Latest reviews by Dane D

(2020)
"5K Virtual Run for the Zoo!"
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Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Lincoln Park Zoo Run for the Zoo Virtual 5K to review 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!

This was my second virtual race experience. We're all trying to learn a new way of interacting in the race community and the virtual races are certainly a very cool option! For me, it still provides the motivation to get out and train to put forth my best on race day!

Their email correspondence was great! They kept sending email updates as the time grew closer.

The swag was a nice touch. I liked the tech shirt that was mailed out for participants. There was no medal unless you donated a certain amount to the Lincoln Park Zoo, so it went to a good cause!!!

As a Chicagoan by blood I have a connection with the Lincoln Park Zoo and was happy to participate this year when I wasn't able to participate in years past because I was unable to travel. The virtual option was perfect for this!

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(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)
"Party at the Harbor! "
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“Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Chartway Norfolk Harbor 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:
The expo was held at the Half Moon Cruise and Celebration Center next to the Town Pointe Park. Bib pickup was super smooth and the *did* require ID, which I'm a huge fan of.

The expo wasn't huge but the J&A team was super nice as well as all of the volunteers. They even had Santa there which the kiddos loved.

RACE DAY:
Port-o-Potties: There were a good bit at the beginning of the race and the lines, though long, moved pretty quick! Thought the course there were some scattered downtown and thereafter there were 2 to 3 after each hydration station.

Aid Stations: There was an adequate amount of aid stations. Luckily, I didn't need them this time around!

The Course: FLAT and FAST! I've raced quite a bit in Philly and had thought they were pretty flat. Norfolk was super flat. Hardly any slight rises. The crowd was amazing! It wasn't a huge crowd but literally like 5 single person cheering squads and I could hear them cheering for blocks it seemed! There were a couple of areas of cheer squads along the way and these people were pumped with energy and were great to keep you pushing!

Post-Race Party: After crossing the finish line and getting the finishers medal (which had a bottle opener built in - nice touch!) you made your way through the canal, got a sweet camo finishers hat and draw string zipper bag and then out to the party! They had chili (excellent choice for a chilly day), beer and spiked seltzer for adult beverages, and live music! Such a good time and exactly what was needed after a great race!

Overall, the Chartway Norfolk Harbor Half Marathon was a great experience. Being back in the south made me remember how nice people can actually be. A nod of the head and saying good morning rarely happens on the streets back north. Almost everyone said good morning or hello as we passed. I think I'll be returning for more races below the Mason Dixon line.

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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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"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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