Latest reviews by Jocelyn Hi

(2016)
"Miller Park Fun!"
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This was my first run in Wisconsin, and it was definitely a splendid race! Overall, the race was very well organized with lots of e-mails and information blasts on packet pickup, parking, course updates, and the finish line party. To start, the t-shirt was nice (typical technical tee) with the name of the run, and additional swag was given at packet pickup including a bobble-head and some other small items from local vendors. It wasn't really an expo, as there was only a few sponsors from the event there, but the store for the Brewers was open where you could purchase fan items there. Packet pickup took place in the Skyy lounge at Miller Park.

Getting to the start line was fairly easy, I ubered to the race, and just walked over to the start line. There were multiple volunteers and cones marking a path to clearly lead you to gear check and the start line. The weather was overcast for the run, and sprinkled slightly, but I would say it was pretty optimum conditions for running in the midwest at the end of the summer/beginning of the fall time. The humidity was tolerable with the overcast weather.

Overall, the course was clearly marked. I actually really enjoyed this run because it's not so large with thousands and thousands of participants where you feel like you are cramped on the course (nothing like the RNR series), but there are still enough participants where you don't feel like you have to worry about getting lost (although the course is clearly marked with lots of volunteers at every turn). I thought the aid stations were perfectly distanced so I was able to choose which stations I could stop at, and each one had both water and gatorade at each station. There were a few small short hills along the course, but the views of the city were great. This was my first time to Milwaukee so it was awesome to see a portion of the city as well as running by the Harley Davidson Museum. The best part of the race was being able to run through Miller Park. I am not necessarily a huge sports fan, but it's always a great experience to be able to see one of the classic stadiums. The course actually ran around the field with the big screen camera showing the participants running around. It was amazing!!!

There was a ton of food at the end of the race, and this is one of the post race parties I have seen where 2 beers are given at the end. It was Miller beer (hence Milwaukee, WI and Miller Park). I would definitely recommend this as a bucket list run, great course views, not overly crowded, and everyone was super friendly. Loved this run!

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(2016)
"Colorado Running!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
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I've only ever done 2 half marathons in Colorado. The Rock 'n' Roll half marathon in Denver, and this half marathon. One of the best things about this race is how it is exactly the opposite of the Rock 'n' Roll series. There are not a lot of people, so you have room to do as you want, the course is clearly marked, and there are great volunteers at each station handing out energy, water, and electrolytes. This company really has a great understanding of all the things that get on runners' nerves, and fixing those issues. The start and finish of the race was at the Apex Center in Arvada, so inside bathrooms prior to the race, lots of easy parking, cold towels at the end, and great food post-race.

Expo: There wasn't really much of an expo, just a packet pick up a few days prior to the event, and packet pick up the morning of the race. Personally, I wish they offered a longer packet pickup time, as the location was a good distance from my house, and trying to make the time to grab my stuff was a little inconvenient with trying to get off work early to battle traffic. I'm not really a big fan of doing packet pick up the morning of (super OCD about getting my bib and timing chip on the night before).

SWAG: This event definitely had some of the best SWAG I have ever seen. With all the different sponsors, there was tons and tons of samples and goodies in my bag, outside of just the typical t-shirt.

Course: The course followed along the Ralston Creek Trail (concrete paved), around a reservoir, and back on the trail. Most of the area on the trail was covered, and there were many beautiful sights along the way. The portion around the reservoir was a little more difficult as there were a few long steep hills, that provided no cover, and had multiple switchbacks.

Overall, I found this half marathon to be a great deal for the price you paid. It was nice to participate in a smaller event, and I would definitely run it again.

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(2016)
"Fun Race"
Overall
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This was my first time to Minnesota and it was definitely an experience! This race was on the smaller side with bib pickup offered at the TC Marathon office in Minneapolis. There was nothing particularly special about the bib pickup / expo. Two vendors (Running Room and GNC) had booths outside the doors as you stood in line to pick up your bib, shirt, and cup. Out of all the races I have ran, this race definitely had some of the best swag, and one of the best shirts designs I have seen. It was really simple, and I really liked the color of the shirt. Also, the pint glass given was a nice addition for Swag for this event.

On the day of the race, there was a little bit of confusion on where the starting line was, and I saw a few comments made on social media, race day. From what I noticed, it seems the start line moved about a mile from where the race originally started before. I double checked the map the night before, and noticed the map had changed from when I first signed up for the event (luckily... whew!).

The course itself was nice. It was a giant loop course that involved running through some parks. Because the run started really early (6:30 AM start time), the weather wasn't extremely hot for the race. I did think it was a little more humid (personally, than I was expecting), but the race had a decent amount of shade. The course had only a few short hills, and was overall fairly flat. My only complaint would have been to have one or two more water stations. I don't generally carry water when I run, and I think I struggled with the water stations being a little over 2 miles a part for the long run.

One of my favorite parts of the race, was all the food at the end. I love chocolate milk, and they were even handing out popsicles and hot dogs at the end (outside of the normal bagel and bananas) to make it really feel like a 4th of July BBQ event. The after party had a slip-n-slide (from what I saw in e-mails), but I actually didn't participate in that portion of the event.

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(2016)
"Epic Event!"
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I think this was the second year this event has been put on and I can honestly say these race organizers definitely know what they are doing. For being a smaller race, they are extremely organized from sending out the pre-race e-mails, to the expo, to the day of the event.

The race is run along SH 50 from Spooner Summit to the Stateline in South Tahoe. There was a very limited amount of parking at Spooner Summit, so the race organizers set up a busing system to meet at the Hard Rock hotel and to drop off the runners at the top. Through e-mails and the expo, race participants could sign up for the buses. This race is also walker friendly and the walkers had a 7 AM start time, while runners had an 8 AM start time. I think this is due to the limited amount of time for the road closures, and although I was concerned about there being a lot of walkers to have to run through, most were pretty spread out over the course and moved over to the side to let the runners pass them.

The view of Lake Tahoe on this course was absolutely breathtaking! It was actually really hard to not stop and take pictures along the way. The first few miles of the course were downhill, but I was warned by previous runners to not take off in the beginning, as there are a few long hills in this course you don't want to be too gassed out for. Although the net elevation of the course lost about 800 feet, you are still starting at over 7000 feet and portions of the course were still decently challenging with long hills (you're running through the Sierra Nevadas). Also, a majority of the course had little to no shade cover, but the weather was pretty optimum on the day we ran. There were plenty of aid stations along the way, each having more than just water and energy drinks.

This event has one of the best post race parties I have ever been to. The post race event was a beach party that took place just down the street, and the race organizers set up buses to shuttle people back and forth between the Hard Rock hotel and the beach party. I wish I had more time to hang out, but I actually had to leave fairly quickly to catch a flight home that evening.

This race also had great swag. There were medals handed out at the end, a finisher's shirt, and a reusable Tahoe "solo" cup at the post race party. I would highly recommend this race! It was an amazing experience and Tahoe is one of my favorite places to visit.

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(2016)
"2.5 Miles of Perfection!"
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This is one of the most organized races I have ever participated in. Starting from the beginning, the communication between registration to race day has stood out by far compared to some of the other events I have participated in. I greatly appreciated the monthly e-mail blasts with updates and information for the race, as well as e-mail reminders that were blasted out for the event. I can be very disorganized sometimes, so having the out reach was very convenient. Also, there is an app that has all the information for the event, which was also very helpful.

The Expo was very large, had some great vendors, and was held at the Convention Center. It was easy to pick up your bib and browse the vendors, or leave early if you wanted to. This race actually had quite a bit of swag with a shirt, hat, bags, and multiple freebie items being handed out at the Expo.

Race morning was quite a sight. I don't think I have ever seen that many runners in my life, and I can definitely see why this is one of the largest half marathons in the nation. There were even some celebrities that participated in the runs! I had heard that if you are a more serious runner, it is better to be seeded in the front, as there are a lot of other runners you would have to pass, and I did notice that some sections were not very wide for passing (or maybe there were just that many runners, which made it difficult), However, if you're running just to run, it doesn't really matter which wave you are assigned, because it's just a lot of fun to see everything. The course is overall flat, and my favorite part to run was the track. I tend to be klutzy (and have been known to fall from time to time), and the track was 2.5 miles of perfectly paved asphalt. You don't have to worry about potholes or any sort of unevenness on the track. It was like running on a treadmill, outside! The ending of the race finished downtown at Military Park, and had a ton of vendors for some amazing post-race fun. These finisher medals were really neat as they looked just like the Indy 500 cup.

I would highly recommend this race to anyone looking to do a first run, as the course is overall pretty flat, there are a ton of aid stations, lots of course support (just about the whole stretch of the race), and there are so many other runners with great charisma and excitement that it keeps the vibe of the race super exciting!

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