Latest reviews by Andrey Ablamunets

(2018)
"Harder Than It Appears"
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Oh boy this was not a walk in the park, even though we actually ran through the park! I can't say that this was a race that was managed the best. With that being said, I am not going to completely tear this race apart because there are volunteers and companies that work hard on the race. Instead I will provide my PROS and my CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM.
PROS:
- The sign up process is super easy through www.Athlinks.com.
- You pick up your bib at TC Running, which allows you to get all the needed race day essentials without driving around town to different places.
- There is a ton of parking at Maple Grove Senior High for the race.
- You get to start and end on the track of Maple Grove Senior High School.
- There are not a lot of runners so you never really feel crammed.
- The water stations are very well positioned.
- There is a bag check.
CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM
- The race course is way too long. If you are a USATF certified course you have to be closer calibrated.
- Maple Grove has two huge parks, why did we have to turn every couple of blocks through residential streets? Need to make the course more simple.
- Please have the correct start times on the website and in the email...
- Please warn the runners that the course is not closed to cars. Open courses require another level of awareness.
- The course should have individuals at all major or unexpected turns. Witnessed multiple runners missing the signage and needing to be called out to.
- This cannot be changed, but it is VERY HILLY AND DIFFICULT COURSE!

It is not the best race, but hopefully these changes get made for 2019 and there will be some improvements.

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(2018)
"You Work for This Half Marathon"
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OVERVIEW: This is a race that does not come easy! The Get In Gear Half Marathon is an out an back with a small loop that runs down the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. Starting at the Minnehaha Falls and going as far down the river as Gold Medal Park and then back. With this course you have three large hills that you are conquering.
WEATHER: The race is always a toss up for weather. This year it was absolutely perfect, but in years past it has rained and even snowed on race day.
COURSE: This course is obviously very beautiful. The river is amazing and you get plenty of city views. Other than the three hills, the road is even and there is plenty of volunteers to guide you.
AID STATIONS: There were four water/gatorade stations on the course. I did not pay much attention to First Aid areas, but I am sure they had those as well.
START/FINISH: The start and finish were both at the Minnehaha Pavilion Park area. Plenty of space to warm up. The start is a shotgun start and the corral is very narrow and completely packed. If you want to run fast or run with a pacer, get in the corral early! They had a lot of pacers so that was very nice for runners. Bag check was great. There were a lot of porter potties, but not enough. I suggest going earlier than later.
EXPO: Nothing much to say about this. There were maybe 5 tents set up for the bib pick up. It took me about 3min to pick up my bib and get out of there.
FOOD: They have a ton of post race food. Yogurt, chocolate milk, banana, peanut butter, biscuits, candy, and chips.
SUGGESTIONS: Let loose on the downhill and save energy on the up hill. There is a big hill at mile 10 so save some juice for that. Get a beer at Sea Salts after the race. Get in the corral early.

I like this race. It is a great way to start of the racing season. I'll do it again!

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(2017)
"Best Way to Start Your Food Eating Marathon"
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Thanksgiving equals Food, Family/Friends, Football. Well it is time to add an Run to the mix! I have always wanted to run a Turkey Day race but never got the actual motivation to do it. This year was very different. I am very happy that I bit the bullet and signed up for the Century Link Turkey Day 5k in Minneapolis.

Take this with a grain of salt, but this race is perfectly located in Minneapolis. I realize that I live downtown so for me anything in downtown is perfectly located but the race start and finish is located near Target Center which has plenty of parking all over the place. Also, downtown clears out around the holidays, so there is a ton of on street parking.

*RACE HACK ALERT* - On holidays, street parking and meter parking is free in Minneapolis!

The Bib Pick-Up process is done very well. Up to a week prior to the race you can pick up you bib at multiple running store locations around the Minneapolis area. On race day, they open the bib pick-up 2 hours before the race so that you have no issues picking up your bib and shirt beforehand. The pick-up area is inside of Target Center, so you can keep warm while you are in there. Really fast and seamless, do not need more than 15-20min to pick up the bib.

*RACE HACK ALERT* - You get your race shirt before the race, so be ready to wear it or run it back to your car or have your spectators hold on to it.

Before the start of the race, there is a mini-expo/activities area set up across the street from Target Center in the parking lot. They had vendors that were giving out free stuff, they had giant turkeys to take pictures with, there were lawn games set up, and they were serving FREE COFFEE AND COCOA!

*RACE HACK ALERT* - Drink coffee then go do your porter-potty business!

The race course was very well set up through downtown Minneapolis. You started out by Target Center (a couple blocks away), then ran down to US Bank Stadium. It is a wicked view of the sun rising over the Bank (The People's Stadium as we call it here in MPLS). Once you got close to the stadium you took a hard left and turned toward the river. Once reaching the river, you take another left and head back towards North Loop. The finish of the race is kind of great because it is a four block straight-away. Turn on the boosters and power through to the finish!

*RACE HACK ALERT* - Although they separate you based on your anticipated mile pace, once the gun goes off they drop the ropes and everyone takes off running. Kind of a cluster at the beginning.

Surprisingly, there are a lot of spectators on the 5K course. There is also an aid station around the two mile mark. There were three different areas where there were photographers snapping pictures. Also, once you were making it through the finish line they had a DJ playing and the announcers were calling people's names out. That's always pretty cool. Most importantly, they had the Vikings SKOL LINE in the middle of the course. (Where my Vikings fans at?!)

*RACE HACK ALERT* - By yelling "SKOL VIKES" as you run past the drumline will award you with a shout out.

After finishing the race you are cleared through the finish line area. From there you are able to go back to the activity area to meet up with people. The unfortunate thing is that you have to go around the other side of Target Center to pick-up your after race food. You have to have your bib or medal to walk through that area.

*RACE HACK ALERT* - the food is setup right next to the legendary 1st Ave Theater. Make sure you find your favorite artist and take a pic with their star!

Overall, this is a pretty fun race. There is definitely a ton of energy and excitement at the event. You get great views, awesome course, and a bunch of sweep swag. Start your Turkey Day feast with a bomb 5k. That way you can have an extra piece of pie at the end of the day!

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(2017)
"Be Ready To Rock"
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Be ready to rock to the music. I am not a headphone wearer, and I suggest that you leave the headphones at home for this one as well.

The race Expo is the day before the race. The expo is setup in a super unique way. You walk in, get your bib, follow the flow and pick up your shirt, and then you enter the first part of the general expo. This is the Brooks area. It is like a pop-up store. They were doing running style evaluations and they had everything on sale. After the Brooks store, you entered the general expo. Here there were about 15-25 vendors but they were all the ones that you need. It was a new layout that I haven't experienced because you were forced to walk through the whole expo.

Denver is a chilly place so be ready for that in the morning. We were able to find street parking about 5 blocks away so i definitely suggestion going that route rather than paying a bunch for parking. They had everything you need prior to the race. There was a bag check area, a lot of toilets, area to warm up, and a medic center. The starting chute gets packed quickly, but they allow you to jump into your corral as the race starts.

The race was ass fun as can be. There was a band or DJ pretty much every mile. There was plenty of entertainment through out the entire race. There were multiple cheer sections and there was plenty of spectators through out the entire race. There was at least 6 water stops and they had a station around mile 8 that was giving away fuel gummies. The course was not as hilly as people would expect, and most hills were fairly low grade so I wouldn't worry too much about it. You get great views of the city, mountains and the park. You finish where you started and it is a pretty energetic finish line.

The finish village is pretty great. There was plenty of food to grab after the race. The medic tent was right at the finish line so if you were a little banged up, you were able to pop in there. In the finishing area, there were food trucks, free beer, great band, and a handful of vendors as well. This is definitely a post race area that you want to hang out in.

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(2017)
"Mid-Week, Night Time, Downtown, Awesome Run"
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This race was a fun one! I run in Minneapolis every day and all the time I wish that i can run down the street to avoid all of the pedestrians. Well this race makes that wish come true. The race closes down one of the main roads in Downtown Minneapolis. Running down Hennepin Ave is pretty much awesome!

The race runs through downtown Minneapolis and ends in the iconic St Anthony Main area. Starting at the Basilica near Loring Park, making its way through downtown via Hennepin Avenue, taking a loop through North Loop, and finally crossing the Stone Arch Bridge. The finish line is right on Main St, in St Anthony Main area.

The starting line is a bit of a cluster. There are a lot of people shoved in a corral that does not span the entire street. Also, the pace groups were divided via a rope that volunteers were holding but there were no instructions on what to do when the gun went off. There was an aid station about half way through the race. There were plenty of volunteers to make sure your are going the right way and cheering you on. At the finish line, there were a ton of photographers and there was water, sports drink, pretzels, bananas, and an ice cold towel.

The swag was just a finisher T, but there was an after party with FREE BEER FOR RUNNERS, food, a live band, and a bunch of awesome vendors. The entire race was a PRO but here are two things to consider: 1. the starting line nonsense, 2. the course was about .20 - .25 mils long.

I would say that this was a fun mid-week, night time race!

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