Latest reviews by Brenda Morris

(2019)
"The Most Beautiful Road Marathon in the U.S. ; Big Sur International Marathon"
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My 3rd time running Big Sur Marathon, and its always as sweet as the last time. I have to pinch myself at the beautiful views! It's hard to explain and pictures just don't do justice, you have to experience this one for yourself. Every runner should put this one on their list. What's wonderful is there's so many distances and relay to choose from.
I arrived Thursday and participated in the Fleet Feet Pub Run, which was so much fun. I met up with other runners and we tried the new GU products, had a nice run and walked over to the Brewery where we enjoyed a free drink of choice, pizza and ice cream. It was great to socialize with other enthusiastic runners.
Friday I went to the Expo which is always a great time. I also went to the Run Tech Happy Hour and met up with more people, and learned about some new running apps. Bib and T-shirt pickup was quick and easy. I walk over, but there's plenty of parking on the street and in lots.
Saturday I participated in the Shake Out Run, so much fun. Afterwards, oatmeal and coffee at Fleet Feet again. I returned to the Expo to attend the 1:00 & 2:00 Seminars, both amazing and inspirational. There's so much fun all weekend long, plus gorgeous views and other activities to do with family and friends.

Sunday Funday, I was up at 2:30 to get the 3:00am bus to the start line. All went smoothly, the start was nice and comfortable, previous years much colder. You wait about 1.5 hours to start, but its fun. There's coffee, bagels, fruit, and plenty of porta johns. Although, it was unorganized and it took 40 minutes.

The course: OH My God! SO many photos! LOL Every time I say, I won't take so many photos, but its such a beautiful and fun run. Weather was perfect for me. In the 40's-50's without sun.

There are 11 aid stations on the course. All stations feature Gatorade Endurance first, then water. Refill stations for those with their own bottles are located at the end of every other station. Fruit at all stations starting at mile 10.4. GU located at the stations near mile 12 and near mile 18. There was bins for energy gel packets and cups at each station. There was portable toilets located at each aid station. Each station also had medical personnel with minor first aid supplies.

Post PARTY! I went right to the Hoka tent for the Normatec boots! Whenever I see them, I wait in line. If you haven't tried them yet, you should. Amazing! Then off to the Minestrone Soup. I didn't eat anything in the box of food they gave me, the soup was perfect. I also didn't have any free post beer, I went into Starbucks for a nice hot tea and changed my clothes and on to the bus. I had plans for post cookout with friends.
I can't say enough about this wonderful event!
If I had to find a negative thing, it would be to have the porto johns more organized, with ropes or volunteers to have individual lines vs. the chaotic long lines that didn't make sense. Also, I was a little disappointed in the shirt quality/color/style and heard a bunch of other runners say that, but you can never please everyone. I think it's compared to the previous Asics quality.

I HIGHLY recommend this race to everyone! Bring the family, friends or go solo and meet new friends... There's so much so see and do in Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur.

#BSIMBR #BibChat #BibRavePro #BSIM #marathon

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(2019)
"Napa Valley Marathon Review "
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What can I say? California Dreaming in the middle of a New England Winter! I was really excited to get out of Massachusetts for a week. I have several Spring Marathons, and like to travel to warmer climates for some long training runs without snow/ice. I was excited to go to Napa Valley and make it a runcation with my boyfriend.

We arrived in San Francisco on Wed. and enjoyed sightseeing, restaurants and more for a few days before heading up to Napa. Its only about an hour drive, without traffic of course.
We did some hiking in Battery Spencer after driving over Golden Gate Bridge, and lucked out with the weather as it was supposed to be raining, it was just a nice light sprinkle.

Saturday morning I arrived at the host hotel at 8:00am to participate in the Shake Out run, it was so much fun! They had some free raffle prizes for those in attendance. We went out on an easy out and back on the Silverado Trail.

Post Shake Out Run, the expo was open. Picking up my Packet was quick and easy, no lines. We received an awesome Backpack, long sleeved tech T-shirt and some samples in our bag.
I then participated in the Cooking Demo by Clif Family and Nutrition seminar.

Sunday morning was also better than expected weather, with just light sprinkles. I had VIP access, which was a nice treat to have a tent with yogurt, fruit, coffee and bathrooms. I enjoyed a blueberry yogurt and coffee before heading to the start.

The course was beautiful, so much support, I felt like the aid was always there before I even needed anything, and I didn't run with a water bottle. It was cool and wet, so I didnt need as much hydration.

THE MEDAL IS HUGE AND BEAUTIFUL, see on more photos on my blog.

The Post veggie soup was delicious, I even went back for seconds.

They had showers there at the school, so after showering we went to the Clif Family Winery for the post celebration. We received a free glass of wine and guacamole and chips... I LOVE MY AVOS, so I was in heaven. I purchased an amazing salad from their food truck. A really cool place.

I highly recommend this race! There's so much to do in Napa Valley. I was envious of all the bike lanes. Its a great location to bring the family.

#NapaMaraBR #bibchat #bibravepro

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(2019)
"Love Run Philly Half Marathon"
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One of the best Half Marathons I've run! Such an awesome weekend!
Flat and Fast! The weather was perfect, started to rain just as I was about to finish.

I rented a van and a condo for a ladies weekend :) I had 7 female friends join me for a road trip from Massachusetts to Philly. We left 6am Saturday morning and arrived at 12:00, just in time for Packet Pickup and Lunch. The Expo was fun and lots of great vendors, and quick and easy packet pick up.
The soft baseball style shirt is sweet, and love the mug!
Pre Race: Lots of porto johns, parking, and easy corral system.
Running towards City Hall was cool, I"ve only seen photos. Ben Franklin Boulevard has so much history and beautiful early in the morning.
The course was well supported, lots of volunteers and spectators in high spirits.
Rain at the finish line, but we still had an epic time! Free beer ( Thanks to Coney Island Brewery), pretzels, goodie bag, and more. Of course we ran the stairs and took photos with our medals and Rocky :)
All of us want to return next year, so much fun... So many great restaurants, pubs, sightseeing and more to do...

Put this one on your list! Such a fun location and very well organized.

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(2019)
"Houston Marathon"
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Such a wonderful experience! I'm so happy to have had the chance to experience this race! So much support before, during and after the race.

I had so much pre race information on all the social media sights, emails, and I downloaded the official app on my iPhone, so I had all my questions answered online. Since I was traveling from MA, I like to have this information available.

We went to the Expo on Friday, and it was easy to find and park, since it was at the Convention Center. I had no lines for my Bib and T-shirt pickup. We walked around and I tried not to buy anything, but I did buy my BocoGear Trucker hat, I wanted as soon as the Marathon posted it on their IG page.

Pre Race morning was cold, but everyone had plenty of room to wait inside the Convention Center. There was plenty of Porto-cans and not much of a wait, even though the lines seemed long.

Course was amazing! So much crowd and volunteer support from Start to Finish. Gatorade was on course, with my favorite Mango Gu, this made me very happy. I stopped 3 times to use the Porta-cans and never had to wait in line. There was so much water, gatorade, gu and more on the course, I never felt like I got to the point of needing anything. The crowds made the time go by quickly.

Due to life, and the holidays, I only had 1 11 mile run under my belt since Oct., so I was using the race as a training run for my Spring races. I ran with my jacket and long sleeves and went at a nice easy pace, and the crowds were so enthusiastic even with temps in the 30's.

The course is very flat and fast, great if you want to BQ, between the flat course and amazing support every step of the way.

I was surprised, as I didn't see anything posted about 2 shirts and a mug, but loved getting a second shirt and glass at the finish line. Inside the Convention Center, there was also drinks, and hot breakfast sandwiches.

I highly recommend this race for everyone! From first timers, family, going for a PR and more, it has it all.

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(2018)
"Freedoms Run Marathon "
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I had so much fun last year, I was excited to return for the second time!

I had limited time this year, so I decided to go to packet pickup on race day. I remember how efficient it was last year, so I arrived an hour before the marathon start time. I parked in the lot where you start, so I was only a minute away, I love this about small town races, plus only the marathon starts at Harpers Ferry. There was no lines for pickup or bathrooms. It was easy to find Ben and Vanessa ( also BIbRave Pros), so it was nice to chat before we started.
This course is epic! Lots of variety! You run through 3 National Parks, on the C & O its flat and groomed trail, then second half you get lots of rolling hills with epic views and history. I was disappointed on the C & O section this time, as there was half the aid stations as last year? I had 6 other runners mention to me they were unhappy with the lack of water/gu also. I didn't carry mine as last year, there was so much. I was very dehydrated on this section with the high humidity. There was no GU or anything on the Canal, as posted or like last year? By the time I arrived at mile 15.2 at the end, I was happy to see the water and first time the GU, I actually had 5 cups of water there with my GU. 3 people read my BibRave shirt, and how it says write reviews, so they asked me to mention this. Otherwise, everything else was top notch.

Finish line is at Sheperdstown University on the 50 yard line! They hand you a nice water bottle with logo, and a finishers medal designed by a local potter. Then walk over to the Pizza, fruit, and Kind bars. The post party across the street at the Bavarian Inn had live music, free beer glass and beer! They also had a wonderful recovery area, with massage therapists and Normatec boots. I love the compression boots, and enjoyed my session drinking my beer :)

I HIGHLY recommend this race!

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