Latest reviews by Samantha Andrews

(2022)
"2022 Minions 5k Virtual Race"
Overall
Race Management
SWAG
Virtual Support

I ran the race in mid-January through my neighborhood. Surprisingly it wasn't that cold, which made the run a lot of fun.

The Swag
My swag arrived well before the race. Due to shipping delays, the medal did not arrive with the other items. I received a tee-shirt, bib, and a cute pom hat. My medal arrived in March, which was fine.

The Race
I ran the race as part of a 5 mile progression run. I started in Decatur and took a loop that including running in the City of Atlanta. The weather was mild and there was plenty to see along the way.
I finished the race in 36:08 and had a post race celebration of sweet tea at Chick Fil A on my way home. The medal is unique and a great addition to my collection.

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(2022)
"Glad To Be Back "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

This past Saturday I ran the Publix Savannah Women's Half Marathon. This was fourth time running this race, which included 2 virtual events. I was glad to be back on the course after 3 years. My only goal for this race was to finish.

The Expo
The Fashion Fitness Expo was held at the Kehoe Iron Works Building. This is a popular venue for many Savannah races. Race number and bag pick up was quick. The venue is nice and had many vendors. I visited around lunchtime so I only spent about 15 minutes at the expo. I was grateful for the volunteers who were taking pictures for the runners and giving out swag.

Race Day
One of my favorite reasons for running Savannah is the ease of traveling to the race. I was able to snag free parking a block from the starting line. The race was composed of the half marathon and 5k. Both races started together, but we split after mile 2. I remember the split because the Girl Scouts were giving out cookies (yes to Thin Mints).

My only plan for the race was to run on the right side and control my pace. Savannah is flat and as a result it is easy to start off too fast. I purposely walked the intersections to slow down. Walking also helped my ankles survive the prolonged flatness, so it was a win-win.

I finished in 2:30, which is a PR for this race. I had a great run and weather was perfect. I enjoyed the other runners and was greatly appreciative of the volunteers.

At the finish were given a Publix reusable bag of snacks and our medals. I didn't mingle for the post-race party, but it looked fun. The park also had an outdoor market too. Savannah is one of my favorite destination cities and I can't wait to return later this year.

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(2022)
"2022 Hot Chocolate ATL Race"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

This year I ran my eighth consecutive Hot Chocolate Atlanta Race (2015-present). I ran the 15k. It was great to be back in person and see many of my running buddies. This year was the first time in many years I wasn't the sweeper pacer. The race weather did not disappoint, it was cold as usual. Since I didn't expect anything less, I came prepared with 3 shirts, leggings, and gloves. Here's my recap of this year's 15k race.

The Expo
The expo was held at the Georgia World Congress Center on Feb 4 and 5. I attended on Feb 4. Prior to the expo, participants completed a survey regarding their health status. At the expo, packet pick up was quick and easy. I received my bib first and then picked up my Goodie bag (jacket) at another station. The jackets are nice and have plenty of pockets. Mine is a bit too small and unfortunately we couldn't exchange them at the expo

The expo had props, vendors, chocolate. The chocolate that is served at this race is so good. The volunteers provided fondue samples of Oreos and marshmallows with the delicious chocolate.

Race Day
Like a broken record, it was cold. I rode the MARTA to the starting line at Olympic Centennial Park. I ran in Corral G. I ran the first 5k using my Garmin training plan at a pace of around 10:30 min/mile. The weather started to get to me and so I decided to run intervals (2 min run and 45 seconds walking). I enjoyed all the sites, especially running though the Georgia Tech (my alma mater) campus. I finished the race less than 1:50:00 and was awarded a medal.

The best part of the race, outside of the medal are all the goodies at the finish. This year, they used a biodegradable mug for the items. I enjoyed the hot chocolate and fondue. I tried to act fast, but my fondue froze before I could finish it.

Cold and all, I will be back next year continue my legacy status. I am 2 races away from the 10 year legacy status.

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(2021)
"2021 Double Pump 15k Race"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

This Saturday, December 4, I ran my third in-person Enmarket Savannah Bridge Double Pump Race. After running the virtual race last year it was great to build character by running three trips across Talmadge Bridge for the Double Pump 15k. This year was also special in that it was the 30th Anniversary. The Double Pump participants could receive also all three race medals. Let's see how this year's race went.

The Expo
The expo was held at the Trustee's Garden. Upon entrance to the expo everyone had to present their COVID-19 vaccine card or get tested. After showing my vaccine card, I was able to quickly pick up my bib on the second floor of the venue. I moved to the first floor to visit the vendors, pick up my shirt, and try the free tacos. The expo was small, but was a nice way to meet other runners and get pumped for the race.

Race Day
One of my favorite things about the race is the ease of parking and it's free. The first race for the Double Pump 15 was the 5k, which started at 8 am. We arrived to the start around 6:45 am to get the best parking spot. I met with friends and another BibRave Pro.

The 5K
The race has two corrals, one from walkers and the other for runners. While I like this concept, the corrals merge less than a half a mile from the start so the race got crowded really fast. Thankfully, the bridge is the great equalizer and it was easy to quickly start moving. I finished the 5k and this year, we were able to immediately start the 10k without stopping. The 5k was the first trip across the bridge.

The 10K
The 10k was mentally challenging since it was 2 trips across the Talmadge Bridge. I chose to walk the steepest part of the hill to preserve my energy and make up my pace on the downhills. The view from the bridge was beautiful.

I finished the race in 1:52:52 (official results) with a few extra steps. I also earned all three medals. There was plenty of food and drinks at the post-race celebration. We took the free Trolley back to the start after the race.

Unlike previous years, the Double Pump participants could upgrade their registration to receive all three race medals. I think that option should be automatically included in the Double Pump with no additional fees since we completed all three races. The bling was beautiful and I was glad to be able to run the race this year.

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(2021)
"A Christmas Story Virtual Race 2020"
Overall
Race Management
SWAG
Virtual Support

The A Christmas Story Virtual 5k was my last race of 2020. To be honest, virtual races brought a little "normal" to my running routine this year. I also earned many medals for races that I would not be able to run. I ran the A Christmas Story Virtual 5k on December 26, which was also my nephew's 10th birthday. While I could not get him to tag along, I did enjoy running the 5k in my home state of Florida. It was a cold day.

I ran the 5k on a looped trail in Gainesville, FL. My ankles were a bit sore so I decided to run intervals. I enjoyed all the Spanish moss and the wildlife were still asleep. My finishing time was. 39:14.

I received my swag when I returned home after the holidays. The jacket, hat, and medal were nice, especially for a virtual race. The wreath medal is a unique addition to my medal collection.

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