Latest reviews by Bradley

(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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(2016)
"Running with a Cause - SHLF Run"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

For the full race review, with photos, visit:
http://bradleyontherun.com/2016/10/19/shlf-run-5k/

Quick Review – SHLF Run 5K

Social Media: While they are fairly active on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, there is definitely some room for improvement on their website. I totally understand the limitations of non-profit and volunteer organizations, but I’d like to see more current content…and some easier navigation.

Package Pickup: I stuck with day-of pickup at the school, which was very quick and easy. They offered pickup on Friday and Saturday, but North Van is a destination for me, so I did it all in one trip!

T-Shirt/Swag: If you signed up early enough (which I didn’t), you could get a SHLF t-shirt! No medals, which is absolutely fine with me.

Course: The 5k course is a loop, starting and ending at Handsworth Secondary School. Downhill, then uphill – and everything before and after that reasonably flat. Stroller-friendly – yes, I was passed by a stroller. The 10k course has trails, but that’s all I know! Given the length of the race, there was no aid station for the 5k.

Post-Race: In the warmth of the gymnasium, with food and drink – a lively, kid-friendly, neighbourhood atmosphere. Lots of damp people, lots of smiles!

Organization: Very nicely put together, with professional timing and friendly volunteers. Kilometre markings would have been a nice touch, but that’s minor in my books. Overall, very well done!

Would I run it again? Yes! Next year, I want to tackle the 10k!

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(2016)
"Spirit of the Shore Half - the best of the North Shore!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

For the full race report (including a double rainbow!), visit:
http://bradleyontherun.com/2016/10/15/spirit-of-the-shore-half-marathon/

Quick Review – Spirit of the Shore Half Marathon

Social Media: As a small local race, I understand that volunteers take care of most everything, so I don’t expect a ton of social media. The Spirit of the Shore Facebook page is pretty decent, however, and there are lots of photos post-race!

Package Pickup: Pickup was held at the Icebreaker store at Park Royal – so on Saturday we made it into a grocery/shopping trip to get a bunch of stuff done at once. We arrived promptly and got in and out in a few minutes.

T-Shirt/Swag: No t-shirt BUT we got an amazing Icebreaker merino wool cap! I have one from years ago, but it’s getting a bit worn out. It was warm enough on race day that I didn’t need it, but I expect it will get lots of use this winter! In addition, we got one of the biggest medals I’ve ever seen, with a picture of the Capilano River tressle bridge – awesome!

Course: The course is mostly flat, as it follows the Spirit Trail and West Vancouver Seawall, hugging the water most of the time. The exception is the significant uphill within the first 2 kilometres – but it’s over and done with pretty quickly.

Post-Race: Good food and drinks provided by Whole Foods, so I felt pretty satisfied after the race. We stuck around for the awards ceremony as well, since I know a lot of speedy runners!

Organization: No complaints – I thought this race went really well! My only observation stems from Sam’s experience – there should have been far better signage and more active course marshalling at the 10k/half marathon split. True, it’s up to the runners to know their route – but something to keep in mind for next year! Otherwise – fantastic job, with huge thanks to the organizers and volunteers (including Mike’s RaceForce team!)

Would I run it again? While I found the race a wee bit pricey for a local half, I signed up in time to get an earlybird discount. But given the bling and the well-run event, I think it’s good value. Depending on how my race plans go – I would definitely give this race another run!

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(2016)
"Race FIVE - Haunted Headwaters!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

For a complete review, with pictures, visit my blog:
http://bradleyontherun.com/2016/10/26/mec-north-vancouver-race-five/

Quick Review – MEC North Vancouver Race FIVE (Haunted Headwaters)

Social Media: MEC events are very reasonably priced, and fairly bare bones. There is no specific event-related social media, though you can follow MEC North Vancouver on Twitter. We received a detailed email a couple of days before the race, and that communication was sufficient.

Package Pickup: We arrived early, so bib pickup was quick. The lineup had grown quite a bit as the start time approached.

T-Shirt/Swag: Bare bones. No t-shirt or swag.

Course: Slightly shy of 5k, the route was mostly well-groomed trail, with some boardwalks and a few stairs at the end. I believe the 10k course was more hilly and technical. Beautiful, unbeatable north shore scenery – flowing water, and lots of trees!

Post-Race: We got coffee (or tea), KIND bars, and bananas. Just enough to feel satisfied!

Organization: This is only the second MEC event I’ve been to, but it was just as well organized as the previous one. No complaints!

Would I run it again? There are so many MEC events throughout the year – I’ll either do this one, or another one in the series. Fun times!!

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(2016)
"Coho Run - Beach to Bridge to Beach to Bridge to Beach!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Read my complete race report here:
http://bradleyontherun.com/2016/09/17/coho-run-2016/

Coho Run 2016 – Quick Review

Social Media: Quite poor, to be honest, but I’ve come to not expect too much from community races. On Twitter, @CohoRun has only tweeted 5 times in 2016, and there was nothing in the 2 weeks leading up to the race. However, we had detailed email communication prior, so that was sufficient.

Package Pickup: Quick and straightforward table pickup at the North Face on 4th Ave. No fuss, no muss.

T-Shirt/Swag: No medal for the Coho Run, but we got a simple black t-shirt with the Coho Run logo on it. The North Face shirt style is a bit boxy for me, but better than the oversized white t-shirt I got back in 2010!

Course: Gorgeous scenery, of course. Beach to bridge to beach to bridge to beach – unbeatable! The slog up Merilees Trail in Stanley Park was challenging, but there was really no other way to do it. I feel like something could be done to improve the congestion at the start, but I’m not sure what. The diversion on Burrard Bridge was unfortunate, but unavoidable. All in all, a pretty fabulous course. There were two water stations, which was just right.

Post-Race: Combined with the Coho Festival, there was lots to do! There was a free pancake breakfast & coffee for runners (although I chose to go for brunch instead), and lots of family activities at the festival. Rather than stick around, we bussed home for a relaxing afternoon.

Organization: Some of the kilometre markings seemed out of whack, but my watch was precisely 14k at the finish, so I guess it was alright…I suppose the last-minute course changes might have had an impact. Overall, a very well-organized smaller community event.

Would I run it again? Probably, although I find that there are a lot of races taking place in the early fall – so I’m going to plan carefully before deciding next year. So it’s a definite maybe at this stage. Still – it’s a great distance and a well-organized run, so I would still recommend it!

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