Latest reviews by Jay Robinson

(2015)
"My First Christmas 5k"
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The picture says it all - the only Christmas Day run in Indiana. My wife found this race, which was held at the Indiana School for the Deaf located near the fairgrounds. A portion of the proceeds went to the school. I believe this may have been the first time the race was held, but I haven't confirmed that yet.

It was a small race with roughly 230 finishers. The race started at 2 pm and there was was no expo - simply show up starting at 12:30 to pick up your bib and red/festive long sleeve t-shirt. We got there right at 12:30, but the majority of the people started showing up around 1. With a race this size, there was plenty of parking with everyone able to park within a quarter mile of the start/finish line. There were only two port a pots, located in the parking lot, but again for a race this size that was plenty.

They held a short "meeting" at about 1:50 to give details about the course, start, finish, etc. I have found this to be common of Heartland Endurance events. The race started right at 2 pm with a very loud cannon shot. My wife, being a somewhat newbie in doing races, and I started in the middle of the pack which took us roughly 10 seconds to get to the starting line. They had a video camera on a post at the starting / finish corral to video record all participants. It was a cool idea, but with a small starting shoot it was difficult to find yourself if you weren't on the inside line.

The course was entirely flat - I think there was a total of 8 feet of elevation change. It was an out and back, going around the school grounds and out past the sports fields, doing a lap around the school track, and back. It was almost entirely paved, however you had to navigate many potholes or else risk twisting an ankle.

There was just one water station about midway through, which was simply a spot where about 5 volunteers were handing out water. Nothing fancy, and it worked for a race with a couple hundred people.

My wife set a PR of about 32 minutes which put us right in the middle of the pack. I was fairly impressed that the overall winner finished in a time of 16:30. For a race this size, on Christmas Day, I didn't know how competitive of a race it would be. The second and third place guys both finished in about 17 minutes as well.

As is normal with Heartland Endurance events, every finisher gets a medal. If you registered early enough (which we did) then your finisher medal was a wooden snowflake with the race symbol on the front. I believe the other finisher medals were just blue or black basic circles with the race name on it.

Post race, they did offer water, apple cider, and sugar cookies - obvious choice for a Christmas race. They had three laptops located nearby to assist in looking up your results, however we found out that two of the laptops weren't working, causing a line to be formed around the one laptop.

Overall, it was a pretty nice race and the weather was perfect (mid 40s and sunny out). While I wouldn't go out of my way to run it in the future, I would run it again as a family activity if I had no other plans.

Happy Holidays!

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(2015)
"First Ever Turkey Trot"
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This was my first ever Turkey Trot, and is one that I will do again. This was the 8th annual race and the proceeds go to the Michael Treinen Foundation. In 2007, Michael was a senior in high school and diagnosed with Acute Myleoid Lekemia, passing away within the year. The race was started to fund the foundation. The first race, they raised slightly under $1200. During the pre-race announcement this morning I believe I heard them say they raised almost $40,000! There were just over 1300 finishers this year.

I didn't make the expo and had someone else pick up my packet. For a small town race, the shirt is outstanding. Michael was a sports guy, and the front of the long sleeve black tech shirt has a turkey in a football uniform striking the Heisman pose.

The race started at 9 am but we got to the starting area around 8. The race started and finished on the square in Noblesville, making parking in nearby lots a breeze and an extremely short walking distance to/from the car. People were already out and about when we got there, warming up and listening to music. The crowd seemed rambunctious and ready to go. They changed the course around from what the map showed, as in previous years the start was congested. This year, the start was wide open heading down 9th street for almost a half mile before taking your first turn.

The beginning of the route was fairly bland. The 3k walkers split from the 5k runners fairly early. It went through old Noblesville, where many of the homes are older and in run down shape. The first mile marker was by the cemetery and matched almost perfectly to my Garmin. We took a turn and headed towards Forest Park, with the first (and only) water station being right around mile marker 2 prior to hitting the park. Forest Park is a great family park, and we met back up with the walkers just inside the park. We followed the road around to the south park entrance, hopped on the wooden bridge, ran across the river, and then the file ~.20 miles to the finish line.

I found the mile markers to all be fairly accurate (my garmin finished in 3.08 miles). The first part of the route was so-so, running through the older section, but the second half was much better, especially with the last ~ mile through the park.

The race was timed with the shoe clips. I haven't done a shoe clip race in a few years, so I almost forgot to stop to have them cut it off. The finish area wasn't anything special - they had the basics with water, bananas, and apples. But finishing on the square meant that you could socialize with people after finishing.

The top runners were primarily local high school runners. I believe the top 10 males were all under 18 minutes and the top 10 females all were under 22 minutes.

Traffic was a breeze when leaving, as the main roads to get anywhere were not slowed or stopped (the race went the other direction).

For the money and the location, it was a great race that I will do again and would recommend it especially if you have a family looking to burn a few pre-turkey calories. If you are looking for glamour and larger size, you may want to skip over this one.

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(2015)
"New Beaver Moon / Small Town 5k"
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This was the third year of the small race. The packet pick up was a the Runner's Forum (local running store). Every participant received a long sleeve t-shirt that had a beaver on the front, and had every participant's full name on the back. I ran the race with my wife and my two daughters (one is 8, the other is 5). They both got a kick out of the shirt and to see their name on it. For a small race, they were nice shirts.

The race started at 4:30 with the goal that everything is wrapped up at 5:30 as the sun is going down and the moon is rising. We had to be there 15 minutes prior for a discussion of the course, and then walked across the covered bridge (the only remaining covered bridge in the county) to start on the other side. The race started with a gun shot without any countdown, which took us offguard. Since we were running together (and I was pushing a stroller) this was not much of an inconvenience to us compared to how I would have felt had I been shooting for a top place.

It was an out and back course of roughly 1.5 miles, winding along the trails and through the woods along the river. There were some slight rolling hills, but was a fairly flat course. The lead runners were from local high schools, but the majority of the runners were newbies or runners who typically wouldn't place at larger events. With it being an out and back, there were some spots when runners were returning where the trail was kind of tight.

There was one water station, right about in the middle, but just on one side of the trail. This made it treacherous for runners going out as they had to potentially cross in front of runners coming back.

Coming out of the woods at the end, there was about 200 meters of straight away to the finish line. This allowed fans to crowd the area and cheer on runners as they were finishing, which was pretty neat for a small race. All finishers received a small medal with the race name and a beaver on it. It was a first medal for my daughters, and they thought it was really great.

I would recommend the race to local people. It definitely had a small town feel and would be a race that I will do again in the future (I live within 15 minutes of the course). It was also great set up for a family race. However, if the course was lengthy drive away I probably would skip it.

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