Latest reviews by Amy Will

(2017)
"Frozen Feat: An Awesome Mid-Winter Challenge"
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The Frozen Feat 5k/10k is a great excuse to break up the monotonous winter weather in these northern parts. So maybe it sounds a little crazy to run here in February but the unpredictable winter weather is half the fun.

While previous years have been ridiculously cold (so I heard), my first year of running the Frozen Feat 10k was a gorgeous 40 degrees above zero! The only downside to the heat wave was the ice and icy puddles from the melting snow. That made racing more interesting but racing in North Dakota's February guarantees an interesting experience.

Expo: There wasn't an official race expo but packet pick-up was available on Friday evening and on race morning. I had pre-registered and picking up my number that morning was a breeze. They had booths set up and were very organized.

Race Swag: AWESOME! The medals feature the Frozen Feat logo and are very unique. My favorite swag item was the 3/4 sleeve jersey shirt this year. It was a nice change from typical technical race shirts and is very cozy - quite fitting for the real winter weather that is sure to return.

Course: The course consisted of a small stretch of street and then it was mostly a running/bike path. I appreciated that because vehicle traffic wasn't an issue at all. The only downside was the batches of ice and icy slush puddles - thankfully the course has only a few slight rolling hills and I didn't see any major wipe outs. The 10k was very slippery but I heard it wasn't so bad for the 5k'ers.

They also released the 10k group 30 minutes before the 5k group and that prevented clogging up the course. With around 260 runners participating, this was a very wise decision made by the race directors and it paid off!

Aid Stations: I saw one aid station that offered water and did take a cup "to-go". Being it's a shorter race, having one station with water was plenty.

Medal: Very nice and uniquely designed! 10k medals were blue and 5k medals were green. The Top 3 Male & Female runners and Top AG'ers were given special Frozen Feat mugs. The Top 3 Males/Females also received plaques and a Scheels gift card.

Logistics: Parking was fairly easy to find and my husband only had to move our car out of the 2-hour parking once. Very uncomplicated logistically!

Check out my full race report here: http://www.livinglifetruth.com/2017/02/race-report-frozen-feat-10k.html

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(2016)
"Improved Full Marathon Course & Gorgeous Fall Leaves"
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Since the last time I ran the Blue Ox full marathon in 2013, the organizers have re-routed the first 8 or so miles of the race to go through downtown instead of on a country highway. This was awesome! I enjoyed the change of scenery and looking at all of the downtown businesses as we ran by.

Expo: I picked up my packed the morning of the race and missed out on most of the race expo. In the morning packet pick-up, my kids did get foam "horns" for Babe the Blue Ox and a foam "beard" for Paul Bunyan, along with cheering pom-poms, moraccas and blow-up axes. They had a ton of goodies for my family and I!

Race Swag: The full marathon participants received a long-sleeve technical shirt and I loved their "Harness Your Inner Ox" design for this year.

Course: Along with the course change I mentioned above, the Blue Ox course was beautiful with the changing fall leaves. The course has rolling hills, especially some big ones from miles 20-25, making for a challenge on tired legs. I really enjoyed taking in all of the Fall leaves changing colors along the routes through the state park and alongside the college campus.

Aid Stations: The aid stations seemed further apart this race but I think it's also because I just ran a marathon two weeks ago with super close aid stations (Grand Forks). They offered sports drinks and water at each station along with two stations of GU's. The Salted Caramel GU's are my new favorite!!!

Medal: I love the medals this year! The medal "lanyard" was a piece of blue plaid wool material from the Woolen Mill in that town. Loved their design. For coming in as first Female, I received a full-sized ax with the logo and text "burnt" into the wood. It's HEAVY but a super cool award.

Logistics: Parking was a breeze and my family had a great time watching me from numerous spots along the course.

Check out my full race recap here: http://www.livinglifetruth.com/2016/10/race-report-blue-ox-marathon-2016.html

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(2016)
"The Inaugural GF Full Marathon ROCKED! "
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This was my second marathon of the year and the Fall temps were perfect. Grand Forks really rocked the inaugural year of their full marathon and I hope they will keep this going for years to come.

Expo: The expo is small but very efficient. Picking up my number, race swag and some extra expo goodies was a breeze, even with my two toddlers in tow.

Race Swag: The Grand Forks/Wild Hog races have my favorite swag. Even better, the full marathoners received a marathon JACKET instead of a long-sleeve tech shirt because it was the inaugural year. Love my jacket! Race swag also included a pair of Fitsoks, a Wild Hog drink glass, and a large map/spectators guide. After crossing the finish, I was given a cotton Wild Hog t-shirt as well. For placing third Female, I received an engraved mug. This race is full of great stuff!

Course: The race course is mostly flat but there are quite a few ups & downs over the river dikes. Enough so to make my quads cry by the last 20 miles... We did run on a small gravel section but besides that the course is mainly pavement. As for scenery, we ran out in the country for the first 6 miles or so and then in residential and parks for the remainder. There was plenty to look at with the cheering fans, houses, and other runners. It kept me busy!

Aid Stations: There were plenty of aid stations offering both water and sports drinks. At two points they offered GU gels to the full marathoners and in two different flavors as well :) Vanilla for me, please!

Medal: The full marathon medals were BIG and they had meaning as well. On the inside of the sparkly circle, there was a spinning "monument" in memorial of the Grand Forks flood that occurred in the 90's. (See my below link for a picture of the medal)

Logistics: Parking was easy in the morning and they did open the warm up building at 6:15 (race started at 7:15). After the race, it was easy to find my cheering section and our vehicle. I really appreciated the size of this race!

In summary, I had a blast at the Grand Forks Marathon! I would love to make running the GF Marathon a yearly tradition.

Check out my full race recap here: http://www.livinglifetruth.com/2016/09/race-report-grand-forks-marathon-2016.html

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(2016)
"Fargo NEVER Disappoints!"
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It had been five years since I last ran Fargo's full marathon. Fargo was an amazing experience back then and this year certainly didn't disappoint! The weather was a beautiful, sunny mid-80's - a bit hot for running 26 miles but perfect for spectating.

Expo: We arrived at the race expo around noon on Friday and it wasn't packed with people, which was awesome (especially since we had the little ones with us). Picking up my race number, bag and other swag was a quick an easy process and everything was sorted out by your race number. They had a station to check the timing chip on the back of your number to make sure it was working correctly.

Between the free chips, Clif MOJO Bars, a toddler t-shirt, Wild Hog Marathon socks, and an Australia's Best Licorice stuffed animal (given to my toddler), we got a lot of great treats from that expo!

Race Swag: The Under Armour race bag is great. Fargo's race bags are definitely my favorite. The shirt was nice but the material felt kind of cheap. Full marathon gets a zip-up long-sleeve shirt and the half gets a long-sleeve. The grey and green colors look great though.

Course: Fargo is a great course for any new marathoners or those chasing the BQ. Very flat, well marked and lined with spectators and music! For all the miles, there was never a time where it was quiet on that course! This year the race started and ended inside the Fargodome, which is great, minus the fact that everyone's watches had a hard time connecting with satellites. Finishing in the Fargodome is so cool!

Aid Stations: Water and gatorade were available every 2 miles. At first I thought it was a bit overkill, but with the hot weather that day I was VERY thankful for all of the hydration opportunities! GU's were available at 2 stations as well. Near the end of the race, spectators were handing out gummy bears and jolly ranchers and I totally took some of that. The Fargo spectators are awesome.

Medal: The full marathon medals are HUGE, solid quality and well-designed! The medals for each race are a little different and I believe the text notes each specific race. Hebrews 12:1 is on the back of the medal, as it has been every year I've been at Fargo, and I think it is awesome that they are standing firm in their faith in God. "Let us run with perseverance the race that is marked out for us"

Logistics: The crazy traffic on race morning has been a downside of Fargo in the past but it was no problem for me this year. I was dropped off at the Fargodome by a family member and they also have shuttles running all morning and after the race if you don't have a ride. Showers are available at the Fargodome, too.

View Full Race Recap: http://www.livinglifetruth.com/2016/05/race-report-fargo-marathon-2016.html

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(2015)
"Awesome "Small-Town" Race, Best Swag Ever!"
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This was my second year running the Wild Hog Half Marathon and I have been impressed both years. Attending the Wild Hog Marathon will likely a yearly tradition for my family. Even better, they are having a FULL marathon for the first time in 2016!

Expo: The atmosphere is "small-town", compared to the Fargo or Twin Cities Marathons, which I really appreciated. Picking up my number and race swag was a very quick and smooth process and the expo did have a few goodies to pick up.

Race Swag: The BEST! In both 2014 and 2015, the race swag included a pair of Fitsocks with "Wild Hog" on the top band, a beverage glass, and high quality finisher's shirt. This year's shirts were grey zip-up long sleeve shirts with thumb holes in the sleeves. The race medal was a cut-out of the Wild Hog head - nice medal and unique design.

Course: Flat, flat, flat. The course covers mainly residential and park ground, which on a sunny Fall day was beautiful to me! I highly recommend their full marathon if you are looking for a BQ! That should be a great fast course for qualifying.

Aid Station: Plenty of aid stations along the course that offered water, sports drinks and GUs at some of them.

View My Full Race Review Here: http://www.livinglifetruth.com/2015/09/race-report-wild-hog-half-marathon-2015.html

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