Latest reviews by Poppy Marler

(2015)
"They had me at Cosmos"
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When you wake up and your FB page is being blown up by notifications, you know you had a great night or participated in a favorite race of the local running community. At the all female 21+ Cosmo 7k, I couldn't go more than a few feet without bumping into someone I knew. If you are a running newbie, there are no shortage of friendly and supportive faces. Everyone seemed to be having a fab time.

With an evening race in August, a sweat fest is to be expected. Fortunately we had a break from the record temps we've experienced all summer and it was only around 70 degrees when the race started. Still, it was nice to cool down with the race namesake Cosmos which were served at the end.

Overall, I love the vibe of this race. Even though it is women only, several men who are active in the running community volunteer. A special shout out to James Ross (photo credit) who went above and beyond to take professional quality photos of so many racers and post them on Facebook (hence the 11 billion notifications in the morning).

The one complaint I do have has to do with registration being included in the 21+ area. While I am always open for "adults only" fun, I really hated that you couldn't pick up your race registration without showing ID. I didn't have a sitter until close to start time so I arrived 2 hours early for packet pick up with kids in tow. Fortunately a fellow runner volunteered to run in and grab my packet. I also saw several people who were clearly (like 50+) being turned away because they didn't have ID on them. I get that there needs to be a section where alcohol is being served, but there also needs to be somewhere for runners to enjoy the festivities in the unfortunate event they forgot their license. With the number of drink tickets I was handed by those who weren't using them, imbibing wasn't priority for most.

Registration logistics aside, I would still recommend this race and will totally run it next year.

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(2015)
"Harder than I Expected!"
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When I first agreed to do the Urban Adventure Race with a few members of my run club the evening before a half, I thought it would be a fun event for a shake out run. It was described as a 3-5 mile run with a few mental and physical challenges. I suppose it's my own fault for expecting hula hoops and gunny sack races at the stations instead of 5 miles on a spin bike, 189 push-ups and rowing for 2000 meters. The challenges could be split between up to 4 team members so I bagged out of a few.

There were a total of 15 stations to be completed within the 2 hour time limit. I didn't have my Garmin so I'm not sure how far we actually ran. The location of the stations was given in the form of a riddle. Luckily I had members of my team who were better at deciphering the clues...and push ups.

I learned during the race:

I would suck at the Amazing Race
I really hate dressing up

Pros:
Fun atmosphere
Small race where I knew tons of people
Family friendly
Organized
Entry fee included admission to the Vancouver Brewfest

Cons:
I really like the race director so it pains me to say this, but the announcements before the race were way too long (on such a warm evening anyway).
Water bottles provided in lieu of water stations were difficult to carry during this type of event. I ended up losing mine and being very thirsty.
The race literature should be more descriptive. I had no idea what to expect and probably would not have signed up the day before a race. That said, I would do it again on a different day.
The medal bigger than my head was actually embarrassing to wear.

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(2015)
"Hometown Feel that Bigger Events just Can't Replicate"
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I have participated in each Blooms to Brews half marathon since the inaugural race 3 years ago and it keeps getting better and better. I was a little worried that the addition of a marathon and marathon relay this year would spread the limited resources of a smaller race too thin, but Get Bold Events certainly delivered.

While there are pros and cons of smaller races, the hometown feel is what makes this race so special. Being active in the local running community, I love running a race where I know so many participants.

Despite the namesake "blooms" being a relatively small portion of the course, it is still very scenic. The whole course is fast and flat with my favorite part being along the river. (I was even lucky enough to see a bald eagle during the 2014 event!). The blooming flowers are definitely gorgeous too, but it is a very small section of the course toward the end.

One minor gripe I had as a half marathon runner was that there was no race day packet pick up. I get that they want people to come to the expo, but the expo was as small as can be expected for the size of the event. I live closer than a lot of participants, but it was still a 45 minute waste of my time.

Once racers crossed the finish line, they were treated to "Bold IPA" which was specially brewed for the event. Knowing so many people I particularly enjoyed the after party and was impressed with the "VIP" area which offered food and massages for an additional fee.

I look forward to running this race again next year.

Tip: Get Bold Events typically has a "Black Friday" weekend race registration special which makes it both awesome and affordable.

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(2014)
"Great First Time Marathon"
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I have a soft spot for the PDX marathon since it was my first marathon in 2003. After running several other marathons over the years, I ran it again in 2014 and still loved it.

One of my favorite parts of the course is the entertainment along the course and all of the spectator friendly areas. There is definitely a boring part of the course in the industrial area, but gets infinitely better once you crest the St Johns bridge.

The finisher's area of this marathon is one of my favorites. They shower participants with a pin, seedling, rose and a jacket (in lieu of a disposable blanket) and a variety of fuel to replenish.

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(2014)
"A Must Do Run with Kids"
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The Color Run is the only 5k I've signed up for in years. Spending money and making the effort to travel isn't really appealing to me since I'm not competitive. The Color Run is worth it, though, just for the experience. It is far from competitive. The field includes many walkers and a ton of kids and the vibe is just fun.
I have participate with my tween daughter the last two years and it has really piqued her interest in running. The "Festival of Color" at the end was a highlight for my daughter and I would do it again even if I had rainbow snot for weeks.

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