Latest reviews by Samantha Andrews

(2019)
"First Time Racer"
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For the past four years I have thought about running the Publix Savannah Women's half marathon, but could never fit it in my running schedule. This year I was super excited to run the race to celebrate the 5th anniversary. 

Expo
The Fashion Fitness race expo was held at the Kehoe Iron Works at Trustee's Garden. The space was lovely and there was tons of free parking. Packet pick up was super fast and easy. This year we received duffle bags instead of tee-shirts for our participant gifts. I like the idea of the bags since I rarely wear the shirts after the race. I spoke to vendors and enjoyed all the free samples.

Right outside the expo was a food truck selling the "world's best peach cobbler". I got a sample before attending the expo and afterwards I stopped and got the cobbler, all in the name of carb loading. It was so good.
 
Race
The race started and ended at Forsyth Park. I arrived at the park around 6:30 am and was able to park on the street less than a 0.5 mile from the start. The 5k and half marathon runners were able to self seed in the corrals of their choice. Both races started together and split after two miles.

The half marathon took us through the beautiful, flat streets of Savannah. I love running in Savannah because it is a much needed break from all the hills in Atlanta. My only improvement for the race would be to provide Gatorade throughout the race. It was warm and Gatorade wasn't offered until around mile 6. Thankfully, I was able to get Gatorade from a medic. I wasn't hurt, but I stopped at the medic to get a wet wipe to clean the bird poop off arm (getting pooped on during a race was a first for me!).

We finished with the beautiful Forsyth fountain in the background. I enjoyed the race and may run it next year, if my schedule allows. I finished in 2:33 and will keep working on my sub 2 hour half marathon goal with every race.

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(2019)
"Almost an Olympian"
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Next year Atlanta will host the 2020 Olympic marathon trials. This is an exciting event that I plan to volunteer for next year. The Atlanta Track Club hosted the Road to Gold, an 8 mile race to test the last 8 miles of the Olympic marathon course. When the race was announced I could not pass up the opportunity to run the same course as the team that will represent the USA at the 2020 Olympics. How did feel to be an Olympic hopeful for 8 miles?

Packet Pickup
Packet pickup was held at the Atlanta Track Club office the day prior to the race. There was also race day pick up. We received a bag and scarf at packet pick up. There also plenty of props for photo opps at both locations. 

Race Day
The race started near the World Congress Center, which made transportation to the race easy. The race started at 7 am and we lined up in corrals according to our pace. The Olympic hopefuls took off first and then we were all off.

The course first took us down Peachtree Street in Midtown then we head to the King Center. Our last major landmark was Turner Field. At Turner Field we ran through the Olympic rings overpass from 1996. The course was relatively flat compared to other courses in the city. I started off strong, but around mile 3, this bug I have been dealing with reared its ugly head. By mile 8, I just wanted to sit down and go to sleep. 

Overall, it was a great race and I finished in 1:30:35.  I love the medal and my post race Chick Fil A breakfast at the College Football Hall of Fame. 

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(2018)
"Last race of 2018"
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The First Watch Locomotive Half Marathon in Kennesaw, GA on December 9 was my last race of 2018. This was first time running this race and I served as the 3 hour pacer.  It was a cold and rainy race day. I was excited about the race since I love pacing and there was the promise of pancakes at the finish.

The expo
The race hosted an expo and free pasta party on Dec 8, but I did not want to travel to Kennesaw twice. I live about 30 min from Kennesaw so I opted for race day packet pick up. It was also raining all day so the motivation went out the door to travel for free pasta. Race day pick up is one of the many things I like for races.
 
Race Day
The race started at a office center at Barrett Parkway and there was tons of free parking. Thanks to race day pick up, I was able to grab my bib and shirt an hour before the took off. It was cold and raining so the attendance was super low. I am not sure how many people ran, but it seemed like it was less than 100 (I could be wrong though).

A few runners would run with me for a bit, but I ran mostly alone for the entire race. The rain was an opportunity to break in my Gasparilla jacket. The course was not very scenic which was fine. There were plenty of water stations throughout the race. I finished in my pacing time limit, but there were no pancakes. After 3 hours of running I was really looking forward to enjoying warm pancakes.

​​Overall, it was a great race. The terrain was mostly flat, with a few rolling hills. We received free race pictures (another race perk that I love). I would probably run the race next year. Hopefully, the weather will be so much nicer than this year and I will get my promised pancakes.

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(2018)
"Double Pump"
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On December 1, 2018 I ran the Enmarket Bridge Double Pump Run in Savannah, GA. This was my second road trip to Savannah for races this year. The Enmarket Bridge run run has three distances to conquer the Talmadge Memorial Bridge: 5k (1 trip over the bridge), 10k (2 trips over the bridge), and the 15k (3 trips over the bridge). The 15k runners ran the 5k and 10k races. I choose to run the 15k distance, which is also known as the Double Pump. This was my first year running this race series, so I was excited to get a bit off a hill challenge in Savannah.

Expo
The race expo was held at the Savannah Civic Center. The expo was small and packet pick up was quick and easy. The race offered a BINGO game to encourage participants to visit the vendors. Each vendor stamped your BINGO card and after collecting 20 stamps you could submit your card into a raffle to win prizes. I played BINGO and learned about new products, races, and services that were being offered by local venders.

​​Race Day
It was drizzling on race day. This year was second time this year that I ran a race in the rain. Since I ran the Double Pump (15K), I parked at the Savannah Convention Center for the start. Parking was plentiful and only costs $5. For the Double Pump, the first race was the 5k. At the start, walkers and runners were separated, but we all merged at the start. The 5k was delayed for a few minutes and then we were off to run across the bridge. 
 
For the 5k, we ran across the Talmadge Ridge and finished close to the Savannah Civic Center. At the finish, Double Pump runners were directed to the designated finisher shoot so we could get ready for the 10k. I finished the 5k in 33:02. 
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The 10k race started about 30 minutes after the 5k. At the beginning of the 10k, we ran around the square for about a mile and then it was time to take it to the bridge. We ran across the bridge to the start of the 5k and then looped around and ran back to the finish line (the 5k and 10k had the same finish line).  For me, the third time climbing the bridge was a doozy. Overall the 10k was fine and I finished in 1:12.
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At the post race party we had Brunswick stew, oranges, and bananas. The best part of the race was the free trolley ride back to the convention center. I enjoyed the race and I only have two suggestions for improvements. First, I wish they had better running corrals. I spent a lot of time at the beginning of the 5k zig zagging around others. The second is to require runners with strollers to start last or ban strollers all together. I witnessed a woman that ran with a stroller with four kids nearly ran over a runner during the 5k. 

I can now add Savannah to my list of cities that I have completed all the major races distances (5k-marathon).

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(2018)
"Honoring our Veterans at DAV5K Atlanta"
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Last Saturday, Nov 10, in honor of Veteran's Day I ran the Disabled American Veterans 5K (DAV5K) Atlanta race (dav5k.org). The DAV5K raises funds to help support disabled veterans and their families. I was proud and inspired to support a race that had a great cause to help those who have sacrificed much for my freedom.

Packet Pickup
Packet pick up was at Phidippides in Ansley Mall, former Olympian Jeff Galloway's store, the day before the race. There was plenty of free parking and pick was super quick. The shirt had two shirts, one for civilians and another military men and women. I was in and out of packet pick up in 5 minutes. 
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Race Day
The race was at Piedmont Park and we ran around the perimeter of the park starting at the gate at Charles Allen and heading north on 10th Street. The route was great. The hills were not that bad. It was super cold, but at least it wasn't raining. At the finish, veterans received medals and we all received breakfast from Chick-Fil-A. My finishing time was 32:59.

Overall it was a great race and I had a fun time running with veterans and their families. 

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