Latest reviews by Sarah M

(2015)
"Beautiful Finish"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management
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Arriving to race start and parking was very easy. There was lots of street parking available and it's a great location. I picked up my packet race morning. This was a little complicated because they emailed you your bib number a few days before the race and you had to have that number to get your packet. Thankfully I knew that, but a lot of people didn't so this made for long lines and lots of confusion.

The race start was basically self seeded, there were no corrals or waves. There was a 5K and a 12K race. The 5K started first. Then the 12K. I was not in a hurry to start, so I started in one of the last waves for the 12K. The course was beautiful and mostly flat. You ran past lake washington and while it was cold, the views were wonderful! It was cold and windy, but thankfully it was not raining on race day. There were 2 hills on the course, one was kinda steep and the other was long and slow. They were manageable and there was lots of flat and downhill to make up for it. They ran out of water at BOTH aid stations that were on the 12K course. I wasn't the last runner either, I'd say I was in the middle of the pack of the 12K runners. I was baffled by this and so were many other runners. I had brought my orange mud hydraquiver pack with me so I had a full bottle of water, but many runners were planning on drinking the on course water. If a race says they are going to have 2 water stations, they should have enough water for the runners. Not sure what happened here but it was a huge disappointment.

The finish line was beautiful! It was downhill all the way to the finish with a beautiful view of the water. Overall the course was great, but the fact that they ran out of water and packet pick up was disorganized is why I rated the management low. While this race was fun, I would not run it again. There are other races that are better organized that I would run next December.

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(2015)
"Beautiful Course + Unexpected PR!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management
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I ran this race with a bunch of friends and my husband and it was a BLAST! I have always wondered why this race is on Thanksgiving weekend though considering we have much better weather during other parts of the year. Haha. The weather this weekend ended up being dry and very chilly which wasn't so bad.

The course is beautiful, although it seems that the half marathon course was slightly long. Both myself snd my friends tracking ended up at about 13.4 or 13.5 miles. You run by a lot of Seattle landmarks, get great views of the Space Needle, beautiful lake Washington and serene nature reserve in the arboretum. It is a very scenic course and it made the miles go by very quickly. There are a few intense hills on the course, with 2 of the last 3 miles being a slow climb, but over all it wasn't so bad. I have run courses with MANY more hills in Seattle. The great thing about this course was there was lots of flat and downhill areas too so you were able to recover in time for the next hill. The finish inside the stadium is a lot of fun. I was thankful for the indoor recovery area to be able to get out of the cold. The race day organization in the recovery area, clothes changing area, finish line & clothing check was great.

I was somewhat disappointed in the start line organization though as it is a fairly large race and there is no coral starts. You have to try to line up with the pacers and get started. I wasn't able to push my way up to my pace, but it turned out ok. I just would have liked to have had it sectioned of or easier to get in with the people running your pace so you don't spend the first mile or two dodging people. The half marathoners start and then a half hour later the marathoners start, so at least they dont have ALL the runners at the start line together. On the bright side, the start line was really accessible as far as parking and public transit so you had lots of options to get there.

On the course the aid stations were plentiful and every two miles. They also had lots of medical tents along the course with band-aids and other medical accessories as well as paramedics that could help if you needed it. While I didn't use the medical tents, I was thankful that kind of support was there & wished more races would provide that.

The expo was great, lots of cool vendors. They also had a TON of race day information which I appreciated. They had a video preview of the course, the were maps with all the bathroom and aid stations and everything was very clearly marked. I appreciated that since it was my first year running. It was also very clear what was going to be available at the finish line. Since we found out there was going to be a changing area, I brought a change of clothes & checked it for post race. I am SO thankful that I did because as soon as I cooled off, I was sweaty and freezing. I definitely recommend doing this if you run the race.

Overall, this race was great. I would definitely run it again! I am thankful to have PR'd and it's a great way to use all the Thanksgiving food and left overs as fuel!!

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(2015)
"A fun course full of culture & humidity"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
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There are so many things I could have titled this review. RNR Merida was unlike any rave I have ever run. It was my first international race ever! I was so excited I could barley contain myself pre-race.

The race expo was great. It had souvenirs from the local area, local running gear and items available for purchase, there was run yoga available and live music as well. They even had food you could purchase. They had info about the race start and finish areas and you could ask questions and get all the info you needed. The expo was from 9A-9P. I appreciated the longer hours as we were driving into the city from another part of Mexico.

Race day, I arrived at the start line an hour early. They were still getting things set up and closing roads. Because this was a night race, they didnt close down the roads first thing in the morning. I thought the race was supposed to start at 6pm, but at the start line they said it was starting at 630pm. I am not sure where the disconnect happened.

The course was beautiful. You got to run thru the downtown 'zocalo' of the city (the main square) and by a bunch of historic monuments and statues. The rest of the race we were on the main street that goes thru Merida. It is a beautiful city and I loved the scenery and the fact that the course was flat.

Race conditions were hard for me because I am not from a humid climate. I knew it was going to be hot and humid, and it was. It was 86 degrees and about 85% humidity at 630pm. Thankfully they had TONS of water on the race course. They were actually little bags of water that were probably 12oz and you could take them and either pour them over your head or drink them as you ran. I took at least 1 bag every water stop and also brought my own bottle of electrolytes with me. I would not have made it thru without all this water, so I was glad the race organizers made sure the supply and aid stations were plentiful.

Despite the heat and humidity, the race was very fun. I finished a HOT and SWEATY mess, but it was so worth it. Not only did we get AMAZING race swag, two t-shirts, a bandana, a medal, a water bottle, and other things, there was also the amazing post race concert that featured one of my favorite Mexican rock bands, Cafe Tacuba. It was so awesome to see them live! Plus, I ran the inaugural race in Merida, there is only one of those ever!

While the heat and humidity did make it hard and I asked myself a few times 'what were you thinking' while I was running, I went in as prepared as I could I and did it! The crazy part, I would totally do it again! It wasn't my fastest half marathon ever, but if you were used to these conditions, you could easily PR on this course as it is very flat and easy to run.

The only thing I wished was that there were showers at the finish line. LOL. I know it is wishful thinking, but I was drenched from head to toe, so a quick rinse off would have been wonderful. I did have a change of clothes at least :)

This race was well organized for the most part. Some things could have been better, but I also know it was their first year. I would totally run this race again. It is the best location for a RUN-cation as it is very close to Cancun, MX and you can easily make the drive to the beach, to visit Mayan ruins, and much more.

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(2015)
"Beautiful Trail Run"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
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This was my first trail run/race EVER and it greatly surpassed my expectations. This run is one of a series that they have at different trails around the Seattle area. Depending on the location, they have 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon distances. This race only had 10K and half marathon available.

This run was at a state park and we were running on the trails of the park. Because it was at the state park, there was ample parking. In WA state you do have to have a parking pass to park at the state parks. If you do not have this pass, you can pay to park for the day.

The course was very clearly marked and the trails were well groomed. It was a beautiful setting and had plenty of shade for the hot day. There were parts of the trail that were very steep uphill and even a few sections with stairs. Once you got to the top of the trails, about 2.5 miles in, the rest of the course was flat or downhill.

The race was small enough that the trails were crowded and you weren't getting run over by the faster runners. Before the race they explained race etiquette and how to know you were on the right trail, etc. The race was timed and there was a cool finish line with plenty of snacks after the race. They also had a photographer take you picture and you can view/download them free of charge after the race. I was given a race shirt but it was a bonus for signing up, they are available as an add on to your are registration if you would like to purchase one.

There was one aid station on the course which was great! They had to pack the stuff in, so it was such a nice benefit to have somewhere to fill up on water or just pull over for a break. On the 10K course you passed the aid station once, the half marathon runners passed it twice.

I had so much fun running this race, I am going to look into running the other races in this series. There seems to be one per month and they are all over the the Puget Sound. I would love to run a few of these this winter. It is great to add to training schedule or just for fun!

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(2015)
"You Must Run This Race!!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management
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It was hot & slightly humid (which is NOT normal conditions for southern California) and it was so worth it. You must run this race!!! The swag is amazing, the course is flat, and it starts and ends at the beach...it is like the dream half marathon course. It also has a super fun after party, which I loved. They also had FREE race photos!!!!! How cool is that?!

The packet pick up, expo and the race start and finish were all right on the beach. The expo had a lot of vendors, many were other races to run, some were running accessories and others were snacks and food vendors. I appreciated some of the running accessories booths as I traveled to the race and didn't bring everything I thought I would need :) It was fun to be outside for the expo and be able to walk in and out as your pleased. There was a music stage and beer garden available both during the expo and on race day. They had some really cool race gear available for purchase too.

This race did not have a corral start. When you got to the start line, the pacers were lined up and you could put yourself with the correct time according to your pace. They did start 2 separate groups, those running 2:15 and under and then those running over.

The course was flat and fun. It was crazy hot that day, so it was definitely a race to beat the heat. It didn't really get hot until about and hour into the race. I wish the aid stations had more electrolyte beverage available, they all had water and some had gels or cliff bloks, but electrolyte beverage was only at 1 station.

The half marathon course was an out and back course, and the half way point was placed slightly past the actual halfway point, so the course was 13.8 miles instead of 13.1. This was disappointing and made the end of the race much harder mentally, however the race organizers were VERY apologetic about it and said it would never happen again. It had never been an issue in the past so I wouldn't be concerned about it in future years.

The medals were both fun and functional. They were a pair of aviator glasses and they also are a bottle opener! SO COOL! The post race fuel/snacks were some of the best. They had cookies and bagels, but they also had tons of fruit! Pineapple, watermelon and other fruit, which are my favorite kind of carbs. They also had lots of whole water bottles for us to take which was great in the heat.

The post race party was a TON of fun. It was cool that there was live music to listen to and the expo vendors were all there to look at again post race. I enjoyed that because it wasn't like the race was over and that was it, you could celebrate and hang around with friends if you wanted.

This race was a great size. It wasn't HUGE but it also wasn't tiny. There was plenty of room on the course and your weren't falling over people at the start line or at the finish. I loved the size of this race and would totally run it again. Despite it being over 13.1 miles and being very hot, it was really enjoyable and I would love to run it again next year.

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