Latest reviews by Brenda Morris

(2019)
"Napa Valley Marathon Review "
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Parking/Access
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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)
"Houston Marathon"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
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Course Scenery
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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 "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
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Elevation Difficulty
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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.

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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(2018)
"Freedoms Run Marathon "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

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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(2018)
"Rock 'n' Roll Montreal Marathon "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
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Course Scenery
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Elevation Difficulty
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I started my drive from MA to Montreal early Friday to avoid the afterwork traffic. I was excited to visit Montreal, and wanted to have some extra time to explore before Sunday's marathon.
I arrived in Montreal around 3:30. Of course, my GPS and phone was having trouble. I packed my maps from AAA, which worked out perfectly. But, I had trouble trying to find the EXPO, as there were absolutely no Rock n Roll signage outside the building, and lots of construction detours and signs. It was stressful for a little bit, as I tried to drive and find parking, while looking for runners with bags LOL
Once I entered the building, I finally seen some RnR bags, so followed the direction.

Once I entered, I seen the very long lines, and had Jenn's packet to pick up also, luckily we were listed in the same line, which was 40 minutes long.
I walked quickly around the expo, but I didn't need anything, and wanted to get outside and enjoy the weather and have dinner in the Old Port section.
I had a wonderful Thai dinner outside, walked about 8 miles afterwards taking photos, and then stopped at Pub Brewsky for a nice cold one sitting outside.
Saturday, I went for a run while the 5k and 10k races were going on, so it was great to see some of the bands, cheer the runners, see the 10k winners cross the finish line, and more. I then went for a nice hike at Mont Royal, it was a perfect day to be outdoors.
Saturday night another BibRave Pro Jenn and I shared a room at the host hotel, The Hyatt Regency. It was so convenient to be just outside the start/finish area.
Race Course:
The course was very flat, with beautiful views and tons of support out there. I loved running through the Botanical Garden. The weather was cloudy in the 50's, perfect for running!
Once you finished you received a kind bar, but that was all for food. The medal is ok, usually I love their medals, but it was alright this time. The shirt was ok also. I loved the live band, and got some cool down dancing in. We parked at the hotel across the street from the finish line, so it was quick to walk over afterwards. We then went to the food court in the Mall/Hotel entrance where you could get any kind of food you like, many restaurants.
I absolutely fell in love with Montreal! I will be back for sure.

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