Latest reviews by Andrey Ablamunets
This review is going to sound critical, but I will preface this by saying these three things:
1. I think that this is a temporary adjustment to the event while Hennepin Ave is going through construction.
2. This was the best option that they had to keep the race a downtown race.
3. There were no really big issues, these are just my opinions based off of my experience of the race in previous years.
Race Bib Pick-Up:
Best Part - there were a bunch of different places and times that you could pick up your race bib. That made it really easy for anyone that has a full schedule.
Worst Part - the individuals that were at the bib pick-up were extremely rude. Throughout the entire process they were very short and rude. No “how are you,” “excited for the race,” “do you have any questions,” “good luck” were said. They asked for my ID and gave me the bib. That’s it.
Best Part - the whole thing. The MC was great, the volunteers were super nice, and the wave start was a great idea.
Best Part - running through downtown Minneapolis and the along side of the river was great.
Worst Part - the finish was poorly set up. I think this is due to the construction on the regular course.
Post Race Party
Worst Part - very poorly set up. The field was huge but everything was stacked on top of each other without clear directions of where to go. Because of the set up, the lines were super long for food and beer.
Overall, this was a fine race, but when they go back to the original course after the construction, it was once again be a great race.
The EC Half Marathon was a Midwest hidden secret. I did not know what to expect from the race, the course, management and all the details. I was very surprised how well the who event was put on. There was no shortage of volunteers, events, support, cheer squads and everything in between.
The expo for the event is pretty straight forward. Now thrills, just local businesses, packet pick-up, race gear, and accessories. It was at the university so there was plenty of parking all over the place. Everyone was very helpful with their directions and information about the race.
The race starts and ends in Carson Park. There are designated parking lots for the event and shuttles that run very often. We decided to park in the neighborhood at about .5 miles into the race. It was easy and not a far walk. The race activities are in a large parking lot in the park. This was great because there is a ton of space and a lot of vendors. They had a bag drop, which was clutch.
The race starts on a downhill. Throughout the first half of the race, the course elevation varies and there are a couple bigger hills. You run on the street and on bike paths so there are times when it gets kind of tight. The second half of the race is flat or downhill. At this point you run through downtown and through the university. Both areas are filled with so many people that are cheering you on that it gives you a huge boost. You also run through some residential areas and the people there were super nice handing out food and water. The finish is UP HILL. That really sucked. But it does make you feel even better when you finish.
My top tips:
- Park in the neighborhood
- There is plenty of water so no need to worry about that
- Get amped for the Bluegold Mile
- Don’t count the bridges
- Keep a little energy for the end, you’ll need it for the UP HILL
The reason I gave two stars on the Expo and T-Shirt is because there was nothing special there. For runners, its just a standard that there is an expo and a shirt. Gotta go above to leave an impression.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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!
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!