Latest reviews by Bradley

(2017)
"West Van Run Weekend - 10K"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

You can read my full race report on the 5k AND 10k race weekend here: http://bradleyontherun.com/2017/03/05/west-van-run-weekend-2017/

Quick Recap – West Van Run Weekend

Social Media: West Van Run is top-notch in terms of social media. I strongly recommend connecting with them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Race communications via email are regular and informative. Despite race-perfect weather on Saturday, snow on Sunday caused traffic disruption and worries about the race - however, all social media channels kept us informed that the race would go on!

Packet Pickup: 10k packet pickup was available both Friday and Saturday at Park Royal. They generally discourage day-of pickup, although I believe it was still allowed. Maybe a Thursday evening option would help, too?

T-Shirt/Swag: I am already well kitted with West Van Run swag, but no t-shirts accompanied this race. Medals (and bottles of bubbly!) were awarded to the winners only. However, everyone gets an awesome and handy West Van Run water bottle. Also – although I wasn’t able to attend – free beer at Village Taphouse at the Sunday night after party!

Course: I really liked the new course as it wended its way through the streets of West Vancouver, and finished along the seawall. There are a few small hills at the start, but the course is essentially flat. Local residents, however, seemed remarkably unhappy (particularly on Sunday – when, apparently, at least one volunteer was pushed out of the way by an angry resident, who then proceeded to drive through a barrier). I wonder if more consultation with the community is required?

Post-Race: Awesome bags full of yummy goodies, and lots of vendors set up by the finish line. The biggest areas for improvement: 1) distribution of goodie bags…everyone had to line up at the door of the Beach House to be handed their bag. Tables outside might work better. 2) Gear check pickup – something went logistically awry on Saturday, but was improved by Sunday after the 10k.

Would I Run It Again? Without question! Maybe next time I’ll take it easy during the 5k, and try to beat my course PB during the 10k! Really enjoyed this year's superhero theme - wonder what's in store for 2018?!

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(2017)
"Kumagaya Sakura Marathon - running in Japan without cherry blossoms!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

For the full race recap, including lots of pictures, visit my blog: http://bradleyontherun.com/2017/04/01/kumagaya-sakura-marathon-2017/ - because the race website is entirely in Japanese, reading the report would provide some great context!

Quick Recap – Kumagaya Sakura Marathon

Social Media: If there was one thing I truly missed in this race, it was social media. The Kumagaya Sakura Marathon has no Facebook page, no Twitter, no Instagram…just a website. So although I hashtagged furiously in both Japanese and English, the race organizers will never know…

Packet Delivery: That’s right – as long as you have a Japanese address (and this is your only option), your bib gets delivered to your door!

T-Shirt/Swag: The t-shirt is a fun hot pink-on-black deal – but that was the only item we received. That, of course, and our finisher certificate!

Course: Winding through city streets, by the river, along the railway tracks, and among the fields – this is a fast, flat course. The winds buffeting us in the final 5k, however, made things a bit challenging…

Post-Race: The food options were a bit limited, especially for a vegetarian like me. We went out for lunch!

Would I Run It Again? If I lived in the Tokyo area, I might give this race another try. It was run and well-organized, and I imagine if the cherry blossoms had been blooming, it would have been absolutely beautiful. However, if I travelled all the way back to Japan for a race, I’d probably try a different one next time!

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(2017)
"West Van Run Weekend - 5k"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

You can read my full race report on the 5k AND 10k race weekend here: http://bradleyontherun.com/2017/03/05/west-van-run-weekend-2017/

Quick Recap – West Van Run Weekend - 5K

Social Media: West Van Run is top-notch in terms of social media. I strongly recommend connecting with them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Race communications via email are regular and informative.

Packet Pickup: Friday was the only day for packet pickup for the 5k at Park Royal. Debra kindly picked up bibs for a whole bunch of people – otherwise, it would have been extremely difficult for me to get to West Vancouver ahead of time. They generally discourage day-of pickup, although I believe it was still allowed. Maybe a Thursday evening option would help, too?

T-Shirt/Swag: I am already well kitted with West Van Run swag, but no t-shirts accompanied this race. Medals (and bottles of bubbly!) were awarded to the winners only. However, everyone gets an awesome and handy West Van Run water bottle. Also – although I wasn’t able to attend – free beer at Village Taphouse at the Sunday night after party!

Course: I really liked the new course as it wended its way through the streets of West Vancouver, and finished along the seawall. There are a few small hills at the start, but the course is essentially flat.

Post-Race: Awesome bags full of yummy goodies, and lots of vendors set up by the finish line. The biggest areas for improvement: 1) distribution of goodie bags…everyone had to line up at the door of the Beach House to be handed their bag. Tables outside might work better. 2) Gear check pickup – something went logistically awry. A better procedure is needed here.

Would I Run It Again? Without question! Got another 5k PB - second year in a row!

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(2016)
"Big Elf Run – What’s this White Stuff?"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

The snowiest road race I've ever run - and one of the few I've ever run in costume. A great experience, and something every aspiring elf should try!

For the full Elf Report, visit my blog at http://bradleyontherun.com/2016/12/20/big-elf-run/

Quick Recap – The Big Elf Run

Social Media: Fabulous! Both the Twitter feed and Facebook page were very active in the weeks leading up to the race. I highly recommend following both – great information, as well as the chance to win PRIZES!

Package Pickup: There was package pickup available on Saturday, but we elected to simply do so pre-race on Sunday. It was quick and efficient, a simple table setup.

T-Shirt/Swag: An elf toque! What more could you ask for from an Elf Run?

Course: There were 2 race options – the single loop 5k or double loop 10k. The course was relatively flat, mostly on the Stanley Park Seawall, with about one slightly hilly kilometre through the park. On a regular Vancouver day (i.e. no snow), it would be a relatively easy course. There was also a 1 kilometre kids run before the main race.

Post-Race: Because of the weather and the cold, people cleared out pretty quickly after the event. We grabbed some hot tea from the David’s Tea booth, but otherwise festivities were pretty limited. I suspect on things would have been a bit livelier on a less stormy afternoon.

Organization: I was thoroughly impressed with the enthusiasm of the race director, and the management of the event despite the challenging climate. The race has been named as one of Amex’s Top 14 Worldwide Seasonal Events with a Twist – and it’s a well-deserved title!

Would I run it again? I’ve got the hat, the sweater and the booties – count me in!

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(2016)
"A good day for a half marathon!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

For the complete race report, visit my blog:
http://bradleyontherun.com/2016/11/30/hamilton-road2hope-half-marathon/

Quick Recap – Hamilton Road2Hope Half Marathon

Social Media: The Road2Hope running series Twitter account is fairly active, particularly during the race weekend. All of the free race photos also showed up on their Facebook page, so overall I was pretty happy with their social media. They also sent emails as regular intervals (enough, but not too many) to keep us posted on race information.

Package Pickup: Because we arrived fairly late in the day on Saturday, things were fairly quiet at the race expo. A few of the vendors were starting to pack up, but we had already been driving for a couple of hours so didn’t really want to linger. The expo was set up in a series of tents at the race finish line in Confederation Park. I wonder what it would have been like if it was raining?

T-Shirt/Swag: As noted in my blog post, they had run out of men’s t-shirts (and all but XL women’s shirts) by the time we arrived, and I wrote down my address on a piece of paper. I still haven’t received the shirt, although I know it is black and long-sleeved. The medal, on the other hand, is probably one of my favourites! It’s GOLD, which is rare – and makes me feel like a rock star!

Course: Starting on Hamilton ‘Mountain’ – the first 7-8km are relatively flat, running on long, straight roads – not especially scenic, but not bad either. In the middle, we had the long, slow descent on the Red Hill Creek Parkway, which helped with my overall time. The final few kilometres along the shore of Lake Ontario were beautiful, if windy. On the whole, I really enjoyed this course!

Post-Race: Pizza and soup! Perfect for a chilly autumn morning (although the weather this year was pretty spectacular!). They gave us a plastic bag to carry out fruit and energy bars, as well. We didn’t stick around too long, but I imagine they had massages and some other festivities.

Organization: With the obvious miscalculation regarding race shirts (maybe a lot of day-of registrations?), I felt the race was well organized. At the start line, there didn’t seem to be enough toilets, but then I was at the indoor washrooms. Maybe they had lots of porta-potties outside? I didn’t want to lose my place in line, so I didn’t check! Excellent volunteers along the route and at the finish line. Figure out the shirt situation, and two thumbs up!

Would I run it again? Given the location (in Ontario, plus very inaccessible even within Hamilton), I probably wouldn’t prioritize this race again. Having said that, I think it’s a great race for anyone living in the area – and, as one of the top Boston qualifying races in Canada, probably a great opportunity for marathoners aspiring to that goal! A great event – really glad I got to experience it!

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