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John Niedzwiecki

Loudoun Half Marathon   (2014)

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Let's start with some brief notes of the stuff leading up to the race. First, I want to mention pre-race communications. The Ashburn Area Running Club (AARC), who put on the Loudoun Half Marathon and 8K, did an amazing job with communications. There were updates almost weekly updates leading up to the race for about a month an a half which was phenomenal. They were emailed to you and linked to the updates portion of the website. They talked about the course map, preview runs, a look at the shirt design, reminders and inspiration. This doesn't even include any additional small updates and pics from their Facebook page. Best I've seen for any races I've run. Yes, even runDisney didn't give this much contact leading up to their races.

Packet pickup was quick and easy. Walk up, find your bib number, next table get your packet, next table for goody bag and shirt and you're done The shirt was a nice quality tech shirt. Granted, it was a small race, so there wouldn't really be lines expected, but even at that they were set up to be amazingly efficient.

Race morning was good as well. Parking was ample at the school. It was nice being able to drive and park easily at the race site. The meeting area was right next to the stadium, which was opened up for the finish area and included real bathrooms, which was a nice added bonus. When I arrived there was zero line. Closer to start there got to be a short line (even in the men's room). Then it was just walk out the gate to the starting like and away we go.

This was a smaller race, so no corralling. Water stops were well spread out. They also FULL of people cheering, which was very nice. On a course that rolls through Ashburn, there wasn't exactly people lining the streets to cheer. There were people at time, still out as slow poke me came by, which was nice. All the water stations cheered and helped try to pump you up. Many seemed like they were being volunteered by local students, either from the track team or sports teams or other organizations, such as Boy Scouts. It was nice to see them out there. I have to also call out one specific group. Later in the course, way down at the bottom of a long hill there's a water stop. I see noone else ahead of me at this particular point. But I hear cheering. Loud cheering and hollering and clapping. Even though I was way in the distance, they were letting me know they saw me and they were there. There was a group ahead of the station, that I can only assume where cheerleaders, as they cheered a very rhythmic cheer. And they continued to cheer as I went off into the distance the other direction. It really helped mentally.

The weather was beautiful. Even as the sun warmed up, there was a breeze that countered it. As it wore on, I got a little warmer at times, but the breeze was usually not far behind. The course featured some rolling hills, but nothing too steep or difficult. Around mile 9 the course goes onto the W&OD trail. When I was at this point there was no problem. When the race pack was there, it may have been problematic. There are many bike riders who use that nice path in both directions and it isn't very wide to support the large volume of runners for a race. The course would follow the trail all the way to back by the school. While running on the trail, it was really encouraging. Many people, runners and bikers alike, would give me some encouragement as they ran in the opposite direction and saw my bib. I received a lot of "great job", "you're almost there" and "finish strong!" It felt good. The last small chunk of the race was on the track back at the school.

I was greeted immediately with my medal and congrats at the finish line. Even being the 4th from the end, they were still there for me. Heck, there were even 2 people there for medals. After my medal I got the 2nd most important thing: a cold bottle of water. I drank that and waited for the person behind me to cross because I knew they couldn't be too far behind. I clapped and cheered as they crossed, grabbed a 2nd bottle of water and headed for the food, and they still had plenty. I also liked it because it was different than other race, which often sports bananas, other fruit and maybe the occasional bagel. They had fruit cups, rice krispy treats, some cookies. It was a nice touch. Everyone was still there at the finish, caring about the back of the pack. It was a nice way to finish. Later, there were even high quality and FREE pictures from photographers that were out on the course, icing on the cake.

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Katie St Pierre

Loudoun Lyme   (2015)

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A few weeks ago I ran in the Loudoun Lyme 10k at the Brambleton Town Center. This race's main goal was to educate and spread awareness about Lyme disease, and to also raise money to help find a cure. There was an information fair with health professionals and specialists, county officials, veterinarians, and local vendors to help educate the public about Lyme disease, its causes, symptoms and treatments. To read more about Lyme Disease, please check out this post!

The race started out with a cool drone flying over head taking video and pictures (but unfortunately nothing has been posted on the race website yet). The 10k race started first, with the 5k starting a few minutes later. This was pretty much the same course as the Brambleton Ribbon Run that I ran a few years ago. It is pretty flat, and I love running through all of the fancy houses in the neighborhood.

The race took place on a morning that was very humid. It was misting the entire morning, which made it especially unpleasant to run. All I wanted it to do was to give a good rain to help cool me off while running!!!

Regardless, I finished in 1:13:26, which is an 11:49 minute/mile pace. I actually felt a lot more tired, hot, and sweaty than I look in my finishers picture!

I was super excited to find a gluten-free snack bar along with a banana and water at the finish line! Hooray!

I wandered around the educational fair for a bit and checked out some of the exhibitors before heading home.

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Katie St Pierre

Frigid 5k & 10k   (2015)

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I ran the Frigid 5k & 10k benefiting Toys for Tots earlier in December. It definitely was NOT frigid! I was completely fine dressed in a t-shirt and shorts, but this was an odd weather thing!

This race took place in Leesburg, VA, which is almost an hour away from my house. Other Bishop's Events races have been here, such as the Leesburg 10k. The start line was at Frederick Douglass Elementary School where there is plenty of parking and has very close access to the Washington & Old Dominion Trail where the race takes place. I was signed up for the 10k and arrived about 15 minutes before the race began, enough time to grab my bib. After grabbing my bib I was looking around for the port-o-potty that is usually next to the sports field, but it was not there!!! Oh no! I didn't have time to drive the few blocks to get to a bathroom, so I knew I would have to just suck it up.

Regardless, the race started (there were 61 people running the 10k) and I started off. The course is pretty straight forward: run one direction, turn around, run the other direction, turn around, and finish. It is a mostly flat and easy run.

Word of the wise there are no bathrooms on the race course and good spots to veer off into the woods are far and few to find - one side of the path is mostly people's backyards. My lesson was learned not to count on the port-o-potty by the field...Next time there is a race at this location, stop off at the Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts down the street before parking for the race!

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Marshell Knighten

Divas Half Marathon - DC Wine Country   (2015)

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Expo: there was a lot of vendors to buy things. And get ideas on race racks. Very well organized

Swag: it was the Same ol
Same swag from each race. I do love the tutus but they are the same for each race. But again my daughters love the tutus.

Race: the course was a lot more up and downs then was mentioned on the pre letter to the race. Beautiful scenery and housing areas.

Post race party: on point.

HF#7570

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Katie St Pierre

Spring Leesburg   (2015)

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The Leesburg 10k & 5k on October 4th was put on by Bishop’s Events and benefited the Wounded Warrior Project. There is a race in the Spring and in the Fall. Packet pick-up was easy and took place before the race. I got there a few minutes prior to the race start at 8am and still have plenty of time to get ready since it was a smaller-sized race.

And man, it was a freezing morning! I was definitely underdressed for the start of the race with only a SparkleSkirt and a t-shirt! I was lucky, though, that I thought to grab my Buff to help keep my neck and head warm.

This race took place on the C&O Canal Path in Leesburg, VA. I have done quite a few races on this course, such as the Spring Leesburg 10k and the 2014 Leesburg 5k. It is a pretty flat course, with only one or two inclines as it goes under the highway. The path was especially pretty because of the leaves that were starting to fall.

I was feeling pretty good for the entire race and kept up my intervals the entire time. Surprisingly, I made a pretty good time for me! It was faster than I have been running lately, and I was pretty proud of my time!

I warmed up at mile 2 and was feeling good after the race…I just need to think about bringing some extra clothes for before the races begin…here comes cold weather season!

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