Latest reviews by Meridith Daniel

(2020)
"America Runs Together"
Overall
Race Management
SWAG
Virtual Support

I ran the America Runs Virtual 5k as a BibRave Pro.

America Runs benefits local COVID-19 recovery funds and registration is open until the end of September 2020. If you’re looking for some sweet swag, this might be the virtual race for you!

The swag for this virtual race included a cotton t-shirt, distressed trucker hat, water bottle, medal, and running bib.

There wasn’t too much in the way of email communication from the promoters of this race; since it can happen on any day and at any time, there was no big “race day” announcements or getting hyped with a large online community. It’s something that I’m missing from in-person events so that might be something to consider for those hosting future virtual runs.

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(2019)
"Half of a half = RELAY!"
Overall
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NAME: Mushroom Cap 1/2 Marathon, Relay and Charity 1 Miler

LOCATION: Kennett Square, PA

YEARS IN EXISTENCE: 4

NUMBER OF RUNNERS IN 2019: 469 individual runners and 107 relay teams

EXPO: There was no expo but rather two opportunities for packet pickup to the race the week prior. Because it's a smaller race, if there was an option for morning of packet pickup (perhaps for a nominal fee), it would be appreciated.

The hills are no joke during this race but if you're looking for a challenging half course, you should absolutely add this to your bucket list. Originally I was registered for the half marathon but after chatting with a friend we decided to switch to the relay (there was a $30 fee to do so).

The course elevation was challenging, especially coming from the flatter lands of New Jersey. It wasn't a surprise, I'd done my homework on the course and I knew when to expect the hills. That didn't make it any less brutal!

Thankfully there was terrific support out on the course. The aid stations are in on the competition fun and each one had a different sponsor, which I thought was great. It also helped keep the miles moving because there were smiling faces throughout the entire course. Nearly every single mile had a station.

Also wonderful was that all of the roads for this race were CLOSED. That really makes a difference and it was appreciated.

As a relay runner I was given a chip to wear on my ankle. After running 6.6 miles, I met up with my partner who transferred the ankle bracelet from my leg to hers in the exchange area. Our transfer took under a minute.

At the exchange I was given my medal. I do wish there was a slight differentiation between the medals or on the ribbons to signify half runners versus relay runners, I think that would have been cool! Maybe something to consider for year 5.

The post race festival was AMAZING. Hosted at The Creamery, which is where the start/finish was as well, it boasted a beer garden (and one free beer for runners), food trucks, an awesome band, and fun family events for those who brought theirs along.

My relay partner and I came in DFL (don't worry, we're not mad about it!) and we were awarded mushrooms and a gift card to a local restaurant, Sovana Bistro. After spending some time at the post race party we went there for an incredible lunch.

Many more words and pictures over on my blog: http://www.scootadoot.org/2019/11/08/race-recap-mushroom-cap-half-marathon-relay/

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(2019)
"Won my age group!"
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Spoiler: I was the only one in my age group!

Last weekend I took part in the 5k portion of the William T. Nace Tin Man 5k/10k. This race is a small, local race and serves as a fundraiser for a student scholarship.

In its 8th year, the race has raised thousands of dollars to further their nonprofit’s mission, established in honor of their family member, William T. Nace.

The race takes place at Cooper River Park also known in the running community as the Cooper Loop.

The 5k and 10k races were scheduled for 9:30. The fields were small; 12 5k runners and 16 10k runners. It was easy to grab our bibs and cotton t-shirts the morning of the race around 9:10. There was no prior pickup.

After a quick stop in the lovely heated bathrooms (I did NOT what to leave), the 5k runners walked with a representative of the timing company to our start. There was no timing mat at the start so the runners time was based on gun time, not chip time. Because the field was so small, it was even.

The loop is just under 4 miles which meant that the 10k runners would be doubling back at some point – they had a different start and ran in the opposite direction so we passed them on the far side of the course.

The route is a loop around a river. Around the halfway point there was a volunteer with water bottles, which I opted to skip.

On the far end of the course there’s a great view of the Philadelphia skyline. The wind also works with you at that point, which is lovely. However, the last mile back, the wind was right in my face, making it cold and difficult.

There was a great snack spread set up for the runners (my 14 year old son was very pleased about that). After the 5k finishers crossed the line, the results were quickly posted and awards were distributed.

There’s no finishers medals, but because it’s a small race nearly everyone who crossed the line got age group awards. Additionally they have a few raffles for the runners of each event. I won a $25 Visa gift card!

When our awards finished, the 10k runners started to cross the line. The overall winner was a friend of my son's from school; it awesome to see an 8th grader rock her first ever 6.2 distance!

There’s something very special about a small race – you can feel the love and importance of the event to their family. That said, I hope that next year it grows in size and even more students are able to benefit from the scholarships.

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(2019)
"Atlantic City Triple Threat!"
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The Atlantic City Marathon Series hosts its fall races in mid-October each year. Saturday is the 5k/10k and Sunday is the half/full marathon.

2013 was the first time I ran the race weekend and I’ve returned each year since for the 5k or 10k.

With 3 races offered throughout the year, they sweetened the deal by adding a Triple Threat medal in 2019. It’s probably clear that Atlantic City Marathon Series is one of my all time favorites ever, so it didn’t take much convincing to go for the Triple Threat!

The fall series offers packet pickup at multiple locations throughout the week prior to the races. Originally I chose to do day-of pickup (for an additional fee of $10) but a friend was able to grab mine earlier in the week and there was no fuss with that, which was much appreciated. Less running around for me the morning of the race!

What I love so much about running in AC is the comfort that comes along with it. These races are a nice size – around 850 runners for both the 5k/10k. With a 9am start time for the shorter races, it's easy to wake up early and drive down the morning of the race.

The race series also provides a coupon for runners which brings the $25 casino parking fee down to $5.

My race was what I expected, given my training runs. I chose to run solo to see what I was capable of and I was happy with the result!

Running on the boardwalk is always fun for me. It was hard to see the 5k runners peel off, knowing that I still had double the distance to go but I love that it's an out and back course so I could cheer on friends. My last mile was tough and I was very pleased to see the finish line, right outside of Bally's Casino.

Once I crossed the line, I received my 10k medal. My bib had a mark on the back for the Triple Threat medal (it might have been easier to spot on the front - other runners had a sticker placed on theirs).

After showing the back of my bib, I received the mother of all medals, the Triple Threat!

After we cheered everyone in across the finish line, my group of friends made our way to the courtyard that held snacks (bagels, water ice, etc.) and drinks. If there's a post-race beer I'll usually have a few sips and Saturday was no exception.

I've already got my eye on the 2020 Triple Threat medal!

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(2019)
"Love the race - with little tweaks it could be perfect!"
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Boardwalk, sunshine, beach, ocean: it all has the makings of a good time. Atlantic City is my preferred place to run – it’s familiar, it’s flat, and it’s an easy drive to and from my house.

Last year was the inaugural Bungalow Beach 5 Miler and I knew then that even though I’m not summer race runner, I’d be adding this to my repertoire. There aren’t a lot of 5 mile races and I enjoy the distance (and can deal with the heat!).

The folks over at the AC races know what speaks to runners: competitive pricing, extra swag, and bling. I registered for this race last fall and it was under $35 with a coupon code. The experience includes the 5 mile race with multiple water stops, a race shirt (tank for the ladies), medal, beer, and photos. I’d say that’s a great value for the price!

The added incentive for 2019 is the Triple Threat medal. For those who run a race during the April Fools weekend, the Bungalow Beach 5 Miler, and a race during their fall weekend, you earn a triple threat medal. You can always find me at an Atlantic City race, so I’m pretty pumped to get this in October.

Packet pickup was Friday evening and also the morning of prior to the start. I particularly like this race because it’s a Saturday rather than the standard Sunday so it’s a great way to kick off the weekend.

We parked about a mile down the boardwalk at Resorts because we have frequent player cards there that entitle us to $5 parking. This is where my friend and I usually start our runs during training and figured it would be a nice way to warm up before/cool down after.

We arrived in plenty of time for the morning packet pickup, which was a good thing because the line was a bit on the long side.

When my friend asked for a bag (there was a pile on the table) the volunteer was a bit on the rude side and asked if she REALLY needed it because they were “running low”. As we weren’t planning on bringing our swag back to the car and didn’t see a bag check anywhere it was, indeed, something she really needed.

Given the swell in popularity of this event after just 2 years (there was a social media post the evening before stating that it was 90% full) the race will probably take that into consideration for packet pickup and have more tables in the future. Thankfully, the race started a few minutes after 8 to accommodate those still in line for their bibs/shirts.

The course is basically an out and back with a little dip onto the street for a few blocks at mile 2. The boardwalk is open so you have to be aware of people out for a morning stroll and bicyclists. There were many and to be honest, they don't really care too much that a race is going on. Or maybe they're mad about it? I'm not sure - suffice to say, you have to look out for them rather than the other way around.

The last stretch of the race is on the beach. Last year it was rough to run through the finish line because of all the people who had gone through before us but this year they had mats down, which helped a lot!

There was a photographer stationed at the finish line for free photos, however, I think they stopped taking pictures after the hour mark because there were NO pictures of anyone who finished after that. The course was open for 2 hours so the fact that the photographer didn't take any pictures past the hour mark wasn't cool.

We got our medals and delicious snacks – they always have a great spread. The option for beer at 9:30 in the morning wasn't too appealing to us so we decided to take the trek back to the cars and call it a day.

2/3 races in Atlantic City complete for 2019! I’m looking forward to returning for the 10k in October and getting my Triple Threat medal!

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