Latest reviews by Brian

(2015)
"JFK 50 – First Impressions – Ultra Marathon – Running The Grandfather or Ultra Running"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

In 2014 I ran my first JFK 50. Although I thought I had learned all I could about this legendary event nothing could prepare me for race day. The AT was harder, the C&O tow path was longer and the final 8 miles of rolling roads were more challenging than I was expecting. After crossing the finish line in front of Springfield Middle School 10 hours later the highlights of the course were forever burnt in my mind. It was a great race and a awesome experience. Driving home, I could not wait to share my experience with all of my friends. JFK 2014 was great but it was also lonely. I ran alone, I had no support crew and I had no one to share the “finisher glow” with.

Fast forward nearly 365 days to JFK 50 2015. This year I would not be alone. On a crisp Saturday morning along with seven of my friends I was making my way to the starting line in the middle of downtown Boonsboro, MD once again. Leading up to the race and continuing at our pre-race dinner they had asked my thoughts about the race and the course. I tried to not over sale the challenge, I tried to represent the task and tried to help prepare them. Finding my place at the start, I wanted to run well, I had my goals but I also wanted my friends to have a memorable first JFK.

In their words here is impressions of JFK for the first time. http://briansrunningadventures.com/jfk-50-first-impressions-ultra-marathon-running-the-grandfather-or-ultra-running/

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2015)
"Eric's First JFK with Video"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Although I have completed a number of marathons over the past few years, 2015 brought a new challenge; ultra-marathons. Early in the year, I completed two 50k’s (North Face Endurance Challenge in DC, and the Singletrack Maniac in Virginia) with hopes to move on to greater distances by the fall. With high expectations, I went ahead and registered for the JFK50. Why the JFK50? Although it may not be as popular as some of the races out west, just about every ultra-runner I know is familiar with the JFK50, so I figured it would be a great starting point for the 50 mile distance. Plus, as an Active Duty Air Force member, I have a connection to the race history.

I feel my JFK50 training was a bit unorthodox as it was really designed for the marathons I ran in September (Air Force Marathon) and October (Marine Corps Marathon). I didn’t have a single run over 26.2 miles, but with a 3:15 marathon time, I figured I could scale it back and survive the 50 miles. With the Marine Corps Marathon on the 25th of October, and the JFK50 on the 21st of Nov, I had less than four weeks to transition from marathon running to ultra-marathon running. To make things even more difficult, I scheduled corrective eye surgery in between the two races, which kept me from running for about a week and a half. After all was said and done, I was able to log about two and a half weeks of transition running, to include my taper. During this transition, I focused on slow trail running while wearing the gear I planned to utilize during the JFK. My goal was to keep my heart rate in the high 130s, which meant a much slower pace than my usual marathon tempo running.

Before I knew it, it was time to pack for the big day.

To read the rest of Eric's race report click here, extra bonus is 13 minutes of video of the JFK Race. http://briansrunningadventures.com/jfk-50-2015-erics-first-run/

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2015)
"Running The Battleship Half Marathon"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

After two full marathons, MEDOC Mountain and City of Oaks, in the weeks prior to this half, I promised myself I would not RACE this event. I planned to simply run the Battleship Half Marathon for fun and to experience a one of kind half marathon. That plan lasted all of 8 miles…

Wilmington, is a nice little river front town with a very active college scene and home to the WWII Battleship U.S.S North Carolina. Station right across the river is the Active Duty Coast Guard Cutter Diligence. Our son Anthony is a crew member on the Diligence, when he sent me a notice about this race I just had to add it to my fall calendar. I could not pass up an opportunity to visit him, see the Diligence, and notch up another half marathon. My wife, Michele and Anthony would run the 5k.

Race central was at the Hilton Hotel centrally located downtown along the river front. This location was perfect as there are plenty of family friendly (even the four legged kind) taverns, and restaurants to grab a quick bite to eat while picking up your race goodies. The Expo was small and low key, for a field of approx. 1300 for the half marathon and 300 or so for the 5k. I thought packet pick up was well organized and very friendly. After picking up our race gear we headed to a local tavern to sit relax and to “people watch” for a spell.

Race morning, with very limited parking at the starting line adjacent to the U.S.S North Carolina, the race organizers offered water-taxi rides from downtown to the start. This pre-race movement went off without a hitch. Although Saturday afternoon was near perfect weather with clear skies, warm temps and near zero wind, race morning found the opposite. This morning it was very windy and cold. Somehow I missed the memo and under dressed. Go figure. As great planning would have it the water-taxis ran nearly every ten minutes and we were able to walk right on board to begin our voyage to the start. Once on the other side of the river, we noticed the area next to the starting line offered very few places to get out of the elements. We quickly found away around that. In case you were unable to pick up your race packet the day before, this race offered race day packet pick up. Although already having our stuff, the indoors packet pick up area made the perfect place to get out of the cold. Although a general announcement was made to have everyone leave packet pick up area, no one really forced us (a good size like minded crowd) to go outside. The hovering and warm crowd much to its credit was well behaved to not make an issue with the organizers. I’m very thankful for that. With 15 minutes to go Anthony and I moved to the starting line.

As we stood a stones throw from the great battleship, I wondered what the old girl would say if she could talk to us on that blistery morning. During World War II, the NORTH CAROLINA participated in every major naval offensive in the Pacific area of operations and earned 15 battle stars. In the Battle of the Eastern Solomon’s in August of 1942, the Battleship’s anti-aircraft barrage helped save the carrier ENTERPRISE, thereby establishing the primary role of the fast battleship as protector of aircraft carriers. To learn more about the North Carolina visit her web site here.

The half marathon was scheduled to go off first. I’m normally in my starting place early, but today choose to arrive just in time. Many must have had the same idea as I and the corral filled up rather fast. After some brief but appropriate opening words and the national anthem, the race was off.Vowing to not race this event, I parked myself on the shoulder of the two hour pacer and went along for the ride.

To read the rest of my race report click here: http://briansrunningadventures.com/half-marathon-battleship-half-marathon/

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2015)
"The March 50k - A run to remember…and one I will remember."
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

More than just a trail race run in one of our nation’s greatest military communities, Fort Bragg/Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina. The March is a first class event hosted by race director Veronica Johnson with help from Dan Paige. More than just another trail race, this event chooses to challenge runners while remembering America’s war heroes in a very special way.

From the Race Website: Say the phrase “Death March,” and most Americans respond with a single word: Bataan. When Japanese troops overran the Philippines in 1942, they forced thousands of GIs and Filipino soldiers to march across 60 miles of the Bataan Peninsula in tropical heat with little or no food and water. Hundreds of Americans and thousands of Filipinos died in the five-10 day trek that came to be called the Bataan Death March, one of the greatest atrocities ever perpetrated against American fighting men.

But there was another death march inflicted upon American POWs during World War II — a journey that stretched hundreds of miles and lasted nearly three months. It was an odyssey undertaken in the heart of a terrible German winter fraught with sickness, death and cruelty. Though experienced by thousands of GIs, it was all but forgotten by their countrymen. The events has been called various names: “The Great March West”, “The Long March”, “The Long Walk”, “The Long Trek”, “The Black March”, “The Bread March”, and “Death March Across Germany”, but most survivors just called it “The March”.

Veronica and her team matches up race entrants with survivors/or heroes who did not come home from these Marches of WWII. At packet pick up when I was handed my race bib chills went down my spine as I glanced over my race number and noticed my hero’s name. I would run the race in memory of PV2 Amos L. Burk a WWII prisoner of war who spent time in POW Camp Stalag 12. The fact we shared the same name touched me greatly and I would think about Amos often during the race.

The rest of this race report can be read at: http://briansrunningadventures.com/the-march-50k-ultra-marathon-marathon-run-race/

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2015)
"Windermere Marathon – Sub Four Goal and Visiting The Grandkids"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

June 01, 2014 and the Windermere Marathon, Spokane Washington

Is the: Glass half full:

Ran my second fastest marathon.

or

Glass half empty: Missed my goal by going out to fast.

PRE RACE: My daughter and son-in-law had our second grandchild in Feb, Alaina Michele. My wife (Michele) and I could not wait to visit. When deciding when to venture out to Washington State we wanted to visit when our little Alaina was settled. Likewise, we wanted to visit when the weather would be favorable to play outside with Aiden, our four going on five year old grandson. AND I wanted to fit in another marathon to add another state to my “Raced-In” collection of states. The Memorial day weekend was perfect timing. During our visit we got to take the kids to a Bounce House, visit a Big Cat Zoo, attend an Air Show, ride a train around the Spokane’s River Square Park and run/walk the Windermere Marathon. I ran the 26.2 miles and Michele fast walked the half. It was a great trip.

EXPO: The expo was small (30 vendors) yet well presented and organized. Other then a mishap where I got the shirt for the half marathon I enjoyed the expo. I was able to meet author and runner Dane Rauschenberg. Dane has run over 100 marathons, a 200 mile relay as a team of one and countless other adventures run. I picked up a copy of his book and can’t wait to read it.

WEATHER: The week leading up to the marathon was cool, windy and brisk. Coming from VA Beach, VA. Michele and I were down right cold. The local temperatures had me questioning the running gear I brought along on the trip. Luckily the weekend brought warm temperatures. Race morning we were greeted with bright sunshine and a starting temp. around 50f. During the running of the marathon the sun came out with a vengeance with a finishing temperature of 78f.

To read about this race my full race report can be found here: http://briansrunningadventures.com/windermere-marathon-sub-four-goal-and-visiting-the-grandkids/

Login or sign up to leave a comment.