Latest reviews by Vanessa Junkin

(2018)
"Go Team Bacon! Tough terrain for Salisbury, Maryland!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management
Thumb unnamed

This is a fun — but very tough — trail race at the Naylor Mill Forest Trail in Salisbury, Maryland. The terrain is unlike most of Salisbury, so I was about four-to-five-plus minutes per mile slower than my normal race pace (although I think everyone was affected by the terrain, they might not have all been affected as much as I was). It was also hot.

The course started out with about a mile around the baseball/softball fields at the Henry S. Parker Athletic Complex. This was definitely the easiest mile of the race, and it helped to spread people out before we got to the single-track trails. Once we entered the woods, the trails were narrow and there were plenty of roots to dodge. There were also hills. Although the hills were steep and tough for someone who lives in a flat area like me (I live in the city where the race is held — Salisbury, Maryland), I gave it a 3 out of 5 stars because I know there are much hillier races. My watch logged 288 feet of elevation gain.

The race was very affordable — just $15 — and the shirt was awesome! I gave it a 4 out of 5 because it's a regular T-shirt, but it has a really fun design. Runners could sign up as part of Team Bacon or Team Scrapple, and there were also a few people on Team Veggie. Runners got a shirt that corresponded to their team — mine was a blue shirt with a piece of bacon running ahead of a piece of scrapple. There was also a fun personalized bib.

There was one aid station, which was at a good spot along the course. It was announced before the race that this would be a cup-less race, which makes sense because we wouldn't want to litter the trails, and it would be possible that if there were cups, they could end up off the trails or down hills. There was also bacon available at this station, along with wet washcloths — which were appreciated!

The scenery is nice and is mostly in the woods. Parking was plentiful, close to the start, and free.

Although my watch logged the course as a little long (4.75 miles for a 7K — which should be about 4.35 miles), I would say race management was great. My friend does manage the race, and I think he made it a great experience for everyone. The course was extremely well-marked, which was crucial for being in the woods, and I liked the touches like the teams and their colors, the personalized bibs, bacon and scrapple doughnuts at the beginning and a general fun evening — it's held on a Friday evening.

There was not really an expo, just a packet pickup at Smokin' BBQ at The Pavilion at 1400 South the evening before the race.

Read my blog recap here: https://sherunsbytheseashore.com/2018/08/11/tough-terrain-repping-team-bacon-at-the-naylor-mill-7k/

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2018)
"Inaugural race — hot but fun!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management
Thumb f3db5180 7c96 44a3 a591 e23b44216861

2018 was the inaugural year of the Foot Pursuit in the Park 5K. This race was held in conjunction with Salisbury's annual National Night Out event at the Salisbury City Park. It started at 4 p.m. before the National Night Out festivities, so it was extremely hot and humid, but that's to be expected with a race held on an August afternoon.

The race did prepare for the heat by offering three water stops! This was much appreciated. I am a seasoned runner, but I don't do so well in the heat and actually stopped briefly at each of them.

Scenery was very usual for me at the Salisbury City Park. I run here all the time, but it is a nice place to run. Most of the course was on crushed-stone trails (not technical), along with some road stretches. It's also very flat.

I was able to get a parking spot very close to the start, and parking is free. It's possible that some people might have had to walk a little bit, but I had no problem parking.

The race was just $20 and there was plenty of swag — a reversible mesh tank top, a high-quality finisher medal and various other items, such as a reusable shopping bag, plastic cup and more. I do know the organizer, but I thought the race was well-organized. I was most pleased with the three water stops, and things seemed to run smoothly. The race put out motivational signs along the way, which was a nice touch. By the time I got near the end of the race, there were a few people walking through the course, but nobody got in my way. I would guess for the later runners/walkers that this might have been an issue.

There was not an expo, but there was packet pickup offered the evening before the race and also on race day.

Read my blog recap here: https://sherunsbytheseashore.com/2018/08/16/a-police-chase-i-signed-up-for-foot-pursuit-in-the-park-5k-recap/

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2018)
"Fun race with great community support! "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management
Thumb img 8257

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Vermont City Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find and write race reviews!

This was my first time running the Vermont City Marathon, which is in Burlington, Vermont, and I was impressed. I could tell it was going to be a good race leading up to it, because everything seemed very well-organized. I also really like the city of Burlington.

There were Facebook Live videos each week and regular emails. The website had all the pertinent information, and I was added to a Facebook group called New2-26.2, through which a coach provided training plans. We also received training info from the coach via email. (I was provided with this for free through BibRave, but this is available with a deluxe registration for $10 additional - early rate - or $15 additional - later rates.)

The shirt was a basic short-sleeve tech shirt, but I thought the design was really cool. This year was the race's 30th anniversary, so that was a major theme in the design of the shirt and the medal. There was no extra physical swag for the regular runner (I received some extra items as a BibRave Pro), but there were perks like food and beer at the finish.

Aid stations were awesome. There were so many water stops that I lost count during the race (a full list of water stops is available on the race website at www.runvcm.org.) The volunteers were helpful and there were so many of them. The on-course fuel was UnTapped, a maple syrup fuel that I trained with after seeing it would be on course. The fuel was not with the water stops. There were also unofficial aid stations, including a Maple Syrup Shots station and at least two ice pop stations beyond the one listed.

I really liked the course. It goes out in a few different directions, continually returning to the center of the city. The first part is in the downtown area and includes the Church Street Marketplace (runners go through here twice during the race). Next is the Burlington Beltline, which is a highway with nice views. Runners then go back to a city environment before heading up toward the Burlington Greenway (bike path), with an energetic neighborhood on the way. There are views of Lake Champlain from the bike path and from a different neighborhood. Being from a very flat area, I thought it was a hilly course, although it seemed like people from hillier areas did not think it was that hilly. My watch logged 696 feet of elevation gain, with more elevation lost. The most daunting hill was on Battery Street, during Mile 16, but I noticed even the smaller hills. The next largest hill was leaving the Beltline area, around Mile 9.

This year's race, the 30th anniversary, had the added perk of having Meb Keflezighi there for the race. I got to meet Meb and get a photo with him at Waterfront Park the day before the race. I went to the expo later to get an autograph, and ended up getting another photo instead because the line was very long. However, plenty of people did get autographs. It was great that he was so accessible. Even though I finished too late for this, some people even got high-fives from Meb at the finish line. He ran with a relay team.

I picked up my bib and shirt easily on Friday evening, but since I got there right before the expo closed, I returned the next day. There was an opportunity to taste and purchase 14th Star Brewing Co. beer, which I did. UnTapped was also at the expo with samples, and I bought some maple leaf earrings from Danforth Pewter. It was a smaller expo, but it had everything I needed.

I was told by my host that if I left before 6 a.m. (the race starts at 7 a.m.), parking would not be hard to find. He was correct, and I was able to find a free parking spot not far from Waterfront Park. I can't speak to later parking, but I found parking easily. I saw that there were also shuttles from some hotels.

I enjoyed the contact via email and information ahead of the race. The course was also well-marked and easy to follow. There were plenty of portable toilets, lots of water stops and everything went on smoothly.

The finish line was awesome. I came in at 5:07:17, and there were crowds of people on both sides — I felt like a celebrity. I got post-race food and drink including water, a piece of pizza, chips, Ben & Jerry's (there were samples, but I bought a full-size cone). Runners also got a free beer. This year, there were different Vermont brewers' beers. The 14th Star beer ran out before I got to the tent, but I got a Zero Gravity beer that I liked.

There were also tons of drummers on the course, from the Taiko Drummers on the Battery Street hill and drummers on the Beltline to people drumming on trash cans and bins. There was great community support for this race, which is definitely appreciated! Everyone was also very friendly.

Check out my full race recap on my blog: https://sherunsbytheseashore.com/2018/05/31/vermont-city-marathon-full-of-syrup-scenery-and-support/

Loading Comments... Ajax loader

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2018)
"Awesome race with great swag! "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management
Thumb img 7002

I ran the Coastal Delaware Running Festival Half Marathon for the first time this year. I ran the race as the 2:30 half marathon pacer, so I did receive a free entry.

I loved this race! It was well-organized, scenic and fun, with awesome swag. I received a really nice shirt, a BOCO Gear trucker hat (finishers received this at the end), a great medal (also received at the end, of course), a pint glass and a magnet. So much swag! I will note that I generally wear a medium in regular clothes, but I have often started ordering a large for race shirts, and I am definitely glad I did for this race. The shirt is more of a regular-wear shirt than a running shirt (at least it seems that way to me) and seems to run on the smaller side; the large fits well. Unfortunately, a friend who is about the same size as me had ordered a medium shirt and wanted to switch to large and was unable to -- something to consider if you are a woman.

Aid stations were plentiful and had what I needed. It seemed like they were well-placed on the course. I didn't take any fuel, so I didn't pay attention to that as much, but I did get water at each station.

This course is very scenic! It starts and finishes on the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk and takes runners up and down the beautiful Gordon's Pond trail, with a loop rather than a turnaround. It is also very flat. During the half marathon, my watch only logged 118 feet of elevation gain.

The expo was easy to navigate and I didn't have to wait in line for my packet, but it was nothing special. There were only a few vendors and a photo background where you could get a photo. The expo is not really something I personally care that much about at a race, though.

Parking was very easy and free (off-season at the beach). My friend and I arrived early because I picked up my pace sign at 6:15 a.m. ahead of the 7:30 half marathon start, and we got a very close spot.

Race management was great. Everything about the race was well-run. I received numerous emails and Athlinks updates.

There was also great food afterward! In addition to some of the regular runner food (like bananas), there was a full buffet from sponsor Grotto Pizza that included pizza, baked ziti, chicken tenders and salad. Runners could also have three beers. The lines were very long and a little confusing, but I found out that the lines were shorter inside.

Read my full blog post here: https://sherunsbytheseashore.com/2018/04/24/a-successful-scenic-pacing-experience-at-the-coastal-delaware-running-festival-half-marathon/

Loading Comments... Ajax loader

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2018)
"Had fun pacing this race! "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

This was my third year pacing the OCMD Island to Island Half Marathon, and this year went much better than last year as far as the weather (which obviously can't be controlled). Last year was abnormally hot and humid, and this year was still somewhat hot but much more normal. If you read my BibRave review from last year, you may have seen I barely didn't hit my pace last year (I had really tried to hit the pace, but the heat negatively affected me), but I did this year. I did receive a free entry to the race as a pacer.

The race course goes from Assateague Island to Ocean City, with the course doing a loop in a neighborhood and going up a little on the Boardwalk before turning back. The course is flat aside from one hill, which is the Verrazano Bridge leaving Assateague. The bridge is early on in the race, which is good.

Since it's a point-to-point race, runners take buses to Assateague from the Ocean City Inlet. Since my friend and I were pacing, we got there pretty early and it was easy to board a bus; we didn't have to wait in line. There were also plenty of portable toilets at the Inlet. We ended up going to the bathroom in Assateague. We used an indoor bathroom, and there was a wait, but we still had time before the race began.

I would give course scenery a "4" because the beginning and end are awesome — Assateague and Ocean City — with water views, the Boardwalk and beach sights, but the middle can get a little tedious, as it's a long stretch of road.

The T-shirt this year was black, with the race artwork on the back and the logo small on the front left side. I got a women's cut, and it seems to be more of a regular T-shirt than a running shirt, although you could run in it. It seems to run a little small. I'm normally a medium, but I have been ordering large in race shirts recently since they all seem to be sized differently. I got a medium for this one and it is snug. I would have preferred a large. The medal was cool and had a Maryland theme (although it was missing the word "half" in front of "marathon," it did say "13.1").

The aid stations on the course were good and the volunteers were helpful, but I think there should have been more. Runners around me were surprised that they were three miles apart at times.

My friend picked up my packet for me and there wasn't really an expo anyway as far as I know, so I did not rate that.

Parking was very easy, but I took off a star because the price was somewhat high ($3/hour in the offseason). My friend paid about $16 for us to park, putting in enough money till shortly after 11 a.m. There was also a line at times to pay at the kiosks (you can also pay via an app — it's a new system for Ocean City).

After the race, runners could enjoy a piece of pizza and snacks like cookies, granola bars and bananas, along with a beer (no craft beer this year). I thought this was a well-run race in general and I didn't have any problems.

Read my full race recap on my blog here: https://sherunsbytheseashore.com/2018/05/04/true-redemption-pacing-the-ocmd-island-to-island-half-marathon-the-year-after-a-tough-race/

Login or sign up to leave a comment.