Latest reviews by AARON BLANKENSHIP

(2021)
"Virtual Race, Real Elevation"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I ran the virtual 10K and it was a blast! Virtual races are what you make them, so I made this one harder than a normal run, but not all out like I do for an in person 5K or race of longer distance. The signup and options for the race a plentiful and the post race to upload your results is something every virtual race should do. It is quick and very user friendly and shows you your stats as soon as you submit your results. The swag looks great from what I've seen on the well made Blue Ridge website, since virtual runners' swag does not ship out until the end of the month I will have to wait to see the medal (The virtual race can be completed any day in April, which is also great to make it fit your schedule). I cant wait to try this race in person in the coming years, the scenery looks amazing!

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(2021)
"Virtual Chocolate 2021"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

The Hot Chocolate races are always something I look forward to. I've competed in the Hot Chocolate races in Las Vegas and a few times in Atlanta, but this was my first time competed in the Hot Chocolate Race virtually. But before we get into the race, we have to talk about all the amazing swag that the Hot Chocolate San Diego has to offer. The medal this year is shaped like a candy wrapper which opens up with a piece of chocolate inside. Next up, the yearly hot chocolate jacket! The jacket has a removable hood, side pockets, and is even softer than the jackets of years past. I feel that each year their jackets get better and better. They are very comfortable and fit great, not to mention look great especially after a long run.
For my virtual run I used the sidewalk around my neighborhood to get the distance I needed without having to repeat too much ground to cover. The difficult part for me, is that this area has a lot of elevation changes. On a more positive note racing this time of year means it's the start of spring in Georgia so the weather was perfect for a run. I managed to keep up a good pace for most of the race. Since it was a longer distance than I normally race, I chose to run a slower pace so I could run the entire race. I would highly recommend the hot chocolate race in person or virtually to runners of all levels.

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(2020)
"Plenty of Elevation without the Bridge"
Overall
Race Management
SWAG
Virtual Support

The Enmarket Savannah River Bridge Run offered a virtual option this year, so I decided to try it out. Normally I choose a 5K but since I could not compete for an age group medal virtually, I went with the "Double Pump" which is a 15K. The signup and guidance for the race is well made and has answers to any questions you may have before or during the race. And the results upload is one of the best, simply enter your basic information and race info along with a screenshot of the run tracked from a device of your choosing and your done! Very simple and very easy to complete without any app or device specific tools needed.
As with all virtual races, the course and effort put in is all up to you. Since it is much colder now and my run area is very hilling I approached this with a pace I could keep up for the duration of the race and not burn out or aim for a PR. If there is one thing 2020 taught me, it's that my endurance for hills has gradually increased. They sent the swag and such out this week, so I'm very excited to see the medal and what else comes with it. Since I am in Georgia, I'd love to do this race in the future and make a trip out of going to the beautiful city of Savannah.

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(2020)
"Taking a Detour"
Overall
Race Management
SWAG
Virtual Support

This is an amazing race! The Texas Distance Challenges offers a variety of choices from different run distances, to cycling, to monthly run distances "Detours". I signed up for the Detours, which consists of a one monthly run distance for you to complete that can be done any time before the race ends in April. Each month you get an email with the distance, where it is located in Texas, and links and blogs about that area. Through the blog and links I found out about many small businesses in Texas and areas I never knew about. It's a great way to explore an unfamiliar area without leaving your home. The monthly runs are around 3 miles to 6 miles and anything in between, this is great as you can knock out your monthly Detour without being worn out or making a large impact to your training.
Once you complete a detour, you can log in and manually enter your time and date or link your strava and select the run you want to sync. It's very user friendly and easy to do, which does result in you receiving a decal for each of the Detours you complete! I can't wait to complete more as the race winds down in the Spring of 2021.

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(2020)
"Mystery Inc!"
Overall
Race Management
SWAG
Virtual Support

Virtual races are often about how much you put in, I often build up to a date a set for myself so I can really push myself and this race was no different. Shortly after you sign up, you'll be shipped all the swag with the race. The swag is pretty great, the shirt is a nice long sleeve hooded shirt which is a super comfortable. You also get a nice metal tumbler in the aqua color along with the scooby-doo logo that is a great size and light weight. Besides the swag, there is a Scooby-Doo medal! I like a race that sends you all the swag and medal before the race so that you can celebrate your run with the medal as soon as you want. This also means you don't have to wait for your swag to come after you register your time. Speaking of, it is super easy to login and manually enter your time for the distance you choose. I chose the 10K race but they offer a 5K if you want something shorter and since it is virtual, you can run the race at any time with your pet or anyway you want. I recommend this race as not only does the organizer keep the race interesting with their social media but they also are giving back by donating to St Jude Children Hospital.

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