Latest reviews by Mark Davidhizar

(2019)
"Needs A Runner As A Race Director"
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This is the first time that I have ran the Red Regiment 5k. This is a race that has been going on for a quiet a few years now and it is at the high school I graduated from back in 2000. But, now that my wife is a teacher at this school, we try to do more of the high school events that we can to support the students at NortWood High School. The Red Regiment 5K supports the Red Regiment Marching Band.
Registration was pretty cheap. Preregistration costs $20 for adults, $15 for students, and $60 for a family of 4 or more. After April 30th, registration is $25. With the lower registration fees, you do get what you pay for. There was no chip timing, after race food and drinks was a bottle of water, bananas and apples. Also, you did get a cotton t-shirt.
This race was real small and I got to believe that it is due to poor advertisement. Obviously the band is trying to do it as a fundraiser, but I don't thank that many runners are a part of the planning comity. Therefore, I don't think they are going about things the right way to get the word out. I am pretty sure that there were less than 50 participants in this race. Which is ok, but I think they could do better. The only way I heard about the race though is because some band members knew my wife runs, and they were handing out a flyer at the Wakarusa Maple Syrup Festival parade the week before. You also could only register the old fashion way, paper registration and mail it in.4
There were two options for this race, and this part actually confused me some. They had a 5k run and a 5k fun-walk. The part that confused me was that if you are just doing the walk, you can just walk around the high school track while everyone else is running the course. But I guess when you don't have chip timing to mess up by doing lap after lap, its not really a big deal.

Anyways, onto the race. The race started on the high school track. you actually do about 3/4 of a lap (in the opposite direction of what you would traditionally run) before exiting the track. Then you run out of the high school parking lot, through a neighborhood, onto a bike path, turn around, and come back. It was a simple course to follow. And pretty flat too.
So how small was this race? well, my 12 year old daughter Emma was first in her division and first overall female. Yeah, a 12 year old, who ran a 28:25 (a new PR for her) won the female race. I am not knocking her at all, I am proud of the hard work that she put in, but that shouldn't win a 5k race. But we are not complaining. She won $50 work of gift certificates to a business in Nappanee that is part of the chamber of commerce. So, she has so far spent $25 of it on gourmet popcorn. More than likely she will use the rest of her winnings on more popcorn once she finishes what she has now. Not a bad day for a 12 year old.

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(2019)
"Great run for Autism "
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The 5th Annual David's Run for Autism was held on May 4th, 2019 in Nappanee, IN. Race Day weather was really nice with cloudy skies and temps right at about 50 degrees. This is not a large race, but it is for a good cause. All proceeds go to benefit Autism Charities. There were 48 participants in the 3k, and 105 in the 5k.
Packet pickup was easy with two options. You could pick up your packet the night before at Nappanee Elementary School (Race location) or you could get it race morning. We elected to get ours the evening before, just to get it out of the way. Race shirts were a bright orange cotton shirt with the colorful logo on the front and sponsors on the back. You also got a nice David's Run for Autism pen as well. Very nice for office use at work.
Prior to the race, there was a couple of people who spoke, basically thanking everyone who came out to the race and came to Nappanee. Speakers included the mayor as well as race director, Noah Price (David's Brother). David started this race back when he was in high school and has continued to do well with it ever since, even with him now going to school in Fort Wayne. Prior to the race, there was also a firetruck that kids could go up and see and ask the firemen questions. I think my son Derek spent about an hour asking the firemen about every question that he could think of. God bless them.

The race is a flat course with no real rise of elevation. The course is also very well marked and volunteers at every turn. The course stays on neighborhood streets and does run through one park where the only aid station is located on the course. It is a flat course but has a lot of turns so it isn't the fastest course. Really, it was a good race though and wish that more local runners ran. I do know that there are a couple of other races in bigger towns that same day that brings in more runners that I am sure causes issues with the attendance at this race.

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(2019)
"Rainy Mess but Very well run race"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
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Elevation Difficulty
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This is a race that I have now ran either the half or full 4 years and the first time it had really poor weather. Race day weather was temps in the 40a and off and on heavy rain. However, despite the poor conditions, the organizers did a great job on rolling with the punches and keeping runners informed on what was going on.

The expo was held on Friday (day before the race) at Carmel High School. The area of the school that the expo was in was crammed with vendors and other races. Did not seem like the area the expo was in was big enough. The process to get your bib and shirt was easy but still don’t understand why you can’t just get both of these items at the same table.

Race morning, as I mentioned was just pure rain leading up to the start of the rain. If the weather is bad, try to get there early and get a parking spot in the parking garage. This will give you a dry place to hang out and get ready. Parking in the garage was free.

The start corrals were well marked but very full. Since there was poor weather, the race decided to start everyone at once instead of in waves.

The course has a few gills, mainly at miles 10 and 16. There are a few rolling hills.
The course is well marked with no concussion on where it goes. Aid stations were full of volunteers. I made sure to thank every volunteer and police officer on the course for being out on such a bad day.

Overall, the city of Carmel once again rolled out the red carpet for runners and made every effort to make this a great experience. Next year will be the 10th anniversary of the race. Register early to save some money.

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(2019)
"New and Improved Course"
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The Wakarusa Maple Syrup Festival 5k was held on April 27th, 2019 in downtown Wakarusa. Race day temps were cool but sunny with temps in the mid 40s with no wind. For this years race, the location had a slight change. The start/finish was located at NorthWood Middle School which allows for runners to stay warm inside the school gym before or after the race.
There were two options for packet pickup. You could come to the middle school gym between 6pm and 8pm the day before the race, or race morning. By the looks of things, most elected to come on race morning. Overall, there were just over 200 participants for this small town race.
Paul Kern, the race director, did a great job of creating a race course that was friendly to runners, but also did not interfere with the festival being held in town. The new course eliminated 2 out and back sections with 180 degree turns. There is still an out and back section to start the race but to turn around, the course went around the block, making for a smoother/faster turn around. Following the initial out and back section, the course then goes behind Wakarusa Elementary School to Memorial Park (where the race had started the last few years). It did a loop around the park before returning to the middle school for the finish.
The 1k course was a simple out and back loop for the kids that was well marked as long as they looked down on the ground for the race arrows. It was obvious that a lot of kids did not do so. But that's how kids races go sometimes. Derek and I did the 1k together. He has been fighting off a cough so he didn't do as well as he usually does, but he finished it anyways and enjoyed his maple syrup sucker that all finishers of the 1k received.
One of the best parts about this race is the awards. Paul does not give out medals or trophies. This is the Maple Syrup Festival after all. Paul gives out maple Syrup. I was fortunate enough to finish in 3rd place in my division. The top 3 overall also won a larger bottle of maple syrup and a gift card to Fleet Feet Sports in Mishawaka.
I have not missed a year of this race since Paul Kern brought it back and I don't plan to do so any time soon. This is a great small town race that I look forward to every year. Plus it helps us replenish our maple syrup supply for the year.

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(2019)
"First time, ready to do it again "
Overall
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The 8k and 2 mile walk took place on two very different courses.  The 8k was run through the streets of downtown Chicago, while the 2 mile walk was along the lake shore primarily.  Race day weather was perfect.  Temps were in the low to mid 40's with very little wind, and the foretasted rain showers held off for the morning. Tina and I had planned on having someone pick up our bibs for us from the expo on Saturday and we would just drive up on Sunday morning for the race.  We were fortunate enough to find a hotel room at about half price a couple of days before the race, and the hotel was only a couple of blocks away from Grant Park where the race starts and finishes. To save even more money on Parking, we took the South Shore train from Indiana Dunes to McCormick place where the expo was held.  We relied on the city bus then to get us to the hotel from the expo.
Expo
As mentioned above, the expo was held at McCormick place.  This is common for bigger races in Chicago but still some what of an inconvenient as it is not centrally located in Chicago and is away from down town.  Also making matters worse, there was Comic Con going on in McCormick place so this made parking a nightmare.  Thank goodness we did not drive.
The expo wasn't too large, and when we got there, it wasn't too busy.  When you go in, you go to the left side of the room to get your bib first, then you have to go a crossed the room to the other side to get your shirt and hat.  I am not sure why races make you do this all the time now.  They need to start making this process easier on the runner and just have the bibs and shirts together in one location.  There really is no need to separate these two things.
We did look around the expo some but really wasn't much that we were interested in.  I did stop by the Fort2Base table and introduce myself in person since I am one of their ambassadors for this years race.  One thing I was surprised by was that there was none of the official race merchandise for sale.  Nike is the official sponsor of the race, however, none of the official Nike race gear was at the expo. In order to get the Nike gear, you had to go to the Nike store, Fleet Feet, or wait until the post race party.
Race Day
Race was held on March 26th.  The start/finish line was located in Grant Park.  It is the same start/finish lines as the Chicago Marathon.  The park offers a wide space for gear check, after party, and long stretches of streets for starting corrals as well as for post race needs.
Prior to the race, a runners handbook was emailed to all registered runners which included all information that runners would need including maps of the course and start/finish area.  Clearly marked on the map was where gear checks were located. taking gear to gear check was easy and fast.
To get into your starting corral, you had to be able to show your bib to get in.  Each bib was clearly marked with what corral you were to start in.  You could move back corrals if you would like but you could not move forward.  Corrals were vary spacious and far from crowded.  Maybe this is also because I was in the very back and not in a hurry to move forward.
Corral A started promptly at 8:30 and went off very smoothly.  The course follows part of the marathon course especially for the first mile or so.  And just like the marathon is very flat until the very end when you turn onto Roosevelt.  There were 2 aid stations on the course, both announced to have water and Gatorade.   I did notice at the second aid station that there wasn't any Gatorade but I could smell it.  There was also no water and volunteers were scrambling to get water bottles off a truck to poor cups of water.  My guess is that the water they originally used was contaminated some how and had to dump the water and Gatorade that was poured out.  Luckily it was a cooler day and if you missed the second aid station, it wasn't a big deal.
There were spots along the course that had more crowd support than others.  There was a lot of dead, quiet areas along the course and it felt odd running in a huge city and somewhat feeling like you were alone.  But it was still awesome to have the streets shut down for the race.
Post Race
After crossing the finish line, you walk for a little ways until you get some water and food.  Food consisted of granola bars, apple sauce, bananas, and peanuts.  The bad thing was that there were no bags to put all this stuff in and it was hard to carry.  I believe Chicago has a ban on plastic bags, or you have to pay 7 cents per bag if you want one.  Further down the line, you got your finishers medal.
There was also a post race party around Buckingham fountain.  There you can redeem your beer ticket and catch up with friends.  There was also live music.  My favorite thing was that one of the sponsors of the race were giving out mugs of hot chocolate.  The mug was free as well so it was nice to have something else to take home from the race.
My expereince
The Shamrock Shuffle was a very well run/organized race.  There were no issues on the course or at the post race party that I could see other than the Gatorade issue.  For it being an 8k, I really did enjoy this race and the environment.  It would have been nice to have more people along the course, but compared to other races I have ran, there were a lot of people out there still.  It was great to also meet a few BibRave Pro's that I had not met yet as well as see several friends that I had not seen in a while.  I would say there is a good chance that I will come back and run this race again in 2020.

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