This is my local race and is definitely not as flashy as the "big city" races. I held back registering until the final days - the race had a limit of 900, and this year they came very close to reaching that limit! In concern that I was going to miss out, I registered and unfortunately something happened with my registration. I waited 2 days to see if the confirmation had come through, contacted the race organisers, luckily I screen printed my receipt as I was able to confirm that I had paid and my registration was found!! Phew!!
Expo - Packet Pickup is normally the day before at the gym that sponsors the race. This year I didn't pick it up the day before, but decided to get to the race early. They did offer a race day pickup which was easy, and no lines!
At the start line there was a stall set up by our local running store selling everything!
Swag: No swag, but entry is super cheap (about $50) so it's all good! You do get a medal at the end!
Course - This is a fast and flat course around Tuggerah Lake, from The Entrance through to Chittaway Bay on the shared bike/pedestrian pathway. It's important to note that while the race does indicate on the path that the race is happening, it's still a public space so you do get people walking their dogs and riding their bikes when the race is on.
Now I didn't have the best race and ended up towards the end, so there wasn't too many people around in the race - more just spending their leisurely Sunday morning walking around the lake. This course is my usual running route (+ a bit more) so I was quite familiar with the distance markers (they're spray painted on the ground).
The finish area is in Memorial Park in the middle of the town on the waterfront so there's lots of people around but this year they had so many volunteers helping runners out to keep on course!
Aid stations: The aid stations are manned by the local running group and they were awesome! Not only dishing out water (I think there was a Gatorade-type drink available too but I don't ever take it), but support as well! I even was offered a beer at the 4km to go aid station (I must have looked like I needed it!!). There were no portaloos on the course but there are real council toilets located at different locations around the lake.
Finishing area: So the "cut-off" is 3 hours, and I finished in 3:01. They were starting to pack-up the timing mats when I came through - and I felt for the people who were behind me, some of who were running for charity. They were still handing out medals which was great, but unfortunately I didn't get any food (it was all gone by the time I got there) but one of the ladies ran out and greeted me with a bottle of water which was so nice! There were food stalls around the park, but I was so exhausted that I was ready to go home.
This race is always the last weekend of November, and for some reason has a start time of 7am. The past few years that I have ran this one it's always been super hot, and this year was no exception. The conditions were absolutely miserable out there as it really is a hot course (even though you're weaving in and out of trees). Hopefully the start time gets changed to 6am (or earlier) so we can avoid the heat as this is the only thing that lets this race down.