Latest reviews by Brenda Morris

(2017)
"Jingle All The Way 15k "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

The Jingle All The Way is a flat and fast course, but I was chatting and not really racing today, as its also very festive. There's 2 distances to choose from, 5k and 15k. I participated in the 15k race which started at 8:30am, the 5k started at 8:00am. Both races started and finished at the Washington Monument.

I've run several races with the Pacers Running Club, and always enjoy the course and great organization. My family and I went to Pacers Running Store in Alexandria, Va on Friday and picked up my bib and awesome Boco Gear winter pom pom hat. No Shirt this year, but I loved how they gave you 3 options this year, winter hat, donate $10 to charity or $10 pacers bucks to spend in the store.

Race Day: I arrived an hour before the race, and had no problem finding a metered parking spot. I paid for the full 3 hour limit ( $6.45) At the start there was plenty of Port o johns, I had a no wait line. The announcer was high energy and playing upbeat music. It was fun to see so many costumes and festive hats/sweaters.

The course was very pretty with the snow on the ground. The aid stations had water and gatorade. As you crossed the finish line they had granola bars, water, bananas, donuts, hot coffee. Your bib has a coupon for a free burger from Shake Shack to use for up to a week.

Race Management is very good with social media and emails keeping you updated on all needed information.
I think this will be an annual event now! I recommend this holiday run.

Loading Comments...

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2017)
"Monterey Bay Half Marathon & OceanView Challenge ( 5k Sat. & 1/2 Marathon Sun. ) "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I was really excited to return to beautiful Monterey, Ca again. I visited in 2014 when I ran Boston 2 Big Sur. Packet Pickup and Expo was at the same location, in Old Downtown Monterey. I arrived Wed. evening, so I could play in the area, since there's so much to see and do. Thursday I walked about 15 miles, I visited the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary, which was hard to get good pictures on my iPhone, but the clusters of Monarchs were amazing. I met up with a friend and had some wonderful Mexican food for lunch, the food is all so fresh and yummy in Ca. I then went off in the other direction to walk along the Fishermans Pier, and in the evening went to a talk with Peace Corps Members.
Friday morning I went for a nice easy jog and walk before heading to the Expo at 11:30 where I volunteered for a few hours. I picked up my packet and shirts for the OceanView Challenge, a new challenge where you run the 5k Saturday and Half Marathon Sunday. There was plenty of helpful volunteers, poster size maps, race program, and information table for all your questions.
New this year the race added, Friday night Happy Hour 4-5:30pm It was a very nice program with wine tastings, and 5 tables to visit with new running technology and apps to try and talk to the reps.
Sat. Pacific Lighthouse 5k started at Lovers Point 8:00am, a beautiful coastal route, out and back. Post run there was plenty of supporters, volunteers, music, porto johns, and goodies... Dole fruit cups and Pineapple juice, which was a treat. Also, bottle water, energy bars, and fruit. They also had a local organization preparing a 5.00 Pancake breakfast. It looked good, but after running I usually wait to eat until after my shower. We walked about 1.5 miles back to the hotel to shower and get more sightseeing in.
We went on the 17 mile scenic ride, visited Clint Eastwoods Ranch, walked around Big Sur and took photos at the Bixby Bridge :)
Sunday's Half Marathon started at 6:50 am for Elites, then every 5 minutes a corral would start. There was plenty of porto johns and space, so even with 7,000 runners you didn't feel confined or crowded in. The announcers were so enthusiastic and motivating, the female announcer was around during the expo and Sat. race, really got you pumped up and excited.

Start line; Old Town Monterey, right there by the Pier and beach. Such a gorgeous location! We started out on some local neighborhoods and there was a few people playing the keyboard and other musical instruments. We ran towards Pacific Grove and ran under the bridge on Lighthouse Ave, it was so cool because it was dark with multiple colored strobe lights and loud music playing, near the end was a T-Rex dancing, so I stepped up on the side walk and danced a little with him, I mean how often do you get to start the race running with a shark, and dancing with T- Rex a mile or so later :) Running along Cannery Row and the Aquarium was fun, also music playing and people out in costumes.
I love living in a hilly area, as I didn't see any hills, but some people talked about the bumps in the road. I took lots of photos, danced, videos, singing and still managed to get one of my best half marathon paces of the year, due to such a flat fast course. Running on Oceanside Blvd and Asilomar State Beach was so beautiful and serene. So many neighbors and spectators out with lots of enthusiasm. I'm usually not a fan of out and backs, or repeat courses, but I could run back and forth on this one all day long, so beautiful to see sailboats, surfers, scuba divers, walkers, and ocean views. I also really loved seeing the Elite runners on their way back to the finish, it always gives me the goosebumps, and gives me inspiration. I did slow down to video them passing me. I just felt like I was in heaven!

The last 3 miles or so was on the bike path, it was awesome to see people just out on their routine walk/jog cheer you on the end. I always get pumped up the last few miles, this was a beautiful easy finish. The finish line announcers again very motivating and enthusiastic, the volunteers gave us our medals! MY FAVORITE MEDAL now, pink sea otter :) The medals are actually made by a local artist, and so darn cute. The Males received Yellow tech shirts and yellow medals, Females pink shirt and pink medals, which I love. The Shirt is a beautiful Asics long sleeve tech pink shirt with a nice Monterey Bay HM logo on the front and back. Monterey Bay Half Marathon changed their logo and name to separate from Big Sur, since they are a non-profit race and give back to the Monterey Bay Community.

Post Celebration: Once you received your medal, there was heat sheets and water bottles. Then your post photo ops with the signs, off to the food tent where you picked up a box with more yummy Dole fruit cups, Pineapple juice, Choc. milk, Chips, banana and bar.
They had hot soup which was a tomato spinach blend, I had 2 cups :)
Live music which was upbeat ( more dancing)
Treadmill Running store had a tent with free massaged, rollers and Normatec Boots..
Yes, I waited in line for the compression boots, since I tried previously after a long run and loved it. They also had a beer tent, with free beer, but I opted to wait until lunch/dinner to have alcohol.

MY NEW FAVORITE HALF MARATHON :)

Everything about the race organization and the course before, during and after was amazing!

Everyone needs to put this beautiful race on the list! Also, so much to do there.
I didn't have time to fit it all in. I met a few new friends and was invited to scuba dive, kayak, and go on a boat ride... I'll be back for sure, and will fit in those activities I missed.
Oh, the Aquarium is top notch, but I already visited on my first trip in 2014.

I could just go on and on with all the wonderful things Monterey has to offer :)

Follow them on Social Media and make a plan to bring the family or go with friends.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2017)
"Bike The Coast Oceanside CA "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I was really excited to travel to Ca from Massachusetts to visit and ride in San Diego! I have never been to the area before, but have friends who moved there and talk about how bike friendly the area is.
I arrived Friday at SD airport and picked up my rental car, rental bike from Nytro Multisport in Encinitas. I then made my way to Oceanside Pier for the packet pickup and expo. Oh!I was so excited with the ocean views, breeze, temps and just in awe :)
We received a nice goodie bag with some coupons, and a pint glass :) I picked up my cycling jersey, which is sweet.
There was no stress since its not a race, its a ride.
Saturday morning 6:50am start was just beautiful, course was well marked, aid stations stocked with everything you need, and enthusiastic volunteers.
Finish line had medals, bike valet, food trucks, beer tent, live music and more.
I have a full review with more photos on my blog.
I highly recommend this beautiful coastal course, as it offers 25, 50 and 100 mile options, at a very no stress level. Follow their Facebook and Instagram sites to stay updated, and they have contests on entries, shirts, gift certificates and more.
Put this destination ride on your list. There's nothing like riding the coast of Ca!
#bikethecoast

http://brendaruns.tumblr.com

Loading Comments...

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2017)
"Freedom's Run Marathon ( More Than a Race)"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

What a fantastic weekend!

Friday my family and I went to Packet Pick up at Sheperdstown University, where there was plenty of parking, small but nice expo and no line waiting for bib and t-shirt.

26.2 Miles encased in National Park Land, with some country roads and history town that connect them. Its a point to point with a small net elevation loss. Start line, nice and early (7:30am) at Harpers Ferry National Park, then 10 flat miles on the beautiful and flat C&O Canal, rolling hills to Antietam Battlefield for a couple of miles, and pretty flat 4.5 miles to the finish line into Sheperdstown, where you get to finish on the 50 yard line at the University :)

I have to say, this is now one of my favorite marathons for so many reasons, starting with the great communication with the RD on social media and emails. The way the race gives back to local charities, helping with hurricane donations, and much more that I'll add to my full review on my blog.

The first time I heard about this race and the fact we run through 3 National Parks, I was sold! But, it was honestly more beautiful and well supported than I expected. Aid stations were well stocked with water, gatorade, Honey Stinger Gels and fruit. So many wonderful friendly and helpful volunteers made the weekend go so smoothly.

Great Post Race party! Pizza, fruit, water, and water bottles and glasses to fill with your free beer/soda. Free massages and I tried the Nordic Compression Boots, and it felt amazing. The finishers medal was designed and molded by a local potter, which adds another nice local touch.

ADD THIS MARATHON TO YOUR LIST! I very highly recommend this race. Honestly, I took about 100 photos during my run. You get a very nice variety, rolling hills, flat trail, running over a bridge and down a spiral staircase ( which was cool).

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2017)
"Zooma Half Marathon (Cape Cod, MA) "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

This is such a wonderful event!
Thursday night I went to " Girls Night at Heart Break Running Co." It was quick and easy for packet pickup and fun to shop with the 20% off discount in the store. They also had wine and treadmill classes, but since the weather was beautiful I opted for a walk around Boston afterwards instead of the treadmill class. The Swag is amazing, including: Zooma reusable bag, feetures socks, running cap, and very nice womens tech shirt ( which has a zippered pocket). Nice light blue and white colors ( like the beach).

Saturday morning I arrived an hour before the race and had no problem parking just a few minutes away in a parking lot next to the Sea Crest Beach Hotel. There was plenty of port o johns outside and bathrooms inside the resort, so no problem getting in a few times before running. I was happy to see Nuun and Water out for Pre run hydration and out on the course. It was great to see unexpected friends and new friends :)
The course was mostly flat and on the bike trail, and very easy to follow. Aide was about every 2 miles with water, Nuun, Gu ( salted caramel) and some had fruit, which was great, so I only carried a small handheld water bottle.
Finish line was fun and enthusiastic. There was bananas, granola bars, and very yummy local apple cider donuts :)
On the beach they had free massages, beach yoga, and a nice expo and live music. Boxed lunches with chicken salad or vegetarian option. I enjoyed my massage, then went for a nice swim and walk on the beach. We had so much fun, the weather was great for this time of year.

Its a great girls weekend or day trip at the Cape!

Loading Comments...

Login or sign up to leave a comment.