Latest reviews by Jenny
The Expo: My least favorite part of the experience. The expo was Friday (1pm-7pm) and Saturday (9am-7pm, I think). Anyway, being a resident, I chose to go on Friday during my lunch break. There were already a decent amount of folks milling about but I got my Bib without waiting and was quickly shuffled through to the vendors. The disappointing part was the lack of vendors (when I was there. It was still early and I assume some vendor chose not to show up until Saturday) and the lack of enthusiasm from the few vendors that were there.
Starting line: The starting line was at the Civic Center, which was a great location considering the bus depot is directly across the street, giving you the option to NOT drive downtown and search for parking. Considering the sun had yet to rise, it was a little dark and I had trouble finding the Gear Drop-off or a person to ask where it was but luckily I found the info tent that had a map of where everything was, problem solved :) There were 5 different races that day (marathon, 1/2 marathon, marathon relay, 10K and 5K) and all but the 10K started at the Civic Center so it was a bit cramped in the corrals. The announced had some great music going to get us all pumped for the race.
The Course: Absolutely beautiful. We started off running through parts of Northwest and West Higlands and going towards the mountains. Although we were all crammed into the corrals, the road was wide enough for all of us to be spread out and passing each other without knocking elbows or tripping over feet. The first half of the course was certainly hilly but nothing major too crazy, except for the last hill leading to the finish line. For the marathon, the second half of the course was relatively flat except the final hill to the finish line. The aid stations were every 2-2/12 miles; every other station had Gatorade and GU. The stations were set up on both sides of the road and this really helped to avoid any traffic jams.
The bands seemed to be about every 3 miles but there were definitely more in the half marathon portion of the race than the full marathon. Fortunately, whenever there wasn't a band there were plenty of spectators playing music and cheering us on. The volunteers and spectators made the race exciting and helped push you when you felt down.
Finish Line: The finish line was at the Civic Center and for the marathon, it was lackluster. The finish line for the marathon was on a smaller road and cramped for spectators. The finish chute had plenty of beverages but only two snacks to refuel, which really shocked me. My time wasn't horrible but by the time I crossed the finish line the finishers chute seems deserted!
Medal: Pretty awesome. It's quite heavy and doubles as a bottle opener <--no complaint there!
Overall: I loved the course. It was beautiful and challenging without being brutal. As for the rest of the experience, it wasn't anything special. I would suggest this race to a friend looking to run through our beautiful city but not for the brand name.