Latest reviews by Dane D

(2019)
"10 Themed Miles!"
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“Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Pittsburgh 10 Miler 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:
Bib pickup the day before was at the P3R Headquarters and was easy in and out. There was no real expo but a few different shirts for sale etc.

RACE DAY:
Port-o-Potties: There were none at the start, but there was a substantial amount of shops and other areas around for this smaller race to handle if folks were staying locally.

Aid Stations: There was an adequate amount of aid stations. They were well staffed and the volunteers were very enthusiastic! They taped up my poor right knee at mile 9.

The Course: There was a very nice balance of some hills and flat and speedy areas. The highlight of the entire race were the themed miles. Mr. Rogers, Pittsburgh Pickle Co, The Cookie Mile, the Perogi Mile?! So good! The crowd was interactive and super supportive. Even the police who were out were cheering us all on! It was super fun and honestly, probably my favorite themed race, period.

Overall, the Pittsburgh 10 Miler was a great experience. The course was definitely worth the drive out to Western PA. If this is how Pittsburgh treats their guests, I cant wait for 2020 to return for their full 26.2 journey!

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(2019)
"LOVE Run in the City of Brotherly Love!"
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“Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Philadelphia Love Run Half 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:
Bib pickup and the expo was at The Philadelphia Convention Center. Usually this is a breeze at Philly races, but this time the expo was at a different Hall that was about 3 blocks down at the other end of the convention center. Other than hiccup, it was smooth sailing! The pickup was by Bib# and if you didn’t remember or know your number there were iPads set up to look it up. Once at the pickup counter you presented your ID off you went! The next stop was for your finishers shirt and LOVE Run Mug. I was a bit late to the expo so many vendors had packed up but there was a nice layout and flow to the aisles and even a live DJ.
RACE DAY:
Port-o-Potties: This was a fairly large race (11K runners). There were a lot of port-o-potties but there was definitely a of people waiting for them as well. Per usual, there was a substantial wait before the race but along the course there seemed to always be enough and I never waited more than a couple minutes.
Aid Stations: There was an adequate amount of aid stations. Maybe I felt this way because I had forgotten my hydration belt and this was my first race without it. There was always enough water and Nuun. They were well staffed and the volunteers were very enthusiastic!
The Course: Flat and fast! The best thing about Philly races is they are meant for speed! The crowd was super enthusiastic and cheered us all on. There was a bit of a surprise hill around Strawberry Mansion, but it was almost a welcomed hill for a change up to use different muscles.
There was a final climb toward the end of course and that was a great opportunity to dig deep and push right over the finish line!
After making it through the runner's lane to food and drink! There was water, and a nice pack of apple slices and chips. And of course Philly Pretzels!
Overall, the LOVE Run Philadelphia was a great experience. They changed up the course a bit to involve more of Center City before heading out the Schuykill. I still have a love/hate relationship with out and back design and seeing folks slugging it back in. It was fun to see the elites come blazing back in! I would definitely recommend this race to others. This would be a great half marathon experience to take in the city of brotherly love!

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(2018)
"The Hills Are Alive!"
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Parking/Access
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"Disclaimer: I received free entry to Runner's World Festival Half Marathon 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!"

We rolled into Bethlehem, PA Saturday afternoon and immediately hit the expo. Bib pickup was super easy. They had a stack of bibs and would simply program in the bib number they assigned you to your name. Boom! Super streamlined. Once I had my bib I headed upstairs to the shirt pickup and onto the expo. There was a nice assortment of typical clothing lines and some various sports nutrition. Aftershokz had a rather large booth which was nice to see!

Parking: Well, the venue was downtown and parking was limited. However! They were running shuttles to several local hotels. This was really amazing. I stayed about a mile away and chose to walk/jog down to the course and shakeout after.

The Course: This is the HIGHLIGHT of the race! Yes, the vibe of the weekend is awesome, yes this is an amazing "runner's race" but man o' man does this course keep on giving! Up and down, in and out of the city. It takes you from downtown to the suburbs and even through the beautiful Moravian College campus. All of the uphills and downhills keep it interesting for your legs! By working the different muscle groups when attacking the hills and blasting the downhills it kept you from really getting bored, both mentally and physically. Don't get me wrong, there's times when you mutter about a couple of those hills and their placement, but I really did appreciate them more than I used to. Some other details about the brass tacks of things - there were carefully placed hydration stations, port-o-potties just after the hydration stations, and aid stations in-between hydration stations. Overall, I felt the design and layout was pretty on point.

Food: There was a nice collection of bagels and granola bars. It would've been nice to have a more protein rich food source, maybe some nut butters or something to put on the bagels.

The Weather: COLD and WINDY! There were some significant winds out there. It started out around 36°F and man did those winds cut through. Luckily, it warmed up a little bit and there were areas of the course that were shielded from the winds. It wasn't quite as bad as the Philadelphia Marathon on 2016!

Overall: Would I run this again? I think the answer is obvious! Heck yeah! Aside from being star struck from Bart Yasso and Golden Harper, not to mention my fellow Bibrave Pros!, this is everything you could want in a race weekend.

If you're even a little bit curious about running, you should check this out. I guarantee you'll be inspired to take your first steps!

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(2018)
"Twice as Nice!"
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“Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia 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 got into Philly on Friday afternoon and settled into the hotel. The Philadephia convention center was only a short walk away. The 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 ID off you went! Next was a trip around the corner where you picked up your finisher’s shirt. The design was much better this year than it was in 2016 when I last ran this.
I had fond memories of this expo. I remembered there being quite the large setup of a good variety of vendors and new gels and nutrition drinks to try. There were a few of these but nothing that really stood out this time. There was quite a bit of “dead space” around the convention center. I’m not sure if there were or not, but it just felt less populated this year. The best part was the shirts Rock ‘n’ Roll had made with all the runner’s names on them! Such a great idea! We had to get one…
Parking- I was in a local hotel so I didn’t have to worry about that. Many of the people I knew either booked a parking spot down town prior to the race or they took the train in if they stayed outside the city. With the street closures, navigating the city the day of the race was a bear as some reported.

Port-o-Potties: This was a large race. There were a lot of port-o-potties but there was definitely a of people waiting for them as well. I waited approximately 20 minutes in line before the 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! And well staffed. The volunteers were very enthusiastic! They even had ice to chill down the water. It was a hot day – around 86°F at the end of the race.

The Course: Flat and fast! The best thing about Philly races is they are meant for speed! 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.
There was a final climb toward the end of course and that was a great opportunity to dig deep and push right over the finish line!
Donned with our medal and approached by volunteers with cold wet towels - it was a warm one! There was water, Gatorade, and chocolate milk which was all very welcoming as well! And of course Philly Pretzels!

Overall, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon Philadelphia was a great experience the second time around, despite sustaining my first race injury. A special shout out for the medical tents and their well-trained staff! My knee appreciates you! The course change kept it interesting and you still got the chance to enjoy the run down and back by the Schuykill River. The crowd’s enthusiasm definitely helped as well! I would definitely run this race again and would continue to recommend it to friends!

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(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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