Latest reviews by Ben
The race venue: HITS Running festival is a small race hosted at Remington Park in OKC's adventure district. 35 men & 16 women finished the full. (5 men and 7 women either DNF or had timing issues.) Compared to OKC Memorial at 2629 and Route 66 at 2035 finishers it's really really small. HITS (Horseshows in the Sun) hosts the worlds highest purse for hunter/jumper horse shows. The owner of HITS a triathlete with experience in horse shows decided he could host triathlons in 2011 and then running festivals. 2013 was their first race in OKC.
The course: (http://www.strava.com/routes/595804) The parking lot entry For Remington Park across from the Zoo and Science Museum is where the race begins and ends with an out and back course. Mile 6 to 20 is nice and flat through downtown OKC and then out along the Oklahoma River trail system. Mile 1-6 and 20-26 is a hilly course leading up to the State Capitol Park then into downtown on Lincoln Boulevard. The first and last 2 miles being a set of at least 4 - 40' rollers. All in all I thought it was challenging I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it. Also my first marathon with stairs. Yes, stairs leading to and from the Skydancer bridge over I-40. Little odd and would not work for a large race. But was just fine for this one.
Support: I'll be honest I was concerned going in about support. In only it's second year with a small field I was worried what I might encounter. Obviously spectator support on this race is pretty much zero. Aid station support was awesome though. At least every 2 miles or so there was a table always manned by at least 2 people and sometimes small children. Every table had water, electrolyte drink (HEED?), fruit, and Gu. I was able to fill up my handheld bottle at each stop and had no problem managing my water intake. I was able to move through each station with ease since the race was so small. All the volunteers at each aid station were very friendly and I had no issues to speak of.
Swag/Expo: The expo was really much of an expo, it was in the parking lot near the start/finish. Maybe one or two vendors. Honestly I didn't even really pay attention. I think one was headbands and the other sports supplements. I'm sure not many vendors want to spend the weekend at an outdoor venue. If they moved inside and were not competing with Prairie Fire and Chicago on the same day it may have been better. Swag was T-Shirt, luggage tag from Omaha Marathon and sponsor cards, nothing special. I'm sure I'll use the shirt to run in from time to time, but won't be sporting it around town.
Race Management: For such a small race I think they did pretty good. The one major hiccup was the finisher medals got lost by the staff at Remington Park. They searched for 2 days and couldn't find them. So we didn't get medals at the finish. I did receive an email that they would be mailed out in a few days. They were extremely apologetic and a little embarrassed about it. Accidents happen though, and it's how you fix the situation that matters. I don't fault them for this as long as I eventually get it. All other aspects went fine and there were no issues with signup, pickup, or race timing for me.