Latest reviews by Ben Wachter

(2017)
"Fun, Low key and a perfect for first timers"
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Let me start by saying I was the 2:15 pacer for the half. This was my 2nd time pacing for them and their races are a lot of fun.
The day was overcast and humid but that's normal for Virginia. The course was altered slightly at the start due to construction but was handled well and didn't affect anything. The course runs along the Greenways in Roanoke and is a perfect setting for running. We had the Roanoke River or Tinker Creek along one side for the race and green grass, gardens and trees along the other. There was a short steep hill at mile 5 and coming back along mile 9 but they weren't too bad. The rest of the course is small rolling hills and flat. The path along the river is about the width of a single lane road so you can run 3 wide and carry on a conversation if you wanted too.
The after party had a DJ at the finish and everyone was cheering the runners as they crossed.
I can honestly recommend this series to anyone looking to run a fun lowkey race. If they come to your area go and sign up.

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(2017)
"It lives up to the name 'America's toughest'."
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I'll start by saying that I won entry into the BRM this year and was excited to run it. This was a bucket list race and it is in my home state so it wasn't a long drive. I arrived Friday mid day and checked into the motel and proceeded to the expo. Being in the middle of a small, busy downtown parking was a ta premimum so I went back to my room and waited for the traffic to die down and went back. This time no problems. This is a very small expo so it went rather quick. After dinner and sleep it was race day.
The start/ finish is right in the middle of downtown in a park and had a nice hometown kind of vibe. One odd thing is the 10k, half and full all start at the same time, which makes for some congestion at the start but things shake out by mile 2 and the first hills.
They call this 'Americas Toughest Road Marathon' and that is not a joke. The first climb is the biggest, straight up Roanoke Mountain and right back down into another climb up Mill Mountain. There are plenty of aid stations so staying hydrated is not an issue. The third hill is the one that gets you. Once you reach the flat at the top there is another small steep climb before the turn around and you go back down into the valley. Part of the course is on the Greenway along the river so there is some flats to break up the hills.
The race this year was canceled around 4 hours 30 minutes due to lightning strikes so the directors did a good job making sure the runners were safe, even though some decided to continue on on their own.
Would I do it again? Yes.

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(2017)
"Wait, why's the weather nice?"
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This was my fourth year running the Monument 10k. In the past there has been rain, snow, and extreme cold and wind, but this year was different. It was sunny, warm and nice out. The course was slightly different due to the usual finish area at Monroe Park being remodeled but Sportsbackers did a great job of changing things and the finish area felt like a street festival. The total number of people crossing the finish was 20k+ so it's a large event but well managed and everything seemed to flow well.
As usual there were bands, cheering sections and a party atmosphere along the course, which is party cobblestone road and paved the rest of the way. There were plenty of aid stations and this year they had medics on bikes along the course.
The medal this year was something different. It is part of a series so I guess we will see the next section for 2018.
The expo is your typical expo, a lot of small vendors and race directors. It would be nice to see some of the larger running companies at the expo considering the size of this event.

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(2016)
"Tough but fun"
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This was a no frills race. The course was a 2.95 mile loop with one aid station that you reported to after each lap and could refuel or do what needed to be done before you hit the loop again.
The course was in Powhatan State Park and used the multi use trails so you shared the road with horses and dog walkers. That wasn't a problem, you just had to really watch where you stepped.
Aid station was well stocked and everyone was super friendly.
I would do this again, just not after running a marathon the week before.

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(2016)
"Second time was much better."
Overall
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This was my second time running Richmond and I was much better prepared for it. The scenery was amazing, the people cheering were great and everything seemed to run very smoothly.
Compared to other events the Expo seemed very small and lacking.
The course is well laid out but deceptive. Around mile 16 or 17 when you turn on Main St it is slightly uphill the entire way and unless your with someone it can take some punch out of you. Luckily one of the local watering holes had Mimosa's handy and were cheering everyone on. The section after the bridge around mile 20 had the biggest crowds when you turn back into the neighborhoods and head toward the finish.
The last half mile to the finish is all downhill and is rather jarring after that distance, but the view of the finish and the river is worth it. The after party was a lot of fun, and standing in line for a massage was worth it.
Finisher swag is a medal, a fleece blanket, and a hat. While I like the medal and the blanket was very handy with the cold weather, they could drop the hat and do something else. Maybe socks or a Buff. Or stainless steel cup.
Overall, this is a great fall race and I'm planning on running it again.

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