Latest reviews by Nathan Hileman

(2019)
"Another Great Goodyear Half Marathon"
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This is my 4th Goodyear Half Marathon, and I live 2 hours away (so it must be good).

Packet pickup is a breeze and very well organized and staffed. Not really much of an expo, but you can be some last-minute things you may have forgotten at home, i.e. Glidestick, energy chews, gels, headbands, etc.

Race begins in the Goodyear Proving Grounds, which is a track where Goodyear tests its new tires. Starting corral is more than adequate in size and clearly marked. Tons of portopotties as well.

Tons of pacers there spanning a multitude of finishing times which is very nice. I happened to have the best Pacer (2:05) ever today (he had a solid game plan and knew exactly how best to attack the course).

Course weaves through and around the Goodyear plant for much of the race. Lots of views of factories which is neat as well as fields and trees. Latter parts of the course go through neighboring neighborhoods.

Lots of crowd support, which is always nice! Live music at several spots, loads of water stations with plenty of encouraging volunteers. The volunteers are always tremendous here - so many folks that you never have to wait for water.

Sufficient aid stations as well, and plenty of police there to ensure noone drives on the course or does anything crazy.

Finish line is good, and the medal was really cool yet again! Lots of well-stocked food and drinks, and volunteers there to ensure you have anything you'd want.

Parking is simple because you park in the Goodyear parking lots and garage, which is massive.

Another job well done by the race organizers and everyone in Akron!

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(2019)
"As Advertised"
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Cleveland Marathon was just as the website advertised. Expo was big and had lots of vendors. Bib pickup was well-organized and volunteers were knowledgeable, friendly, and eager to assist. Only one critique about the race itself; the starting corral was way too small, so it looked like between 100-150 runners had to start outside the corral and wait to work their way in after the race started. Hills were few, short, and gradual. Hydration stations were plentiful, well-stacked, and Aid Stations were more frequent than I remember seeing at other races. All volunteers were great-encouraging, friendly, and energized, despite the wicked heat (89 degrees by mid-race)! Due to the heat, many hydration stations also had hoses to spray you off. Lots of spectators along the course, some of which had their own personal hoses to spray you off, or sprinklers, and lots of non-official hydration stations.

Lots of security pre-race and post-race, including bomb-sniffing dogs, which I think is, unfortunately, an extremely responsible asset to have. Finish Line festival was nice and well-organized as well.

Kudos to Cleveland Marathon organizers, volunteers, and everyone associated with making this a great race!

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(2018)
"Fine Mid-Size Marathon"
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Overall, a fine Mid-Size Marathon. Expo was surprisingly large; however I got there about 90 minutes before it closed and so some booths were already packed up.

Race morning was chilly (31). Getting to the Stark Fairgrounds was a mess with traffic. Only one way in and seemingly miles of cars backed up waiting to get in. This needs to be improved upon, and is the only major issue I had with the whole day.

Not enough entrants to warrant start corrales but it worked well because you just lined up with your pace time. Pyrotechnics as each pace team crossed the start, which was cool.

I was in the 4:25 pace group and our Pacer was phenomenal. She was right on the money the whole race (I slowed down around mile 24).

Crowd support was very sparse. Water stations plentiful and well-stocked. Volunteers were great as were the police.

Course scenery is average; you run all through and around Canton. No offense to Canton. There was a really neat domed building up on a Hilltop we ran by; I think it had something to do with President William McKinley.

Course had many, low-grade, not tall hills.

Race finishes in the Hall of Fame Stadium which is so cool! Medals are super neat! Only problem was as I crossed the finish line, I saw water, but nothing else. I'm sure there were the standard bananas and bars, etc, but I sure didn't see them. Must've missed them.

Bib has a free admission to the Hall of Fame, so I went from the finish straight into the Hall. Bit of a mistake because I got very light-headed and shaky and was too exhausted to do the Hall, but I found a cafe inside and had the best Rachel Sandwich ever!

Again, overall it was a fine race. Don't cheap out like me and opt for the registration without a race shirt! They ran out by the time I got to the expo. I would recommend this race.

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(2017)
"Great Race; Lots of Hills"
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Just ran the Baltimore Marathon today. Got into town yesterday evening for the expo, which was big and nice. The shirt was a very nice UA long sleeved tech shirt. That was it for grab bag, but that shirt is super nice.

Race was Marathon, Half, and Relay. In a nutshell, lots of crowd support, and tons of hills. Highlights include running through the Maryland Zoo at Baltimore, the Under Armour HQ, Inner Harbor, and maybe a dozen or more neighborhoods.

Did I mention hills? Hilly first 5 miles, then a wicked grind from 15-20. At the top is a huge pond you run around, then some downhills, before a series of hills from 23-25. To be fair, Baltimore Marathon touts its hills.

Aid stations were great until the 20s, when they started running out of Gatorade and Water. It was still there, and the volunteers were awesome and tried their best, but runners kept bunching up at the last remnants of drinks.

I love finisher medals, and this one's my favorite. Big crab that opens up to reveal what I think is Fort McHenry. Cool ribbon on there too. No better way to celebrate then eating a Baltimore classic softshell crab sandwich! Ate mine at Luna Del Seas on the walk back to the hotel.

Overall, very challenging, but very good marathon. Also, wear sunscreen of you're a middle of the pack'er like me. Race starts at 8, which puts you out there in the funniest part of the day. Should've known better - got a little red. Thank you to Baltimore for a great race.

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(2017)
"Patriotic, Hilly, and Fun"
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This is the second year I've run this 5K. I ran it with Team Red White & Blue. Race takes place entirely in West Kittanning. Team Red White & Blue joins the race every year, and forms a color guard along both sides of the starting line which racers run through. Course is quite hilly, but several water stations are on the course. There is strong crowd support as well. Runners are announced by the emcee as each one finishes, which is a very fun touch. The shirts are moisture wicking and very nice. Race is well-organized, and hotdogs, fruit, and ice cream await hungry runners during the awards ceremony. This is a wonderful 5K!

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