Latest reviews by Caroline

(2015)
"Look! A Reindeer! "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Disclaimer: I received a free bib for the Santa Hustle Race in exchange for a review as part of being a BibRave Pro.

I'm all about seasonal experiences, so I was thrilled to get a chance to run the Santa Hustle this year. I'll break my thoughts into sections:

Parking/ Packet Pickup: I picked up my packet on race morning, and got there right at 7:30 when packet pick up opened. I definitely didn't need to arrive so early... I ended up standing around for two hours before the race started! At pick up I received my bib (with chip timing on it), a quarter zip with the race logo on it (and thumb holes!), and a santa hat and beard to wear during the race (I didn't because it was 60 degrees and so very humid!). At the pick up area they had a merchandise area, as well as some reindeer. So cute! I parked in a lot right across from Lucas Oil Stadium, and paid $5 for that, which worked out well!

Starting Line: No assigned corrals, but they had minute/mile signs so you could line up with your appropriate pace! This made the start go really smoothly (i.e. no walkers at the front!), which I appreciated. They played Christmas music at the start, and had enough port a potties so that people didn't have to wait too long, which was nice as well.

Race Course: Nothing special- it was an out and back (basically) in downtown Indy. This didn't bother me, however, because I didn't run this race for the course. It was very flat, which was especially nice due to the unseasonably warm weather.

Aid Stations: right before mile 1 there was an "aid station" with volunteers passing out cookies. I grabbed a cookie and nibbled it slowly over the next quarter of a mile. There was a water station about half way through the course, and towards the end of the race they passed out cups of mini m&ms. So fun!

Finish Line: Awesome! They had some inflatable snowmen and Santas, as well as signs to take pictures with, which was fun! They had water bottles, cups of powerade, bananas, more cookies, clif bars, and potato chips at the finish line, and I especially enjoyed the extra hydration due to the heat! They also had reindeer there, which I thought was a nice little touch!

The race communication was fantastic, and nothing felt confusing. I wish it had been a bit cooler so I could've enjoyed the full "santa" experience while running, but I still had a great time at the race!

If you'd like to read my race recap, you can check out my blog post here: http://www.thelittlethingsblog.com/santa-hustle-5k-race-recap/

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2015)
"Apparently I Love Hills"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Disclaimer: I received a free bib to this race.

Hills have been something that I've been nervous about running, especially since I don't have hills to train on... which made me especially nervous about RnR ST. Louis. It turns out I was pleasantly surprised! I'll break this race into categories:
Parking/Packet Pick up: I stayed at the Drury Inn right by the Arch, and parking was $14 for the weekend- not to bad! I walked to the expo from there (it was under 2 miles), and the walk was easy. The expo went smoothly. It was a bit small, but that was fine. I purchased a few necessary things at the expo as well, so I was thankful.

Starting Line: EPIC. The starting line looked up at the Arch, and the sun was rising over the starting line and arch, which was absolutely gorgeous. Gear check want smoothly, and they had so many portapotties that I only had to wait a few minutes to go before hopping in my corral. They had music playing and the entire thing flew by.

Race Course: ALL THE HILLS. There didn't seem to be too many flat parts of this course, but surprisingly my body did just fine with it overall. We ran by the Cardinals Stadium, by SLU, past the Botanical Gardens, and through some absolutely gorgeous neighborhoods. The changing leaves on the tree lined streets made for some fantastic scenery. There were a LOT of water and gatorade stations on the course, which was fantastic. There were also people along the course handing out twizzlers and kleenex, which was fantastic. Portapotties were also well spread out along the course and most of them didn't have lines that were too long. I really did love the course!

Finish Line: The finish line was at the bottom of a slight decline and had the arch in the background as well, which made for a fantastic finish! They had the heat sheets since it was a chillier day, and they also passed out full bottles of water, gatorade, bananas, pretzels, and chips, as well as the medals! They had food trucks and more merchandise from the race that you could buy (I wish I had brought money with me!), as well as a concert at the finish line. It was well organized.

The race communications were fantastic leading up to the race, and there were no questions left unanswered as I entered race day. I would absolutely run this race again!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2015)
"I'm a Firecracker! "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Four miles on the 4th of july- sounds like a great way to start off Independence day, right? I ran this race because my cousins, who live in the area, suggested it, and I'm so glad that they did! One of my cousins picked up the race packets, so I have no way to say how the expo actually was. The shirt that came with the race was amazing, and I wore it weekly the rest of the summer, and will likely pull it out again for the 4th next year! I'll break it down by category:

Parking/Access: SUPER easy! There were several parking lots at businesses close to the race start that were open for parking, which made it easy that morning! We parked and walked about 4 minutes to the starting line- no big deal!

Starting Line: Nothing special. There were no corrals (it was a smaller race) so it's chaotic with runners and strollers and walkers mixed together. It was fun to see everyone's patriotic colors and flags though!

Race Course: The course ran past businesses and through a few neighborhoods. It wasn't anything special, but the roads were wide, it didn't feel too congested, and it was scenic enough. I think there was one water stop, although I had brought my handheld filled with nuun and drank that along the way (good thing too since it was so hot!).

Finish Line: On a downhill slope! They were playing patriotic music and had lots of free snacks and drinks afterwards, as well as a few food vendors. The finish line was pretty impressive for a smaller race, and i loved the medals as well.

This race was an ideal way to start off the 4th of July. The race was big enough to be well managed and regulated, but small enough that I didn't have to get there too early or deal with pre-race stresses with logistics. I'd definitely run this race again if I was in town for the 4th.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2015)
"A Party In The 317"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I got a free bib to this race as part of being a BibRavePro, but there's a good chance I would've done it anyways since I love running around Indy (area code 317). I'll break this review into categories:
Parking/Packet Pick Up: Packet Pick-Up happened the day before and the day of the race in Broadripple, and I was able to score $5 parking right down the street from the race start! There weren't really lines at packet pick up, and I easily got my bib and goody bag. Everyone got a free 317 sticker, a Run(317) pint glass, and because I signed up for all three at the same time, I got a race zip shirt as well.

STARTING LINE: Great! It was well organized, and it seems like overall that people lined up faster to slower, which made it nice and easy once the race started. The emcee was fantastic and kept us entertained as we waited. The race started right on time as well.

RACE COURSE: FLAT and through neighborhoods, which I actually enjoy as it gives me a chance to see parts of Indy I haven't already seen. Unlike most 5ks that I run, there were a few people here and there out in their yards cheering us on which was nice! The Run(317) volunteers were all fantastic and were clapping and cheering as we ran past as well. There was one water station somewhere in the middle of mile 2, but I didn't take advantage of that as I had brought my handheld with nuun.

FINISH LINE: A PARTY! There were volunteers there cutting off the tracking tags on our shoes, followed by people passing out water and pretzels. Each runner over the age of 21 got 2 free tickets for beers by a local brewery, and people were standing around drinking and talking as music was playing over the speakers. It was such a fun finish line.

PRICE: $30- hard to beat for all the stuff you get as part of this race!

The race communications before and after the race were great, and overall I loved it! I can't wait to see if the next race in this series is just as good!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2015)
"Take Me To The Speedway"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

This was the 3rd year that I've run the Indy Mini (I also ran in 2012 and 2013), and this was my first year to participate in the wave start. The wave start was implemented last year so people weren't stuck standing in their corrals for so long, and I loved how it made everything flow better (port-a-potty lines were shorter, etc...). The Mini is a huge race, which makes parking and race morning pretty hectic. I'll break the race into sections:

Race Course: Overall the course is pretty good (I still like the Monumental Half Marathon in November more though). The course is fairly flat, and winds out of downtown and towards the Speedway. Running through the Indianapolis Motor Speedway seems cool in theory, but I actually hate it. It's SO hot in there, and the cement is pretty hard, so the 2.5 miles you're on the track just drag along. It's my least favorite part of any course I've run. Hopping off the speedway at mile 8 is fantastic, and there is a bit of shade through some streets covered in trees. Once you hit mile 10, you hit several neighborhoods and then downtown again as you run towards the finish line. The crowds are fantastic throughout the entire course, and I love all the bands out playing. The course is packed with people from start to finish, and I actually really dislike how packed it is. Between people clipping my heels, cutting in front of me, and stopping in the middle of the street to tie their shoes, the race can get pretty frustrating.
Aid Stations: All excellent. There is plenty of water and gatorade, and when I hit the gu station somewhere in mile 9, they had several different flavors they were handing out. There were medics along the course as well. No complaints here.
Race Communications: Excellent. This is a well run race, and they have everything down to a science. They send out emails throughout the year, which keeps excitement up.
Swag: Fine. The shirts were pretty good this year, and this was the first year that I've run it that they had mens and womens specific shirts, which meant I could finally get a shirt that fit me well.

The Mini is one of my least favorite half marathons that I've done, but I've also done it 3 times, so it must not be THAT bad. It's definitely worth it to sign up for it once just to experience the crowds and the speedway.

For a more specific race recap, check out my blog: http://www.thelittlethingsblog.com/indy-mini-marathon-race-recap-2015/

Login or sign up to leave a comment.