Latest reviews by Vanessa Junkin

(2019)
"Love the beach towel premium! "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

This was my second time running the Baltimore 10 Miler (I also ran this race in 2016) and I thought it was a well-organized and fun event!

This race is known for having great swag, which is different every year. This year, it was a beach towel — which I love — along with a tech shirt and medal. There are also free race photos.

The course starts near the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore and continues through the city to and around Lake Montebello before heading back. It's not a complete out-and-back, but much of the course is. It's hilly, but these were not the worst hills I have experienced during a race. I am from a flat area, so the hills made it a challenge for me, but I have run hillier races, and I appreciated the downhills and the flat area around the lake.

There were a good amount of aid stations on the course, but some did not seem to have enough volunteers, because they were filling the cups as we got there.

We were required to get our bibs the day before (the premiums are given to you after the race), but there was no expo — just a table to pick up your bibs outside the zoo.

Parking was easy for bib pick-up, but on race day, it was a challenge. The race advises runners to leave earlier than they think, and we waited in a lot of traffic. Then, when we did park, we had to walk about 3/4 of a mile to get to the start. There was a shuttle, but I didn't look up the shuttle specifics.

Afterward, there's water, plenty of food — watermelon, apples, bananas, chips, pretzels — and beer and other drinks. Unfortunately, the beer was warm, but that's not the end of the world. There is a fun after-party environment with a band and a large grassy area to sit down and relax.

Read my blog recap here: https://sherunsbytheseashore.com/2019/06/08/feeling-good-during-the-baltimore-10-miler/

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(2019)
"Fun race for an important cause! "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
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This was my fourth year running the eRace the Stigma 5K. This is the race's fifth year and its third year in Downtown Salisbury. My friend is the race director and provided a discount code to our running club.

There was a new course this year — previously, the course had three loops, but this year, it went on many of the roads and the riverwalk downtown. The number of turns looked a little intimidating, but the course was easy to follow and well-marked.

Since I live in Salisbury, the scenery was not super exciting to me, but the course does go along the Wicomico River. It's also a very flat course. Living in a flat area, I noticed the most minor hills, but it's definitely flat.

There was a water stop on the course that runners pass twice. Since May can be warm, I appreciate the fact that there was a water stop, but I did not stop at it. We passed the stop before we hit Mile 1 and with about 0.6 to go. Even though I didn't stop, I gave it a "5" as I am not expecting any more than one water stop at a 5K, and there were two chances to get water.

The shirt was a nice tech shirt that says "Mental Health Matters" on the front and features "eRace the Stigma" and sponsors on the back. As a special prize for having the largest team, my fellow team members and I got travel mugs. There were also overall awards for the top male and female, along with age group awards (I didn't win one this year).

I thought the race was well-organized — with a well-marked course, professional timing, a water stop and food and drinks afterward. There was just one porta-potty that I saw; more probably would have been useful.

Read my blog review here: https://sherunsbytheseashore.com/2019/05/17/esrc-rocked-erace-the-stigma-and-supported-an-important-cause/

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(2019)
"Had fun as 3:00 pacer! "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
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I had fun in my second year as a pacer at the Coastal Delaware Running Festival in Rehoboth Beach! I paced the 3:00 group for the half marathon with Beast Pacing.

This race has a beautiful course, taking runners out and back on the Gordon's Pond Trail. It's a crushed stone trail and the whole course is very flat. It's not a technical trail. There are a few small inclines that a runner from a flat area might notice. The only problem for someone at the back of the pack was that there was a crossover in the course, where there were runners coming back from a loop. We had to turn left while people were coming toward us, so I felt like I was cutting across traffic. There was also another little out-and-back that could have been better marked.

There were plenty of aid stations that had water and Gatorade. After the race, there was a full buffet at Grotto Pizza, which had pizza, baked ziti, chicken tenders and salad. There was also beer. The full lunch afterward was a really nice perk! There were also free race photos.

I stayed at a nearby hotel, but parking is generally pretty easy in Rehoboth Beach in the off-season, and it's free during this time of year. I would still recommend getting there early just to ensure you get a good spot.

There wasn't much of an expo, but the expo isn't something I really care about. There was not race-day packet pickup, so my friend and I picked up our packets the day before at a local church, and I picked one up for another friend, too (I needed a form from her and copy of her ID). TriCycle and Run was set up with running gear/nutrition/clothes, and the race also had race-branded clothes for sale.

Race swag was awesome and included a shirt (not really a running shirt but more of a casual shirt), a pint glass, a magnet, and, upon finishing, a BOCO Gear visor. The medal was also nice.

I enjoy this race and hope to be back as a pacer next year!

Check out my blog review here: https://sherunsbytheseashore.com/2019/04/22/coastal-delaware-running-festival-a-nice-day-to-pace-the-300-group/

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(2019)
"Well-organized, flat and fun race! Had fun as coach!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
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This was the second running of the Salisbury Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K (RunSBY Events), and I thought the race went very smoothly! This was my first time participating in my hometown race, and I ran the full marathon.

I was extremely excited to run a flat marathon after running a few full marathons that I traveled for that were hilly. While there are some slight inclines (such as two overpasses and coming out of a small tunnel under Route 13), I doubt they would be noticed much by anyone who lives in a hilly or somewhat hilly area. With the elevation correction (my watch has been off recently), there were only 202 feet of elevation gain over 26.2 miles.

There were tons of water stops along the course that had friendly volunteers with water, Gatorade and fuel (fuel was at some stations). There were also numerous timing mats throughout the course, and people could track runners using the Race Day Events app. Runners were also emailed an Athlete Guide that could clear up any questions about the race.

I enjoyed the flat course. The course covered many country roads, particularly the second half of the marathon course. Although the last several miles were the toughest for me (this didn't have anything to do with the course, but the distance wearing on my body), I do enjoy running on Riverside Drive along the Wicomico River.

This race still has room to grow in the number of runners, as it is only in its second year. The half and full marathoners were together for about 10.8 miles before the half marathoners turned toward the finish and the full marathoners went to run another loop. I ended up running the race in 4:50:42, so I was near many full and half marathoners for the first 10.8 miles. There were 360 people who ran the half. There were 192 people who ran the full marathon, so after that split, we spread out a lot more (the winner ran a 2:42 and the last finisher was just before 8:00). The cutoff is 8 hours, so people have to keep up an 18:30/mile pace or faster.

Runners for the full, half and 5K each received a short-sleeve tech shirt and a medal. There were some basic food offerings at the end (bananas, oranges and granola bars), and each runner received two free beers from Evolution Craft Brewing Co. There was also a domestic on draft. As a craft beer fan, I was excited to have craft beer at the end. There will also be free photos — I saw one photographer on the course near the end.

I actually ran to the start from my house because I live so close, but I'm giving parking/access a 5 because parking in Salisbury is rarely difficult, and it's free on the weekends. I saw plenty of parking available in the park near the start, although it was recommended for people driving in to park downtown in the parking garage and take a shuttle about a half-mile over to the start.

One cool aspect of this race that I got to be a part of was serving as the RRCA coach and writing training plans for the half and full. I provided these plans and also checked in with the runners each week on the Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/2020314311530827/). I got a free entry through this.

As far as an expo, it was more of a packet pickup than an expo. Locals could pick up their packets Thursday at Evolution Craft Brewing Co., and anyone could pick up their packets Friday at Salisbury University. On Friday, TriCycle and Run was set up with running gear and nutrition. I also set up both days for the Eastern Shore Running Club.

I definitely plan to participate next year, although I have not decided whether I will run the full or half because I like to switch up my fulls. Also, for those faster than I am, the race is a Boston Marathon and New York City Marathon qualifier.

Read my blog recap here: https://sherunsbytheseashore.com/2019/04/07/salisbury-marathon-a-flat-marathon-for-no-10-and-my-first-as-coach/

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(2019)
"Had fun pacing the 2:30 group! "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
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Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I paced this half marathon for the fourth year in 2019. I always enjoy returning to the pace team for this race, and it is an added perk that this race offers pacers.

The course is unique — runners board buses at the Ocean City Inlet and are driven to Assateague State Park, where the race starts. Then, we run back to the Inlet. Scenery is beautiful at the beginning and end, but the middle can be a little bit boring, which is the reason for the 4/5 rating. The course is extremely flat, aside from one hill in the first mile over the Verrazano Bridge, which takes runners from Assateague to the mainland.

Much of the race is on Route 611. The race also has about a mile in a neighborhood along the way. Somewhere on the bridge that crosses into Ocean City, you hit Mile 11 (there was no Mile 11 mile marker, probably because it was on the bridge). Runners head toward the Inlet and then run up and back on the Boardwalk before getting to the finish.

There were plenty of water stops, which is certainly appreciated, but it seemed like some stops weren't quite ready for the runners, with not enough volunteers handing out the water. I grabbed some cups off the tables. It didn't bother me as a pacer, but if I had been going for a fast-for-me time, that probably would have been more annoying. I also didn't see mile marker flags for Miles 1, 8 (was painted on the ground) or 11. If possible, it would be nice to have Miles 1 and 11 painted on the ground as well, since they were on bridges. I think the finish times were also about a minute off (at least mine was from what I had on my watch).

Parking at the Inlet is easy, but it's unfortunate that runners have to pay for parking, which is why I rated that a 4/5 as well. As a pacer, I was given a code for free parking, but it's $3/hour, and I saw the guy in front of me in line paid about $16. It would be a good idea to carpool if you are not staying in a hotel within walking distance.

I do appreciate that the race starts at 7 a.m., because April weather is somewhat unpredictable, and it was really hot one year.

Swag was a nice tech shirt and the finisher medal. The post-race party offered beer (which included local craft beer - Evolution) and pizza. My BF did get sick after eating the pizza, but my friend and I that also ate it were fine.

This is always a fun event with a great atmosphere. There are lots of runners, so you're never alone, at least where I was in the race (2:30).

After the race, I would highly recommend heading to the Bayside Skillet in Ocean City. We also stopped at another favorite, Rise Up Coffee, after that. Delicious!

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