Latest reviews by This Old Runner ~~

"Palm Beaches Half: Beautiful Race in a Beautiful Place"
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Race Management

I loved running the Garden of Life Palm Beaches half marathon for many reasons. Below are just a few. I think this race was the perfect way to cap off my running year!

The expo was Friday and Saturday. Everything was under a giant tent. It was easy to pick up your bib, shirt and goodie bag all in one place. It rained periodically on Friday, so I appreciated the tent. There were a few local vendors, but no supplies for runners who forgot their socks or gels.

Parking was available in several nearby city lots for a reasonable price.

The expo was in the heart of downtown — surrounded by lots of restaurants, coffee shops, and holiday displays. If you stay in a downtown hotel you can easily walk to the expo and race.

I love the long sleeve turquoise v-neck tech shirt I received as a half marathoner. The color is perfect. I know I’ll wear it often.

The goodie bags from Garden of Life were incredible. Just incredible! All kinds of Garden of Life product filled a generous tote bag. I’ve never received a goodie bag like this at a race before.

The Half Marathon was on Sunday morning. (5K and 10K were Saturday morning.) The race start and finish line were in the same place, which was close to the expo tent.

There were pacers for the half and full marathon. I ran with a pacer for the first 7 miles, then switched to run/walk method.

There were plenty of water stops with electrolyte and water. I think I counted 15 stops. There were also a few stations that offered energy gels.

I don’t know which volunteers were having the most fun at aid stations — there were puppies, energetic teens, and even a group dressed up as BARBIE. The Barbies offered water, sports drinks, music and constant “Hi Barbie” greetings to runners.

Half marathoners ran along the water on Flagler. We ran north to Manatee Lagoon, then turned south and ran waterside until mile 9.5 when we turned into a charming, older neighborhood. After almost 2 miles we returned northbound on Flagler to the finish line.

The course was flat and picturesque. Often there was a cooling breeze off the water. BTW, the full marathon is a Boston Qualifier.

I’ve heard from other runners that the weather has been both hot and cold in the past. I thought it was just right this year. After training all Summer and Fall, this race felt good to me!

If you’re looking for a smaller race (4K runners total) in a beautiful location — come run in West Palm Beach in December.

Thanks to the race director and crew for an awesome job of hosting a beautiful race in a beautiful place!

#WPMarathonBR #WestPalmBeachHalf #GardenOfLife #PalmBeachesMarathon #HoorayRunning #ThisOldRunner

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"Gasparilla Half Marathon Review"
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Race Management

Gasparilla Distance Classic has been hosting this weekend of races for 45 years — and the experienced pros know exactly what they’re doing!


Everything I ever wanted to know about Gasparilla races I could find on the website. Regular emails kept me up to date and let me know what to expect.

It was my first Gasparilla race and I didn’t worry about anything. I knew what to expect before, during and after the race weekend.


The expo was Friday and Saturday. We hopped the cross bay ferry from St. Pete and hit the expo early. It was at the Tampa Convention Center near the starting line.

Expo signage was good, and volunteers were friendly and helpful. It was easy to pick up my race bib, shirt, hat and bag. We took our time and strolled through the vendors tasting free samples, checking out gear, and signing up for races.

After we finished at the expo we walked around on the Tampa River Walk. We had lunch at Armature Works, then headed back to the convention center to take the ferry back to St. Pete.

We didn’t have to park, but it’s easy enough to park in the convention center garage and walk across the street to the expo.


I ran the Half Marathon on Sunday morning. Since it’s a large race, we got there early. We enjoyed walking around the peaceful waterfront before the crowds arrived.

The corrals close 15 minutes before the start, so make sure you’re there. You’ll avoid the human traffic jams at the corral entry points.

The race started on time and we headed over to Davis Island in the dark. The course was well marked and lit as we made our way through the first few miles.

The only inclines on the course were the bridge going on and off Davis Island. It’s really mild, and early in the race. After that, the course is a flat out and back along Bayshore with views of the bay.

It was foggy and cloudy early on — perfect race conditions. The sun came and went a few times before shining bright at the end of the race.

The race course was filled with happy people encouraging us to keep running. There were pirates, fire eaters, a mime, guy on stilts, Star Wars creatures, more pirates, cheer leaders, and more.

Aid station volunteers were stellar. There was plenty of water and Gatorade Endurance offered, Everyone was cheerful.

I grabbed Gatorade Endurance gels at mile 5 and again at mile 9. (I love those gels!) Some lady pirates offered bags of ice late in the race, which was a nice touch.

My favorite sign came close to the end of the race, it said something like: Running is painful but it still hurts less than stepping on a LEGO. That made me laugh.

At the finish line, runners get a cold wet finisher's towel (so refreshing!). A few steps later you receive your medal. Keep moving, and you’ll find plenty of beverages, bananas, fruit cups, salty snacks, etc.

There was beer and Barbecue in the park, and Columbia Restaurant food on the plaza in front of the convention center. We picked The Columbia for rice, beans, salad, and bread.

Race weekend includes a 15K and 5K on Saturday; Half and 8K on Sunday. The longer races start at 6 am each day. The shorter races follow around 9 am. You can sign up for a Challenge and run several, or ALL the races over the weekend.


Gasparilla is known for it’s pirates and parrots. The SWAG is always colorful and top quality. Check out the half medal photo posted here.

I took home a long sleeve shirt, hat, plush towel and medal for running my half marathon. The shirt is a long sleeve v-neck in a lightweight dri-fit material.

Shorter races had short sleeve shirts. Every race finisher receives a towel and a medal after crossing the finish line. If you run a challenge, you also get a windbreaker jacket and bonus medal.


It’s the perfect time of year to run in Florida. Gasparilla is a great course in a beautiful city. It’s the best excuse for a runcation! Everything about the Gasparilla Distance Classic was pleasing.

I recommend you train through the holidays and get yourself to the starting line in February! It’s worth it.

#RunGasparilla #GDCBR #HoorayRunning #ThisOldRunner

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"Minions Run Virtual Race Review"
Race Management
Virtual Support

I was excited about the Minions Run as soon as I heard about it. TBH, you had me at Minions hat! I smile every time I put it on.

This virtual race fit nicely into my training plan and was fun to run. If you’re looking for some motivation (and a new hat), sign up while you can!

One of the best parts of any virtual event is you can run any time and anywhere. That makes it easy to schedule your run with friends and family.

For the Minions Run, we planned a trip to a state park. It was perfect weather — chilly, but sunny. We hit the trails to explore the park and wildlife while logging our 3.1 miles. (You can see pictures on my blog ThisOldRunner dot com.)

I'm in love with the super soft Minions tee shirt along with the hat. It's the perfect shade of yellow and very comfy. Runners get a pom hat, short sleeve t-shirt and a Minions medal.

You can run a virtual race on your treadmill, local roads, a track or a trail. I like to plan new routes when I run virtually. I recommend running in a beautiful park or exploring somewhere new-to-you. The Minions Run lets you choose your own distance. I ran a 5K, but you can run whatever distance you like.

Before any run I eat nutritious food. This was a Minions Run, so bananas were the obvious choice!

After your race you have the option of uploading your results. You can see how you compare with other runners.

You have to take your own pics on a virtual race, but the Minions Run website lets you upload photos from your run or finish line. The site adds a Minions border, then lets you download your official race pic!

I think the Minions Run did a great job with the swag and website. If you're looking for a fun race with great swag to keep you motivated this winter, go register for the Minions Run!

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"Running The "Most Pittsburgh Race Ever" Virtually"
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Race Management

{Disclaimer: I received an entry to the EQT Pittsburgh 10 Miler to review as part of being a BibRave Pro.}

Each November, P3R hosts the "Most Pittsburgh Race Ever" to celebrate all things Pittsburgh. Since that's my hometown, I enjoy participating even when I can't get there in person.

This year, the EQT Pittsburgh 10 Miler celebrated its 10th Anniversary with a new 10K distance, which encouraged more people to participate. Local bands and Pittsburgh-themed miles kept runners engaged, entertained and motivated all along the race courses.

Keep reading to see how I adapted my virtual Pittsburgh 10-miler to my current locale. Along the way you'll learn more about the in-person race!

The EQT Pittsburgh 10 Miler began on West Carson Street by Station Square and Highmark Stadium. The first mile featured a salute to Military and First Responders. After crossing the West End Bridge, runners ran through the Mr. Rogers Neighborhood Mile.

For my virtual race, I walked outside and started running down the street.

The Mr. Rogers Neighborhood Mile celebrated the 10th anniversary of Daniel Tiger, and a beautiful day in Pittsburgh's neighborhoods. Volunteers wore red sweaters as a nod to Mr. Rogers.

It was a beautiful day for a race in my neighborhood, too. My virtual race featured an inflatable, but it wasn't as cute as Daniel Tiger.

During the Dick's Sporting Goods City of ChampYINZ mile runners could high five or race the mascots from Pittsburgh's major league baseball, hockey and football teams. The Pittsburgh Steel Drum Line provided vibrant music to keep runners moving through miles 3-4 through the North Shore.

While I didn't run into the Pirate Parrot, IceBurg or Steely McBeam, I did see this skeleton still hanging out a week after Halloween.

Mile six began on the 16th Street Bridge and represented the Pittsburgh Entertainment Mile.

Runners and walkers were greeted by Kenny the Kangaroo (Kennywood Park), and Ricky Raccoon and Duke the Dragon (from Idlewild Park).

The iconic Kennywood Racer roller coaster received a nod as runners chose to run in the red or blue rollercoaster car. (IYKYK)

There weren't any amusement park reenactments on my race course. 

Pittsburgh is home to the Picklesburgh Festival, Pierogies, and Smiley Cookies. Of course the most Pittsburgh Race Ever showcased these 'burgh icons. Runners could drink a pickle shot or taste a cookie and pierogie during mile 7.

Here in St. Pete, I found a pumpkin display featuring palm fronds. Oh, and lots of humidity.

There were lots of local bands playing along the in person Pittsburgh course to keep runners and walkers entertained all the way to the finish line.

There weren't any live bands on my course. But, I did have my own music to keep me motivated as I ran through some of my favorite places.

After 10 miles, 4 iconic Pittsburgh neighborhoods and 3 bridges, runners finished the most Pittsburgh Race Ever on Liberty Avenue with a street party. 

When my watch hit 10 miles, I kicked up my feet and relaxed on my front porch.

The in-person EQT Pittsburgh 10 Miler & 10K finish line was on Liberty Avenue in downtown.

Virtual race results are self-reported. It's easy to log into your Race Roster account and enter your time. You can download a finisher certificate, too.

I'll be repping my favorite hometown this winter with my new EQT Pittsburgh 10-Miler quarter zip pullover, finisher medal and beanie.

Virtual runners receive their swag via USPS after the in-person race. 

While I would rather run the most Pittsburgh race IN Pittsburgh, this virtual race was a lot of fun. Training for it kept me motivated throughout the Summer. The race management did an excellent job of communicating via email and social media.

If you get a chance, get yourself to Pittsburgh and run through the city! 

#Pittsburgh10Miler #EQTPittsburgh10Miler #Pgh10MileBR #Pgh10Miler

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"A Hilly Challenge for This Florida Runner"
Race Management
Virtual Support

One of these years, I'd love to challenge myself with a race in hilly Roanoke, VA, but this was not that year. Instead, I ran the Blue Ridge Half Marathon in my neighborhood as a VIRTUAL participant.

Full disclosure: When I registered, I didn’t realize there was an elevation requirement. But, because #BlueRidgeMarathon is know for its challenging hills, race organizers required 1,850 feet of elevation for the half marathon. In fact, they’re slogan (which I love) is “Be The Goat”

The Virtual Half had two requirements:
• Run 13.1 miles
• Get 1,850′ in elevation gain

I live in flat Florida, so the biggest challenge was finding elevation. Sure, there are bridges and multi-story parking lots that offer gains. But, I needed to race on Easter weekend and stay close to home. ​That meant I had to run hill repeats (27 of them!) to meet the elevation requirement. But, my mission was accomplished with a serious sense of satisfaction! I was a happy runner.

One thing that made this virtual race tons of fun was participating in a virtual relay with my Bib Rave Pro teammates. ​We roughed out a schedule, and each team member ran their leg of the overall relay. ​We cheered each other on social media, and handed a virtual baton from one runner to the next until all the miles were run. It was a lot of fun and kept the momentum going throughout the racing period. I think this was a great way to liven up a virtual race.

I can't speak to the Expo or on course details since I ran virtually. Virtual support was fine. There was plenty of info on the website, including a lot of Q & A.

After running anytime between April 1-30, virtual racers could upload their race deets via a fitness app or manually. After entering your results, you could download a finishers certificate and compare your race to others.

This race doesn't reveal it's medal or shirts until the expo, so I was searching online for a sneak peek once race weekend and the expo opened.

I’m expecting my gorgeous iconic and artsy goat half medal to arrive any day. Race management told virtual runners to expect their race packet to arrive in mid-to late May. I'm looking forward to it.

If you want to see the medal and find out how to spice up a virtual race by adding a relay element (so fun!) visit my blog at ThisOldRunner dot com for the full recap!

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