Latest reviews by Jenn LE

(2019)
"1st Timer at the 50th Year of the AJC Peachtree Road Race"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

The AJC Peachtree Road Race is an Atlanta Independence Day tradition. It is huge, it is inspiring and the whole city turns out for it. Registration is either via lottery or runners can join the Atlanta Track Club (even if you don't live in Atlanta) for a guaranteed entry. It's crowded in all the best ways, with a great mix of elite and first-time runners, and the enthusiasm and vibe is just incredible.

OVERALL - I was absolutely blown away by this event. 60,000 people all running down Peachtree Road in the Buckhead area of Atlanta. It was mind-blowing. The entire event was just overwhelmingly perfect.

T-SHIRTS/SWAG - At the expo, we received our bib and a few discount fliers. The Peachtree t-shirt is the coveted finisher's prize - runners only get their shirts when they cross the finish line and the actual design is a complete surprise to pretty much everyone until the first runner completes the event. There is an option to purchase a medal at registration, and I considered it because I love me some bling, but I wasn't in love with it so passed.

AID STATIONS - There were many race-sanctioned water stops along the way (maybe every 1.5 miles? - I was too overwhelmed to keep track), as well as plenty of spectator aid stands with more interesting options: beer, mimosas, popsicles, cheese balls, etc.

COURSE SCENERY - The majority of the race in on Peachtree Road in Buckhead. It's a beautiful area, but the entire route is pretty much packed with spectators and well wishers. It's incredibly motivating and so much fun to high five the people who have come out to cheer on the runners.

EXPO QUALITY - Great, well-organized expo. Lots of vendors and interactive experiences. Mizuno had a great setup of race memorabilia.

ELEVATION DIFFICULTY - Cardiac. Hill. O.M.G. Coming from Florida, which is at sea level and flat as a board, the hills were very much a factor for me. My Garmin reported a total elevation of 248ft, which is pretty serious. I managed but it was rough.

PARKING/ACCESS - The best way to access the race is by the MARTA train. The actual start line of the race is about 1.5 miles from the nearest MARTA station. The finish line is about the same from its nearest station (except its mostly uphill). It's not difficult to get to the trains or to and from the race, but it does require some planning and coordination.

POST RACE - After the event, runners can celebrate in Piedmont Park. There is plenty of snacks and water, popsicles, an da whole truckload of Coke products.

I said this was going to be a one and done, but I'm already trying to figure out how to make this happen again next year.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2019)
"BAA 10K - Believe in Unicorns"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I am on a quest to run a race in every state, and Massachusetts needed to be checked off. Since the BAA10K was held during our (very convenient) family vacation to Boston and New England, it was a no-brainer. Plus, I was all about scoring some unicorn bling.

OVERALL - There was a wonderful, uplifting vibe about the whole event. It was big (10,000) runners, but everyone was so upbeat and supportive.

T-SHIRTS/SWAG - All US runners received their bibs in the mail in advance of the race. Shirts needed to be picked up on race day. They were yellow, technical Adidas shirts - unisex, but a decent cut. I have nothing but love for the incredible unicorn head medals.

AID STATIONS - Due to the heat advisory issued days prior to the race, water was available at every mile. I didn't partake of any of it, but the volunteers were friendly and efficient and there seemed to be more than enough for everyone.

COURSE SCENERY - It was absolutely surreal getting to run in Boston, especially on some parts of the actual marathon course.

EXPO QUALITY - There was no actual expo, but the setup in the Boston Common was really nice. Everything was very clearly marked, from shirt pickup to gear check to athlete solutions, and there were several vendors out, handing out products.

ELEVATION DIFFICULTY - The course was not flat by Floridian standards, but the hills weren't too awful, either. My Garmin showed about 50 feet of elevation throughout the 6.2 miles, and I managed it perfectly fine.

PARKING/ACCESS - We opted for an Uber that dropped us off right at the venue on the morning of the race. That being said, there were several emails with very specific directions for available street and garage parking, as well as driving and train directions.

POST RACE - When the race was over, runners received their medals, water, and then were offered several types of Gatorade and their choice of bagels, bananas, granola bars and chips. It was a nice selection and again, very plentiful.

RACE MANAGEMENT - This was on point in pretty much every way. Organization was top notch. The course was marked at every km and mile, with plenty of aid along the way. Volunteers were at just about every intersection on the course, providing direction and encouragement. The self-seeding at the start went very smoothly. From what I saw, gear check went really well too (I had my husband holding on to my things, so I didn't need to make use of it). Plenty of portapotties (lines were never super long), and all amenities were five star.

Also, worth mentioning, my 11 year old took part in the free kids' races that morning while I was running. He only had to go about 400m, but it was cute and he got his own medal (rubber, but still cute).

It was a privilege to get to run in Boston, especially at a BAA event. I was really impressed by the community and the management. I don't know that the Boston Marathon will ever be a goal for me, so this was a great way to get a taste of it. l

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2017)
"Celebration 5K"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Summer racing is tough in Florida, but the Celebration 5K is always a good time.

OVERALL - The race starts at 7:30 AM and runners have the option to carry full-size American flags if they are so inclined. After the race, there is plenty of beer (full size cans of several different kinds!), popsicles, watermelon, and also watermelon eating and seed spitting contests and a patriotic costume contest. Several local vendors are there with contests and giveaways, too.

T-SHIRTS/SWAG - Registrants receive a logo, gender-specific t-shirt, race-branded bib and large custom medal.

AID STATIONS - Water stations were available at every mile. In addition, one spectator set up an unofficial otter pop station at Mile 2.5. Absolutely amazing.

COURSE SCENERY - The race starts at the 1st Place Sports on Baymeadows. It continues for one mile east on Baymeadows, and then loops into the neighborhood behind the store. The course is a pretty and shaded residential area, which happens to be nice and flat.

EXPO QUALITY - n/a. Packet pickup was at 1st Place Sports stores in the days prior to the race.

ELEVATION DIFFICULTY - No hills.

PARKING/ACCESS - Parking is available in the different lots around the store and neighboring shops. I always plan to arrive early to get a good spot, but there is plenty available.

A 1 mile kids' fun run is offered to little ones. There is also a huge, blowout sale at the 1st Place Sports store after the race.

It's a great way to start the Independence Day holiday!

Loading Comments...

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2017)
"BDR Orlando 10K + 5K Challenge"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I had to skip BDR Orlando last year due to injury, so I was chomping at the bit to be back in 2017. My friend and I got crazy and decided that we would register for the 10K + 5K challenge (where runners would run both distances back to back). We had plenty of time to get through one race, take a break (get a drink, go to the restroom and drop off our medals) before starting the next. It was a great way to get some distance without committing to 13.1.

T-SHIRTS/SWAG
This t-shirt is my favorite of all the BDR shirts to date. It is soft, fits well, and is nicely designed. The medals were gorgeous. I earned three - a 5K, 10K and Challenge medal. Bib was really beautiful, too, with the skyline of Orlando on it.

AID STATIONS
Volunteers were handing out water and Nuun along the course. I counted four aid stations, one of which was offering Honey Stinger gels. During the 10K, I didn't need any hydration, but it seemed like everything was moving smoothly and was well stocked.

COURSE SCENERY
For me, it was a nice change of scenery. I loved the little Orlando neighborhoods, and the last mile spent in downtown Orlando. There are some pretty parks and little hills. It's probably one of the more scenic races.
The 5K was a little less so, just because we had already run through the course while on the 10K. But it was still pretty.

EXPO QUALITY
We opted to pick up our packets on race morning, but the expo vendors were all present on race day. The expo is set up in Lake Eola Park, which is so pretty and lends itself to a ring of tents, set up in the shade. Everything was clearly marked and well placed (gear check, beer garden, packet pickup, etc).

ELEVATION DIFFICULTY
There were small hills and and lots of bricks along the course. It wasn't unmanageable, but it did add an extra layer of challenge to the run.

PARKING/ACCESS
There are pay lots and street parking around the race site. Obviously, the earlier the better, and we have been parking at a nearby middle school that charges $5 per car and is maybe 1/2 mile from the start line.

RACE MANAGEMENT
Amazing. From the courses, to the medals, to the food tent, to the free photos, every detail is totally on point. Plenty of food (pizza, brownies, chips, oranges, bananas) and drinks (beer, cider, coke & diet coke, sprite and water). Great music and a beautiful waterfront setting. Morning of packet pickup was smooth, even with some lines. Runners had to get a wristband to enter the beer garden, and that process was also quite seamless. We didn't check any bags this year, but the station seemed organized and well run. Lots of portapotties and plenty of amenities for everyone. A must-do in Orlando.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2017)
"40th Anniversary Gate River Run"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I would have to say that this is Jacksonville's premier race. Hosting more than 20,000 between the USA Championship 15K, the 5K, the Junior River Run mile and the Brooks Rehabilitation Mile, this is a huge race, and definitely one for the bucket list.

2017 marks the 40th anniversary of the event, and my 4th attempt at it. As always, it's one of my favorite races of the year.

T-SHIRTS/SWAG
The registration fee provides a customized bib (up to a certain date), a gender-specific t-shirt, logo string bag and a logo pint glass. The swag bags are also usually full of coupons, samples and other goodies. The medals have been absolutely gorgeous since I started running the event, and this year was no exception.

AID STATIONS
There are official water stations at almost every mile on the course, which is nice considering that this race has a late (8:30 AM) start, and is generally hot. There are also two first aid/med tents on the course, as well. Plenty of portapotties are stationed throughout the course, as well.

COURSE SCENERY
This is, perhaps, one of the best courses I have ever run. The race starts between Metropolitan Park and Everbank Stadium, and travels down the streets of the city until the runners cross over the Main Street Bridge and into San Marco and Riverside. From there, they weave through some beautiful little retail and residential areas, until popping out on Atlantic (the worst part of the whole thing), and beginning the climb to the top of the Hart Bridge (the Green Monster). The view of the river and the city is phenomenal, and then it's a straight downhill shot to the finish line in the parking lot of the stadium.

In addition, support is on point. There are tons of spectators, cheering on the runners, for almost the entire 9.3 miles. The spectators also spray water hoses, hand out water, mimosas, beer and bloody mary's, ring cow bells, and pass out orange slices, bananas, popsicles, donuts and other treats. It's like a giant running tailgate and it's amazing. Several bands play along the course, as well.

EXPO QUALITY
The GRR expo is perhaps the best one in Jax. It's huge with tons of booths, vendors and giveaways. First Place Sports has a huge installation with tons of shoes and merchandise on sale. It's pretty easy to spend a few hours there, checking out the deals and offers.

ELEVATION DIFFICULTY
While 9.3 miles isn't a particularly tough distance, the addition of two bridges (at mile 1 and mile 8) presents a challenge. The Main Street Bridge isn't too high or steep, but it is slippery and treacherous with its grated surface (and looking down and seeing water can mess with those who are afraid of heights). The Green Monster is another story. It's high, steep, and can be quite windy. It's always quite humbling.

PARKING/ACCESS
If you arrive early, there are no issues with parking. Runner have access to the lots at Everbank Field, the Fairgrounds, the baseball stadium, and everything else in the area. Problems arise for those that don't want to get there in advance - then spots become more limited and traffic restricts access into the area. There are also several groups that offer reserved parking passes for a fee or sponsorship, which allows access to some of the private lots in the area.

RACE MANAGEMENT
For such a massive event, I am always incredibly impressed with how smoothly it runs. From the seeding and starting of the corrals and waves, to the finisher's chute and the afterparty, it's always so well done. Plenty of beer, refreshments and live music post-race. The after-party is almost as much fun as the race itself.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.