Latest reviews by Stephanie Dunlap

(2021)
"A Race for All Women"
Overall
Race Management
SWAG
Virtual Support

I highly recommend the Virtual Women's Half Marathon as a must-run race for all women! There are truly not enough good things I can say about the race!

First, the race offered runner three race distances (5k, 10k, or half marathon) along with a double or triple challenge. This variety allowed all runners the option to participate.

Second, the race was active on social media (Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram) and did fun promotional giveaways which got participants excited about the event and kept everyone well informed. I participated in their free Facebook group which was comprised of runners who motivated, inspired, and encouraged one another. This helped to give the race a feeling of community.

Third, the race had amazing swag to offer their runners... varying medals based upon distances, removable charm on the medal, high-quality tech tees, reusable bag, headband, and more!

I look forward to participating in more Women's Half Marathon events in the future!

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

Truly a virtual running experience! Probably the number one feature of the Virtual Oakland Running Festival that I enjoyed the most was the DIY finish line banner sent to me in my packet. I tried to have my toddler hold it up for me as I returned home after completing 13.1 miles, but she wasn't too impressed.

The long sleeve shirt I received as a part of my swag was top-notch dryfit materials with thumbholes (my fav)! As for the medal, this too was top-notch, high quality with a unique design made specific for Oakland's unique area.

The 2020 Oakland Marathon was my first postponed race of 2020. Even in 2020, the Oakland Marathon and Running Festial did a great job mailing out packets to runners and still making it a memorable event.

I highly recommend the Oakland Marathon and I look forward to hopefully running the race in person in 2022!

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(2020)
"Run For A Cause"
Overall
Race Management
SWAG
Virtual Support

It was a joy to participate in the Team in Training Resilience Challenge. The virtual information was given in a timely manner, the website was organized, and the staff members who reached out to me were courteous. As a 5th grade teacher, I encouraged my students to participate in the Resilience Challenge with their families. This allowed all of us to get up and to get moving towards a cause. I would highly recommend anyone who is looking to run for a purpose greater than themselves, to look into teaming up with Team in Training.

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(2020)
"A Virtual Race with Ocean Views"
Overall
Race Management
SWAG
Virtual Support

I love running the Giant Race in person, but if I can't run it in person, at least I can run it virtually. The communication from the Giant Race about the virtual race was timely and informational. The race management showed concern for runners' safety and made themselves open to feedback from runners. The San Francisco Giant Race swag is always amazing! From the limited edition bobble heads to the tech tees, I love receiving the Giant Race swag! Finally, the virtual support on race day was incredible! Runners had the option to listen to inspirational messages and interact with other runners virtually. I highly recommend the San Francisco Giant race either in person or virtually!

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(2020)
"Virtual Race Option"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Have you ever headed into a run and/or workout and felt totally unprepared? That was me during my most recent virtual race, the Across the Bay 12k & 415k. I’ve been a runner for the last eight or more years, yet I still made three mistakes during my last virtual race.

The first mistake I made during my most recent virtual race was that I started too late. With a high of 100 plus degrees, I should have started my run closer to 6am, not 8am. By the time I finished my run, it was already 85 degrees! The ice cold water that I had in my handheld Nathan water bottle was warm within the first mile. I don’t know about you, but on most summer runs, all I really want to drink is ice cold water! Races that serve ice cold popsicles at the aid stations are my favorite!

I was so thankful that I was wearing my new BUFF Pack Run visor because it kept me cool and protected my face from the sun. A visor or hat is definitely an essential for all of your outdoor adventures!

The second mistake that I made was not eating something before I left for my run. I don’t really classify a 7.5 mile run as a “long run” which would require me to prepare fuel to consume during my run. I thought, therefore, that I’d be fine to quickly go out for my run, then return home to eat breakfast. Sadly, this was not the case.

For the last five weeks, I have been juicing one to three meals a day. Quickly into my run, I realized that my body needed fuel. I felt weak and low of energy. Not only that, but before I had reached the halfway point, I had already drank all of my water. I was one very thirsty and hungry runner!

Starbucks is my usual go-to coffee shop, but when I ran past a local coffee shop at mile 4, I decided that THIS was going to be my saving grace!

I stopped and enjoyed an egg and cheese breakfast sandwich along with an iced black coffee and an ice water. A fellow runner saw me with my race bib on and asked, “Oh, is there a race happening today?”

I nonchalantly replied, “Yes. It’s the Across the Bay 12k & 415k. This is my aid station” as I sat there with my feet propped up.

After fueling my body with some much needed hydration and food, I continued on my way to cross my own virtual finish line.

My one final take-away from the virtual Across the Bay 12k is that I miss my people! Running races alongside my running friends is way more fun than running all by myself! I, like so many others, am looking forward to the day in which we can all reunite once more. Despite these 3 mistakes that I made during my last virtual run, I had fun and am proud of another race finished.

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