Latest reviews by Jessica

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

This was my first time running the Urban Bourbon Half and my first trip to Louisville, so I went in for the VIP packet pick-up at the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience which included cocktails, snacks, and a tour of the distillery. There were no lines and I got a drawstring backpack, nice metal water bottle, as well as my bib and the wristband for the after race party in what might be record time! It was very different from your typical race expo but I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Race morning was easy as well. I stayed within easy walking distance and the race didn't start until 8:30 which I liked. There was no line for gear check when I got there (about 45 minutes early) and the volunteers were even nice enough to get my bag back out for me when I realized I had forgotten the baggie I brought to put my phone in. The starting corral was a little difficult to get into as there were no side entrances and you could only go in through the back. As everyone was getting lined up, a trumpeter played My Old Kentucky Home and the National Anthem which was pretty cool.
Though there were no corrals by time and about 3,000 runners I was impressed that everyone seemed to do a really good job of lining up near the pacers and there was really no jostling and passing in the first mile like you sometimes find.
The course was beautiful. We ran through downtown and then through Cherokee Park which was very hilly but the fall leaves totally made up for it. If you are used to hills the course was probably not all that challenging. I don't have a lot (or really any) of hills where I usually run so I struggled. The cool weather helped as well though the humidity did pick up towards the end. There was one hill near the middle that was much more difficult than the rest (which I had seen on the elevation profile) so I was glad that the finish of the race took us back into flat downtown!
The aid stations were plentiful and a few had Powerade in addition to water. I do wish they had different cups for the different beverages, but there was usually a volunteer letting you know which was which.
The miles were all well marked and there were timing clocks at each which was a nice touch.
At the finish there were volunteers handing out medals and big tables with water, powerade, bananas, chocolate milk, and Panera bagels. They also had heat sheets available which I appreciated because I started to feel cold shortly after running!
There were a lot of porta potties at the finish so there was no wait time. There was also an awesome party! In addition to bourbon tastings, there was a band playing cover songs, beer, pizza, and burgoo (a Kentucky soup/stew) and a donut truck! You had to pay for a donut (which I did lol) but the rest were free. The beer line was pretty long and they ran out of pizza, but they got more pizza before the party was over and both issues were addressed via Facebook by the next day which I thought was fantastic.
When the party was over there was an additional Bourbon Walk with participating restaurants/bars on whiskey row where you could collect 5 pins. This was apparently only the second year doing this and each establishment only received 250 which was not enough to meet the demand. From the sounds of things the number of people looking for the pins was up dramatically from last year and will be something addressed in the future.
To top off the fun weekend, there was even a free yoga class at the Galt House Hotel on Sunday morning which I was able to do before I hit the road home!
Overall, this race is probably my favorite I have done and was the perfect travel race. The race was well run and all the other events for the weekend just put it over the top. I hope to go back next year!

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(2015)
"Great Race, Small Turnout"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

This was a very small race with a very reasonable price tag.
There were only about 20 runners at the event, but the race management was incredible and those hosting could not have been nicer or more helpful.
There was no expo or packet pick up until the morning of the race which, due to the small size, was perfect. There was no wait and we got our t-shirt with the number already pinned on.
There was a course map available and one of the race workers made sure we knew where we were going and that the horse fences we would be running past were electric and were on. The entire course was very well marked and, despite running though the woods, there was never any confusion about where to go.
There was one aid station that we passed twice. They had water and Oreos. It was a chilly and rainy morning so the two chances to get water were more than enough.
The course covered all types of terrain and was a bit hilly but not too intense. For the most part it was not technical, but there were a lot of pinecones to dodge! There were a couple mud puddles to splash through, but the big water puddles had been bridged nicely so we didn't get our feet overly wet!
My two friends and I were the last to finish and all the race crew and the Boy Scout troop hosting the event were there to cheer us across the finish line.
There were muffins, water, bananas and oranges at the finish line and a really cute kids run after we were done.
A little after the race I was also mailed a wood medal for being the first female finisher which was really exciting and not something I expected from a race so small!
Overall it was a great event and I hope that they are able to host more, larger races in the future!
To see a blog post about this race go here: http://seejessrun711.blogspot.com/2015/05/trail-to-high-adventure-5k.html

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(2015)
"Shamrocking in the rain"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

This was a small local race with just over 100 10k runners so it was not one with all the bells and whistles. However, it was very well run.
The registration process was simple and I liked that I was able to mail in my registration and avoid the active.com charge. I would have liked an email confirming my registration, but I was ok included on an email about a week before the event so that was sufficient. There was not an overabundance of communication but I also never felt like there were questions I couldn't get answers to.
Packet pick-up was at the local Dick's Sporting Goods and the wait was not bad. The goody bag was very good if you are from the area and use coupons. The shirts were short sleeve cotton, but they fit well and I like mine so, in my opinion, that is far bettert than a poorly fitting tech shirt I will never wear.
Race morning was cold and soggy, so I imagine the turnout was less than registration. There were ample Port-O-Lets and lines never really built up. The kids race went first, followed by the 5k, then the 10k. I was confused since our starting line was significantly before we crossed any timing mats, but I was not going for time so I wasn't really concerned.
The course was through a lot of very nice neighborhoods surrounding a lake or two and there were plenty of hills to keep things interesting.
There were a lot of signs and volunteers along the course to make sure you stayed on the route and they were all so cheerful and encouraging despite the weather.
There were two aid stations along the course, one had water and the other head water and Gatorade. At the station with both, the water and Gatorade were in identical cups but were being handed out on opposite sides of the road and the tables were labeled. With it being a small race they were even able to tell us the Gatorade flavor as we ran up.
The finish line was empty when we got there, but mostly because there were few spectators to start with and awards had started.
There were bottles of water, bananas, cookies, granola bars, and Rita's Italian Ice at the finish line.
My favorite thing the race did was actually after the race was over. All pparticipants received an email with their time, placing, etc. I really appreciated this and hope it's something that is becoming more common.
Overall this was a great local race! It is probably not one I would travel great distances to run, but it was more than worth the hour drive we made to get there.

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(2015)
"Shamrocking in the rain"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

This was a small local race with just over 100 10k runners so it was not one with all the bells and whistles. However, it was very well run.
The registration process was simple and I liked that I was able to mail in my registration and avoid the active.com charge. I would have liked an email confirming my registration, but I was ok included on an email about a week before the event so that was sufficient. There was not an overabundance of communication but I also never felt like there were questions I couldn't get answers to.
Packet pick-up was at the local Dick's Sporting Goods and the wait was not bad. The goody bag was very good if you are from the area and use coupons. The shirts were short sleeve cotton, but they fit well and I like mine so, in my opinion, that is far bettert than a poorly fitting tech shirt I will never wear.
Race morning was cold and soggy, so I imagine the turnout was less than registration. There were ample Port-O-Lets and lines never really built up. The kids race went first, followed by the 5k, then the 10k. I was confused since our starting line was significantly before we crossed any timing mats, but I was not going for time so I wasn't really concerned.
The course was through a lot of very nice neighborhoods surrounding a lake or two and there were plenty of hills to keep things interesting.
There were a lot of signs and volunteers along the course to make sure you stayed on the route and they were all so cheerful and encouraging despite the weather.
There were two aid stations along the course, one had water and the other head water and Gatorade. At the station with both, the water and Gatorade were in identical cups but were being handed out on opposite sides of the road and the tables were labeled. With it being a small race they were even able to tell us the Gatorade flavor as we ran up.
The finish line was empty when we got there, but mostly because there were few spectators to start with and awards had started.
There were bottles of water, bananas, cookies, granola bars, and Rita's Italian Ice at the finish line.
My favorite thing the race did was actually after the race was over. All pparticipants received an email with their time, placing, etc. I really appreciated this and hope it's something that is becoming more common.
Overall this was a great local race! It is probably not one I would travel great distances to run, but it was more than worth the hour drive we made to get there.

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(2014)
"A very jolly 5k"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

This race exceeded all my expectations!

Registration was a very quick process and a printable paper registration was even available. I missed the early registration price, but it was still very readonable. Dogs could also be registered.

Leading up to the event, the communication was great! The Facebook page was very useful and had all the pertinent information easily available.

I went to pick up my packet the day before and was very pleasantly surprised with the process. There were lots of signs and a large window was even painted with the logo welcoming runners. The packet was actually a cute drawstring bag and included your antlers, number, some coupons, a long sleeve cotton shirt, and a mason jar with the logo...which I was really excited about! They were also selling other race gear for very reasonable prices.

Race morning parking was a piece of cake. There was a map in the packet and online and parking was clearly marked and there was plenty!

The race also started right on time which was great. The town is small and cute so there were lots of pretty Christmas decorations to look at along the way. The first part was very much uphill which was an interesting challenge and kept things exciting. There were lots of community members out cheering on the runners and even a man playing bagpipes. The whole vibe of the race was fun and festive. There were also two water stops along the course. It was pretty chilly out so I passed on that but it was a nice feature.

The finish was downhill which was awesome and I was so excited when I saw that they were making snow at the finish line!

We got stuck waiting for a train to come through before going over to the finish area. When we got there, there was plenty of water, fruit, and snacks from Panera and Fresh Market. They were also selling race merchandise again if you needed a hat or blanket to keep warm. There was a kid zone with inflatables and pony rides and, of course, Santa! We definitely took a picture with Santa.

Overall it was a great experince and I hope to be back year after year :)

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