Latest reviews by Lissa Nypaver

(2021)
"Lots of Options and SWAG for Days!! "
Overall
Race Management
SWAG
Virtual Support

So lately, I've been kind of doing this thing where I organize live race day events for my friends and I do Virtual Races together. That is one of the beautiful things about Virtual Races, your race, your rules. So when I saw this cool event benefitting Girls on the Run, and some seriously awesome SWAG, I got my girl squad involved and set out to plan. About 15 of us registered for either the 5K or the 10K. I am still on injured reserve or I'd have done the Half (next year). You could even do double and triple play events to earn multiple medals.

For the race day event, I came up with some scenic routes in downtown Rock Hill and gathered supplies for a finish line party on our race day of April 10. The official race dates were the 10th and 11th. The weather was a bit damp, but another beauty of a Virtual is that you can play with the time. 2 ladies decided to do their races the day before to stay dry and 1 was out of the area so she did hers solo but posted on our FB event page. We had coffee, donut holes, Ultima, water and bananas to celebrate after. And since I was technically RD for my event and manning the finish line I went out the next morning to put in my 10K at my favorite local trail. Again, Virtual Races = Flexibility.

The SWAG we got was a tech shirt, bright medal with detachable charm, bondi band, reusable shopping bag, Ultima samples (8 I think), bib, and suntan lotion.

As far as the race management, they were super communicative and supportive. If you tagged them on social media, they always commented. They had a Facebook group for the event that encouraged lots of posting and even had photo tags to decorate your pictures. They held several giveaway events, one of which I won a visor. A friend of mine also won a visor as well so that was cool. One of the ladies was missing something out of her packet and sent them a message and it was immediately resolved. You could tell that they really cared about their racers. It was a great event and I'd for sure do it again.

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(2021)
"Running Meets Escape Room"
Overall
Race Management
SWAG
Virtual Support

Standard virtual races are so yesterday! The Run to Escape: Mission Mt. Olympus running experience is something totally new and unique! Run to Escape is the first of its kind, fun and challenging running experience that pairs fitness with escape room style puzzles to unlock 6 challenges progressing through an interesting and engaging storyline to help the goddess Atalanta join the Olympian Pantheon. You track your runs on RunKeeper app and then answer the puzzles that are emailed by the god Hermes to you to progress through the story.

I scored the SWAG 3/5 stars because there is no real traditional SWAG, no shirts, bib, medals or anything like that. What you do get is upon completion, access to an after party that is filled with cool digital SWAG like discounts, recopies, music playlists and lots and lots of chances to win prizes.

The race management interacts with any posts that you make on social media in character and is almost as entertaining as the actual audio during your run. You are also given access to a Slack channel where you can chat with others doing the series. But don't worry, no spoilers as there are separate rooms for each stage, both In Progress and Completed for each challenge.

Overall, it's a pretty cool concept. And definitely something new. If they release a new storyline, I will most likely register for that one too.

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(2021)
"HC Goes Virtual for 2021"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I love the Hot Chocolate races and wanted to do it even though it had to go virtual for Covid reasons this year. But, the beauty of a virtual event is that you can do it whenever, wherever you like, which was actually a godsend for me this year as on the official race day, I was still in a leg brace from knee surgery, so I ran my race earlier, right before my surgery so I could "earn" my chocolaty swag. On the actual race day, I hosted an event with a group of friends for the "race day" experience where I served as RD instead of runner, so I still had a blast.

The race was very communicative about the status and told us when they were shipping our goodies. I received my items several days before the event date. The jackets are always really nice, black with zip pockets and a removable hood. They are a bit snug so I advise sizing up if you don't like fitted. Even though we didn't get bowls of heaping chocolate like in the past, the goodie bag had packets of hot chocolate and several chocolate candies, plus some sponsor items as well. I didn't qualify this year, but had friends that earned Legacy status and Legacy items were sent with packets as well. Overall, I totally recommend the event, even virtual. The quality SWAG alone is worth the registration!

*ratings for live items were based on previous years, this year the event was virtual

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(2020)
"Running with #TeamRaphie"
Overall
Race Management
SWAG
Virtual Support

I ran this race virtually but was joined by a few friends. When I arrived my friend's house a 9 am on race day, unfortunately, it was raining. Fortunately, it was a Virtual Race, so that meant that we could wait for the rain to pass a bit before starting. Score another point for Virtual Races! Weather not cooperating, no problem, just wait a bit. After about 45 minutes, the rain had stopped and we decided it was go time.

#TeamRalphie (2 of us) were running it and the other 2 were doing the Elf Virtual Run for #TeamBuddy and were walking it. With routes in hand and after a quick Start Line group photo, we were off.

I wasn't expecting too much out of my 5K since I still haven't recovered my speed from my knee surgery, but I felt pretty good so I decided to push it a bit. It helped having someone with me for the first mile to provide that bit of competitive push. We hit a decent hill and I heard her tell me to keep going so I did, realizing that if I could keep my pace right about where I was, I had a good chance at breaking a 30 minute 5K for the first time since my surgery, despite the hilly route. The course was very straightforward and Kim's directions were perfect. I finished the 5K and was thrilled with my 29:02 time.

After we finished our miles, we went back to my friend's house to put on our finisher swag sweatshirts and show off our medals. The SWAG was top notch- a nice, thick zippered sweatshirt with zip pockets, a knit beanie and nice medal. We also received personalized Bibs with individual numbers and our names. Seriously worth the entry fee and then some. It all arrived before the event which meant instant gratification, just like an in-person race. Some Virtuals don't sent out until after race day. We received lots of emails ahead of time for the race including updates on when our stuff shipped.

After the race, you could upload your time and finisher photos online. There were even fun downloads. After the race, my friends and I watched the movies that inspired our races and had some holiday fun. Virtual races are as fun as you make them and give you a chance to be creative, so I love it when the themes are fun like this one was!

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(2020)
"Bat-tastic Virtual"
Overall
Race Management
SWAG
Virtual Support

When I first heard about the DC Batman Virtual Race, I wanted in cause who doesn't love Batman?! Especially when I knew the race was put on by RAM Racing, their SWAG is always top notch and this race was no exception. The 3/4 Zip is cool and comfy and the tech hat is awesome. Love the medal and we even received a GU Waffle (which, full disclosure, I ate before I technically earned it for my race). SWAG was shipped super quickly and I received it well before I planned to run the race so I could have instant gratification of medal pics!

You were able to chose from 2 different distances, 5K or 10K, so the race is good for those of any level. And the beauty of a Virtual race is you can kind of create your own experience. Want to run it alone, do that. Want to race with friends, get them involved. I had originally planned to race it alone for speed, but a friend asked to join me and lone crusader race became a dynamic duo and I enjoyed it so much more. You had a generous time frame to complete the race (between Sept 1 and Dec 1) and I typically run Virtuals near the end to maximize my training so we ran it on Nov 28. I even synced it up to run at the same time as 2 friends that live outside my area. We texted "Go" at the start and then video chatted after, showing off our medals and swag.

Overall, it was a great event. I highly recommend any of the DC race series events.

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