Latest reviews by AARON BLANKENSHIP

(2018)
"Great Race for Beginners!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management
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Swag
Less and less swag seems to be a reoccurring theme at the local 5Ks I’ve participated in this year. You get a nice tech shirt and a pass to the local art festival. The shirt looked nice unfortunately they ran out of my size, so they’re going to mail me a shirt later. Which isn’t bad considering last year they had to mail the medal to me.

Course
The course is completely paved and all on the campus grounds. There is one long downhill at the start and the rest of the course levels off with a few gradual rises in elevation, but nothing too long. The first mile is definitely the quickest, while the third mile has the longest feel to it as you are covering ground you’ve previously covered in the prior two miles.

Verdict
The weather was perfect for the race, not too humid or too hot like in past years. The participation in this race fluctuates greatly from year to year. Last year there were around 200 people and this year it may have hit only 70, with many of the runners competing in the Masters category. Since I’ve been competing in this area for a few years I’ve noticed runners in their 20-40 decrease greatly and hardly ever see anyone from the track club I’m a part of competing in any of the local races outside of the half or full marathons. As I previously stated, the swag has greatly decreased too, but with all that being said this race is always well organized and the award ceremony is always on time. If you want a quick and fun race then you should check this one out, it was the first 5K I ever competed in when I started running and it is perfect for a new runner’s first race.

Race Day Gear:
Headphones: Aftershockz
https://aftershokz.com/collections/wireless/products/trekz-titanium

Shirt: Nike Zonal Cooling
https://www.nike.com/t/zonal-cooling-mens-training-top-KK3M7l

Shorts: Rabbit "Quadzilla" shorts

Socks: Rabbit Swiftwick
https://www.runinrabbit.com/collections/goodies/products/rabbit-x-swiftwick-ankle-socks-ink-puffins

Leg Sleeves: 2XU

Shoes: Brooks Ghost 10

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(2018)
"Half road half trail"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management
Thumb 636c87d4 f3b2 4703 8aa4 548ae35d04f9

Swag
The swag bag consists of a bottle of PowerAde, a pack of jelly belly jelly beans, sunscreen, biofreeze, and some flyers for local business. The medals are giving out in the normal age brackets, although the medals are pretty standard and do not have any engraving or sticker with the race name or date on it.

Course
The race is held at the Georgia Highlands College campus in Rome, Georgia. I expected the course to be a flat loop around the campus, however that was not the case. The first half of the course is an off-road gravel, trail like terrain and then changes to a standard paved road course with a quarter of a mile being an uphill that also serves as the last quarter mile of the race. There is a walk and a 5K that both start at the same place but separate a little past the first mile. Although the course had chalk arrows and directions on where to go, it would have been beneficial to have course guides out there to help direct the runners and walkers.


Verdict
This is a fast, fun, and hot race! Since it is June, it can get pretty hot and humid in north Georgia, and this day was no exception. Luckily the race starts at 8 A.M. so The turnout in north Georgia has varied a lot in the last couple of years, but it was a pretty good turnout with a handful of day of registration which is great since it all benefits the NW Georgia Child Advocacy Center. After the race, there was plenty of drinks, food, and cool towels to help you recover from running in the Georgia summer heat. They do a great job of compiling results and giving out awards. The race started at 8AM and awards were completed by 9AM. I don’t think I’ve ever been at a race that was this organized and efficient. Overall it’s a fun race once you know the terrain and course.

Race Day Gear:
Headphones: Aftershockz
https://aftershokz.com/collections/wireless/products/trekz-titanium

Shirt: RADRabbit Ez Tee
https://www.runinrabbit.com/collections/mens-tops/products/ez-tee-blackcharcoalwiggle

Shorts: Rabbit "Quadzilla" shorts
https://www.runinrabbit.com/collections/mens-bottoms/products/quadzilla-sodalite

Socks: Rabbit Swiftwick
https://www.runinrabbit.com/collections/goodies/products/rabbit-x-swiftwick-ankle-socks-ink-puffins

Leg Sleeves: 2XU

Shoes: Brooks Ghost 10

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(2018)
"Three Minutes Faster Than Last Year!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management
Thumb img 9510

Swag
The 5K’s main sponsor was Harbin clinic so the swag was their usual items: pens, cups, Band-Aid packs, and Chap Stick. The shirt is a nice design and although it is a heavy cotton Gildan t-shirt, it feels softer. Post race there was plenty of muffins, bananas, and water to snack on before the medal ceremony.
Course
The course is entirely on the roads throughout the city. The first mile is pretty flat and allow you to get a great starting pace. The next two miles consist of gradual up hills, but nothing too bad. My second mile was around 16 seconds slower, but there are a few down hills to catch backup up on mile three. Unfortunately, the finish line is 10 yards past the top of the final up hill.
Verdict
The weather was perfect for the race and the course is very fast making this a race you can achieve a PR at. I did this race last year, six days after running the La Jolla half so I was a little tired then. I felt much better going into it this year and had an actual training plan. Last year I remember it being a struggle after making it to the half way point, this year was the exact opposite. The race does not use electronic tracking, so it pays to be up towards the front when the race is about to start. This seems like a negative, but they were so well organized that they had the award ceremony quickly after everyone has finished and a 1K fun run as well, which participants also were able to qualify for a medal in their age group. I would recommend this race to runners of all levels, especially if you’ve never run a 5K before.
Race Day Gear:
Headphones: Aftershockz
https://aftershokz.com/collections/wireless/products/trekz-titanium
Shirt: Nike Zonal Cooling
https://www.nike.com/t/zonal-cooling-mens-training-top-KK3M7l
Shorts: Rabbit "Quadzilla" shorts
https://www.runinrabbit.com/collections/mens/products/quadzilla-dressblues
Socks: Rabbit Swiftwick
https://www.runinrabbit.com/collections/goodies/products/rabbit-x-swiftwick-ankle-socks-ink-puffins
Arm Sleeve: 2XU
Leg Sleeves: 2XU
Shoes: Brooks Ghost 10

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(2018)
"New Course in 2018"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management
Thumb img 9097

Swag
No swag here, just a heavy cotton Gildan short. In the past they would have a lot more swag from local business, such as Chick-Fil-A, car washes, and many others.

Course
The course this year is entirely on the school campus with the exception of a small portion on unpaved land behind the school. Since the course is around the school, the scenery is mainly the middle school and high school buildings. There is one long, gradual hill that comprise about a mile of the course which, while paved, does slow down your pace. There was just one aid station, which didn't have enough people manning it. I don't normally get water in a 5K but they needed to be better prepared.

Verdict
The weather was perfect for the race and the course is quite fast making the race pretty fun. I've competed in the race in the past, when the course was more straight forward as a mile and half out and back. I noticed that since then, the course and the age groups for medals have been changed. There also used to be a raffle to win prizes that is no longer part of the event. The medals were award in the normal 5 year age ranges until it gets to 20 years old, then they change the awards to a 10 year age range. This of course meant I got smoked by three 30yr olds and came in 4th :) The participants are mainly students and children now with the adults primarily being former students. The adult runners in community in the north west Georgia area seems to have steadily decreased over the past 3-4 years. I'm not sure why, but I'm one of the few still out there at races that used to have huge turn outs. Although it was fun, I may not do this race next year as the change to medal age ranges and change in the overall atmosphere of the race has changed to be more focused on runners in school.

Race Day Gear:
Headphones: Aftershockz
https://aftershokz.com/collections/wireless/products/trekz-titanium

Shirt: Nike Zonal Cooling
https://www.nike.com/t/zonal-cooling-mens-training-top-KK3M7l

Shorts: Rabbit "Quadzilla" shorts
https://www.runinrabbit.com/collections/mens/products/quadzilla-dressblues

Socks: Rabbit Swiftwick
https://www.runinrabbit.com/collections/goodies/products/rabbit-x-swiftwick-ankle-socks-ink-puffins

Leg Sleeves: 2XU

Shoes: Brooks Ghost 10

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(2018)
"First time at night"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

The With or Without You 5K takes place yearly at the Brook Run Park in Dunwoody around Valentine's day. This was my second year participating in the race and their first year of holding the race at night instead of in the morning. Aside from the normal age groups, you can also run as a couple and finish together to qualify in the fastest couple category. Ran alone this time and it was my first race of 2017.

Swag
There's no bag of goodies however, you do get a long sleeve shirt, box of chocolate, and a participation medal. The design for the medal and on the shirt were more on the Ed Hardy side, which is a shame since the shirt is pretty nice quality especially for a local 5K. First Watch provides plenty of food and drinks after the race, such as freshly made pancakes, bananas, OJ, and other snacks.

Course
The course is a basic loop with a few gradual hills to consider, nothing major but it definitely is not a flat course. It is all paved with a few wooden bridges about a mile in which makes it a pretty fast course. I was hoping to get a fast time however, i forgot to take my inhaler before the race (exercise induced asthma) so I finished around 26 minutes instead of the 24 minutes I was aiming for.

Verdict
The course is suitable for new runners, as you can train the exact course on your own before the race and the course lends it self a quick pace. I personally prefer morning races as I know what and when to eat prior to the race and night races are always hit or miss for me. I will definitely do this race in 2018 if my schedule allows it.

Race Day Gear:
Headphones: Aftershockz
https://aftershokz.com/collections/wireless/products/trekz-titanium

Shirt: Nike Zonal Cooling
https://www.nike.com/t/zonal-cooling-mens-training-top-KK3M7l

Shorts: Asics

Socks: Rabbit Swiftwick
https://www.runinrabbit.com/collections/goodies/products/rabbit-x-swiftwick-ankle-socks-ink-puffins

Leg Sleeves: 2XU

Shoes: Asics Gel Noosa Tri 9

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