Latest reviews by Vanessa Junkin

(2017)
"Scenic course but usually hot! "
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This was my third year running the Bottle & Cork 10 Miler (2011, 2016 and 2017). The race turned out to be a struggle for me personally, but that wasn't the race's fault. This is a well-organized, scenic race that starts and ends in Dewey Beach, Delaware, and also goes into Rehoboth Beach.

I paid $40 for the early entry fee for this race (up until the Thursday before the race at noon). Swag includes a short-sleeved tech shirt — I like the fit of the shirt and feel that the women's cut is true-to-size. It's not a super-exciting design or anything, but it's definitely a shirt I will wear. I also received a finisher's medal.

There were plenty of water stops, and all were willing to provide me with multiple cups of water when I needed it. There is also an unofficial beer stop at about Mile 8.5 (and there was another stop that offered beer this year, too).

The course scenery is great — you are running at the beaches, so there are several waterfront views, including the Atlantic Ocean, along with pretty neighborhoods and the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk. The course is very flat, although I live in a flat area, so I noticed some hills. There were certainly not any intense hills.

I gave parking/access a "3" because I didn't have a great experience parking this year at the race, although that can't really be blamed on the race. I parked next to a car, and once the meters went into effect, I paid and then enjoyed some time at the beach after the post-race party. When I returned, I had a ticket for double parking, even though I did not realize I had done so. I was able to appeal the ticket and won, but that's not something I would like to have to worry about when I go to a race. There is some free parking at a nearby restaurant, but I arrived too late to park there (I drove around to see if there were any spots). Last year, my boyfriend and I parked a few blocks away. The race began at 8 a.m., and the metered parking began at 10 a.m.

This race is well-organized and well-marked. I will note that by the time I went into the post-race party, the fried chicken was gone. There is also a 5K, so those finishers and many of the 10-mile finishers would have been done before me. There is not an expo — just packet pickup the day of the race and the day before — so I didn't rate that category.

This race happens the second weekend of September, so it is generally a hot race. This year, it was cooler than normal, but I still had issues with the heat.

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(2017)
"Race includes three beers!"
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This was my fifth year participating in the Dogfish Dash, which starts and ends at Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Milton, Delaware. It benefits The Nature Conservancy's Delaware chapter.

It was the third year that it was an 8K race (it used to be a 5K and 10K race). It was hot, but there are three water stops on the course, and the volunteers were helpful.

Packet pickup is held the day before the race, and I did go to the packet pickup, but I wouldn't really consider it an expo. There were a few vendors set up. That went smoothly and I was able to pick up packets for my friends (there is an email to contact if you want to do that). People can also pick up their packets on race day.

Swag at the packet pickup included a T-shirt (seems to be a thicker fabric than previous years) and a bag with different items in it including work gloves. At the race, runners get a reusable water bottle and stainless steel pint glass. I love the stainless steel pints in particular!

The course scenery includes the town of Milton and some residential areas and fields. It's overall a pretty flat course, but there's at least one noticeable hill.

There is not enough parking on-site, so to park at the brewery, you have to get there very early. We did not and parked at a nearby school. We had someone driving who was not running the race, so we were able to get out before he parked. Be prepared to walk a few blocks beforehand. There are people directing drivers to the parking areas.

This race always goes smoothly and I would give race management a 5! The course is clearly marked. I will note that there are no marked corrals at the beginning, so you will probably be dodging slower runners/walkers at the beginning unless you're at the front.

The race includes three beers for runners 21+! I would also recommend bringing cash for the Fifer's apple cider doughnuts.

Read my blog recap here: https://sherunsbytheseashore.com/2017/10/08/dogfish-dash-a-hot-one-but-fun-with-friends-and-beer/

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(2017)
"Great course and door prizes! "
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The Mike Sterling 10K is one of my favorite races, and this was my sixth year participating in the race. It is an awesome community race held on the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend, which is National Hard Crab Derby weekend in the Crab Capital of the World: Crisfield, Maryland.

The 10K is a run, and there is also a 5K walk. It's a great deal for a 10K, at just $25 for advance entries (2017 price). I really enjoy the course, which starts out near the waterfront and then continues into neighborhoods and onto the main strip for a straightaway finish.

The swag is a T-shirt, so it's not something I would run in, but I love that it has a crab on it. There are also large crab pot prizes for overall winners and small crab pot prizes for age group winners. This year, the first two male and female runners in each age group got one of the age group awards (last year, it was just the first in each age group).

There were three water stops during this race, which is normally during a hot weekend. It's great that there are so many water stops, and I did stop at two of them. The one in the middle I believe only had Gatorade held out when I passed by, but it wasn't really a problem for me since the next stop was so close. I was considering putting the aid station rating at four stars because as far as I know, there was not water being held out at that stop, but I feel that a 10K with three aid stations deserves a 5.

Crisfield is extremely flat — my watch logged 0 feet of elevation gain — literally. Parking is also easy to come by not far from the race start. It's a smaller race (although it was at its largest this year), and there is not an expo — just race day packet pickup.

I am friends with the race directors and I think they do an awesome job. There were tons of door prizes, ranging from a pound of crab meat (which I won) to a Smith Island Cake to a free pair of running shoes, and more.

I always look forward to this race!

Read my blog post here: https://sherunsbytheseashore.com/2017/09/07/bringing-home-the-crab-at-the-mike-sterling-10k/

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(2017)
"If you love bacon, you'll love it! "
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If you love bacon, you would love this run! However, there were even people who don't eat meat who ran this race! My friend organized this unusual distance (7K) run on the Naylor Mill trails here in Salisbury, Maryland.

Overall, I thought this was a great race. It was really fun and had the fun bacon theme — I had bacon before, during and after. There was so much bacon available for everyone!

I normally run on roads, so the trails were difficult for me and my average pace was much slower than a regular race. The course includes single track trails and some up-and-down hills (hills are not common in our area).

The swag was a T-shirt with an image of bacon on it as well as the race name. It's not a shirt I would run in as it's a cotton shirt, but it's a soft T-shirt and I like the design. This race was also very affordable to enter -- I believe the highest rate was about $15, and I got in for $12-something because I'm a member of the Pemberton Running Club.

The aid station had water and bacon. I thought it was really cool that there was bacon at the aid station, and the volunteers were great, but I gave it 4 stars because I really like aid stations to have cups. However, I understand the reasoning behind not having cups at an aid station, and I also do not like litter. I carried a water bottle with me during the race.

The scenery was woodsy trails. I enjoyed the different sort of scenery for Salisbury, although I wouldn't consider it breathtaking. Elevation was much more difficult than the rest of Salisbury, with some steep up-and-down hills. I did walk up some of the hills.

The course was very well-marked and I had no trouble finding my way with the pink markings. It was also easy to park close to the race start in the parking lot at the Henry S. Parker Athletic Complex.

There wasn't an expo; just packet pickup the evening before at Smokin' BBQ Grille inside The Pavilion at 1400 South/Hopper's as well as on race day.

Check out my full race recap here: https://sherunsbytheseashore.com/2017/08/19/bacon-before-during-and-after-on-the-bacon-trail-the-naylor-mill-7k/

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(2017)
"Fun beachy race! "
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Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach 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 year running the Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon, and I had a great time at the event with my friends.

The course was very flat — with just one noticeable hill on a bridge, which runners go over twice. The course is nice, starting in the downtown area and running around there, then going out on General Booth Boulevard and into Camp Pendleton before finishing on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk. The finish on the Boardwalk and post-race party on the beach were great. That scenery would be a 5; I only marked it down because there were some not-super-exciting spots in between. It was still nice, though, and there was some shade, which was much appreciated!

There were so many water stops on the course, which is really important to me. The water stops were well-staffed, with tons of volunteers clearly stating whether they had water or Gatorade. I stopped at all of them except for the last one. There was also a guy with a hose at one of the stops. There were also some unofficial ice pop stops.

The expo was great. I quickly and easily got my bib and race shirt, and there were fun photo ops inside, along with a variety of vendors. I also got a chance to go in a Brooks Running wind tunnel for the chance to win a free pair of shoes, and although I did not win, it was fun. For the shirt, I sized up from a women's medium to large when I registered after running Rock 'n' Roll Washington D.C. earlier this year. I was not overly impressed by the shirt, and I would have preferred a color other than gray, but it is a quality tech shirt and I will wear it. I loved the medal and think it's cute and beachy.

Race management was great! Runners were notified with plenty of information via email and social media, and I was happy with the course, water stops and blocked roads. The only thing I was not a huge fan of was the long process to walk through and get food at the end. Since it's such a large race, I'm not sure if this could have been avoided, and we did get water right away.

Since I stayed in a hotel along the beach, I did not rate parking/access, as I did not have to park.

I would recommend this race and I hope to be back next year!

Check out my blog post here: https://sherunsbytheseashore.com/2017/09/08/rock-n-roll-virginia-beach-fun-beach-atmosphere-and-a-fast-last-mile/

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