Latest reviews by Karen Bayne

(2017)
"Sentara Colonial Half "
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William and Mary is a beautiful historic college in Williamsburg, VA. I LOVE that this race is in February in the middle of the day! It presents a wonderful option to sleep in and run in the sun, so you avoid the morning freeze and this year it was a wonderful 54 degrees. There is race day bib pick up available, free parking near the arena and even a small expo. The start time is 1:00 p.m. and you are led by Fife and Drum on nice little warm up walk to the start line. The course is hillier than I expected for the area, but it was a fun challenge. You run off the campus, past a very pretty golf Golden Horseshoe Golf Course, through some pretty neighborhoods, and loop back to the finish line inside Kaplan Arena. It is a very cool set up, plenty of water, bananas, and hot coffee inside as soon as you finish up. You receive a cool shoe medal and results are posted continually, so you know your official finish time. I really enjoyed this event and I hope to go back and run it next year!

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(2016)
"Gateway To The Smokies - Pure Beauty"
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Ready to run some hills! This is your race. It is a blanket of green beautiful mountains all around the Waynesville area; and this course holds about 680 feet of elevation gain to test your endurance. This is a small race that starts in town, and then loops through some really pretty neighborhoods and country roads. There will be a few pretty challenging climbs up along the way. This is a great destination race if you want to hang out for the weekend with plenty of hiking and golfing nearby.
The course was well marked and there was plenty of post-race food to enjoy. Swag was a cotton t-shirt, which at least was a female cut, and a small but very pretty, pewter medal. I do feel the water stops were spread out a bit too far for the second half of the race, just two after the half way point. If carrying hydration doesn’t bother you, it may be a good option. Overall, I really enjoyed running this course and I would recommend it to anyone ready to test their limits on hills!

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(2016)
"Petersburg Half Marathon - where Lincoln was filmed!"
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I love the course for this event. You run through battle field park which has some great rolling hills, and through old towne Petersburg. The course has about 440 ft. of elevation gain, so it can feel challenging if it is hot! The inaugural year is was very humid and hot. 2016 it was cool and sunny, a perfect running day! The race usually has about 1,000 runners. There is also a 5K that happens the same day. It is a very easy event to find parking for. The director does a really nice job providing plenty of water stops on the course, P-O-P, a dedicated running lane with plenty of police/volunteer support, and post-race food with yummy options and music. The unique part of this event is the civil war reenactment that happens in battlefield park, while you are running. You see soldiers in period dress, and you can smell the gunpowder as you hear the boom of the cannons. It is a very festive feel along the course. My one and only gripe is the course has come up shy of 13 miles, both years. I only mention this to warn someone who is running this as their first race or trying to PR; a short course can be extremely frustrating. This could easily be fixed with a few minor adjustments for 2017. I still highly recommend this event; I had a blast running this race both years and the medals were wonderful quality, with top notch designs!

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(2015)
"American Family Fitness Half 2015 "
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The American Family Fitness half in Richmond Half is my hometown race and ran the same day as the marathon. I have run it few years now and really love the course. Parking is usually a little challenging to find race day, so you do need to allow time to park and walk to the start area. There are plentiful P-O-P stationed at the start area and along the course. This is a huge race and runs in waves. I started 2015, 13 minutes after gun time and there were still a lot waves behind us.
The course is lined with cowbell ringers, school bands, cheering squads, and dj’s.
This is a fast, fairly flat course, with less than 200 ft. of elevation gain. There is a hill around mile 3 as you pass The Diamond and hills in Bryan Park, which is about the half way point on the course. The course gets a bit tight during the Bryan park section, but I am usually distracted by how pretty the fall leaves look that time of year. The course opens up to nice wide roads as you leave the park.
The half and the marathon course, finish with a huge downhill steep slope, 87 feet down. It is a great way to end because you are tired, but you really have to be careful not to pound your legs. I always do my best and let gravity do its thing...and each year that last mile is my fastest!
At the finish, you receive your medal and a blanket to wrap up in. It is a really soft fleece, and the design changes each year, as does the medal. 2015 we also got an awesome hat!
The finish area gets a little crazy with congestion, so it is good to pick a landmark to meet people by if you are trying to meet up with friends or family. Post-race food and beer is available on Brown’s Island.
This is a must try at least once. It is a very enjoyable run, with great crowd support that has a true huge event feel.

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(2014)
"Frostbite 15K - Chilling In Richmond"
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This is one of my favorite local runs. The running club has things super organized, the course is covered by great volunteers, and there is plenty course support with water stops. Parking is easy, and usually there is an indoor place to hang out before the race starts, It is usually pretty cold for this run! The course has some rolling hills, with about 260 ft. elevation on the course, a perfect amount to be challenging, but no crazy steep climbs. I have attended this event the past few years, even though I was injured and couldn't run. This race seems to be growing each year, but I would still say it has a smaller race feel, with about 500 participants. I would highly recommend this as PR course, since it is not a super crowded race. This race always has a good flow on the course, with a wide enough running lane so you won't be feeling the start line congestion. Come and run it! It is guaranteed to make you smile :)

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