Latest reviews by Heather Winkler

(2017)
"Great family race!"
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I was staying at the one of the race's hotels so the expo was just a walk through to the convention center. The expo was about the size I expected for a race this size. Bib pick up was easy. I'd gotten an email with a QR code on it which they scanned and printed out my info on a sticker that was then put on my bib. No need to stand in line while they find your number. They had plenty of volunteers working this station so no wait! Then you headed over to the swag bag pick up. They asked that you not try on your 3/4 zip since it was packaged and instead head over to the try on station where they had numerous 3/4 zips to try one. They also had a station of trying out the sweet treats that would be at the finish line. Hot chocolate, marshmallows and chocolate fondue. Yum. There were other booths, mostly local running stores and area races. Nuun, one of the sponsors was there so you could try all the great flavors of electrolite drinks.
Race Day:
Everything was laid out nicely with a gear check (I didn't use since it was 60 degrees but I would have if had been cold) near the start line. Port a potties galore. I didn't see any lines for those. That is always a plus! While we were in the corrals the announce interviewed children and their families who were recipients of the Make A Wish charity. The started the corrals in waves so 3 mins between corrals which made the race feel less crowded. The course up and around OSU.The course was unremarkable. There wasn't a lot of spectators out. Water/Nuun stops were every seemed like 3 miles. With the day being warmer than planned i would have loved to see more water stops along the way. Some of the later water stops had candy corns and chocolate. Not really my thing to eat during a race. No one in front of me took it either. (I was in the first corral with more serious runners).
The end of the race is why the Hot chocolate 15k races are so fun. You get a fun medal that looks like a chocolate bar, then you got your mug with hot chocolate, a few marshmallows, cookies and a banana that could be dipped in chocolate fondue. It was really yummy but hard to hold this big mug and my water bottle. They could use some high table tops around so people to put the mug down. This was a fun experience and one I'd definitely recommend to do with your friends/family.

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(2017)
"Will be back"
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I ran the full marathon in Toledo in 2017. I picked it because it was a flat course and it was within 3 hrs of my home. I was so surprised! It was so well run. The expo was smallish but offered the usual things, Glass City marathon gear, GUs, socks, etc along with services from local places. Packet pick and tshirt/tshirt exchanges were easy to find.
Race day- All was very clear for the full marathon. The course was mostly on city streets in the suburb of Ottawa Hills (very pretty part of town) and on bike paths through a nature reserve and near the UT campus. You finish in the UT football stadium field. The course has lots of turns and I had to work to run tangents since I'd heard it was long if you didn't. I was worried that the marathon had less than 2000 runners so the course might be lonely on the back part but it wasn't. The relay is a popular race so there were always "fresher" runners on the course. The hardest part for me was the last 5 miles are on a bike path and it was sunny out and felt hot to me. I'd also hit the wall so it was a struggle-fest by then too.

After the race, the chute was pretty quick after you got your medal, you walked out of the stadium and picked up your nice glass mug (nice for the post race beer) and then to the tent with the food. The medal is HUGE and heavy although it was very pretty shape of Ohio. We didn't have a chance to spend a lot of time at the finish since we had to get back to the hotel to check out.
Overall- I really liked the race. I'll definitely recommend it.

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(2016)
"Perfect Race"
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Chicago is amazing! I wanted to run a World Major without having to travel too far. I'm lucky I only had to drive from Ohio.

Pros:
Amazing course thoughout the city
Sheer number of people cheering you on
You are always running with someone without feeling like your too crowded
Expo to die for- every major brand was there, plus I got to meet Deena Kastor and Joan Samuelson!
Organized start and finish line.
The different neighborhoods made the race really interesting
Nice Nike dryfit shirt in neon yellow this year (nice for hi-viz, although a long sleeve shirt would have been nice since it's getting closer to winter)
Cons:
lines for portapotties although they had plenty
long lines for taking the shuttle to and from the expo from the Hilton
really can't say much more than it was pretty freakin' awesome! I will definitely do this again!

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(2016)
"Underwhelming"
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I've done all the Air Force marathon races throughout the years. This year I did the half.

Pros:
Expo is always great. (Meb spoke this year)
Parking is plenty (just plan on walking a lot to get to the startline)
Flyovers at the start with the aircraft of the year
Half starts an hour later than the full.
Plenty of port a potties by start and finish (everyone tries to use the potties by the parking lots but there are tons once you are in past security- avoid the line here)
No official corrals, start where you want ( could be a con too)
Water stops were organized & enthusiastic
Finishing by the static aircraft outside the museum
uSAF officers hand out the medals
Medals are always very tasteful,patriotic
Organized, nice midsized race.
Cons:
Every year the shirts are horrible, sized wrong or just ugly.I never wear these shirts.
Parking day of- if you get there really early, you'll be fine.i get there around 5:45-6 for a 8:30 start. I hung out in my car for an hour or so.
After running a full, it's a long painful walk back to the car.
Half starts at 8:30 which is late if it is hot.
Security was more this year. All runners were checked- expect lines
1st two miles are very tight (one lane with a jersey wall on both sides) which made them my slowest and honestly helped me not start out too fast. (Half only, full goes a different direction the 1st mile)
Course is not very pretty, it's mostly on base, so lots of fields and chain link fences (wind can be tough too)
Hill at mile 11-12
Last mile you go past the finish line and have to circle around. It seems to go on forever.

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(2016)
"Best little half"
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This is one of Dayton's little secrets in the running community. This race is a great, well supported full marathon and half. I ran the half this year.

This is very much a local race, run by the Ohio River Road Runners Club.
Packet pickup is 5 minutes. Nicely organized and a nice Brooks tech tee for the race t-shirt.
Parking morning of was easy. I found a spot right away close to the start and finish. I did park on a neighborhood street not in a lot.

The race its self was pretty low key. The half ran mostly on streets for the first few miles then you joined a bike path until the turn around. There were water stops at reasonable distances. It could be windy in a few locations since you are near fields. The finish had a nice medal. But the best part, the lunch they give you after. Catered lunch by a local restaurant. I had a great soup (perfect since it was chilly outside). Also, I should add is the cost. It was $45 registration fee, $35 if you sign up early.

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