Latest reviews by Dane D

(2017)
"Small Town Race with a Huge Heart! "
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"Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Freedom's Run race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!"

Freedom's Run is just amazing! This is a runner's race. No frills, just a huge heart and amazing course development. The starting line was marked in duct tape! The race director, Dr. Mark Cucuzzella, developed this race weekend to help promote health in West Virginia. He works tirelessly as a physician to help promote healthy living and healthy eating and that spills over into his running life as well. This race wears its heart on it's sleeve.

The expo was minimal, but I actually appreciated that. Instead of having a bunch of paper hand outs and stuff to throw out if you don't want it, they sent an email with deals and offers at nearby businesses. That's pretty cool! I dig not being wasteful. Picking up your bib was super easy and organized. I think it literally took under a minute to have my bib and finisher's shirt in hand.

The course was gorgeous. We lined up in this little town right outside the library right by Shepherd University. We made our way through campus and then across the bridge into Maryland and the C&O path. This portion was pretty flat. It was fairly narrow too so it was important to find your pace and settle in as passing wasn't always easy. We then headed off the path and welcomed some rolling hills. If you didn't hill train, this course would hurt! There were a couple of significant climbs for sure! Running through the Antietam was a humbling trail through history. Many lives were most there. With how beautiful it was it was hard to think of the violence those fields once saw.

At the end the course brought you back into campus and into Rams Stadium were you finished on the 50 yard line! That was pretty dang cool. The medal was incredible as it was a handcrafted piece of pottery made by a local potter, Joy Bridy! You were next greeted by a cool water bottle filled with chilled water! Needed!

Post race there was a physical therapy group offering free stretching/massage for runners and it was amazing!

Next, pizza! They had more pizzas delivered than I'd ever seen! Total score and man did that hit the spot! There was then a post race party across the street at the Bavarian Inn where they had some nice cold beer and a free pint glass! There was live music and Dr. Mark announced some awards for those super speedy folk!

Overall, this was a great day. I'm lucky I live within driving distance of this race. I definitely plan on repeating this race. Who knows, maybe I'll even shoot for the full 26.2!

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(2017)
"Incredible International Race Experience! "
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“Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Detroit Free Press Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

Expo/Packet pickup:

We rolled into Detroit and were lucky enough to get early check in! We headed over to the expo at the COBO Center and packet pickup was your first stop. Your pickup was by Bib# and if you didn’t remember or know your number there were computers set up to look it up. Once at the pickup counter you presented your passport, and boom, bib and packet in hand. It was a really nice package complete with your finisher shirt, a 26.2 sticker, a temporary tattoo, and a tech head wrap that was a new addition this year!

The expo was your typical snake configuration of vendors. There were some regional races represented, local charities, hydration drinks, clothing, etc… The only perk I usually look forward to is to try some free samples of new products and there seemed to be much fewer of this type of thing than other race expos I had been to. The best part was seeing the official race gear with the retro emblem and with the star and maple leaf. I really liked that!

Race Day:
Parking- I was in a local hotel so I didn't have to worry about that. Being in a downtown area the race directors recommended being downtown by 5:30am to find a parking spot. I know a lot of people bought parking reservations online prior, which totally made sense.

Port-o-Potties: Seemed like there weren't enough as the line creeper along and I was in line over 30 minutes. Definitely the longest I had ever waited at a race. But, it was still worth the wait. As a plus, along the course there seemed to always be enough and I never waited more than a couple minutes.

Aid Stations: Lots of them! We were advised not to bring fluids along as we were crossing the border and could be subject to being searched by border patrol. I brought along single serving sleeves of my favorite electrolyte drink and mixed it with water I picked up at the stations! That was my brilliance for the day.

The Course: the only hills that were a challenge for me were ambassador bridge and the tunnel coming back from Canada. That was until mile 22. There was a slight incline getting back to the bridge from Belle Isle. The distance made this a challenge for my legs at that point.

The crowd was super enthusiastic and cheered us all on. There were a few spots where you were alone, and this is where mental toughness comes into play.

The course was shared by the international and US only half marathon runners. I forgot about the US only half starting later and was scratching my head when people were sprinting by me at mile. 23. Then I remembered, haha!

Approaching the finish line race coordinators made sure to direct each of us to the appropriate lane (marathon vs half) and we all crossed! Donned with our medal and approached by volunteers with a bag of food. There was water, Gatorade, and chocolate milk which was all very welcoming as well!

Overall, the Detroit Free Press Marathon was a great experience with just a few areas for improvement. I loved the course layout, not too many long straightaways to get too boring. The crowds enthusiasm definitely helped as well! I would definitely run this again and would recommend it to friends!

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(2017)
"A race for everyone! "
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The DMSE Classic is a race series that includes a 5k, 10k, and half marathon. You can do any one of them, or do the 5 and 10k for the five and dime or why not do all three for the hat trick?! I did the hat trick.

Bib Pickup:
Smooth sailing. It took all of 5 minutes. Along with the bib we got our shirt which was cotton. The female shirt was a tech shirt but cotton is kind of nice for a change! Along with that we got our hat trick 22.4 magnets! I thought that was a really nice touch.

Courses:
5k - this was a nice easy run, not very hilly except one steady hill toward the end. It was a great warm up race!
10k - this was my nemesis. I was not really trying to race this one but at the same time I felt great so sped right along. There were some sneaky hills on this course and I ended up walking parts of two of them. Somehow I managed about a 40 second PR though!
Half Marathon: Sooo, I was a bit tired for this race. My legs were feeling it from my racing the previous day. Three miles in and I knew this was going to be a little bit slow going. Again with the sneaky hills! There was one that was about half a mile long or so and a decent pitch that got me to walk it. Mile 11 proved to have another hill worthy of walking. All that said, I finished strong and even had enough energy for a jumping finish line photo!

One complaint - lack of porta potties on the course. There were plenty back at the start and the lines were never bad. Still, when it's mile 5 and you've got a bladder full it really sucks to hold it til the end.

Food/Refreshments:
Immediately after the finish line there was plenty of ice cold water, bananas, and granola bars. Muscle milk and Yasso Greek yogurt pops were there too. Those Yasso bars were quite welcome after all those miles!
You were given 2 beer and 2 food vouchers on the bib. The food was a bit lacking being that your option was that of a pretzel or popcorn. It would have been nice to have hotdogs, fruit or some other kind of substantial food.
The beer was ok, a bit bitter, but I really liked that all the proceeds went to charity. That's the kind of beer I can rally behind.

Entertainment:
They had live music from a couple of singer/songwriter type guys. Overall, they had good song selection and kept the crowd interested.

Medals! There are 5! One for each race and then one for the five and dime and one for the hat trick. If medals are what you chase, this was the perfect weekend for you!

There was a children's fun run on Saturday as well as a celebrity mile run where local and national celebrities ran a mile. This was incredibly touching with Jeff Bauman and Adrianne Haslet both there. As a side note, my wife ran the Boston Marathon in 2016 and had a moment with Adrianne around mile 19. She got to speak with her about it and she remembered her! Too cool. She's really an amazing person and strong force.

Overall, this race weekend was put together well and had a lot of spirit. I would definitely run this again and would recommend it to any and all!

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(2017)
"My First BAA Race! "
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This was my first BAA race and I was *wicked* excited! I fell in love with running at the 2016 Boston Marathon and to run a BAA race the next year was thrilling.

Pre-race:
I was lucky enough to have a ride into downtown so I didn't have to deal with parking. The pre-race headquarters was in Boston Common which is just awesome. Picked up my t-shirt and was ready to go! Spent some time jogging and loosening up. Made my way to the min/mile group and started seeding.

The Race:
The course started along the Boston Common and then went down the last portion of the route of the Boston Marathon. How cool is that?! There were a couple of hills but nothing monstrous. Running through the streets of Boston made me so happy I barely realized that I was going up hill.
My goal was to PR and the course was crowded. This made things interesting to dodge and weave my way around the course and yet keep proper race etiquette.
That said, I did it! PR!

Post-race:
Only mini complaint was that water and Gatorade took a good 10 minutes to get to after crossing the finish line. It was a hot day and several people were feeling it (including me!). We funneled through back into Boston Common and thankfully found the water. Downed a bottle and felt MUCH better. There were bananas, bagels, and cranberries were there for post-race munchies.

Overall:
Aside from being a bit crowded on the course and water being hunted at the end this was an amazing experience! I would totally do this again and might even go for the distance medley next year!

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(2017)
"Second year for me didn't fail! "
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This was my first race last year. I wanted to do it again this year to start my running season off.

Registration was super easy online. Check in at the race took all of about 2 minutes and instead of a shirt they had either a coffee mug or wine glass to choose from!

The course was around a local park (2 laps) then down a mostly paved path, then over a bridge and back. A few hills but nothing crazy. It was a cold and wet morning so there was some mud to deal with but that just added to the excitement!

Crossing the finish line I was pretty happy with my performance. Not quite as quick as I had hoped, but not bad! I shaved 13 minutes off of my time last year! And placed 3rd in my age group!

Post race goodies were typical bananas, bagels, donuts, and other assorted goodies. It was a nice gathering of fellow runners from around the area.

I'd recommend this race to anyone who wants a stress free racing experience and ready to break out past the 5k mark!

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