Latest reviews by Mark Davidhizar

(2014)
"Small Town Race with Some Rolling Hills"
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The Veterans Marathon is held in Columbia City, IN typically on the Saturday following Veterans Day (the 2015 race will be held the following weekend due to how early Veterans Day is and the Monumental Marathon in Indianapolis is held on the first Saturday in November every year). This is a great opportunity to get you Marathon Maniac status without traveling far if you live in Indiana.this is a smaller race. Marathon had 171 finishers, half marathon was around 330 finishers, and the 5k had 137 finishers.
The race starts and finishes by the very picturesque county courthouse in downtown. City hall also has a very large flag hanging from its roof by the finish line. The race starts in dramatic fashion, by firing off a cannon and the half and full marathon are under way.
The first mile or so is straight out of town, no turns. Miles 2-12 are in the country. The disadvantage of this is that there is nothing to block the wind. It just all depends on which way the wind is blowing on race day.
The country also provides some rolling hills, nothing major, just enough to keep you humble and honest. With this race being on the smaller size, you do find yourself running alone often as well. The aid stations are very well staffed and the drink of choice is water and Gatorade. The finish makes its way back into down town and finishes by the courthouse.
They do give out nice finishers medals, in the shape of the great state of Indiana and each year they represent a different branch of the military.
All marathon and half marathon runners received a nice New Balance Jacket instead of a race shirt. Nice way to change it up. 5k runners received a tech shirt.
This race is resonanly priced with proceeds going to a different veteran charity every year. A nice little touch that the race does is before the start, they ask every veteran who is racing, to step forward to be recognized.
This is a smaller race. If it's large crowds you want either running or lining the course, find another race. This is not a race for you. If you are looking for a good quality run race, nice swag, and helping a great cause. I recommend the Veterans Marathon. I will be back for 2015 on November 14

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(2014)
"Fast Fast Fast"
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Despite the cold/windy conditions, this is a very fast course that is mostly flat with really only one noticeable hill at about mile 16, but it's no Heartbreak Hill. If you are looking for a large crowd to support you along the way, it's hit or miss depending on where you are on the course. I was able to PR and set a new BQ this year. The course takes you by Lucas Oil Stadium(Home of the Indianapolis Colts), monument circle, and other war Memorials. You also wind through ButlerUniversity (unfortunately not close enough to see Hinkel Fieldhouse), and the art museum. There are a couple of dull sections on the course but what marathon doesn't? You then finish right in front of the state house. Great atmosphere.
The city really embraces events like the Monumental marathon. No city does big events like Indianapolis. Finishers medals for this years run were the first in a four piece puzzle that will continue over the next three years.
The Expo held the day before was ok. There were a lot of vendors, but most were geared towards women I felt as well as way of carrying your phone when you are running. I think I only made one purchase, which is low for me. Packet pick up was a breeze and the shirts are great and really comfortable.
I strongly suggest staying in a hotel down town. There are several great hotels wishing a couple blocks of the start/finish line.

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(2014)
"Flat/fast course, good local competition"
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The Fall Frolic is a yearly event that supports the local Montessori school and homeless center. With it being a late October race, temperatures are usually on the cool side which is perfect.
The course is very flat and can be fast. The one thing that slows you down is all the turns. There are a lot of them as you wind your way through the subdivisions in the area. The positive side is, the course was closed off to local traffic.
Aid stations along the course had water and for the most part were well staffed.
The shirts from 2014 were Star Wars themed. If you love Star Wars, you would think they are great. As for me, not a fan.
There was a lot of food to choose from after the race. You have your standard fruit but also food provided by local eateries.
Awards are decent. Winner of race received a $100 gift card to a local New Balance store. Top 3 in each age group received medals. No finishers medals for those who desire them.

Overall, it's a decent, small local race. Nothing too flashy, but good competition.

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(2014)
"BQ or Bust"
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The Carmel Marathon was advertised as a fast/flat course, and it lived up to the expectations. This is a great course if you are aiming to BQ. The race is held inApril so expect cooler temperatures, perfect for running a marathon. The course winds through the neighborhoods of Carmel (suburb of Indianapolis) and also hits a lot of the bike trails. The only downside of the course are the random times the half marathon and full marathon courses join up. It can get congested at times. But if you run smart, this can be s very fast course. I was able to BQ for the first time.
The aid stations were very well staffed and organized. No issues with getting what I needed. The medals were fairly large, larger than the palm of my hand.
The expo was on the smaller size, but a nice selection of vendors.
I would recommend this to anyone looking for a BQ or a PR. There is off and on crowd support along the course of you need it.

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