Latest reviews by AARON BLANKENSHIP

(2020)
"I Would Walk 500 Miles"
Overall
Race Management
SWAG
Virtual Support

This was my first long distance virtual run I have ever done, I wasn't sure what to expect but I knew it would be a new type of challenge for me to attempt. From June through September you can compete in variety of distances from 100 miles up to 500 miles, which can be completed by yourself or even with a team.
I made a schedule to run 45min each day during my lunch hour since I am currently working at home. I did not set a distance goal, just the time limit. This gave me a pretty good base as I average around 3 and half miles or so each day. I also walked in the evening so I built a pretty good pattern of averaging 5 to 6 miles a day. At first I thought this would not be enough but by the time it got to be mid-August I was already over 400 miles. This race definitely kept me accountable with my running which was great for me mentally and physically as I have not focused too much on running without the normal race schedule. To help keep you going, Run Local (the race event coordinator) sends out weekly challenges that you are automatically a part of. These weekly challenge email also have great things to check out in the part of California you are running by. They have a website that you can manually added your mileage to or sync to. I tracked my daily mileage with my Garmin and uploaded each day. You can added your mileage daily or you can go back and add the data later. This is good if you don’t keep up with it daily and can go back and add all the information weekly or even monthly. On the tracking website is also a map of the course up California that track not only where you but also where you are as a team if you are a part of the team. I checked this map a lot as it was great to see where you are and when you reach certain milestones you get an email about where you currently are and what there is to do in see in that city of California.
I loved the tracking on the map and the emails, they really make you feel like you are a part of a large race and they did a great job of keeping you up to date on where the fastest runners are and teams. You also get to see how the handmade medals were designed and built. I’m very excited to receive my medal, they look amazing! If you want to have a race that will help you keep a run schedule and dedicated to keeping up with your health, this is a great race for you! With all the distances and team settings, I cant recommend this race enough.

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(2020)
"Cold and Tasty Race"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

This year the 5K and 15K started in the same place and time, but once you reach the one mile or so then you split off, the course was well marked and there were tons of volunteers with distance signs to guide the runners the right way at the split. Even with all that signage and help, I heard of a few 5K runners who went into the 15K course. No idea how that happened or what they did, that's a huge distance to change to when you mind is set for doing a 5K. Last year the race was warmer due to the humidity and some minor rain that actually held out until the end of the race, this year was no such luck as there was no rain, there was sun, but the temperature never rose until after the race which meant it was a cold, cold, cold race! Nothing that a cup of hot chocolate cannot help though!

The course itself is entirely on the road and I would like to say it is a flat run race but it is full of hills and the last mile is tons of turns which make the last mile seem like the longest mile. The best part of Atlanta races is you get to run through parts of the city that you normally would be able to and actually see what's around there instead of from a car or stuck in traffic. It was a lot of fun to get a sense of the size and scope of the city while on foot as opposed to the usual stuck in traffic.

This year I ran the 15K alone so I was more set on keeping up a good pace and passing a lot of people since I started a few waves back with friends that did the 5K. So I wanted to catch up to my other friends that were doing the 15K. I didn't catch up with them but I did manage to finish with people from a few waves before me so that felt great and it also felt great to finish in an hour and 23 minutes! The course it self was fairly hilly, but I've been training my long runs mainly on hills so I was pretty much accustomed to running on inclines. I would say the 15k would be slightly hard for beginners but the 5K would be a great to get a feel for the terrain and how the race is run. It's definitely a you want to be ready to run in the cold at.

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(2019)
"First Rock n Roll race in the South"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I've done a few Rock N Roll races, but always outside of the south as a destination race. This was my first time doing a race more than 10 miles in Georgia and my first half marathon in a few years. I trained a long time for this, but never got more than 8 or 9 miles in my training but figured i had my pace set so it wouldn't be too difficult to reach a half marathon distance with that pace.
The Expo: The bib and tshirt pickup was super smooth and well organized, all you needed to know was your pickup number. After that was the RocknRoll/Brooks area, which was full of shirts, shorts, and Brooks foot testing area were they would test out your running and email you the results. Lots of great Brooks gear as well as Boco hats and visors.
The next section were all the various vendors, since this rocknroll race is smaller than the Las Vegas race, which I've done before, there were less vendors and less major vendors. There were a surplus of local or small brand vendors. They did have a huge area for future RocknRoll race signups with tons of medals and locations to checkout. This included huge discount for the Savannah race next year. These are really good deals if you can plan a year out and want to try the same, different, or multiple races next year, the sales are pretty amazing.
The race: Hills? Not so much, there is a rather long incline in the beginning and a few small ones later but over all there are not a lot of hills in this mostly flatish course. The course is 90% paved...and 10% cobble stone so be ready for that and slow down some so you dont get your foot caught and trip. Pacing is everything and the other thing is temperatures. The weather was almost perfect, overcast for most of the race and it stayed a little too cool to stand around but perfect for running for hours. The sun came out towards the last 3 miles and really heated things up.
The Finish area: Unlike past RockNRoll races i've done, they concert was after the race instead of preRace. Lots of food and water was handed out at the end, the only thing i wish was given was a plastic bag. i had so many drinks i had to sit down an give some away. The shuttles to and from the race were easy to find, but no one was checking for tickets so i feel like i lost money for something that i could have just jumped on for free.
Overall: This is a great race for runners of all experience levels. The difficulty isnt that bad, and you can slow down easily to enjoy the sites or take photos. Make sure to stick around sunday for the 5k or 1mile for an easy way to earn 2 or even 3 more medals!

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(2019)
"First 15K in Georgia"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I've run a Hot Chocolate race before (Las Vegas) but never the 15K and never in Georgia. This time around, I decided to try something different outside of my comfort zone and try the 15K. The pre-race, expo, race, and post race is very well managed with plenty of contact to ensure you know what is going on and when.
The race course is a huge loop around Atlanta starting and ending at Centennial park. This was a great way to see the city from a view you wouldn't normally get to experience. I've done other races through Atlanta but this was definitely the most hills on course I've had in Atlanta. If you're new to running long races, it's a good distance but the hills are something to consider in your training up to the race.
I ran this with a friend and we trained weekly but didn't get over 4 miles in our longest runs. In the race i kept pace with her the entire time. We made it all the way to the 10K distance before we had to slow down. It was a great effort, but the hills do take a toll eventually. Overall we had a great time during the whole event. The swag is great! The coat alone with worth it, but the medal is even better!

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

Shorts: Nike baskeball shorts
Tights: rabbit
https://www.runinrabbit.com/collections/mens-bottoms/products/tightz-charcoal

Socks: rabbit/Swiftwick
https://www.runinrabbit.com/collections/goodies/products/rabbit-x-swiftwick-ankle-socks-cockatoo
Arm Sleeves
https://www.runinrabbit.com/collections/goodies/products/mister-millers-arm-sleeves-black

Shoes: HOKA Arahi
https://www.hokaoneone.com/arahi/

Calf Sleeves: 2XU

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(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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