Latest reviews by Amy Will

(2014)
"Great Fans, Lots of Music, and Fast Course"
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Music, cheering fans, and runners everywhere. I LOVE the Fargo Marathon atmostphere!

Expo: The expo was very busy and full of great freebies. Picking up your race number can be a bit chaotic because of all the people attending, but it was fun to check out all of the great booths.

Race Swag: Half Marathon runners received a purple/white (for the women runners at least) long sleeve technical shirt and an UnderArmour drawstring bag. The race medals are awesome - heavy duty and fun designs. I always love the medals from Fargo!

Course: The course runs through mainly residential areas and it isn't overly scenic, but the cheering fans and LIVE MUSIC make it worth while! The run is super flat and great for a PR. On this particular year, the race started on the bridge and ended outdoors. The finish line and post-race food area was packed.

Aid Stations: Water and sports drinks, GU available at select aid stations.

View My Race Recap Here: http://www.livinglifetruth.com/2014/05/race-report-fargo-half-marathon-2014.html

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(2013)
"26.2 Miles of Beautiful Fall Leaves"
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2013 was the inaugural year for the Blue Ox Full Marathon and it was a great experience!

Expo: Small, but I didn't expect it to be huge for such a young race.

Race Swag: The medals had a unique lumberjack style and the technical shirts were great! Three years later and I'm still running in mine.

Course: The race started and ended at the Stanford Center, which was a great place to keep warm and dry pre- and post-race. The weather was cool and wet that year but the sights were still beautiful. The Fall leaves were changing and the course had a great view skirting the State Park. The last 6 or so miles of the race were hilly but nothing too challenging. It was a nice change up and enjoyable course overall.

Aid Stations: There were enough aid stations and gels were supplied near the 13-mile mark.

The race atmosphere was very supportive and I would love to race there again in the future!
My full race review is available here: http://www.livinglifetruth.com/2013/10/race-report-bemidji-blue-ox-marathon.html

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(2012)
"The Experience of a Lifetime"
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The weather was grueling hot in 2012 but the experience was absolutely amazing. I trained mainly with Heartbreak Hill in mind but I would have been better off running in a sauna (instead of the Minnesota snow)!

The fans were amazing and so involved in cheering on the runners. They set up sprinklers, sprayed us with hoses and some little kids were handing out ice cubes and cold water. The community was awesome! Personally, the heat took a toll on me but I made it across the finish and that was all I could ask for. After the race, we went for some clam chowder and Boston Creme Pie.

Wow, do I love Boston!

Expo: The expo was huge! After picking up my race bag, we watched the live course video. There were many booths and lots of running products to check out.

Race Swag: I received a yellow and blue Boston Marathon shirt, a poster, and a few other things I can't quite remember. I did order the 2012 Boston Marathon coat online beforehand, brought it with to the race but refused to wear it until I crossed the finish line. It was a great feeling to finally wear that Boston coat!

Course: Downhill at the start and very tempting to take off too fast (which I did). Things seemed to even out for a while and then the Heartbreak and Newton Hills are waiting. The heat was the biggest challenge for me but the hills at the end of the race weren't a cake walk either. On a day of more moderate temps, the course would have been really enjoyable!

Aid Stations: Thank God for all of the aid stations - there were plenty of them with water and sports drinks. The spectators were AWESOME because they handed out water and ice cubes as well.

View My Full Race Review Here: http://www.livinglifetruth.com/2013/04/race-report-boston-marathon-2012.html

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(2011)
"Beautiful Course; Fast & Flat!"
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Expo: Great expo and it wasn't too crowded when we stopped in. I remember they offered free Caribou Coffee samples there in 2011 - that was definitely a win in my book!

Race Swag: A black, long-sleeve technical shirt came with registration and I bought a "Run MN" shirt from one of the booths. They had a lot of nice gear available to buy at the expo. The medal was beautiful and featured the Medtronic's Fall leaf logo.

Course: The course was mostly flat with one hill near the capital. The residential route was beautiful and race day in 2011 had the PERFECT Fall weather. It was warm, sunny and the leaves were all changing colors. This course felt fast and was a great one for a BQ.

Aid Stations: Plenty of aid stations that offered water and sports drinks.

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(2011)
"My Favorite Trail Running Experience, by far!"
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This race was a trail-running BLAST! The weather on race day (July 2011) was hot and very humid - to be expected in Minnesota's July.

Expo: There wasn't a race expo or race swag but the trail itself and the awesome awards made up for it (more on that later).

Race Swag: There were no finisher's medals the year I ran it (or else I totally ran by where we were supposed to pick them up?). Though I did receive a hand-made pottery mug for placing 3rd in the women's division and it was beautiful! Totally made up for the lack of medal or "race swag". It is my favorite race "medal" to this day. According to their website, finisher's DO receive medals now and the top 10 men & women receive a pottery mug.

Course: True trail running - jumping over tree roots, hopping on rocks, climbing up hills - it was awesome. This race was full of scenic trails and lots of downhill and uphill running. That particular year, the course was a bit muddy due to rain prior to the race day and that made the hill climbing interesting. The Power Line section of the race was intense. Because of the mud, I did end up crawling up the slopes, using my hands to keep traction. It was an adventure and I LOVED it!

Aid Station: I carried a handheld water bottle and was able to refill it at the aid stations. Pretzels and cookies were offered at one of the stops. That was the perfect salty fix for such a humid, sweaty day.

The Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon (or "Half Voyageur", as it was called when I ran it) has been the best trail running experience of my life. I highly recommend it to any trail enthusiasts - especially if you are eyeing running an ultra. This race follows along the Voyageur 50-Miler course.

http://www.livinglifetruth.com/p/upcoming-races-and-results.html

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