Latest reviews by Kolbe Ricks

(2018)
"Forever a Favorite!"
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This race is an Austin classic and it is definitely worth a weekend of travel! The elite field is pretty great, lots of top Texas runners and out-of-staters come out to run this.

EXPO: The expo is located at the Palmer Event Center on Auditorium Shores. This is right where the race finishes, so you get to scope out the finishing area while it’s in progress. Park in the garage (it’s $5 and that is worth it because there is majorly limited street parking in this area!) The bibs are organized by number, so you to go your number range station and pick that up. The expo has great booths from local running stores, Austin Marathon and Austin Runners Club are there. Tons of samples. This year Thunderbird bars, Clif bar, Nuun were some of the major names, but also SPIbelt, and some smaller brands were there as well. Photo opportunities with Leo Manzano were also hosted throughout the day.

RACE: Corrals are A-H, so you might be starting closer to 9 am at that point. With more than 23,000 registered runners this year, the corrals are necessary! This was also the first year that I noticed them policing the corrals, but if you asked very nicely they let a few families stay together in the same corrals. The first 3.1 is hilly and there is lots of climbing. They have the King/Queen of the Hill challenge on this part where you can win a special T-Shirt for being the fastest person to climb a giant hill that covers about two city blocks. After the halfway point you get a little downhill and then flat to the finish.

POST RACE: Cross the finish line (this year we got a medal, it was the first year they’ve ever offered one!) And then head into the finisher’s area. There are plentiful tents where many teams have set up shop to hang out for the morning as their friends and teammates run in. There are food trucks, a beer garden, coffee, clif bars, nuun and a concert going on! This is definitely a spot where you can hang out for a while after you finish and lazily go along to brunch.

This was my third year to run this race and I will do my best to race it every year because I love the course and the atmosphere!!

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(2017)
"Fun time in SA!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
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This race is massive, but well managed. You have to come in a day early for packet pick-up, which when you realize how many people are running, that makes total sense.

The course is pretty decent and then there are hills that start around mile 10, so be ready for that! The weather this time of year is notoriously unpredictable and usually ends up being awful for really racing hard.

This is the type of race that you’ll want to do with a friend and make it a fun weekend. The post-race festivities are great and right in the middle of downtown, so you have easy access to brunch/lunch spots after finishing!

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(2017)
"Fun, Hilly trails!"
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The race was really great. Single track trails in the Piney Woods at Tyler State Park in Tyler, TX. I wasn't prepared for it to be so hilly; we gain 1,443 feet of elevation over the 25K and there were some monster hills that we had to climb. The course was beautiful, the trees were gorgeous and the trails weren't too technical for a non-trail runner to handle.

There were 4 aid stations per loop stocked with trail, hammer nutrition drink and electrolytes. Salty and sweet snacks. The volunteers were really helpful, encouraging and friendly!

Overall I'd recommend this race for sure!

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(2017)
"Tons of fun on rolling hills!"
Overall
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Sign-up/Pre-race: Excellent commnuication via email. Updates were timely and relevant with all information about parking, etc. easily understood.

Expo: This year the expo was moved to a different location than downtown due to the many other events that always fall on the same weekend as the race. To ease confusion and frustration, the expo was located at an event center on the north side of town. This was convenient for me since I was driving in from Austin. My mom and dad also came by, although they came from Houston, so it was a little out of the way. However, not having to stress over parking was definitely a plus. The expo was set-up outside, and inside with free beer from Amstel Xlight available to taste. Krispy Kreme donuts, Girl Scouts, Life Gift, Clothing and sports vendors all were present. Packet pick-up was easy and the swag was great. For those coming in out of town, there also was packet pick-up available in the evening at the host hotel the Menger. That hotel is literally next to the Alamo and easy to get to for anyone staying downtown, even if they weren't at the Menger.

Race Day: Everything was set-up nicely in the morning, with donuts and coffee available as you did warm-ups or waited nervously. Portapotties, were hidden, but there were definitely plenty available. My only complaint in the morning was that the half was supposed to start at 7:15, but in reality we didn't start until closer to 7:30 or a little after. We started in the dark, which was kind of weird for me. The roads opened up really well, so there was not a lot of congestion getting through. The course definitely had some rolling hills and two really cruel hills in my opinion. Scenery was great, we went through downtown, Zoo Park, trail, and the Riverwalk! What was nice about the course was that even though I am from Texas, and spent plenty of time in SA, we ran places that I hadn't seen before. Especially the Riverwalk. That was great to see stretches on the river that I hadn't seen in all these years! The finish line was a huge party and it was awesome pass right by the Alamo as I crossed the finish line.

Post Race: A massive party was happening at the finish line! As I crossed the mat, I got my medal and a waterbottle. The announcer was calling out names as we crossed and the food and music was plentiful! You could take pictures in front of the Alamo (I definitely met up with one of my teammates for a pic!) and then get in line for food. We got a baked potato with cheese, butter and sour cream, a whole huge thing of Promise Land chocolate milk, chicken, beans, and rice from Pollo Tropico, and a fruit tray! Again, there was free Amstel Xlight for those 21+. They also had mats set out with foam rollers, sticks, yoga blocks so you could get your post-race stretch and roll out completed. This was a lifesaver because I left my foam roller back in Austin. There were still plenty of donuts, live music playing, massage available and a truck where you could search your race results!

Swag: The swag was awesome! We got a great black tech T-shirt, black duffle bag that has the race logo on it and lots of pockets, a $50 discount on Hello Fresh and an awesome medal with the Alamo on it!

Recommend? 100% This was an incredibly fun and TEXAS race. I'm proud of being a Texan and loved celebrating our history (did I mention the reenactors who shot off a cannon before we started?) and love for running. Great race for locals and those out-of-state! And FREE RACE PHOTOS.

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(2017)
"Fun race and yummy chocolate!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
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Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
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This race was such a fun time! I missed out on the expo because I was driving in from out of town. My family members went, and said it was great. There were lots of booths and they both bought several things (shoe gems, advocare products, a sweat towel and waist band pack).
We arrived around 6 a.m. and had no problems parking. If you don't want to walk far to your car after the race, I'd recommend getting there around the same time. We wandered around for a while freezing and standing near the portapotties for warmth, and then I decided to go check my gear. The gear check was the place to be! It was warm, and there were regular restrooms and plenty of open floor space to sit! We stayed there until race time.

Everyone was sorted by corral and the start times were spaced out by ~5mins to try to keep the course as clear as possible with so many runners. That was a nice touch, and it was plenty crowded when my corral started, so I can only imagine what it would've been like without the spacing.

The course was not as scenic as I had hoped. You did get to run through plenty of Dallas and along a bike path, but you didn't really pass any big landmarks. Also, it was much hillier than I thought it would be, but it wasn't so hilly that you wanted to give up. Good space between the hills and most were a steady climb, not a huge mountain to power up.

The finish line was great, and you got your medal right away. The chute basically led you right to where you pick up your finisher's mug. The mug is this cool big plastic sectioned mug that has a cup of hot chocolate (it was hot!), chocolate for dipping, marshmallow, banana, pretzels and some cookies! It's dishwasher safe, and they had plastic bags to put it in to keep chocolate from getting all over your stuff on the way home!

We didn't hang around outside long because we were cold, but it looked fun! Lots of people milling about, music, and the merch booth was open so you could still get official race swag!

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