Latest reviews by Robert

(2016)
"My First NYC Marathon"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

NYC Marathon 2016
1. Pre-Race -
MOTELS -- where to stay -- I had a hard time deciding where to stay -- close to times square for sightseeing or close to the finish line or Expo or somewhere inbetween -- as it turns out it really does not matter -- pick a place - everything is spread out -- myself I decided close to the finish -- good choice for me there were bicycle taxis near the finish line otherwise you have to walk 1 or 2 blocks away to find a cab or catch your uber ride -- that is as close as they can get -- everything is blocked off around the park --
THE EXPO - its a mad house -- have your confirmation sheet with you or on your phone and an ID with your picture -- can not pick up your packet without it -- first race I have been to where they actually wanted to see the confirmation sheet -- other races say that but only look at ID when you pick up packet -- if you have been to a rock n roll expo - its like that -- a section of NYC Marathon stuff separate from the rest of the expo --
SIGHTSEEING -- look at what you might like to see -- esp shows and buy tickets 2-3 months in advance to get good seats -- other things you can pretty much get while there
RIDE TO THE START -- read the material carefully -- I did not -- there are buses if you choose your ride early - they fill up fast -- I got on the Staten Island Ferry at 5:45AM -- over all not that bad -- yes it was very early to the start but there were some benefits --- no big crowd to board the ferry - I understand you can ride the ferry at anytime but around 7 or so there are huge crowds to get on -- and the buses to take you to the start at the other end are crowed also with long lines to get on -- at the starting area early there are no lines for the bathrooms and you can stake out a good spot to wait and there are plenty of refreshments at that time -- later there were long lines everywhere and all the good waiting spots were taken -- I dont know about the busses because I rode the ferry -- also dont take any large back packs -- you can take fanny packs, food and water bottles(they will be checked) -- you can take whatever will fit in the clear plastic bag your packet came in -- ours was checked by dogs/metal detectors and we had a pat down before entering the runners village -- and if you did not have a race number -- NO ENTRY -- so no family with you ---
THE START - you are in waves and corrals --- I had an 11am start in the next to last corral -- I put a 4:45 est finish -- most all the people in my corral said they were going to finish in 5-6 hours --- apparently there are alot of faster people running -- actual start was 11:15am
THE COURSE - typical marathon course -- uphill, downhill how can you run 26.2 miles without some hills -- the worst part for me was the bridges -- they were steeper and longer than I thought they might be but they also had a downhill side that was equally steep and long -- 1st ave is a long uphill and so I thought 5 ave to the finish would be downhill -- oh no -- it also is a long uphill to central park then it flattens out with the last 1/2 to 3/4 mile uphill -- overall this a great course -- I have ran courses with more and steeper hills. the water stations were great -- gatorade/water about every mile or so --- lots of potties --- lots of people yelling along the course ( that is great and keeps you going ) -- there was one GU station about mile 16 -- had yucky flavors but it was GU -- glad I had my own protein bar and fruit gatorade (got tired of the lime) --
THE FINISH -- it is an uphill finish -- the only bad thing about the finish is the mile or so walk to get your post-race poncho (great poncho by the way) or your checked bag from UPS -- once you leave the finish area cant get back to see other friends or family finish -- or its hard to do so -- you can use your finisher medal to gain entrance to some but not all areas that required credentials --
POST RACE -- marathon monday -- on monday after the race at the pavillion they have medal engraving and clothing with Finisher on it -- opens at 7am --- lines are long -- its $25 for medal engraving - if that is what you want - go there first then go shopping -- get there about 6:30-6:45 to be early in line -- then you will have time to go shopping afterwards -- if you shop first you have to go back out and stand in line for medal engraving --

sorry that this is so lenghty but since I was a newby I thought I would give other newbys my insights -- pay close attention to the pre-race part that is the more important and the part I got the least help with even from people I knew that had run the race previously -- If you get -- find someone that has run the race and really nail them down for some pre-race info -- dont take "just read the info" for an answer --

I recommend anyone run this race -- Its a great experience -- if you are going to run just one marathon this is the ONE.

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(2016)
"Tulsa Run -- 39th year "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I started running the Tulsa Run in 1985 -- they have maintained a quality run throughout the years --
1. prerace/expo -- packet pickup has been better the last few years since they moved to the tulsa civic center. the expo is a little bigger but could always be better -- packet pickup is easy -- there is a little parking difficulty at the packet pickup -- the downtown hotels are doubletree and marriott plus a few others
2. race day -- there is some parking difficulty throughout downtown Tulsa -- there are parking garages near the start -- starting line is easy -- not real crowded and timing is by chips. might be a little confusing with multiple starts -- 5K, masters championships, wheelchair, 15k open -- all 10 minutes apart starting at 8:30 am -- 15K open is always at 9am --
3. course -- the course takes you thru downtown tulsa - cherry street - peoria to 31st back to 21st across the river back up a couple of hills to downtown and then uphill on boston about 0.3 miles to the finish
4. finish line -- medal(great design) and shirt(great color and design) is probably the best they have had in a few years -- if you finish after 2 hours may not have much in the way of post race refreshment -- my wife finished after 2 1/2 hours -- all she got was a bottle of water --
this course (in my opinion) is one of the hardest ever -- more hills than other courses -- will be better when riverside drive is open again and we get back on riverside as always in the past.
I really recommend this run for a 15K --

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(2016)
"Stampede 10K"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

this is a local race -- 5K/10K -- run thru the streets of Van Buren, AR -- starts/ends at the hospital -- prerace and race day packet pickup -- good water stations -- out and back course -- mostly flat but a couple of steep short hills -- race management is by an experienced race director -- Mary Jo Brinkman -- she has run many races and been race director of many races --
parking is at the hospital at the starting line -- you can go to enjoy the nostalgic shops of downtown Van Buren after the run -- possibly take a ride on the train --
I rec this 5K or 10K

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(2016)
"Rock N Roll Philly"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Overall this was a great Rock N Roll Run --
1. Pre-race -- registration -- no race-day registration -- need to register early to get the cheapest fee. also if you plan on doing several Rock N Roll races -- look into the tourpass plan they have --
the expo is the usual Rock N Roll -- prices of RNR merchandise is high -- other vendors have some pretty good deals on clothes, shoes, and other gear --
we stayed at the doubletree city center which was central and in walking distance to both the expo and start/finish of 5K/half marathon
2. Race day -- walked to the starting line -- long lines at the potties but they moved pretty fast -- corrals marked well -- speakers did not work well in the back corrals -- lots of static or nothing at all --
race started on time -- but with the length of time between corral starts it was 40 minutes before I started in corral 22
3. Course -- very good course -- thru the city and along the river --- almost completely flat -- there was a long steady incline at about 4-6 miles and a short steep uphill right before the finish -- lots of water stations however a couple were running out of water as I went by so slower runners did not have as many water stations as the faster runners --
4. Finish Line -- I liked the liberty bell medal -- typical post race picture area -- usual rock n roll chocolate milk (I dont drink milk), gatorade, protein bars, ice cream/yogart bars, fruit -- plenty post race snacks -- i must have gone the wrong way because I never did see the beer wagon/enterainment -- the finish line area was in a large park -- there were metal dividers set up for runner flow and keep non runners out of some areas --

again I would recommend this race -- one of the better Rock N Roll races I have done

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(2016)
"Mainly Marathons "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I am reviewing the entire Series in this one review:
Mainly marathons puts on races in a series on a daily basis in different states -- you can run half marathon / marathon / 50K -- 1-7 days in a row in 1-7 states -- these races are usually in a city, state or natiional parks -- looped course -- one water/aid station/timing station in the loop --- usually 6 someplaces up to 11 loops per half marathon. the only time limit is on the 50K - 8 hours -- otherwise no time limit on the half or marathon -- you can register right before the race or online -- no expo but shirts and jackets for sale. Parking is very close and easy -- good food / good water-aid station / porta-potties or park bathrooms -- if you register for one race and want to change to another up or down you can do that on race day or during the race -- just let the girls at the timing table know -- to go up to the next distance will cose you $20.00
day 1 - Bluefield, WV - beautiful city park 6 loops -- a few short steep hills with steep downhill -- starts in Virginia and crosses into West Virginia with each loop -- rules of all clubs say you can count one or the other state but not both.
day 2 - Bluefield, VA - same course as above -- you can stay in the same hotel for 2 nites -- nice city / good resturants
day 3 - Bristol, TN - very nice city park -- loop goes down to a park lake then large part of the loop is flat packed gravel path then comes back up a short hill to the timing table / aid station -- 6 loops / half
this is a very beautiful / easy course -- if you want to try a marathon or 50K this is a good one.
day 4 - Fletcher, NC - this is a suburb of Ashville, NC -- this is a city park -- flat some asphalt and dirt/gravel trail -- 6 loops for half --
day 5 - Seneca, SC - this is a city park -- again several short steep hills up and down ---
day 6 - dalton, GA -- dont drive to Atlanta, GA to get to Dalton -- it will take an extra 30-60 minutes in the traffic in Atlanta and its further -- use the back roads -- this is a city park -- very flat -- again if you want to try marathon or 50k this is a good one
day 7 - Guntersville, AL -- another city park -- nice asphalt running path -- long shallow small uphill and downhill -- it was announced at the run that next year the AL run will be in Florida
I recommend any of the Mainly Marathon series if you need states or just want to try a half or full marathon without the pressure of a time limit --

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