Latest reviews by Andrea Herrmann

(2016)
"Flat, fast course, great for race car enthusiasts"
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The Monster Mash is a great locally run event that shows off Dover. The course is almost entirely flat, and starts with a loop around the famous Dover Speedway. Participants gather together in front of the Miles the Monster statue for the national anthem and then are walked down to the track to line up for the start. After the loop around the track, we head out into Dover, passing historic and government buildings, by a college campus, and out into farm/field areas. There are ample water stops and great police presence on the course. The half and full marathon are together until around mile six and then they join back together around the half’s mile 12. Roads are not closed to traffic. The course takes you back to the raceway at the end and you finish in front of the Miles the Monster statue. Parking and packet pickup at the speedway is extremely easy, and there are lots of hotels very close by. The medal is amazing. I would recommend this race to new runners, to those who need Delaware for a state, and for race car enthusiasts.

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(2016)
"Great Ultra for Beginners, Training, or Stats"
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I have done the 24 Hour Around the Lake race twice- first as a 24 hour participant in 2012 (had to drop out early due to illness) and then as a 12 hour participant in 2014.

The race is offered by the Somerville Road Runners and is typically on the last weekend of July. The race offers four events - 24 hour ultra, 12 hour ultra, 24 hour relay and marathon. The marathon and 24 hour race start at 9 pm on a Friday night, and then 12 hour starts at 9 am on the Saturday morning. All races end on the 9 pm on Saturday night. This is a change- the race used to start at 7 pm, and the 9 pm start made life a lot easier for everyone, especially in dealing with Boston area traffic.

Access is easy- the race site is very close to the Wakefield I 95 exit. There are hotels nearby for those who want to stay before or after. Parking is very convenient, and it is easy to set up your own tent/gear/aide station and be a stone's throw walk to your car. The race sets up two aide stations- the main one by the timing system, and a smaller station halfway on the course. The course loop is approximately 5.1 km (a tad over 3 miles). Eight loops is a marathon (there is a 1.34 loop run by everyone at the 24hr/marathon start and the 12 hour start to get the marathon distance).

This course is almost completely flat. Is a beautiful tour around the lake. There are some sections where the surface is hard cement/sidewalk. A small portion was on grass/dirt. A headlamp is recommended for overnight runners as some of the course is on uneven surfaces. With the marathon starting at night, the crowd thins out overnight, and it leaves the course more open when daylight hits and the 12 hour starts. If you are doing the 24 hour- plan for possible 20 degree temperature changes overnight into the morning. Pack sunscreen and bug spray. Put bug spray on before you start the night race (mosquitoes).

The walkways/areas for the race are open to the public (it is a park after all) so respect that the local community may be walking around or near you. There is a small portion where you cross an active road- watch for traffic.

The race organizers are excellent and the volunteers are amazing and super-friendly. They made everyone feel welcome and like they belonged, regardless of pace, distance or ability.

What's awesome about this (and most ultras)? If you need a break- sit down in your chair (that you brought), rest, eat some food, get back up, get going. If you're doing the 12 or 24 hour, it's you versus the clock, and you say when you are done. If you are a race walker this is a great marathon to do, as the cutoff is literally 24 hours. This race draws both first timers, regular ultra runners, and fast/competitive ultra runners, and overall everyone is very friendly.

I think the only downside (and I'm really reaching here for a "downside") is the medals are sub-average.

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(2016)
"Beautiful course, great deal, excellent race organizer"
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TRIMOM Productions' Ocean's Run Half Marathon moved to Westerly, RI in 2016. This half marathon was previously held in another town. This new course and location is hands-down much better! Also new this year- the 5K changed to a 4 mile race.

Parking is free, ample and easy at the Misquamicut State Beach. The race director, TRIMOM, offers top quality events that welcome and encourage all paces and all abilities.

This race director typically offers special early supersale registration pricing, which is an incredible deal for what you get- chip timing, a race shirt, finisher's medal, and great aide stations. Make sure you check the website and their social media pages for the sale alert, and get on their email list.

The race director also offers two packet pickup opportunities before race day morning to help cut down on lines/congestion before the race.

Before the half marathon and 4 mile race start, the race director offers a kids fun run! Young children can run a small loop and get the experience of crossing the finish line while the participants of the half marathon and 4 miler cheer them on.

The race director offers a half hour early start for half marathoners that need three hours or more to complete the race. This gives race walkers and slower runners the opportunity to participate.

The course itself was gorgeous, showing off the beautiful neighborhoods and ocean views of Westerly. I've lived in this state for years and saw areas I didn't know about. The course is mostly flat, with a few long but not steep hills. The race has more than enough aide stations- one almost every mile- with great volunteers and ample supplies. They even have an aide station with bananas, pretzels, flat soda, and other goodies! Another cool thing the race does- they have clothing drop bins at the first five water stops (one per mile). If you have a clothing item you want to take off, you can put it in the bin, and the numbered bin is brought to the finish line, making it easy to find your stuff. Also, the race director has support bikes that travel the entire course and check on you, offering water and energy gu if needed.

Post-race food includes pizza, chips, snacks, cookies- with plenty for everyone. The RD has plenty of porta potties at the start and they are also amply placed on the course.

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(2015)
"Local Race, Value for the Cost"
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Ocean State Multisport is a small race organizer that puts on half marathons, marathons, triathlons, duathlons and 5Ks in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. I have completed six of their half marathons. While multiple events are offered throughout the year, they are often the same course (or almost the same course with slight adjustments) so you know what to expect and train for. The race director separates himself from the other events in RI by the value- his events are low-cost; have back-roads courses so there are no major road issues; and have convenient parking, either at local YMCAs or local schools. The races typically draw 200-300 people of all paces and abilities (the RD often allows early starts for walkers or those who may need more time). The key here is value: do not expect big frills, fancy shirts, fancy bling, or huge post-race food areas. You are getting what you pay for: a timed race, small events in local areas, with more of a community feel than your big-scale events. The benefits include roads not over-crowded with runners; convenient parking; scenic roads; and the small-town race feel. The RD is receptive to feedback and has worked to improve events over the years. I would recommend this event for local/area runners maintaining their race distances, training for other events, or adding to their personal stats. The only thing to be cautious of (and this has nothing do with the RD): when you are out on the long roads between miles 6 and 11- the drivers can be jerks. Be aware.

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(2015)
"Flat, fast, tourist-friendly course of Indy"
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I went to the Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon as a part of a reunion with a charity I work with. I really enjoyed the entire weekend.

Expo: nice-sized expo for the race. Free poster with the names of all participants on it in small print. Limited samples at the expo booths. Nice assortment of vendors and race booths with discounts for registration.

The race has a pasta dinner. I did not go. It was in heated tents outdoors. Friends that went said it got chilly, and they ran out of some food and plasticware.

Swag: Loved the race shirt. Excellent design and fit. Great medal. Nice finisher's hat (perfect for cold weather running). The race also provides a discount booklet for discounts in the area for race participants.

Pre-race: if it is cold outside, you can keep warm (and go to the bathroom) inside the convention center. The race corrals are organized by pace. I started back further than I normally would because I wanted to take the race slower and enjoy the neighborhoods.

Course: very flat and fast. A little congested at the beginning but that's to be expected with the sheer size of the race. Race thins out as the miles go on and the half and full marathon split. The course went through some night neighborhoods, went past the historic war monuments of Indy (hence the race name), took us by the Children's Museum, and some of the cool hip urban business areas of Indy. Watch the road surfaces- there are a lot of potholes in certain areas, and the brick section by the monuments is uneven and possibly slippery if it rains (we saw a couple of people trip on loose/uneven bricks). Aide stations and on-course support is excellent. Family/friends have several opportunities to see you and cheer you on throughout the race. Traffic/car control was excellent.

Post-race: great finish line, amazing immediate support and food from volunteers, finisher's hat. Post-race food had bananas, cookies, chocolate milk, electrolytes, and a heated tent with chili.

Parking: can be tricky- the race was on the same weekend as an Indianapolis Colt home game, so hotels and parking spots filled up quickly. If you are not staying in a walking-distance hotel, use one of the local paid parking spot services.

Overall a fantastic race and I a glad I did it for my Indiana state race. You can tell this is a race that the whole community rallies behind, especially as it is a nonprofit event that supports many local charities. I definitely recommend this event. If you are visiting the area- make a weekend out of it. Do a tour, visit the Indy 500 Speedway, the Indianapolis Zoo, and enjoy all the great restaurants there.

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