise, good size expo, all the things you expect were there.

Perks: I paid $25 extra for their VIP/Perks package. Since I was traveling solo. Perks gets you a separate waiting area before and after with food and coffee, a separate bag check (that I didn’t use), and they advertise better bathrooms. I’m not sure it was worth the $25. I only went pre-race – and it was crowded in there. You can also just stay inside the convention center until corralling up, and there were plenty of real bathrooms available – in addition to plentiful porta-potties. I mean, it is an insurance policy against the rain that was around 1 or 2 years ago, but I don’t feel if offered too much above what was already available.

SWAG: The race shirt is technical, unisex, and short sleeve. However, there was also a Youth option – I got the Youth XL. The bag they give you can be used for bag check – don’t forget to grab a marker to put your number on before you leave the expo. I think a lot of people love the medal – it’s freaking huge! and like 3 pounds!

Course: Leading up to the race, as I told people about my upcoming marathon, all I got in response was, “well, it’s really hilly” (I do live in flat OK). I didn’t find the race too hilly – rollers in the first half, and then a big climb up at mile 14 to 15, and then some more hills at the very end. My Garmin said less than 900 feet of elevation gain. All the hills were runnable, except for one steep climb at mile 25 – which I hiked up. As for the course itself, I found it beautiful. The first half runs through different parts of Little Rock and North Little Rock – older neighborhoods in various states of repair. We ran by the governor’s mansion (and the governor came out). Multiple beautiful churches (and the church-members came out). The spectators that were there, were enthusiastic, and many spectators set up their own impromptu aid stations. When the full splits off from the half, we run up into Hillcrest – this was my favorite part, the neighborhoods are beautiful!! and it reminded me of Montclair in Oakland. There was a nice downhill out of Hillcrest, and then an out and back on the River Trail. This part was boring, but the aid stations were lively, and it kept you moving. I did feel like the aid stations were ample – and I went without carrying any water. They were about every 3 miles in the first half, and every two miles or less in the second half.

Post-race: You come through the shute, get your medal, there are multiple photography options, but then for food, water, etc, you have to head back into the convention center (I heard they had more outside prior to their year that was nearly rained out). People collected in the main convention hall – which you do have to walk downstairs to. There was food for purchase from food trucks (in the convention center), and a walk-through to grab runner food offered by the race (milk, yogurt, chips, apples, water, some soup). I wish there had been more healthy food options – more fruit!! The convention center area also had massage tables – I didn’t sign up.

Note for Marathon Maniacs and Hopefuls: there were soooo many Maniacs and Fanatics on the course! I think there were about 180 signed up on the Marathon Maniac site. There were shirts everywhere! We did a pre photo and it was huge!

Odds and Ends: We found a hotel in downtown for half the price of the Marriott, and it was perfectly serviceable (Legacy Hotel) – it’s less than mile from the start, and on the course for the marathon finish. Make reservations for dinner Saturday night, the restaurants do get overcrowded.

Final advice: I really loved this marathon. They’re in their 14th year in 2016. Apparently, it’s a women operated race (they make comment of it in the pamphlet). Logistics wise – went off without a hitch! Do it!

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
My Report
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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POSTOAK Lodge Challenge

POSTOAK Lodge Challenge

A series of trail races on the usually private property of PostOak Lodge. This race embraces a 'challenge' of running a double on Saturday (10k, 25k, or 50k) and then … MORE

A series of trail races on the usually private property of PostOak Lodge. This race embraces a ‘challenge’ of running a double on Saturday (10k, 25k, or 50k) and then on Sunday (quarter marathon, half marathon, or full marathon). Any combo makes you a challenge completer. I only ran the 25k on Saturday – but could totally see making a weekend of it and staying either at the Lodge or in the cabins on site. It seems there were meal plans you could purchase and nightly bonfires for runners.

There were many great things about this race: (1) in the weeks leading up to the race, there were practice runs on the normally closed course, (2) packet-pickup could be done all week long – m thru th at Tulsa Runner and f and sat at the race, (3) for a small trail race, Tulsa Runner still set up all weekend to sell shirts, hats, nutrition, hokas!, anything you may need or have forgotten, (3) the people were super friendly!, (4) the course is beautiful, but tough (which makes it fun), (5) great aid stations, and the infamous TATUR people had their bar set up, (6) there is a post race meal, which was great!

Just a few “I wish it was better”: (1) the shirts are unisex, and even the XS is a bit roomy, (2) post-race there was a meal, but no soda! I really want cokes after trail runs.

Some notes about the course: I underestimated the difficulty of the course. At least for Saturday’s runs – it was very technical. The course was made more difficult probably because it’s not run on that frequently – there are lots of rocks along the way. Runnable, but technical.

Overall, I had a great time! And found the entire experience enjoyable. I think I’m in for a double next year.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3

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Go Short, Go Long, Go Very Long

Go Short, Go Long, Go Very Long

This is an alright little race. The field is small, I think under 400 25Kers and maybe 75 50Kers - plus 10K and 5K runners too. It's put on by … MORE

This is an alright little race. The field is small, I think under 400 25Kers and maybe 75 50Kers – plus 10K and 5K runners too. It’s put on by Fleet Feet Tulsa, and is more of a community run. Although there do appear to be repeat runners.

The cost is low, I think I registered for 30 bucks, and you get a gender specific long sleeve race too. The motif is cute – Cat in the Hat-ish. Because it’s Fleet Feet, they make bib pick-up easy. You can choose any of their three locations or race-day pick-up. A friend picked mine up for me, and had no issues. Parking was ample at the start. I got there 30 minutes before gun time, and there was plenty of parking. The other thing there seemed to be plenty of was bathrooms. Not only the park restrooms, but also port-o-potties – at the beginning/end and a few on the course.

The course itself isn’t so great. You run the Tulsa River Trail, a paved greenway along the Arkansas River. I don’t know if the race is always on the West side – the East side currently has a bunch of construction. The West side is smelly. There is a water treatment plant, and an electric energy facility. Otherwise, you’re on a greenway. No impeding traffic (and this may be what keeps the costs so low – no real need to close roads. The majority of the course is flat, with one climb up to Turkey Mountain and back down again. Poor 50Kers had to run that twice.

All in all, I’d run it again. It’s not the most exciting race, but it’s fun, and in January there aren’t many other options. People are friendly, the aid stations were plentiful and well-stocked by friendly volunteers.

Also, as a note, I saw a fair number of Marathon Maniacs at this race.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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RunnersWorld Tulsa Half & Half Marathon

RunnersWorld Tulsa Half & Half Marathon

I'm relatively new to Oklahoma and figuring out the races and production teams that are worth checking out. I had heard good things about the Half & Half. You can … MORE

I’m relatively new to Oklahoma and figuring out the races and production teams that are worth checking out. I had heard good things about the Half & Half. You can choose to run a half on road, or on trail, or run a full by completing the trail and then then road.

Production: Runnersworld Tulsa manages this event, and many other trail events around. It’s very casual, everyone seems to know each other, very chill and laid back event. Bib pickup the day of was super easy. Parking ran out at the main parking lot (and that had been communicated prior to), but there was nearby neighborhood parking and an overflow lot. Clean port-o-potties at the start, and plenty of staff and/or volunteers to answer questions.

Swag: High quality, cotton, long-sleeve shirts for all runners. I really like getting these shirts. The medal is adorable too. The trail and road half each get a yin and yang type medal, so that when you complete the full, the two medals fit together.

Course: First – super well marked, there was pink tape everywhere, and the course was clear! Great job getting visible marks out there. The course itself was hilly, and we had a big rain come through, so it was also flooded. The race went on, everyone was cheerful, even the chilly volunteers. It’s an out and back across Turkey Mountain. The course seemed pretty technical, but that may have been amplified because of the rain and mud (seriously, I ran through water up to my knees at a couple points).

Post-race: There was a food truck giving a way barbecue! loved it! I got a sliced brisket sandwich with a side of potato salad. I hung out for a bit to cheer people in. There was also beer, but I had a longish drive ahead of me.

Overall: A great little race, put on by a great store! I would def run this again, and it seems that the OK Trail community loves this race too. Super friendly runners out there.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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CTR Big Basin – Skyline to the Sea

CTR Big Basin – Skyline to the Sea

My first coastal race. This race company, and the race, seem super chill, well-liked, and fun. I came into the race feeling a bit intimidated - people talk big about … MORE

My first coastal race. This race company, and the race, seem super chill, well-liked, and fun. I came into the race feeling a bit intimidated – people talk big about Big Basin. I met quite a few people that had run in previous years, and I was warned that it can be hot out there.

A good friend did recon on blog posts for the race, and gave me a run down, which held to be pretty true. Here are my thoughts about the race itself:
– The race has a later start in the day (maybe around 9am), and it would be great if you can get someone to drop you off at the start
– The first quarter or so is pretty runnable, try to keep in mind that it doesn’t stay that way.
– GPS coverage is in and out. It’s not reliable, and especially in the last long stretch, it can be tough to know how much further you have to go.
– The scenery really is gorgeous, keep your head up!!
– I had a friend join me for the 5 mile loop in the middle – and it was a perfect pick me up!

– communication from CTR was good
– We got a short sleeved tech tee, and 50k finishers scored a coaster (I kind of like it).
– Aid stations were well stocked, and volunteers were super friendly.

All in all, I recommend it!!

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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Dirty Dozen & Half Dozen Endurance Runs

Dirty Dozen & Half Dozen Endurance Runs

I had heard really great things about this race, and I've been super satisfied with all Brazen's races. This race lived up to the hype. It really is a full … MORE

I had heard really great things about this race, and I’ve been super satisfied with all Brazen’s races. This race lived up to the hype. It really is a full day of racing with the headlining 12 and 6 hour endurance runs (which can be run solo and as relays), and then 5ks and 10ks held in the morning and in the evening. Which gives everyone the opportunity to run something. The course is a 3.3 mile loop at Point Pinole. You do get views of the bay, and while some of the course is exposed, about half is shaded through the woods – so a good mix.

The race swag is nice. The 6 and 12 hour runners get a nice hoodie, and other runners get a t-shirt – with I think the option of the tech tee. The hoodie seems to be a pretty good quality. I picked up my hoodie and bib at pre-pick-up, held at Sports Basement. We also got 15% off at any purchases that day.

Alright, race day, everyone sets up tents along the finish line/start and it’s like a big party every time you come through. There is tons of enthusiasm cheering you through – from Brazen and the crowds. The aid stations (at the start and at about 2 miles on the loop) were well stocked and the volunteers were super friendly and helpful. Around lunch time there was also barbecue available (although the barbecue doesn’t really reach my strict North Carolina standards).

I would run this again! Most definitely.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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Utah Valley Marathon

Utah Valley Marathon

This race is advertised as fast and breathtaking. It is a net downhill of about 2000 ft, and the views are pretty. It's also pretty damn hot in Utah in … MORE

This race is advertised as fast and breathtaking. It is a net downhill of about 2000 ft, and the views are pretty. It’s also pretty damn hot in Utah in June.

As a destination race, they make this pretty easy. Provo, Utah is an adorable little town, and they are happy to have the runners of this race – I think now in it’s 8th year. We found great restaurants in town – although liquor laws can be tricky if you’re looking to drink. The race itself is somewhat small, but because of the course, it draws some fast runners.

The expo is tiny, but sufficient. Ryan Hall was the keynote speaker. Race swag is okay. The race shirt is gender specific – the additional branded gear was all by greenlayer, and pretty thick material. They also give you a nice bag that can be used for bag drop.

Logistics. This is a point to point race, so you get bussed up to the top of the course. The only downside is that you have to catch the bus at 3:45-4:15 for a 6 am start. And woooo, is it chilly at the top! All other race administration went well – the volunteers are super, the aid stations were plentiful (every 2 miles till 23 and then every mile) and well-stocked. We got icees at mile 23 too!

As for the course, it’s pretty. I’m spoiled, I live in CA, run in Marin. This is a different kind of pretty. I think I like the first half better. The roads were more residential, we saw horses, goats, cows, farms, people sat out on their driveway and cheered us on. The second half still had the beautiful mountains, but you are literally running on the highway – it’s divided and one whole side is shut down for the race. Then you run into Provo. You can see the finish when you’re about a mile and a half away. Which is tough!

Overall, not my worst race, not my favorite. I wouldn’t got back and run it again, but I enjoyed myself.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
My Report
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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Big Sur International Marathon

Big Sur International Marathon

Wow! Just, wow! I had trained for this race, but not enough. Big Sur International Marathon is the most beautiful and most challenging marathon I've ever run. Race Production: Absolutely … MORE

Wow! Just, wow! I had trained for this race, but not enough. Big Sur International Marathon is the most beautiful and most challenging marathon I’ve ever run.

Race Production: Absolutely perfect! Communications were timely and informative. Pre-race coordination went smoothly. All the details around busing runners, coordinating travel, all the other things, worked perfectly. Even the mile markers were amusing =)

The course itself: Spectacular!! The views were amazing. We started down in Big Sur, ran up the 1, past cow pastures that at one point had cows running with us!! As beautiful as the course is, it’s just as challenging. I was ready for the hills – although they are non-stop. I knew they were there, but the camber in the road is what really did me in. The uneven road services wreaked havoc on my legs.

SWAG and Expo: Also great! the race shirt is an Asics gender specific shirt, and one of the better race shirts I’ve gotten.

Location: I think this is a great destination race. We stayed in downtown Monterey, which is cute. The day after the race, we went on a whale watching tour and saw humpbacks along with dolphins. All around, the Central Coast of California is great!

I got in this year through the registration windows, I know they are moving to a raffle system. I’m interested in seeing how that goes.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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Oakland Running Festival

Oakland Running Festival

I ran the half marathon in 14, and the marathon relay in 15 (HM review below). I'm a big fan of the Oakland Running Festival. This is a well organized … MORE

I ran the half marathon in 14, and the marathon relay in 15 (HM review below). I’m a big fan of the Oakland Running Festival. This is a well organized race that highlights Oakland. I’m glad that I got to try out the marathon course, without running the entire marathon, because boy, I bet those hills are tough!!

The relay breaks into 4 legs: Leg 1 from downtown Oakland to Rockridge, Leg 2 from Rockridge to East Oakland, Leg 3 for Rockridge to West Oakland BART, and the last, Leg 4 from West Oakland back to downtown (around Lake Merritt first). The legs are all about equal distance, but legs 1 and 2 have a lot more climbing. I ran Leg 2, and it is a challenging leg, with the biggest climbs up to Montclair, but a rewarding view when you come out at the Mormon Temple.

Crowd support is good considering how spread out across the city the race is. The after party is great. The provide beer in downtown, there is live music. Really, it’s a great way to celebrate Oakland.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
4
My Report
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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Foster City 10 Miler

Foster City 10 Miler

I think this was the second running of the Foster City 10 miler - and has a partnership with the people that put on the Oakland Running Festival. I signed … MORE

I think this was the second running of the Foster City 10 miler – and has a partnership with the people that put on the Oakland Running Festival. I signed up because a friend was running and had a discount code. They have a 10 miler and 5 K, both groups start together, although they told the 10 milers to line up in front. Which if I were a fast 5Ker, I’d be a little peeved. The 5K does an out and back, and the 10 Miler loops around Foster City.

Race organization was great. I happened to pick up my bib early in Oakland, but bib pickup at the start seemed to go smoothly. Parking was not a big issue, and the start line seemed well organized. The race itself is a little monotonous. It is flat, so if you want a fast race you’ve got it! Foster City does have some greenways that you run, but most of the residential areas look the same. Not bad, but not fabulous scenery.

Post race organization is good too. Oddly, you pick up your shirt after you run the race. Which isn’t typical, and I wonder if some people forgot their shirts (I had to remind some of the women I was talking to). The shirt itself is okay. Honestly, I had seen last year’s shirt, and kind of wish I had gotten that one. Last year was a cotton long sleeve, with a nice logo. This year was a short sleeve technical shirt, two-tone.

Everything went smoothly, and I’m happy to have run it. But I don’t think this is a race you would go out of your way for.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
My Report
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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Summit Rock Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Summit Rock Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

My first Brazen race, although I had been hearing about them for while. They have a solid following, and it is pretty well deserved. Overall, Summit Rock had all the … MORE

My first Brazen race, although I had been hearing about them for while. They have a solid following, and it is pretty well deserved. Overall, Summit Rock had all the things you want in a race. I’ll try to break it down:

Race Production was flawless. Communication before the race was good. Packet pick-up went smoothly. There were plenty of bathrooms around the start. Start and Finish line were well organized. Some of the highlights of the race production were the volunteers. They were out there, there were tons of them, and they were enthusiastic. The volunteers were even out there taking race photos (later posted on Picasa for runners to grab).

The course was challenging, but rewarding. The climbs were crazy, and there was a lot of walking. It was also really beautiful out there.

I think the thing that sets Brazen apart is that this racing company has obviously built a relationship with the runners. The runners out there were all familiar with each other, familiar with the organizers, it was really a great environment to be in. I’ll be out there again =)

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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Honey Badger Half, 10K & 5K

Honey Badger Half, 10K & 5K

Another great race by Sasquatch Racing, and carrying all the benefits of that team: a free organized practice run on the 10K course (usually about 3 to 4 weeks before … MORE

Another great race by Sasquatch Racing, and carrying all the benefits of that team: a free organized practice run on the 10K course (usually about 3 to 4 weeks before the race), post-race beers and massages, nice technical tees. All in all, great race production, a nice turnout, tons of perks.

While the course here was well constructed, I just want to warn you about running in China Camp. First, the climbs are STEEP and they keep going. I mean, so steep that I couldn’t run down the hill, I had to ride the brakes the whole way. Another thing that complicates those ups and downs is that there are portions of the China Camp trails that are just rock face – I watching my footing, because I am a clumsy runner, and any fall would have resulted in some deep gashes. With all that being said, there are some nice views, the trails are all really beautiful, and while China Camp may not be my favorite location, this is still a really good race!

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
4
My Report
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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Ragnar Relay Napa Valley

Ragnar Relay Napa Valley

Relays have gotten really popular, and Ragnar is a huge name in the field. I have run a relay before - a smaller, more community focused relay. This was my … MORE

Relays have gotten really popular, and Ragnar is a huge name in the field. I have run a relay before – a smaller, more community focused relay. This was my first Ragnar, probably my last Ragnar, but definitely not my last relay. I suppose it depends on what you are looking for in a race.

The good: There are some things that Ragnar does really well – like a well-oiled machine. And I was glad that these were a part of the relay. (1) I thought all the courses were really well marked! seriously, I could see the Ragnar signs, and they were there at a good frequency. (2) The port-o-potties were clean, there were plenty of them, did I mention they were clean? (3) I appreciated the magazine they gave us with all the legs mapped out. Sure, we printed materials to bring with us, but the magazine was nice, and the directions were good.

The not so good: (1) Ragnar is not good at building camaraderie across teams. We didn’t really interact with the other teams so much, and I think this is because we didn’t know the paces of the teams around us. In my previous relay you were running with similar paced groups, and you saw the same people throughout the race. Ragnar lets those that register early start early, and the paces don’t matter as much. (2) The course ran some un-friendly roads, we had runners that didn’t have a shoulder to run with. I ran WITH traffic (and fast traffic at that) for a good portion of my last leg. I would have preferred to run AGAINST traffic in that situation. (3) Honestly, I think Ragnar can do a better job of coordinating around Napa – we had some sticky situations with not being able to pull over to pick up our runner on the Silverado trail, with short legs and traffic, things just didn’t go so smoothly for Van 2 in Napa.

All in all, I had a good time, there were some scenic runs, I wish there had been more. I’ve run in Van 2 twice (which is the tougher end), and I enjoy the challenge. Ragnar makes it easy for you to do a relay, but it just feels a little too corporate for me overall. (Honestly, I’m not a fan of the Rock and Roll series for the same reason).

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
2
My Report
SCENERY
3
SWAG
2

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San Francisco Marathon

San Francisco Marathon

San Francisco is a pretty big city, and as a resident of the Bay Area, I was looking forward to the run. Unfortunately, no one else seemed to be. The … MORE

San Francisco is a pretty big city, and as a resident of the Bay Area, I was looking forward to the run. Unfortunately, no one else seemed to be. The SF Marathon is a little light on banners or other promotions, and when I spoke to other residents, they didn’t know the race was coming. So, as expected, we didn’t have much crowd support – and I had been warned about that ahead of time.

The course is the centerpiece, and you really run all over the city. Starting at the Ferry Building, heading up the Embarcadero, past Fisherman’s Wharf all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge, over to Marin, back down to Golden Gate Park for some loops, and then back across the city through Haight-Ashbury, the Mission, and the Dogpatch until you come back around to AT&T Park to the finish. Whew! Running all over SF also means a fair amount of climbing and descending. This is a tough marathon, made tougher without the crowds cheering you on.

For race administration, the swag is good, there are nice quality shirts (which I would expect for the price tag!), on the course, the marking are good. There was also the coordinating of the HMers who can run either half, and I didn’t notice a negative impact on the marathoners. This course sends runners down different roads to allow for traffic to keep moving through, and that went off without any issues, but I ran a hot day, and volunteers weren’t very organized at the water tables. There were multiple tables in the second half that did not have water prepped, and runners were waiting for volunteers to pour.

I didn’t stay for the after party. We cheered in the rest of our party, and then wandered off to find a diner – a benefit of a city finish. I don’t think I’d run the full again. It’s a pretty pricy race, and while fun, once is enough.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
3
My Report
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3
My Media

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Sasquatch Scramble 5K, 10K & Half

Sasquatch Scramble 5K, 10K & Half

I can't remember how I found about this race, but I'm glad that I did. Sasquatch Racing (the company that puts on this race and three others), is just two … MORE

I can’t remember how I found about this race, but I’m glad that I did. Sasquatch Racing (the company that puts on this race and three others), is just two guys in the Bay Area that want to expand trail running. I think they’re doing a great job because the 10K and 5K runners are a good mix of experienced and new runners.

The Sasquatch Scramble is in Redwood Regional and the 10K runs along Stream Trail up to Skyline Gate, back along West or East Ridge, and then back down to Stream. All their races are challenging. This 10K was a huge climb up to Skyline Gate that had me walking!! They’re good about flagging the course, and also almost always have someone on the course in a big gorilla costume.

About the swag and after-party. They have been giving out Brooks tech tees for their races, and there is always post-run beers. As a volunteer at one event, I even ended up with a case of beer that ended up being an ‘extra’. They also have a great relationship with a local sport massage place, and there are usually free massages post race.

All in all, these guys make a great course, give you lots of perks, and everyone is pretty chill.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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Oakland Running Festival

Oakland Running Festival

I signed up for this somewhat on a whim, and I completely loved this HM. I'll start at the beginning. The race communication, website, price, all those things are exactly … MORE

I signed up for this somewhat on a whim, and I completely loved this HM. I’ll start at the beginning. The race communication, website, price, all those things are exactly what you need them to be. In fact, I think the expo was pretty good considering the size of the race. Come race day, everything was well organized. I corralled up for the half-marathon with a bunch of chatty runners (I really think Oakland is the friendliest city in the Bay). Shot out of the start, and ran the course.

The course is interesting enough. There are desolate parts, but the spectators that do come out make noise (like Raiders fans screaming under overpasses). We ran through some gate of fire on San Pablo. The HM is relatively flat, and super fast (I have a PR here). Swag was pretty good – a long sleeve tech tee for the HM. And A++ to the afterparty, beer by 21st amendment, a live band.

All in all, I will run this again. As a fresh resident in Oakland, I found the entire race welcoming and reps the city really well.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

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Salem Lakeshore Frosty Fifty (Frosty 50)

Salem Lakeshore Frosty Fifty (Frosty 50)

This was my first 50K, but I had run a 25K and two 30Ks on the same route with the same race company, so I consider myself a repeat racer … MORE

This was my first 50K, but I had run a 25K and two 30Ks on the same route with the same race company, so I consider myself a repeat racer =) This low-key race pulls people from all over the state to Salem Lake, which has about a 7 mile double track path around the lake.

The 50K is usually a double out and back (the 25Kers just do one out and back). When I ran, there was a last minute change that made the course four loops around the lake – I think part of the trail had frozen over, it is in January. Twin City Track Club, the organizer, really has all the kinks worked out and takes care of all the logistics. I’ve enjoyed every race I’ve run with them, and the Frosty 50 is no exception.

I mention in the title that this is a great first 50K – and it was my first 50K. I say that because the trail isn’t too technical, nor are there huge climbs, there are plenty of aid stations along the way, I have always made friends out on the course (the runners are superb!), and you get a nice Tshirt =) On the down side, the scenery can get a little boring, no big climbs, and the run is relatively easy. This is a small race, maybe 300 runners, so if you’re on the slower side, you could be solo for a while. If you don’t get there early, parking can also be a problem – the overflow parking is about a half a mile from the start.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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Presidio 10

Presidio 10

I never would have known about this race, but the wellness program at my then job sponsored employees that wanted to run it - so, free registration! The Guardsmen do … MORE

I never would have known about this race, but the wellness program at my then job sponsored employees that wanted to run it – so, free registration! The Guardsmen do put on a nice event!

This race is a great opportunity to run through the Presdio and across Golden Gate Bridge and back (for both the 10 milers and the 10kers). I think the 5kers stay on the greenway in front of Crissy Field. It’s a challenge because of the hills that bring you up to the bridge, and then of course the bridge itself is windy, and a climb up to the middle. All in all, I thought the course was good – challenging and interesting.

As for race production and all that: Bib pickup was at the Sports Basement, easy and nice. Race day festivities take up Crissy Field. I think there was an issue with the bibs and the timing chips stripping off the printing on the bib fronts (couldn’t read the numbers). The post-race festivities included beer and bloody mary’s (handed out by very handsome Guardsmen), and a pancake breakfast!! The race shirt was just a cotton tee, nothing fancy. I think the one thing that I would suggest to improve would be pre-race day communication, and improving their website. Otherwise, I loved it all.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
My Report
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4
My Media

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Tar Heel 10 Miler & 4 Mile Run

Tar Heel 10 Miler & 4 Mile Run

My alma mater taught me to hate the Tar Heels. Our fight song even includes the lines, "Go to hell, Carolina." However, when I found myself living on the wrong … MORE

My alma mater taught me to hate the Tar Heels. Our fight song even includes the lines, “Go to hell, Carolina.” However, when I found myself living on the wrong side of the Triangle, you have no choice but to join in. Luckily, Endurance racing (which puts on the Tar Heel 10 Miler) lets you vote for other ACC schools and the top three get their own race shirt, so two of the three years I ran this race, my race shirt declared that I’m a Wolfpack Fan! I mean seriously, this is a race that let’s you feed into all that collegial rivalry, and I love it.

Now, onto the race. I love the Tar Heel 10 miler! It’s well-organized, the swag is good, the course is both beautiful and challenging. There is a separate split for running up Laurel Hill (about miler marker 8 to 9 and all climb!!). There have been hiccups with race production in the past, but I think Endurance is getting it together. This race is the largest one they put on (unless the Durham Race Fest has surpassed it now).

Scenery wise, you start and end in Kenan Stadium. I think in 2013, Meb cheered us out (wut?), you run through tons of residential neighborhoods around UNC’s campus, they’re all beautiful. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, Endurance always has tons of volunteers and they are great!! I’m a little sad that I’ve moved away and won’t be running.

One caveat: I’m not sure that parking ever goes smoothly for this race. I lived about 2.5 miles away, and always rode my bike to the start, but traffic gets crazy, and there are always people that miss the starting line.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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Blue Ridge Relay

Blue Ridge Relay

My first relay, and such a perfect experience, if you're considering it, do it!! This small relay from the VA/NC Border to Asheville, NC along a good part of the … MORE

My first relay, and such a perfect experience, if you’re considering it, do it!!

This small relay from the VA/NC Border to Asheville, NC along a good part of the Blue Ridge Parkway is an amazing experience with breathtaking views and camaraderie between the teams. The relay is run in the beginning of September each year. There isn’t much support on the course, but the exchanges were all well planned and stocked. Also, the community in the mountains welcomes to you to the area with multiple fundraisers (church pancake breakfasts, firemen with potato bars).

After running other relays, I think one of the things that I loved about the BRR (besides the history and the fact that teams run in consecutively year after year) is that they give you a start time with the goal of everyone finishing at the same time. This has the effect of placing you with other teams that are your exact same pace, AND making the finish line a big party where we all come in together. Did I mention that you finish in downtown Asheville?? You definitely have to take advantage and stay there overnight.

Love, love, love this race, and you will too!

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4
My Media

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Krispy Kreme Challenge

Krispy Kreme Challenge

Full disclosure, I'm an NCSU Alum, and I have soft spot for any race on Hillsborough Street. I've run the KK Challenge three years (2011-2013), each time successively eating more … MORE

Full disclosure, I’m an NCSU Alum, and I have soft spot for any race on Hillsborough Street. I’ve run the KK Challenge three years (2011-2013), each time successively eating more donuts. Now that I’ve completed the challenge, I’m not sure I would do this again, but Ioved every single one of these races! btw… the challenge is to run to the KK, eat a dozen donuts, and run back in under an hour.

Things to love: (1) This is put on by a great group of NCSU undergrads and grads. They do a really great job organizing, communicating (maybe too much communicating), donating (tons of money goes to the NC Children’s Hospital) – the year I raised money, I even got a hand-written thank you note from one of the students. (2) The costumes! Yes, there are costumes. (3) If you have any connection to Raleigh, you’ll love the run from the NC State Belltower to the Krispy Kreme – but it can be challenging. (4) You don’t have to eat all the donuts, you can just take them to go =)

Things you should watch out for: (1) Non-runners sign up for this race, what do I mean by that? They don’t know how to corral, don’t know how to move over for faster people, don’t care that you really want to run this race, (2) there are SO MANY PEOPLE. it’s you and 7K other runners on pretty narrow streets! (3) People vomit, a lot, you have to dodge it. (4) This race will kill any love that you have for consuming glazed donuts.

However, whenever I have to provide a fun fact, this is it! I ate a dozen donuts in approximately 14 minutes and ran 5 miles (it’s more like 4.8). I came back at about 55 minutes, under the one hour requirement to complete the challenge. And I did not vomit.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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Bull City Race Fest Half Marathon

Bull City Race Fest Half Marathon

I am reviewing this race as a volunteer, and not a participant. Although, I did run an earlier iteration of this race (when it was still the Ramblin' Rose Women's … MORE

I am reviewing this race as a volunteer, and not a participant. Although, I did run an earlier iteration of this race (when it was still the Ramblin’ Rose Women’s Half Marathon – same course, same event coordinator).

Endurance does get somethings done right: There is always a good turnout, good crowd support for a smaller event, plenty of volunteers – And as a volunteer, they make it super easy. We always know what we’re supposed to do, and feel valued.

2013 was the inaugural year for the Bull City Race Fest, and it went off pretty well. I remember that the race shirt ran a little small – which was funny because the volunteer shirts ran a little big! The food truck rodeo at the finish is a great idea, but the better food trucks weren’t there in 2013. You can almost count on good weather in Durham in October. All in all, if I was still in NC, this would be on my calendar to run!

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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Philadelphia Marathon

Philadelphia Marathon

I would definitely encourage anyone considering it to run the Philly Marathon. In fact, I think this has been my favorite marathon to date, and not just because it was … MORE

I would definitely encourage anyone considering it to run the Philly Marathon. In fact, I think this has been my favorite marathon to date, and not just because it was a bit fat marathon PR for me.

There are a couple high points that I would consider: (1) The cost of the marathon is relatively low. I registered early and got in for $80. I think as it approaches race day, the cost gets up to $150. Still much cheaper than some of the other big city marathons. (2) The entire city is glad you are there. Seriously, this is the city of brotherly love, and they prove it. Crowds were everywhere, sure, they were drunk, you couldn’t understand that accent, but they came out, and gave you food! I can’t think of a point in the race that I couldn’t see at least on spectator. Even the mayor comes out and gives high-fives at the finish. (3) the course is fast and appealing. The first half is mostly urban, through downtown, and then loops back to the start (where you deposit the HMers), then the second half is more scenic. (4) November weather in Philly is glorious! Honestly, it did get a little warm during my race, but normally, it’s beautiful. (5) I can’t recall a single snafu with race administration. The expo was good, everything went smoothly on the course. As a marathoner, you have the option to drop off with the HMers at mid race. They’ve been doing this for 20 years and it shows.

If there are any downsides, it’s that the hotels in Philly can be pricy. There just aren’t enough of the. I know that some runners complained about the couple of hills that are on the course, but I loved them!

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
My Report
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4
My Media

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Yuengling Shamrock Marathon Weekend

Yuengling Shamrock Marathon Weekend

This was my second marathon and my first trip to Virginia Beach. Although the after party was quite a lot of fun, and the swag was pretty good, I'm not … MORE

This was my second marathon and my first trip to Virginia Beach. Although the after party was quite a lot of fun, and the swag was pretty good, I’m not sure that made up for the late start and lack of crowd support. I would highly recommend the half marathon here; they seemed to get the better end of the stick.

What’s good about the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon in VA Beach: You do get some good swag. We got long sleeve technical tees and at the finish line, there were also hoodies (which helped at the other good part). . .The beach after party! Yuengling on the beach, in a tent, with a band; it’s actually pretty awesome. I would recommend staying in town Sunday night so that you can party a bit. They were really generous with the beer – I think you get 4 officially, I ended up with much more.

What’s not so good: The marathon starts at 830am! You may be thinking, great, I don’t have to get up early, but March in VA can go either way, and my way went hot (I notice the above weather icon says rain in 2012 – there was no rain, no cloud cover, full sun and temps well into the high 60s). The HM start at 7am. So, all the HMers are done while the marathoners are just getting started! Also, because of the time difference, there is virtually no crowd support. Usually you can count on it while the full and the half overlap, but this is a really lonely marathon. Especially the second half where you really need it. The course is not as beautiful as one would hope. VA Beach is pretty overdeveloped, but you end up running in the woods for quite a while.

I have good memories of running with friends. This is a good centrally located race with quite a draw, but I’m not going to run it again.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
My Report
SCENERY
2
SWAG
5

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Outer Banks Marathon & Southern Fried Half Marathon

Outer Banks Marathon & Southern Fried Half Marathon

I ran the OBX Half Marathon in 2009 and the Full in 2010. The timing, in November, means that this tourist driven area comes all out for the race. This … MORE

I ran the OBX Half Marathon in 2009 and the Full in 2010. The timing, in November, means that this tourist driven area comes all out for the race. This is kind of the area’s last little hurrah before the beach closes down for the season, and the locals are glad to have you there contributing to their economy. Both times that I went, we rolled a week’s vacation into the trip. Beach houses in NC in November are at a steal!!

As for the race itself: It’s super flat, till you hit the bridge 3 miles from the finish. I think the first half of the course is much more interesting (as a note, you can run just the first half in an April Half Marathon there). It winds through some neighborhoods, and through a nature preserve, and you come out at the Wright Brother’s Memorial. Then the second half you’re on blacktop. You do get some sound views, but never really ocean views.

Race production has always gone off without a hitch for me. The organizers put on a good expo, everything I needed was on the course. The finish has warm stew and Coors Light (at least they did when I ran). You finish up in downtown Manteo which is cute!

Things to beware of: Driving traffic gets crazy on race day. If you’re a spectator meeting your racer, give yourself plenty of time to get to the finish. Because you’re on an island, there is only one north/south road. It can get hot on the course! And also, if you’re slow (this was my first full), it can get pretty lonely on the course.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3
My Media

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