Latest reviews by AARON BLANKENSHIP

(2018)
"Wet Racing"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Swag and PreRace
Rain! The entire morning was pouring rain, which was not something i was expecting for my final race of the year. The pickup and registration was very well organized. The pickup consisted of pens, hat, ornament, cup, coupon for Waffle House, and a short sleeve shirt (which was actually soft!). They also offered rain ponchos to everyone, but i passed on it...not my best idea. The only issues I saw were that they had a late change to the course, due to flooding, and no working microphones which lead to some difficulties at the start of the race and during the awards ceremony.

Course
If you did the Harbin Turkey Trot two weeks before this race (or read my review of it), this is the exact same course! They pushed the finish line up a little due to the flooding so you do a small turn after mile run to make up for the 30feet or so. The rain definitely made an impact to the course as 85% of the course had some sort of water hazard that cause you to go into the grass or drown your foot in the freezing puddles.

Verdict
Since it was raining, I didn't know what to expect from the race. I assumed it would be slower than my sub 25min at the race two weeks prior on the same course due to all the rain and course flooding. I set out to beat the time I did the year before, 25'59" and I prevailed but only by a dozen or so seconds, never the less I am proud of this time since it was faster and in worse conditions than the same race years prior. If you plan to run with music AND in pouring rain, Aftershokz are the best way to go. No troubles at all with sound even with the rain and they didnt slide or move at all. Normally I'd say this is a great race for runners of all levels, and i still believe that, but the rain is an obstacle many would prefer not to have to deal with especially in December temperatures.

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

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

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
Arm Sleeves: rabbit mister miller’s
https://www.runinrabbit.com/collections/mens/products/mister-millers-arm-sleeves-black
Calf Sleeves: 2XU
Post Race Gear:
Shirt: RADrabbit ez tee ringer
https://www.runinrabbit.com/products/ez-tee-ringer-eclipse
Hat: NYC rabbit
https://www.runinrabbit.com/collections/hats/products/nyc-reversible-performance-beanie

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(2018)
"Pre Thanksgiving Road Race"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I have competed in this race for a few years, so it is a great resource for me to see how my training goes each year. Last year I ran the race in 25’59”, this year I was hoping to do better than 26’00”. Let’s see what happened…

Swag and PreRace
In the packet pickup bag you get, a long sleeve shirt and a winter headband. This was great and the first time I’ve been to a race that provided a headband. A lot of people choose to wear them for the race along with the race shirt. There was not much else in the bag besides a few flyers for sport doctors and therapy, it was a race sponsored by a local medical branch after all. The race staff were all very friendly and had done a great job of keeping things in order before, during, and after the race.

Course
Last year they said they were going to change the course, however with the race being run by different people this year, the course stayed the same. I liked that they didn’t change the course as it gave me a way to compare my past efforts with this year. The course itself starts on a road and the loops into a paved running/biking path for the majority of the race. The course itself isn’t overly hilly but there are a few long hills to go up, with one of them being right near the end, they aren’t difficult but will slow your pace down. There is only one aid station just a little after mile 1, but there is a lot of food and drink setup at the finish line. Since the race is on a paved walking path that is opened year round, you can practice the actual race course as often as you want.

Verdict
With a primarily flat course, great signage, and the chance to win a turkey, this is a great race for runners of all levels. As for my time, I hit 24’40” and came in second in my age group! This year they did a fantastic job of getting results compiled and starting the medal ceremony very soon after the 5K ended. This is a perfect race for anyone wanting to do a turkey trot but doesn’t want to get up early or race on Thanksgiving day.

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

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

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
Arm Sleeves: rabbit mister miller’s
https://www.runinrabbit.com/collections/mens/products/mister-millers-arm-sleeves-black
Calf Sleeves: 2XU

Post Race Gear:
Shirt: RADrabbit ez tee ringer
https://www.runinrabbit.com/products/ez-tee-ringer-eclipse
Hat: NYC rabbit
https://www.runinrabbit.com/collections/hats/products/nyc-reversible-performance-beanie

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(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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