Latest reviews by Theresa
Running the Torchlight 5K added to the handful of evening races I have run. The first and only being the Tiki Run sponsored by Team Ortho. That is also a mid-summer run that takes place in the evening and is followed by an after party which caters to adults.
Here is what was touted on the website:
Custom participant shirt celebrating the Minneapolis Aquatennial
Features the Torchlight flame and glow-in-the-dark water design.
Access to the epic Torchlight 5K Finish Festival
Original Chicken Chick-Fil-A sandwiches
Live music featuring Pop Rocks!
Reusable Finisher Goody Bag!
FREE race photos courtesy of Athlinks
Unique Minneapolis race course:
Run along the Aquatennial parade route packed with spectators.
2 aid stations
USATF-certified and timed course
Live race results
Complimentary post-race shuttle
Packet pick up for the Torchlight 5K was a dream. Choose your location and your date (among a list of perspective locations and dates) and pick it up. Simple, easy, convenient. The packet just consisted of your race bib, and a tee shirt.
The Torchlight 5K had some good moments and some not so good ones, if you are a serious runner and take your events with as much seriousness. Of course, it was a downtown event, and with that in mind, parking was sure to be a headache. This turned out to be the case.
We left for the event at least 90 minutes ahead of time, for what would typically be a 30 minute drive. Upon reaching the Basilica of Mary, where the event began, it was obvious that parking was not going to happen for anything less than $10. We did find a parking garage within 3 blocks that was offering a $5 parking spot, however, since my husband was to meet me at the finish line anyway, it wasn't worth it for him to park at the start for the short time I'd be there.
That being said, after we arrived and drove around for 20 minutes or so looking for street side parking, I aborted the vehicle and sent him forth to find a spot at the finish area.
I had a 3-block walk to the start area, where I found a DJ/Announcer, and a few of the sponsors in the starting area. I had already hit a porta potty that was set up on the main thoroughfare for the upcoming parade, so I'm not sure how they stacked up at the race start area. But there was plenty of room at the Basilica for the crowd to mingle before heading to the start corral.
The start corral ended up being close to nightmarish, in my opinion. There were thousands of runners being funneled into a small gate which opened up to a somewhat larger space within the starting corral. The opening was near the 11:00 minute pace start, which meant the faster runners had to make their way through the crowd to get to the front of the pack. It was decidedly difficult as the corral was already packed full. I was lucky to be able to follow a few runners as they weaved their way to the front of the pack.
The entire corral was roped off into different starting corrals, as I learned that there would be no attempt to stop the light rail running through the heart of the city. The racers would be released so that they wouldn't have to lose time waiting on the light rail to pass through.
I managed to weave up to the first release of the runners, although I didn't think I'd be pulling off as fast as an 8:00 pace that evening.
The Torchlight 5K promised a fan filled crowd to cheer the runners forward, but as it turns out, only the first 100 yards or so actually saw any crowd support. The remainder of the run was quite quiet with the exception of the very end, as we crossed the Stone Arch Bridge into the after race party area.
As one of the first finishers, there was a delay in some of the sponsor table set ups, so a few laps had to be made to collect any after race goodies that were being handed out. This included the free Chick-fil-A sandwich, but it was well worth the wait!
We got quite a few goodies, including a banana, a bag of pretzels, the sandwich, a bottle of water, and a carton of Nooma Electrolyte drink...THEN finally a bag to carry it all in. It would have made more sense to hand out the bags first! LOL!
There were photographers on hand to snap finisher photos in front of race finisher banners. This was a nice perk! Also, Athlinks, as one of the sponsors of the event, published the race photos for free!
Being lucky enough to cross the finish line with the first quarter of the total runners meant no lines at the beer counter. I picked up a couple to give to my husband, as beer isn't my thing. The other vendors at the event were handing out some fun trinkets, and Athlete Esprit de She was there handing out free tanks for the ladies with a race bib on. I was fortunate to have run into my BibRave Pro partner, Andrey, and have my husband snap our photo, too!
Despite the lack of parking, the overly packed starting corral, the exaggeration that there would be amazing crowd support through the entire run, and getting our bag after getting our goodies, the #Torchlight5K delivered. They later apologized for a longer than 5K race course, and adjusted everyone's run times accordingly, so I actually ran better than I thought! But since they touted themselves as having a USATF-certified and timed course, it was a disappointment to those who might have been counting on this race time.
I'd run it again, but I think that it would be considered more of a fun run rather than a serious run for the average experienced runner. For those just starting out, it is a great way to get a 5K time under your belt, although as I mentioned, the run went longer than it should have.
But a run is a run. And the sites we saw after the run always remind me that the Twin Cities has some hidden gems. The St. Anthony neighborhood and Father Hennepin Park are a few of them.
I've run the Lakeville Pan O Prog 4 Mile run since 2011. In fact, it was the first run of any kind that I've participated in since beginning my running career. I believe I've missed it just two years, in 2014, when I was recovering from a shin injury, and in 2015 when it was cancelled due to inclement weather.
It is typically always a well run event. It is a small hometown run that coincides with the Lakeville Pan O Prog, a week long celebration featuring several events in the town of Lakeville, MN.
The 4 Mile run has always been the main event, but in recent years, they added the 1 Mile run as well. I always sign up for both, but this was the first year I actually ran both!
Online registration is available up until a few days prior to race day. If you sign up within a month of the event, then the cost is a more than reasonable $18. For both events, $20. And with that you get a bag full of local coupons as well as a nifty tee shirt. The shirts design used to be rather predictable, but the past two years, they changed it up a bit. That has been a pleasant surprise.
There is plenty of free on site parking available. And since it is mainly locals, there is a bit of car pooling going on.
The race begins early, at 7:45 am, which is a good thing for early July as the weather can be markedly miserable, hot, and humid. This year, we caught a break with a cooler morning and a nice head wind.
There is also race day registration available for a slightly higher fee.
The course is an out and back with a little loop hole, and there is one water stop that covers both directions near the 1.5 mile mark. There is one major road crossing which is handled by local police. The rest of the race is ran on a lakeside paved path, and a walking path which lines the main street. The race begins and ends in Casperson Park in Lakeville.
There is also a 1 Mile Run which begins along the same route, but turns around at the 1/2 mile mark, plus a 1/2 mile kids fun run!
There is an abundance of food following the race, including bagels, fruit, granola bars, and donuts and cookies...and STARBUCKS COFFEE which is a major PLUS! Water bottles, as well as water coolers are abundant. There is a DJ, who in my opinion plays crappy music and is WAY TOO LOUD.
All the kids receive medals following their runs. Medals are also awarded to the 1st and 2nd place age group finishers in the other events, and there is always a raffle drawing with some great prizes donated by local vendors and running stores. For the most part, the award ceremony goes off without a hitch. This year, however, they had a major snafu, and I ended up leaving before the 1 mile results could be tabulated, almost 2 hours following the event! Big bummer. I would have thought they would have sent us off sooner and just mailed out any medals or certificates to the winners. That could have been handled better.
This year, I received a 1st place in my age group for the 4 Mile run, so I received a medal and a $10 gift certificate to RunMN, a local running store. Yay! I'm still awaiting the 1 Mile corrected results.
All in all, the Lakeville Pan O Prog run is a fun family event, and if you are in or near town for the first Saturday in July, I highly recommend it for the course, the view, the comradery, and the fun tee shirt and prizes....OH and the COFFEE!!!!
This is my second year running Lola's Half Marathon. This year was quite different from last year, in a few respects. The race itself didn't change, but the weather this year was dreadful, making a lasting impression in my mind as a "bad run". But that shouldn't deter anyone from running the event in 2018.
There was better organization this year as compared to last. The announcer, God love him, got all the starting information correct, so there was little to no confusion on where everyone was supposed to be and when. The set up inside the park seemed better organized, but the location change of the porta potties made it difficult to maneuver amongst the vendors inside the park. Not to mention the serious LACK of porta potties! My husband and I arrived at 7am for a 7:30am start, and I waited on line for 25 minutes before having to vacate my place in line to get to the start. That wasn't good. I saw some 10 milers and half marathoners asking the 5k and 10K runners if they could go ahead since they were starting earlier. Most were congenial to let them by.
I was waiting in line at the park restroom while my husband held me a place in the porta potty line. Neither made it in the 25 minute wait, and I was told that the park restroom had run out of toilet paper to boot. I had to run this event with an un-emptied bladder.
BUT, despite that snafu, the race was well run. It is not an easy course and I don't recommend it to anyone running their first half marathon. But if you appreciate a challenge, you'll appreciate Lola's.
Unfortunately, again this year, we couldn't stay for the after event. I was looking forward to that this year, but we had to rush off. Next year, however, I plan to attend...that is as long as they get more porta potties!
The shirts were a pretty shade of super dark blue (purple?) Hard to differentiate, but the women's cut was much more flattering than last year's shirt. I actually opted for the Men's shirt last year. This year, I stuck with the Women's. It is sized a little small, but most race apparel is these days.
Parking was a no brainer. There is much of it on the local residential streets, and the walk to the start is minimal.
Aid stations were available every 2-3 miles or so, with the exception of the footpath through the park and the main roadways. The fans were plentiful, and the volunteers and local authorities do a great job cheering on the runners as well!
The finish line is a fun place, with great crowd support and the awesome announcer. I didn't have a good run this year, so I didn't see what they offered at the finish as far as treats go, except for the bananas, peanut rolls, and water.
The medals are always beautiful...this years was no exception.
I will return to Lola's. I love a challenge. Hopefully next year will be a tad cooler, though. ;)
Super well run event. Starting and ending in the Fargo Dome was a bonus. Despite the large crowds running the events, Fargo did a great job to keep everyone organized and where they needed to be on time.
I loved the Lord’s Prayer at the start, and the playing of the two national anthems.
The packet pickup was effortless, and the hooded tee shirt was a nice touch! I didn’t need to use the bag drop, but it was a nice added feature.
The food at the end was abundant. I don’t eat food like that, but it was nice to see for the other participants. My only issue was I couldn’t find the race wall at the end for finisher photos.
The course was fast and flat, and well marked. Water stops were abundant. The bands along the way were awesome. Parking was a no brainer. All in all, a positive experience!
Please read my full recap at http://www.neonismycolor.com/2017/05/fargo-marathon-race-recap-part2/
The MDRA hosts some great no frills runs throughout the year. If you become a sustaining member, for $125 a year, you get a handful of free events. This is one of them.
This is the second year that I have participated in the MDRA Mississippi 10-Miler. Last year it fell on my 50th birthday. This year, it was the day before. It is the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend.
The race starts early (8AM) and on time. The park has limited parking, but there are plenty of places nearby if you happen to arrive after the main group does. There is race day registration as well.
This was the second year of the event. They had to change up the course this year as all of the recent rains had flooded out some of the trails. This was to be to our advantage as the giant hill near the end was removed from the run. No complaints here!
It is run through Crosby Farm Park near Shepard Rd. in St. Paul. Some of the run is through the wooded park, and some on the path along the main road. It is pretty much an out and back course, so it is fairly predictable. It also allows for three water stops, at approx 2.5, 5 and 7.5 miles. The scenery in the park is gorgeous, and it isn't too bad at street level, either. The view of the rivers along the way is a great perk.
It is a rather small event. Last years event drew 145. This year drew 147. Most of the runners are members of the MDRA, but there are others who attend. The price is right, at $20 pre-registered if you aren't a member, $25 on race morning, and tee-shirts are optional for $10 each at the end. There are special perks as well, such as hats, bags, or socks to the first 50 registrants. There are also age group awards.
This year the race was chip timed. Other MDRA events have been known to have the pull tabs on the bibs.
The folks who run the MDRA events are some of the nicest that you will meet. The runners in this group are fast and serious. I typically NEVER place, but this year to my surprise, I got an age group award! That was a bonus! I received a pair of socks and a $15 gift certificate to RunMN in Burnsville.
There are photographers who do a great job on the course, and photos are free!
They also have Great Harvest cookies and breads at the end of the event for the runners.
There is no expo, and there are no medals, but it is a great way to get out there on a holiday weekend and get a great run in with a great group of runners. I highly recommend this race, as well as the MDRA in general.