Latest reviews by Christopher McManus

(2019)
"Rock n Running Philly"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Overall this was an amazing race that I would recommend to anyone! It was the first time I had visited Philly in years and was just a great race to explore the city and see all the beauty the city has to offer. Rock n Roll (RNR) races are very well organized so everything is fast and easy to coordinate.

Swag: The shirt for this race was just what you would expect from a RNR Race: a tech shirt, fun theme print, and correctly fitting size. A few other pieces of free swag came in the bag with race weekend promos.

Aid Stations: Aid stations were stocked with Gatorade Enduance, every other station, and water at every station. The stations were appropriately spaced out. There was one fuel station which had Science in Sports Gels.

Course Scenery: The first five miles of the course are throughout downtown, including Chinatown, and passing close to Independence Hall. Then the remaining 8 miles are an out and back along the river. The course by the river is so nice and calming, with trees and other country views event though you are still in the city.

Expo: The Expo was very fun. Getting your bib was seamless and easy, clearly marked signs led you towards the shirts, and then there were a good amount of vendors. There were many types of event at the expo like interviews with previous winners of the race, and live broadcasts. A lot more vendors than your typical race vendors too which was nice!

Elevation: The course was pretty flat in the five miles of city, then in the four miles out and fours miles back they were micro-rolling hills which added a bit of challenge to the course. The race also ended on an uphill finish which was unexpected.

Parking: the race advertised several different parking locations for race day. I chose one of the locations listed on the app which was supposed to be close, but ended up being farther away from the race than anticipated due to construction. Walking a mile to and from the race was not what I planned on but not a problem either. I understand it is a city and parking is limited.

Race Management: The race is so well organized. The appropriate amount of port-a-potties, after race fuel (food and drink), beer garden, and bag check. All notifications were sent right from the app to my phone so I was always updated with any race news.

Take advantage of this amazing management to explore this beautiful city!

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(2019)
"Double Down to Victory"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Overall this is a race to not miss! It's not one of the top 5 triathlons in the nation without reason.

Expo: The race expo was on the smaller side but still had a good amount of vendors. I found the packet pickup aspect to be a bit confusing. The Sprint and Olympic had different places to pick up the packets but they were right next to each other. You had to get your sprint pack at one end of the table and olympic at the other. It would have been nice to have a special area for the double down runners to streamline the process.

Swag: The standard finisher shirt was SO soft! I love to wear it. The double down shirt is more cotton based which makes it heavier. The finisher shirt and medals were the same for both the sprint and olympic, it would have been nice for something different to recognize the difference in distance and accomplishment. However the medals are still awesome!

Aid Stations: One aid station was available during the race in the run portion of the race. It was stocked with Nuun Hydration, water, Honey Stingers, and iced wash cloths. Best aid stations ever!

Course Scenery: Mercer Park is gorgeous! The lake where we swam was very clean and well maintained. Life guard were stationed around the swimmers which was comforting.The bike route was along the outside of the park which gave a great perspective of the area. The neighboring areas were mostly farm fields and suburbs which made me feel right at home. The run was along a path through the woods, but not a trail. Most of the run had shade cover which was also nice.

Elevation: Overall the elevation change was very minor which lead for a flat race. It's funny how small differences in the gradient of the roads made the biggest difference. There were a few minor hills during the run but nothing crazy.

Parking: I had no issues with parking at all. They had most of the areas clearly labeled for traffic pattern adjustments. The only thing that could have been a problem was making sure that people could get out of the park after the race since they would have to cross the race course at some point.

Race Management: I really have to give my props to the race director, he did an outstanding job of keeping the race happening amongst the severe heat advisory that NJ had. The distance of the run for the sprint was reduced by a mile and for the olympic the swim was reduced to 750 meters, 13.5 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run. This was tough with the heat but we still managed to race, unlike other places in the northeast. The transition area was so organized that even for a first time triathlete it was easy to navigate.

To sum everything up I would definitely recommend this race to any level of triathlete. Its a solid course and very well organized.

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(2018)
"Fun Trail Race"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Friday was the 3.8 mile Trail Run. The race was held in the afternoon which was different but fun. They shuttled us to the trail start from the race expo, which I thought was a great idea. I didn’t have to look up direction to the trail start and drive there, this also kept the parking lot pretty empty so we had room to stretch before the race.

Before the race started they had a few speakers from Altra who gave us tips about trail running in general and about this course. I thought this was really cool because for some runners this would be their first trail race, and running on the trails is a lot different than a road race.

I had a little insider knowledge about the trail and was told that the trail shrinks down to a single lane so we got up to the front of the pack before the race started so we wouldn’t get stuck farther back than we wanted.

The trail itself was clearly marked and well-traveled. There were the typical obstacles you would expect on a trail: loose rocks, roots, dirt and leaves which all added to the fun. There was a good balance of up and down hills and in most places plenty of room to pass runner if you needed. The downhill finish was very fun.

There was pizza, popcorn, and bottled water after the race.

100% recommend this fun trail race!

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(2018)
"10K of your dreams"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

The 10K at the Runner’s World festival was back to back with the 5K. Runners who ran any of the multi-distant categories had only about 45 minutes after the 5K before racing again. Since I ran the Grand Slam I ran both races. See my previous review on the 5K for more detail about the expo, parking, and accessibility. This race started promptly at 9:30am.

The 10K course started at the Bethlehem Steel complex and followed the same route as the 5K to the Philip J. Fahy Memorial Bridge. Knowing about the uphill climb of the bridge from the 5K was a plus. After we crossed the bridge we went left and made our way to Conestoga Street which runs along Monocacy Creek. I found this to be the best park of the race due to the scenery. After that is when the course gets a bit more challenging. It’s just after mile 2 at this point and then next 1.5 miles was pretty much all an uphill climb. The course cuts down a few different streets during the climb which if you weren’t prepared for the climb could be disheartening. However at mile 3.5 you get to enjoy 1.5 miles of downhill as you make your way back to the Fahy Bridge. The final miles follow the same course as the 5K, down Columbia Street and past Sands Casino. Again, knowing about the small climb toward the casino was key so you could reserve some energy for the climb.

After the race they had bottled water, bananas, pretzels, and nature valley bars.

My overall thoughts are that this is a fun race with more challenges than the 5K, and better scenery as well. You get to run through more of the city and see more of the sights and you get a decent amount of downhill time as well. The aid stations were stocked with water and Gatorade and spaced out perfectly across the course. Whether you’re running this race by itself or as part of a multi-distance category I think it’s must run race.

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(2018)
"Hilly Half Marathon"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Sunday was the Half Marathon for the Runner’s World Festival. The weather was not in our favor as it had been for the 5K and 10K, it was around 40 degrees with some decent wind as well. Warming up for this race was crucial and having the parking lot areas nearby to warm up in was awesome. For more information about the expo please see my review of the 5K. The race started promptly at 8:00am.

The course did a quick loop around the block before heading to the Philip J. Fahy Memorial Bridge like the 5K and 10K. After crossing the bridge the course differed from the 10K and took us through a residential area down West Lehigh Street. Once we hit the third mile is when the course started to get pretty hilly. The climb lasted until just after mile 9, there were several flat sections between the hills but not many downhill just yet. We passed by Moravian College on our way to Monocacy Park. Throughout this part of the course there were residential areas, rural areas lined with trees, and businesses. Once we hit mile 9 the course took us back in the direction of the Fahy Bridge with a long decent down Center Street and Main Street. Once you hit the bridge it is all familiar territory as you head down Columbia Street towards Sands Casino for the final Mile.

The course was more difficult than I imagined with all the hills however I felt that the flat sections after the climbs offered a nice reprieve to catch your breath. To reiterate, though from miles 3-9 you are mostly running uphill it isn’t all in one straight shot. There were many breaks to keep you motivated.

The course had many aid stations stocked with water and Gatorade, and one aid station with gels. I found that some of the aid stations were hard to spot, ones with few volunteers at them. There were also several unofficial aid stations from residents with snacks and drinks which I thought was very nice of them. Since the course took us through many residential areas there seemed to always be some spectators cheering you on.

After the race they had bagels, bananas, nature valley bars, water bottles, and popcorn.

I did like that there was a special half marathon medal for the grand slam runners that had magnets for the other medals to connect to. It made it more rewarding to see all the medal combined after running all those races back to back.

Whether you’re running this race as a standalone or as part of a multi-distance category I think it was the best race of them all. It really showcased the different parts of the city and still provided a fun challenge.

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