Latest reviews by Vanessa Junkin

(2021)
"Great way to raise awareness and funds!"
Overall
Race Management
SWAG
Virtual Support

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the National Day of Awareness MMIW Virtual Run 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!

I really enjoyed being part of this virtual run. Participants could do any activity/distance to benefit Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women USA, and I chose to run 10 miles to recognize the fact that Native women in some places are 10 times as likely to be murdered as those in other groups. Native Women Running was active on social media, sharing stats, stories and why this is an important cause. I think this virtual event is a great way to raise awareness and money for an issue that some may not realize is such a serious problem.

Swag was a red T-shirt. I like the shirt, but for me, this was more about the cause. There were various updates shared directly from Native Women Running Founder Verna Volker, and I thought she did a great job with this event. I would participate again!

Read more in my blog post: https://sherunsbytheseashore.com/2021/05/11/i-ran-for-missing-and-murdered-indigenous-women-on-every-street-in-vienna-md/

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(2021)
"This race made the virtual experience special!"
Overall
Race Management
SWAG
Virtual Support

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the DICK's Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon Relay as part of being a member of the Brooks Run Happy Team.

I thought the Pittsburgh Marathon put on a great virtual race. I participated in a marathon relay team with members of the Brooks Run Happy Team. I had the first leg, which was 5.3 miles.

An online race experience (experience.thepittsburghmarathon.com) enhanced the virtual race experience. There were various social media templates, videos and a playlist to download.

The evening of the day I ran the race, I received my swag box. This included a shirt, medal, bib, Nuun packets, a cookie, Honey Stinger waffle and gel, sunscreen, a lip balm and coupons. It was cool to receive a whole box of items. It would have been nice to receive it the day before, but I know some have been having issues with the mail, so it’s not a big deal.

It would have been nice if there were a place to load in our relay times. We just added them together to get our marathon time, but there weren’t results that I saw. You could get a results certificate as part of the online experience.

I got all the info I needed from the race and they were also very active on social media, interacting with some of my posts.

I hope to do this race in person at some point — it seems very well organized!

Read my blog recap here: https://sherunsbytheseashore.com/2021/05/06/the-sneaker-seekers-rocked-the-dicks-sporting-goods-pittsburgh-marathon-relay/

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(2021)
"Had fun with this new experience! "
Overall
Race Management
SWAG
Virtual Support

Disclaimer: I received an entry to Run to Escape: Mission Mt. Olympus 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!

Run to Escape: Mission Mt. Olympus was a fun, unique experience. It's actually not a race, which I think is important to mention early on. This experience includes six runs, which are each a challenge of a different Greek god. Each run includes audio clues via Runkeeper and a puzzle to solve afterward that allows you to unlock the next run with an access code. The goal is to try to get Atalanta, the Goddess of Running, a spot in the Greek Pantheon.

The experience was well-managed. While at first, the emails were taking a while to come through, this problem was quickly solved so that participants now have the info they need ready to go when they finish the run. To solve each puzzle, you need clues that you hear on each run as well as information in an email.

There is no physical swag for this event, which makes "swag" a hard category to rate. I actually don't mind not having swag because I have so much from other events. I'm really more about the experience when it comes to events, particularly virtual ones. There are discounts from Aftershokz, Knockaround and ParadigmQ, as well as chances to win prizes.

There is a lot of virtual support for this race. The person behind the social media accounts does a good job engaging with runners, and there's also a Slack channel where you can chat about the challenges with fellow participants.

Read more in my blog: https://sherunsbytheseashore.com/2021/05/30/what-do-you-get-when-you-combine-running-and-escape-rooms-run-to-escape-mission-mt-olympus/

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(2021)
"Fun, safe in-person race! "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I had a great experience at the 2021 Salisbury Half Marathon. I ran this race in 2019 and have also served as the race's coach since then (and I got a free entry because of that). It went virtual-only in 2020, right at the start of the pandemic. This year, it came back as an in-person event and was the largest running event in the area since the pandemic began. There were lots of safety precautions in place, including a COVID questionnaire, temperature checks, masking before and after the run, and five different waves (marathon waves at 7 and 7:15 a.m., half marathon waves at 7:30 and 7:45 a.m., and a 5K wave - different start location). Runners also were sent off in small groups rather than everyone at once.

Aid stations were serve-yourself from prepackaged items (water bottles, Gatorade bottles, small Clif bars and I think there were gels — I brought my own fuel). The volunteers were great and were wearing masks.

Swag this year included a lot of different items, which I always appreciate. Runners received a race shirt, branded BibBoards, a branded Hoo-Rag, a sticker with the race distance (13.1 for me), a $5 voucher to use at a Downtown Salisbury business and a VP Shoes coupon. For packet pickup, runners could either have their bib mailed or go through a drive-thru packet pickup on the Thursday or Friday before the race. I did the drive-thru and it was quick and easy.

The course scenery is nothing too special to me as I run some of these roads all the time. I think there are some prettier areas that were not included — it's not the most exciting course, but I do like the last few miles along Riverside Drive (along the river). The course is extremely flat, with a few minor inclines. As a warning, one of those few inclines is at the very end.

I live very close to the start, so I ran there and did not have to worry about parking (so I did not rate that section), but parking is free on the weekends. If someone parked downtown and ran the half marathon or marathon, they would have to walk/run about a half-mile to the start and they would finish near where they parked.

I thought the race was managed well, and there was plenty of communication with runners ahead of time. I felt safe at this event, which I think is the most important in COVID times.

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(2020)
"Fun race as always with new safety precautions! "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

This was my fourth time running the Naylor Mill 7K, but this time, it was my first time running a race since March because of all the cancellations because of COVID-19. I had fun and also appreciated the safety precautions that were taken into account. This is a smaller race, and this year, there were 96 finishers.

Before the race, participants had their bib, along with a cloth mask, mailed to them. This meant there was no packet pickup. The masks were themed for the team — Team Bacon or Team Scrapple. Then, at the end, runners received a green T-shirt that had running bacon, scrapple and veggies.

I marked the elevation difficulty as a 5, because this is definitely the toughest course in the Salisbury area. Salisbury is very flat, but this course is mostly singletrack trails with twists and turns in addition to steep uphills and downhills. It is a scenic trail, though!

There was one aid station that offered water bottles (because of COVID). This was definitely adequate for the 7K distance, and the volunteers were friendly. Usually, there is bacon at the aid station, but understandably, there was not this year.

Parking is free and plentiful; I had no problems parking.

Race management was, of course, top notch. The race director, Trent Swanson, puts a lot of care into his races, and this time, he had the added considerations of safety precautions due to COVID-19. There was a health screening, masks required in certain areas (although not while running), a socially distanced race start with a starting curve, and prepackaged food at the end. There's an active Facebook group for this race, and we also received info via email. The course was also well-marked (it's a course that I think is tough to follow if you go out on your own, but it was easy to follow on race day).

Read my full recap here: https://sherunsbytheseashore.com/2020/08/15/i-ran-my-first-in-person-race-since-march-the-naylor-mill-7k/

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