Latest reviews by Vanessa Junkin

(2021)
"Fun and unique trail event! "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

To be fair, I work in marketing for Wicomico County Recreation & Parks, which is one of the organizations that puts on this event (the other is Algonquin Ultras). However, this is a fun and unique event that I'd like to share with the BibRave community.

This is the third year I've participated in the Pemberton 24. At this race, a 5K starts every hour, on the hour, for 24 hours (5Ks start at 7 p.m. Friday through 6 p.m. Saturday). Runners can choose to do as many or as few 5Ks as they want — but they need to start with the group (no early or late starts). Runners get points for each 5K they complete, an extra point for 5Ks between midnight and 4 a.m., and additional points for placing. People can participate on teams or as individuals.

It's a cup-less race, and there is an aid station that runners get to at the end of each 5K. There are different food options after each 5K. There is a water cooler that people can use to refill their bottles/hydration packs, and other options included soda, chips, ice pops, chicken, cupcakes, quesadillas and more. There was also a food truck at the event (one on Friday and a different one on Saturday).

The race is run on trails. I love the trails at Pemberton Park, but I did rate "scenery" as a 4/5 because a lot of the race is in the dark, so you can't see much. Headlamps are required for the dark hours. There are also some fun decorations set up along the way. Also, it is the same loop over 24 hours, so the scenery does not change after the first time (aside from how light or dark it is).

Swag includes a T-shirt and a patch. You can "patch out" when you are finished with your run, no matter how far that is. On the T-shirt, you can fill in how many of the 5Ks you did. I completed 12 this year.

Although the trails are technical and there are lots of roots, there is hardly any elevation. There are some hills that those of us who live in the very flat local area notice.

Parking is easy and free, and each runner/team gets a campsite where they can set up a tent, coolers or other items. Since I live close by, this year I opted to drive home, sleep and come back.

I know everyone who manages the race, but I think they do a great job. There's also a really involved Facebook group if you are interested or have any questions.

Read more in my blog post: https://sherunsbytheseashore.com/2021/10/10/i-tried-a-new-strategy-for-this-years-pemberton-24-and-it-worked/

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(2021)
"Always a fun race — but cooler this year! "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

This was my ninth year running the Mike Sterling 10K. Of course, since I return every year, it's obviously one of my favorite races! The race is held during Labor Day Weekend and the National Hard Crab Derby. Usually, it's very hot, but this year, it was cooler, which allowed me to have a much faster race than last year. Many runners got PRs.

It's extremely flat in Crisfield, and I like the course, which has water views and takes runners through neighborhoods and through the small town.

Swag was a T-shirt with a crab on it — Crisfield is the Crab Capital of the World. It's only $25, so of course, I would not expect a lot of extras and am happy with the T-shirt. There are also cool overall and age group awards (I didn't earn one this year), along with fun door prizes, including crab meat, Smith Island Cake and running shoes (also didn't get one of those this year).

It's also super easy to park for free steps away from the start, and the race is managed well. There were three water stops and volunteers were friendly. Packet pickup was held at a small beach in Crisfield the night before.

I'd definitely recommend this event! Read more here: https://sherunsbytheseashore.com/2021/09/10/on-a-beautiful-day-i-beat-last-years-mike-sterling-10k-time-by-four-minutes/

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(2021)
"Always a fun event with tons of food afterward!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I love this race! This is the sixth year I've run it. It's held at the Delaware Technical Community College Owens Campus in Georgetown on a Thursday evening in September near 9/11 (this year it was 9/9). The race is just $25 (early rate) and offers so much food at the end — ice cream, chicken, cole slaw, rolls, pizza, cheese curls, bananas and Dogfish Head beer. There was also live music.

Swag is a basic T-shirt, but for $25 and with all the food, that's definitely all I need (honestly, I'd be fine with just the food!). The race also benefits a great cause — scholarships for veterans and first responders at the college.

There are three aid stations for the 5K, which is more than most 5Ks probably have and is helpful. The course is two loops around the campus — nothing too exciting, but it is flat.

I've had to park kind of far away in the past, but this year, with a smaller race field and no election going on like there was in 2019, it was easy to park. Packet pickup was held inside before the event. I also appreciated that covid procedures were practiced, with volunteers serving food and wearing masks.

This is a great event and I'll be back next year!

Read my full recap on my blog: https://sherunsbytheseashore.com/2021/09/26/run-white-and-blue-5k-not-my-fastest-time-but-a-fun-time/

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(2021)
"Hot but a great race as always! "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

This was my fifth year participating in the Naylor Mill 7K, and I am one of only three people to have run it every year. Of course, I really enjoy this race, as I keep coming back! It happened to be on the hottest day of the summer, and I appreciated there were precautions taken — an extra water stop, an early exit option and the requirement to run with water.

The terrain is tough for Salisbury. I gave it a "5" for difficulty based on the types of trails I have personally run. I'm sure there are tougher trails out there, but for my very flat area, this is difficult. The course is mostly on singletrack trails, with twists, turns and hills. Expect your pace to be at least a few minutes slower than usual per mile.

This race has a Bacon vs. Scrapple theme, and you pick your team. Swag was a T-shirt, towel and sticker. The race is also very affordable, so I don't expect more swag than that, and I'm happy with it.

It's easy to park in the large, free parking lot at the Henry S. Parker Athletic Complex by the trail.

Race management is always great. This was a successful event as always, and as noted, I especially appreciated the extra precautions taken for the super hot day.

Read more in my blog post: https://sherunsbytheseashore.com/2021/08/21/i-completed-the-naylor-mill-7k-on-the-hottest-day-of-the-summer/

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(2021)
"A great summer challenge! "
Overall
Race Management
SWAG
Virtual Support

For the second year, I enjoyed the Race Across Maryland! What really makes this race stand out is the amount of engagement for a virtual event. There are vlogs as cyclist Mark Clem visits businesses across the state, interactive opportunities on social media with chances to win gift cards, and digital badges to earn as you track your miles and see your progress across the state. I won a $10 gift card and got to pick a business that I enjoy visiting in my city.

The course goes across Maryland, but people can participate from anywhere and log their running or walking miles. There is also a separate cycling option. There are options for 250 miles over 60 days (West-East), 100 miles over 60 days (North-South), or a Double Cross for extra mileage. I chose the 250 miles and finished one day late (61 days), but it kept me motivated during the hot and humid summer.

Race management was great. I enjoyed the interaction, and the swag also arrived very quickly once the 60th day hit. Swag was a beach towel and medal, along with a digital bib, digital certificate and digital badges. I like getting a beach towel more than a shirt or medal, because I have so many shirts and medals, and I will actually use the towel.

I was also part of a social team with my running club, the Eastern Shore Running Club. Teams that got at least 10 people to sign up each got a $10 discount (or refund, if already paid) off the registration fee.

Read my blog post here: https://sherunsbytheseashore.com/2021/08/23/it-took-me-an-extra-day-but-i-finished-the-virtual-race-across-maryland/

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