Latest reviews by Vanessa Junkin

(2019)
"1979 theme this year for the 40th annivesrary! "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

The Mike Sterling 10K is always one of my favorite races, and this was my eighth year participating. This was the 40th year of the race, so there was a 1979 theme this year, and participants were invited to dress up in gear from the era, which I did.

The course is extremely flat. There are water views at the beginning, and the rest of the course goes through neighborhoods and Crisfield's main road. Runners finish under an arch made out of crab pots.

Swag for this year's race included a retro-style shirt, and the first 100 people also got a sweatband. Overall winners, including the fastest Crisfielder, received painted watermen's boots. First and second place in each age group received crab pot "medals."

There were two official aid stations and one in someone's yard that I think was unofficial. These were helpful, as it's usually very hot on race day — it's always held Labor Day weekend in conjunction with the National Hard Crab Derby.

Packet pickup is race morning near the Crisfield City Dock and is extremely easy. Free parking is plentiful nearby.

I'm friends with the organizers, but either way, I'd say this race is well-organized. It has grown in recent years and everything is done well. The course is well-marked, the swag is cool, there was a costume contest this year for the 1979 theme, and there are also great door prizes, including a Smith Island cake, crab meat and free pairs of shoes from VP Shoes.

I'd definitely recommend this race and hope to see you for the 41st annual next year!

Read my blog post here: https://sherunsbytheseashore.com/2019/09/06/we-threw-it-back-to-1979-at-the-mike-sterling-10k/

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2019)
"Tough course but fun event! "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I had a lot of fun at the third Naylor Mill 7K! This year and last year, the race has been a Team Bacon vs. Team Scrapple competition. There's also Team Veggie.

The race is held at the Naylor Mill Forest Trail. This is definitely the toughest trail in the general area. It's singletrack and has lots of turns and steep inclines and declines. I had a 14:31 average pace at this race, and my normal pace for a road 5K has been in the low 9s recently. So be ready for a challenge!

The race has such a fun environment. I had a bacon doughnut beforehand, bacon on the course and bacon and scrapple afterward. The volunteers are great. At the second aid station, I was showered with water from wet rags by about five different people, while another volunteer filled my water bottle. Volunteers also cooked the bacon and scrapple.

The trail is pretty and fun to explore — just pay attention to where you're going with all the roots and turns. Parking is easy — the trail adjoins the Henry S. Parker Athletic Complex, where there is plenty of parking. I carpooled with a friend because there was also a softball tournament going on, but there still seemed to be a good amount of parking.

There isn't really an expo, but early packet pickup was available on the Wednesday before the race — the race is on a Friday night.

Race management is great. The course was very well-marked, and there is lots of communication between a Facebook group and emails. I'm also friends with the race director, and I'm sure I could ask him a question anytime.

I liked the swag of a Team Bacon T-shirt and a sticker of the race logo. There are also griddle prizes for the Top 3 men, Top 3 women and Top 3 under-18 participants. It was really competitive so I didn't get one of those, but they were really unique. This race was also affordable at $20.

This race sold out soon after registration opened in the spring — stay tuned to be sure you get a spot!

Read my blog recap here: https://sherunsbytheseashore.com/2019/08/04/naylor-mill-7k-tough-trails-good-friends-and-of-course-bacon/

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2019)
"Always a fun time! "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half 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!

I really enjoyed my third Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon! This race is very well-organized, and it's a large event, but from my perspective, it seemed to go off without a hitch. The course did have to be changed slightly, but everything was well-marked. I also received plenty of communication from Rock 'n' Roll via email and social media leading up to the event.

There were plenty of water stops with friendly volunteers along the course. I stopped at all of them except the last one. Although temps were in the 70s this year, it still felt hot and humid to me, and it was sunny. It is Labor Day Weekend, so that's to be expected — just be sure to hydrate ahead of time and take advantage of the water stops.

The course is also filled with entertainment. There are numerous bands along the course, cheer groups that come out, and locals that come out and support the runners. One in particular I remember year to year is the Croatan Pop Stop, where people hand out ice pops — much appreciated on a hot day!

Half marathon runners also get free access to the American Music Festival, and 5K runners get access to the Sunday night concert. This year's Sunday night performers were Dashboard Confessional and +Live+.

I do think the music festival ticket is awesome, but I'm not sure if that counts as "swag" or just a perk. I'll count it as "swag" and give that a "4." I thought the shirt was OK. I'm a little tired of gray race shirts, and I loved some of the shirts at the expo, so it would have been cool to have one of those colors/designs as the race shirt. There was also a nice finisher medal, and plenty of opportunities to earn additional medals by completing additional Rock 'n' Roll races, both during this weekend and during other events.

It's fun to run through Pacific and Atlantic Avenues, and the boardwalk finish that goes alongside the beach is amazing! I gave the scenery a "4" just because parts of the middle are not overly scenic. The course is very flat; there is one bridge that runners go out and back on. I'm from a flat area, so I could tell it was a hill, but it definitely was not that bad of a hill.

The expo was easy to move through and I got my bib and shirt without any problems. I didn't think there was anything especially exciting about this year's expo, but I didn't really want to buy much anyway.

I stayed at an oceanfront hotel, so I had a short walk to the start. That's why I didn't rate parking/access.

Afterward, runners can relax on the beach. The finish line band performed near the boardwalk this year rather than on the beach. I preferred the beach performance, but I assume there was a reason it was moved.

I'll be back next year! This is a fun race to have as part of my annual schedule.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(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/

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2019)
"Fun race for an important cause! "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

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/

Login or sign up to leave a comment.