Latest reviews by Meridith Daniel

(2021)
"Philly Jawn"
Overall
Race Management
SWAG
Virtual Support

2021 is my 5th straight year participating in the Allstate Hot Chocolate series and you know I couldn’t give up that legacy streak so I opted in through BibRave to run the virtual event.

Leading up to race weekend, the communication from RAM Racing was a quiet, which surprised me. In past years, the series sent out a weekly training plan email so I thought that they might incorporate that into their planned virtual event. Alas, other than a few sporadic emails, there was nothing noteworthy. A missed opportunity!

Rather than relegating myself to another treadmill run, I felt comfortable and safe taking my run to a favorite running locale of mine, the Ben Franklin Bridge. It stretches between New Jersey and Pennsylvania, with the base directly in the city of Philadelphia.

My son joined me for this run and we took our time, took a ton of pictures, and enjoyed the beautiful day. We haven’t run the Ben since early March 2020, so this was welcome change for the both of us.

Due to a manufacturing delay, I have not yet received my race packet in the mail. I received an email regarding this on April 2nd, two days before the "race weekend".

It stinks not to have the swag now that I’ve run the distance… after all we live in a world of instant gratification! However, I know that the swag is 100% worth the wait and I’m looking forward to it arriving. I've given the swag a high rating based on past experiences and I hope that I feel the same once it arrives.

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(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)
"Won my age group!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

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)
"Half of a half = RELAY!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

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)
"Atlantic City Triple Threat!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

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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