Latest reviews by Brenda Morris

(2017)
"Mad Marathon Review "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Well I was excited to return again this year, as I had a fabulous time last year! I didn't end up going to packet pickup this year, and there was no carbo dinner, so I visited some friends in Burlington, VT. I arrived about an hour before the marathon and parked right behind the finish line.

Packet Pickup was quick and no line at the Porto Johns, so I had plenty of time before the race to meet up with other BibRave Pros and have a cup of coffee. I love small races when its not so chaotic before the run.

I just love Vermont, and this marathon has so many beautiful views to keep you motivated. The start and finish is across the street from the Waitsfield Inn. Its a nice challenging hilly course, but the views are worth it. There was plenty of aid stations with water, gu, and fruit.

Finish line you always get a big hug from Dori the RD! :) Post food was bagels, water, and chips. They had a nice kids pool with cold water, where I took off my shoes and soaked my feet. My phone died early, so I was unable to take as many photos as I would have liked.

I love this marathon and the wonderful volunteers! I ran 2 years in a row now, and may make it an annual event.

Highly recommend.

Loading Comments...

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2017)
"Maine Coast 39.3 Challenge (Half Saturday, Marathon Sunday)"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I ran this challenge as a BibRave Pro.

Friday night I went to the Expo at 4:30pm soon after opening, the hours were 4-8pm. The expo was easy to find, as it was located at the University of New England, and also location for our Start/Finish on Saturday and Finish line Sunday. The race also had sent out emails and FB posts regarding their phone app for all race information, and runner tracking. The expo had a handful of vendors, but I really didn't need anything and wanted to get outside to the local State Park trails and beach before sunset. The Packet Pickup had no lines :) I was handed my bib and went to the T-shirt/ Challenge jacket line. The volunteer was very nice, but informed me they were already out of Women's small jackets? I was disappointed and said "already? I ordered it, and the pickup just started?" She went over to the merchandise section where they were selling jackets? Someone probably bought my jacket that was already ordered? I wasn't to happy with this process, and ended up with a Mens, but the arms are long etc.. as I'm petite. The volunteer said there would be NO More over the weekend, when I asked if I could come back to switch. She said I should email the race director after the race. I was then handed my T-shirt, stickers, pins and dropped something, so I asked for a bag. The volunteer said I should of received one with my bib, so I proceeded back over, but was informed you needed to be VIP to receive one, I asked just for a plastic bag, but none around unless I purchased something else? I'm always trying to be green and recycle, but I only had a wallet in my pocket and usually you get your items in a plastic drop bag, or have the opportunity to get one. I know this may seem small, but it rubbed me the wrong way to receive the wrong size jacket and not even a plastic bag to put my items in. Registration for the challenge is 170.00. I feel the 39.3 Women's Small, challenge jacket should have been put aside in a plastic bag/or drop bag to reserve, and AFTER the race if any jackets are left, people could purchase. I believe my jacket was SOLD? I bought the T-shirt which was an Additional 12.00 I left the expo and went to the State park and beach before heading to the hotel.

Saturday half marathon was very easy to park, plenty of spaces and only a few minutes to walk. They had plenty of Port o johns with minimal waiting if any. They started on time with the official blowing of the conch.

The course was open to traffic, but went smoothly with volunteers. It was on nice quiet roads, so there was no issues with cars, but some of the runners would run in the middle of the road, I had to yell out to them for their safety multiple times, the cars were fine. The course was beautiful and flat. We ran through some beautiful neighborhoods and along the ocean. Course support had water, gatorade and some fresh fruit.

Finish Line Saturday was beautiful and sunny! The food tent was supplied with mini bagels, watermelon, bananas, oreos, yogurt, peanut butter, and pretzels. Shipyard Brewery was there with a selection of beers to choose a can from.

They had several vendors at the finish line, with giveaways. Organic juices and Maple water were a few.

I received a wonderful Massage before heading over to the beer tent :)

I'm not one much for the bling, but loved the medals :) They also handed out filled Maine Coast Marathon water bottles.

Sundays Marathon was in the 40's raining, and windy :) But I absolutely loved the course, I'm sure its gorgeous on a dry clear day! The volunteers were AMAZING :) So enthusiastic and motivating on such a tough day. The aid stations were every 2 miles. The volunteers at every location went above and beyond to help and motivate, I remember mile 7 (rice crisps treats wrapped) , 12 Peanut butter filled pretzels, and OMG 22 with the hot chicken broth, I have to say every aid station was well stocked.

I was very cold when I finished so I left pretty quickly after finishing, plus it was mothers day, so I went to visit my Mom.

I do love all the FREE race photos with logo.

The race is pretty active on FB and Instagram if you want to follow them.

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

Vermont City Marathon takes place during Memorial Day weekend which makes for a great long weekend runcation. I have to say this was one of the best and most organized race I've participated in. It's a fast and scenic course with amazing friendly volunteers and neighborhoods. The course starts and finishes on Lake Champlain in Waterfront Park. Its the perfect place to carbo load and hydrate with amazing food and beer locations :) The race has multiple options: The full, a 2 person relay ( each runs half) and a 3-5 person relay.

Registration online was easy, and then I was added to the email list, which confirmed registration and sent updated emails on the new training program, and additional information.

The Race is very active on social media, and had weekly Facebook live broadcasts with question and answer segments and prizes. There was plenty of communication with emails and the opportunity to download an app on your phone to also stay updated.

I arrived Sat. morning and went to the Expo which as easy to find. The packet pick up was easy to park and get in and out quickly, as I wanted to walk around down by the water and grab lunch. I also checked out the start/finish area.

Sunday was also easy to park close to the start/finish with plenty of free parking. The start line was easy to access with plenty of port o johns, water, quick gear check, beautiful waterfront views and lots of enthusiasm, music, volunteers, and spectators. The corrals were labeled and organized with pacers, and chip timing. Last year the weather was unseasonably hot and humid, so this year they changed the start time to 7am, and hour earlier which was great.

The course flat, fast and beautiful! So many enthusiastic volunteers the whole 26.2 miles! There was so much support with water, fruit, freeze pops, pretzels, and my favorite mile 18 with Maple Syrup Shots :)
I had so much fun :) I seen some unexpected friends on the course and others yelling out my name as they were cheering the runners. The neighborhoods and aid stations were dressed up, playing music, had signs and more... You never got bored or lonely out there.

Finish area was so awesome! Live music, beer tent, delicious Pizza, salsa and chips, chocolate milk, pretzels, fruit, water, and more! The beautiful waterfront view and 70 degree temps were perfect. The race even extended the 6 hour time limit and stayed 6:30 due to runners still out on the course, which I thought was awesome.

I'm so happy I went to this race, as I love Vermont but usually spend more time on the trails. I have to say, I don't have 1 suggestion on how to make it any better! Before, during and post race was flawless, organized, fun, friendly and beautiful.

I highly recommend this race! :)

Loading Comments...

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2017)
"Parkway Classic 10 Miler "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

This was my first time running this race, and have heard wonderful things about it. I registered knowing I was not going to race it, since I was running Blue Ridge Marathon the day before. I was visiting family in the area, and figured it would be a good post marathon shake out run, and a chance to see a few local friends.

Pacers Running store did a fantastic job promoting the race on social media and had a great phone app with all the information you needed. I went to the Alexandria location the weekend before for packet pick up and picked up a few items for 20% off, and the DC flag shirt. The goody bag had some wonderful coupons for local shops and restaurants. I like expos and packet pickups at running stores, since you have the chance to pick up items you may not have packed and the 20% off sale was a nice perk.

I drove up race morning from Stafford, Va and parked at the free lot on Eishenhower, and took the shuttle to the start. The start was at Mt. Vernon, George Washington Memorial Parkway. The location is beautiful, and they had a very enthusiastic announcer, which pumped us up. There was hot coffee, muffins and bananas for everyone. It was cold, and they handed out heat sheets which was a nice perk, since I've only received them post run before. There was plenty of port o johns, bag drop off, and free photos with NPS.

The race was a beautiful flat course along the water, and well stocked water stops with gatorade and water. The volunteers, runners and spectators were all so friendly and happy!

The post celebration at the park was beautiful and sunny! Which was a treat since it was forecast for rain. There was a beer garden, kids zone, vendors, goody box with salt and sweet samples.

I then took the post run shuttle back to my car, which was a 2.5 mile walk, and would have walked but needed to get back to the family. I have to say, with all the runners the logistics was so smooth. The busses were clean, quick and easy access. They actually had 3 locations to pick from. Free parking and shuttles really was a nice perk.

I now know why my VA friends rave about this race! It was so very well organized, fun and scenic! Put this race on your list, I highly recommend it.

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

I was excited to go back after enjoying last years race. This year the weather was cloudy and some showers, so it seemed like there were less people.

I'm not sure if there was much at the expo Friday night, as I arrived Sat. morning, but there was less vendors than last year, probably due to the rainy and cool forecast.
I arrived about an hour before the start and had no problem parking in one of the lots directed by a volunteer. It was only steps away from the start/finish at Jilson Square. I then went to Packet Pick up with just a few people in front of me, they had plenty of fast volunteers that kept the line going. The shirt was a nice BibRave orange color, and a personalized bib number. Chip timing, which is nice. There were plenty of port o johns, so not too long of a wait there either. I love the small town races with less crowds, I guess there were about 500 participants over all distances.

The start went off well and on time (8am):) There were plenty of volunteers and police on the course, so even with the roads open it was safe and plenty of room. Support stations were so enthusiastic with water, gatorade, and Gu on 2 locations. The course started out at Jilson Square and we headed up the Main St. towards a nice trail for about a mile and then some nice small rolling hills around farm areas and friendly neighborhoods. I like the nice mixture of terrain on this one.

At the finish this year it was small due to the weather, I do like the running frog finishers medal. We were given nice jackets (throw away mylar type). I did miss the massage tents, but understand with the weather. I was happy to see the Farmers Cow again with ice cream and chocolate milk :) They gave me a half gallon to take home again this year.
I ran with my friend Jennifer from NY, and she was also happy to have registered with me. We had several friends at the finish line, and all headed over to Willimantic Brewery for post run refreshments and beer. I had the best homemade veggie burger!!! Delish...

Login or sign up to leave a comment.