Latest reviews by Alex Carruth

(2016)
"Me: 0. Trolley: 1."
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This race was about an hour and a half drive for me and I decided I would stick with the 5k, since I had just finished a longer race about two months earlier. The idea of racing the trolley intrigued me as an opportunity to challenge myself a bit. I love running 5k’s because they are pretty quick and I don’t have to be in pain as long as a half-marathon.

The Course. I had never spent any time in Fort Collins, but have to say the course was beautiful and lined with trees. I typically like trail races because I can be out in nature but this course was perfect for a road race. The weather was about 60 degrees during packet pick-up and leading up to the 5k start. The course is lined with huge, leafy trees that provided great shade. It’s a quick out and back, but flat and fast. I actually surprised myself and got a PR beating my old record from 3 years ago by 19 seconds (my PR was from running at sea level).

The course was marked out very clearly and there was not a lot of confusion for me, and I have been known to take a wrong turn or two at races in the past.

I had in my mind this vision that I was going to beat the trolley and get an extra shirt, but I had no idea what kind of pace the trolley would be taking. As soon as we started the trolley left and I knew it was going to be quick, but that didn’t stop me. It pushed me to the end and helped me get that PR.

Registration. All online and a piece of cake. No issues.

Instructions. Instructions for race day were communicated via email and had all the details ironed out.

Parking. This part was a bit more confusing. I was able to find some good street parking, but after I had driven around a bit due to road construction near the race. This is probably my fault for not planning ahead or paying as close attention to the parking situation before I got up to Fort Collins.

Packet Pick Up. I chose race day pick-up and it was a piece of cake. Just walked right up, said my name and got my number and t-shirt. I do appreciate them not giving me a bag with a bunch of business cards and coupons of sponsors. I always throw those in the trash anyways and feel guilty for the wasted paper.

Expo. This was one of the larger expos I’ve seen. I typically like to run smaller races, which for some people, this was a smaller race, but there were many local businesses you see at a race (physical therapy, law firms, etc.) but also larger vendors like Altra. The expo was laid out well.

Race management. The race was very well managed. I was able to run into one of the owners of Green Events and chat for a brief moment. Super friendly. Many other runners mentioned they had been running this race for years.

Food. It was great to have Snooze there to provide food, but one pancake was not enough for this 6’5” 220 pound male who just ran a 5k PR. I could have eaten 10 pancakes (if not more). There was also a selection of fruit, where I tried to fill up more.

What do I wish they would have done differently? Not a whole lot, I’m pretty low maintenance when it comes to races. This race was pretty consistent with other smaller races I’ve done in Colorado over the past year and a half, but nothing out of the ordinary. The charm of the trolley was nice, but not worth the long drive for me. If this race was closer to me, I would put in on my annual race calendar.

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(2016)
"Hardest and Most rewarding race ever"
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This was a fantastic race. Every aspect of the race was so thought out.

Registration: piece of cake and the prices are more than reasonable for the work these volunteers and race director have to do to set up and get the aid stations to some of the craziest locations.

Aid Stations: Fantastic! Chips, pretzels, water, electrolytes, fruit, restrooms, tons of volunteers to help fill up bottles. All the volunteers were so cheerful and the aid stations were perfectly spaced throughout the race.

Course: Epic! By far the best views of any race I have run. The mountains in Leadville are beautiful. This is a course where legends have run and legends are made. Did I mention there is almost no oxygen? Well worth the challenge. It's an out and back course so nearly 8 miles out and 8 miles back. Nearly all uphill on the way up, which means be comfortable doing some walking. On the way back, your legs take a beating from the downhill. With all of that said, there is nothing like turning left onto 6th street and seeing the finish that so many people cherish.

Race management: Couldn't have been smoother. Everything was easy to find, the course was well marked, and started on time.

Overall: I would did this again in a heartbeat. If you're looking for a race to challenge yourself and push your limits, this is the one. Run the same course so many legends have come to love. You'll love this race because of the sense of accomplishment for finishing something so difficult.

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(2016)
"Would recommend with reservations"
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I believe this was the 3rd year the Castle-Rock Half Marathon has been running. It was my first half-marathon, which I wouldn’t recommend this race to other first time half-marathoners. There is a lot of sun exposure, long climbs, short and steep climbs, and lots of pavement. With that said, it would be a great race for someone who loves a challenging road run and has a half marathon or two under their belt. There was one area at the turnaround where the course was not clearly marked and I ended up going the wrong direction for a short distance.

Everything leading up to the race from registration to packet pick-up was very easy. I do love small races and the SWAG and expo were all great. It was a beautiful course that takes you through some residential areas and on to a local paved trail for the majority of the race. The time of year makes the race great because temperatures were perfect. All of the volunteers at the aid stations were rockstars. They kept me motivated every couple of miles. Timing and photography was great. You were able to request your photos via email for free. Parking was right next to the start in the small city park and there were indoor facilities available.

Would I race this one again? Maybe with reservations, but I am biased to trail running. It’s a great race for an experienced road runner wanting a small race feel.

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(2016)
"Awesome Part 2 of 3 winter series"
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Just like Santa Stampede in December, this is a great race. From registration to packet pickup, parking to the race environment, it was great. For me, one of the most important aspects of any race is the family environment. Colorado Runner races typically have a kid's race before the other races. My kids got medals this time-no cost. That was the highlight of the day. The course was fantastic and super easy to follow. Great food, free pictures and a nice, well-marked course. What else could you ask for?

I love running in Colorado and this whole Winter Series is a great way to stay in shape and motivate you during those cold months.

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(2015)
"Perfect December Race"
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Sign-up: Piece of cake. I actually registered for the entire Winter Distance Series (this is one of 3 races). You actually get a discount (per race) if you sign up for all three. They have options to sign up for varying distances with all three. I signed up for this 5k and have two 5 mile races left to run in the series.
Packet pick-up: I prefer to pick up my packet ahead of time so I can put my number on my shirt at home. They had it all set-up at the local running store (Runner's Roost) and I was in and out pretty fast, plus the time perusing the store.
Swag: great shirt (poly/cotton-my favorite) and even came with a simple Santa hat which was a nice touch.
Parking: had to park across the street, maybe a quarter mile away, which wasn't too bad.
Course: fantastic mix of road and easy trail. It started snowing a bit just before the race, which made the atmosphere that much better.

Colorado Runner Magazine always does a fantastic job with all their races. There was plenty of food and great free items around the booths. I always love the Noosa yogurt!

Overall a great race to keep you determined during the cold winter months.

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