Latest reviews by AARON BLANKENSHIP

(2018)
"First Long Distance Race in Georgia and in 2018"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

This was a first in a lot of things for me. My first Atlanta Track Club race, my first long distance race (over 5miles) in Georgia, and my first race as a BibRacePro. I am a 5K runner, so the 10miler seemed daunting and with all the talk about Cardiac Hill in the course, my apprehension grew. I set out to train harder working up to the race by increasing my weekly total distance ran and finding a pace that I can keep up for 10 miles, which was around 10minutes during training (stay turned to see how I faired in the race!).

Swag and PreRace:
Bib and shirt pickup, what can I say. I've run in over 40 races and this was by far the most organized pickup I've ever been to. They setup at a store in Atlantic Station, a sort of shopping/outlett area which is also where the race starts. Inside there were various shirts, jackets, and even foot testing to find a Mizuno shoe for you. Besides the sweet merch, there are tons of people checking you in or signing you up for the PNC 10 Miler or future Atlanta Run Club races. I spent some time speaking to some of the race managment about running in general, it was a lot of fun and really made me think about joining the Atlanta Run Club. The swag you get is a long sleeve, hooded Mizuno shirt. I like it alot, I wore it after the race as it was a cold day in Georgia!
Since I dont live too close to the race, i stayed at a hotel within walking distance of the race. I recommend this because alot of the roads are closed early and the line to park in the decks around Atlantic Station looked a little crazy. There is plenty of parking there, so if you dont plan on staying at a hotel, i would plan to get there early to avoid the long lines to get your ticket in the parking deck.
The race setup and start line was well marked and there are volunteers everywhere! I heard that there were around 1000 volunteers and you can tell because no one was lost or confused on where to go before, during, or after the race. The race is setup to start on time and you dont have to checkin the morning of meaning you dont have to be there super early.

Course:
Last year I ran through La Jolla, Ca and the hills there. So that was the level of hill I was expecting, luckily for me and everyone else, the hills were NOTHING like La Jolla. That is not to say that this course is flat by any means. From mile 3 to mile 6 it is mostly hills of various inclines and not many down hills. The last 2.5 miles is flat and down hill, you can really get some speed there. I managed to get down to my 5K speed at that point.

Verdict:
This was a lot of fun and really cold to start. Having trained so much and expecting the hills to be more difficult was a plus as I was able to keep a good pace (9min 40 second average for 7 miles and sub 9 for the last 2!!!) but could have gone faster if i had known the hills would not be that bad. From what I saw and from speaking to the race managment team, this is a race more for runners and less for nonrunners, which is true from what i saw compared to some other large races i've been in. I would recommend this race for anyone thinking of doing a half in the future as it close to the same distance and in a cool time of year.

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

Race Shirt: BibRave Under Armour
https://squareup.com/market/bibrave/item/bibrave-women-s-under-armour-t-shirt

Shorts: rabbit Daisy Dukes
https://www.runinrabbit.com/collections/mens/products/daisy-dukes-2-irongate

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

Shoes: Brooks Ghost 10
https://www.brooksrunning.com/en_us/brooks-ghost-10-mens-running-shoes/110257.html

Calf Sleeves: 2XU

Post Race Gear:
Shirt: RADrabbit Ez Tee ringer
https://www.runinrabbit.com/products/ez-tee-ringer-eclipse

Hat: RADrabbit
https://www.runinrabbit.com/collections/hats/products/running-trucker-black-white

Shorts: Dojo Outfitters brazillian jiu jitsu fight shorts
https://www.dojooutfitters.com/shop/

Hoodie: Dojo Outfitters
https://www.dojooutfitters.com/shop/

Sandals: Oofos
https://www.oofos.com/collections/mens-ooriginal-sandal

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(2018)
"Great race for beginners!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I competed in the 5K, but there is a 10K and a 15K available. This race is FREE to all First Responders!

Swag
This was special! Most races you get a shirt that’s either a Gildan or tech tee, however this race let you choose from a variety of options. A woman’s technical raceback tank, a tri-blend tee, a tech tee, or men’s tech sleeveless tank and any left after pickup could be purchased post race which is perfect if you want a shirt and tank. I went with the tri-blend tee, it’s so soft! I use race shirts for post runs or when at the gym so this will real great to change into after a hard run. The other swag consisted of a finisher medal, a bag, and some snacks. They made a vast improvement in the finisher and the age group medals from the past year of a standard medal with a sticker on it to this year’s that were designed specifically for the race and carved in information instead of a sticker.

Course
The race is held in Kennesaw, Georgia every Labor Day in a shopping area of town which is fairly flat with a minor incline on the way out on mile one for runners of all distances. As it is held in around a shopping district, the course is all road terrain and can lead to negative splits and a chance to PR. I’ve PR’ed at this race twice before, with last year being the picture perfect weather for a race. The sun this year really heated things up even at 8A.M. so I didn’t manage to PR. With the heat being intense the aid station around 1.2miles is greatly welcomed. There was a 5K, 10K, and 15K that all start together but have different, clearly marked, places to turn around and head back to the finish/start line. Since all distances start at the same time, you don’t know who is running the distance you are until you reach the turn around point. I like this aspect as you focus more on your own pace than trying to keep up with other runners.


Verdict
I’ve been coming to this race often over the last few years and this year was definitely the largest turnout. The variety of distances offered may be the main reason for the larger turnout. I cannot tell you how much better the race organization was this year, everything was a vast improvement and the wait for medals was just long enough. If you are a beginner this is the perfect first race to sign-up for with no stress or pressure as there are runners of all levels, from walkers, to kids, to runners, this race is great for everyone. I helped train my best friend from July until Labor Day for this race, but he mostly did it on his own and he had a great race and great time. Not only did he survive, he finished 4th in his age division! Considering he hates to sweat, never ran in school, this was a huge accomplishment.

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

Race Shirt: RADrabbit
https://www.runinrabbit.com/collections/mens/products/ez-tee-rabbitknit-irongate

Post Race Shirt: RADrabbit Ez Tee ringer
https://www.runinrabbit.com/products/ez-tee-ringer-eclipse

Shorts: rabbit Daisy Dukes
https://www.runinrabbit.com/collections/mens/products/daisy-dukes-2-irongate

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

Buff: BibRavePro Buff
http://buffusa.com/

Hat: RADrabbit
https://www.runinrabbit.com/collections/hats/products/running-trucker-black-white

Shoes: Brooks Ghost 10
https://www.brooksrunning.com/en_us/brooks-ghost-10-mens-running-shoes/110257.html

Calf Sleeves: 2XU

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(2018)
"Great Race for Beginners!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

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

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

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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