Latest reviews by Joe G

(2017)
"Army Ten Miler! #RunArmyRunStrong"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Race Review: Army Ten Miler

Oct 8, 2017. Pentagon, Washington, DC.

Hi Fellow Runners!

Hope everyone's training is going well! I recently did the Army Ten Miler, below is my review.

Background as to why i signed up. My college roommate, "Soup", went on to the army after graduating college, after the army, he landed a government job and lives just outside of DC. This is his favorite race and has been trying to get me to check it out. He visited me earlier in the yr to do the Broad Street Run and was time for me to return the favor.

Expo: Location, DC Armory. Public transportation to the Armory. As soon as you get there, it's obvious this is hosted by the Army. Humvee's, helicopters, soldiers everywhere. Have to go through security checkpoint to get into the expo. Line to get in to the expo wasn't that bad, but we heard it wrapped around the block earlier. Could use a few more entry ways with security to get in. Once in, its apparent the building doesn't have air conditioning, several industrial fans were going. Packet pickup was table per corral, moved with efficiency. Shirt pickup next, very efficient was well. After bib/shirt pickup, there's about 6 rows of vendors to check out. The usual vendors, shoes, clothing, fuel, etc. Every few stands there would be armed services stand, I'm pretty sure you could enlist during the expo. lol! There was a smaller humvee and helicopter in the expo building for kids to take pictures with, we did not.

Swag: Long sleeve tech Tee. Instead of a finishers medal, they do a cool coin. Pretty unique, i dig it. Will just have to rig something to hang it with my other medals.

Course Scenery: The race starts at the Pentagon. Pass by Arlington cemetery, the backside of the Lincoln memorial, Washington monument, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, and finishes back at the Pentagon. There was a flyover after the national anthem. During the race, there were plenty of soldiers cheering us on and helicopters circling us throughout.

Elevation: My buddy Soup, said on more than one occasion that this course is almost as flat as Broad Street. Well, Soup is a liar! Just after the race starts, it goes down to Arlington. Don't get too excited, that decline doesn't last long! Each street or bridge does have a slight incline, one of the bridges may have a bit more. If the weather wasn't a factor, I could see elevation not being that bad, will have to try again next yr to re-confirm!

Parking: Public transportation is encouraged. There was limited parking at the expo. And no parking at the race. The nearest pay parking lot is probably at least a mile from the Pentagon.

Aid Stations: There was Gatorade and plenty of water every two miles. I hear they ran out of Gatorade later on. The last water station was at mile 9, could of been a little bit closer to 8. There was plenty of medical staff on the course. Unfortunately, plenty of people needed it due to the unusually warm/humid weather for this time of year. They actually ended up shortening the course at the end and stopped timing it due to so many people needing medical attention.

Race Management: seven thousand people per corral, could have been a bit smaller. Things were tight for a few more miles than most races. Each corral had an assigned start time, and they started on time. Imagine that, the army being a stickler to time, ha! The aid and management may be seeing some post race controversy. Of course, safety is most important. They removed the time and shortened the course after a certain time mark, but didn't stop the race. Runners that had a later start time may feel penalized for being slow. They trained, but weren't given the opportunity to finish, and no announcement was made to them until after the fact. I agree safety is most important, but would hate to not know i was getting cut short until afterwards.

Post race: plenty of water! Had at least two waters before making it to the first snack tent. They hand you a box of goodies at the first tent, pretzels, granola bars, fruit cup, trail mix, etc. And of course bananas. After the snack tent, there are two rows of tents from sponsors. Danishes, muffins, fruit, lemonade, coffee. Think i saw another tent with a grill going, but didn't stop to check it out.

Exhausted from the race, didn't even bother with a selfie as i shut down my running app. Later on, i did try taking one with the drumline, that didn't go well, but here it is below. Also posting a drumline video i took, first time attaching a video, we'll see how that works out.

After the race and race festivities, my buddy Soup had arranged a meet up at a brewery with his racing team. Post race beers and food hit the spot! This was also a great opportunity for me to speak with more experienced runners. Several members of his racing team have completed sub 3 hr full marathons. I didn't focus too much on the running aspect, more along the lines of their fueling and other tricks of the trade.

I wasn't happy with my time, but no one was. Once it was obvious i wasn't going for a PR, I tried to refocus the marathon training aspect. Was still a rough day, questioning my full marathon signup. Hopefully I use this as a lesson learned.

I will definitely sign up for this race at least one more time for revenge.

More pics can be found on my bog below:

http://caffienefeen.blogspot.com/2017/10/race-review-army-ten-miler.html

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(2017)
"Runners World 5k!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Background: last yr, I discovered that the Runners World magazine was actually based just over an hr or so away from me! When i discovered this, my fall racing plan for 2016 was already layed out, wasn't able to fit this in. Made a point to at least check it out this yr! There are plenty of race options, a 4 mile trail run, a 5k, 10k, and/or half to choose from, or choose them all! My Sept and October races were already planned for 2017, wasn't sure which one to choose, but wanted to at least check it out, went with the 5k! After coming close to picking the 5k, decided to see who I could talk into doing it as well, since it is "only" 3.1 miles. lol Was able to get a buddy from work, and one of my closest friends (who has recently gotten into running, and I'm so proud of) to commit! We had a blast! Would definitely do this race again, depending on my training cycle, would do a further or multiple races!

Pre-race, got to meet the legendary Bart Yasso!

TShirt/Swag:a long sleeve Tech Tee, and a cool medal that pays homage to the Bethlehem steel industry!

Aid: ample water for a 5k. Banana, bagel, pretzels, granola bar post race.

Course Scenery: The background of the race was cool, the Bethlehem Steel Stacks and cool abandoned warehouses. Good trivia question, if you are a fan of the Michael Bay Transformers movies, part of the opening fight of Transformers 2 takes of place in Bethlehem, (part of it is spliced with other locations, but made to look like the Bethlehem Steel stacks. Other noteworthy scenery includes a view of he river/foliage seen from the bridge.

Expo: Chose to do the pickup morning of the race, a couple stands near the bib pickup, the shirt pickup wasn't until after the race. After the race, at the shirt pickup, there was a shoe stand, a couple sock stands, two race stands, and one or two health food stands. Not a huge expo, but worth checking out!

Elevation: After hearing that the half has hills, the 10k has some and the 5k has a few, was trying to prepare myself mentally for some hills. Was not that bad. There were about three. There was a ramp to a bridge that had an incline, across the bridge there was about a half block around that had an incline and later on around the .5 mark one last slight incline. That half block was probably the worst, but not that bad.

Parking: There are two lots close to the starting line, but for the 5k there is a warning, if you park by the close parking lots, you must stay until the completion of the 10 k, which is closer to noon. The 5 k starts at 8. There are two further lots that have a shuttle service, they recommend 45 minutes for parking/shuttle time. We used the shuttle after bib pickup, wasn't bad, closer to 15 minutes.

Race management: corrals managed efficiently. Plenty of info emailed prior and an app available pre race. Overall, managed very well. Wouldn't change much, maybe add more stands to the expo, maybe add a post race beer. ;)

For additional pics, please check out my blog below:
http://caffienefeen.blogspot.com/2017/10/race-reviews-runners-world-half.html

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(2017)
"#FlyingFish5k"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

First of all, this is a brewery 5k! It's always nice to take a break from training to do a fun 5k. It can't much more fun than at a brewery!

Swag: A heavy duty coaster with the race logo, bottom side of the coaster has a bottle opener. A beer mug with the race logo, full of their delicious Oktoberfish. T-shirt is not included, but available for 20 and is very comfy!

Aid: adequate water along the course for a 5k. After the race, water, banana, pretzels, and granola bars included.

Scenery: most breweries are within a warehouse or business district, this one is close to a suburban neighborhood. The course starts a block from the brewery and goes through a quaint neighborhood.

Expo: I didn't go to the bib pickup the night before, but hear it was a good time. The race does take place during the Sumerdale days festival, plenty of stands to checkout before/after the race. Also post race, there's a beer garden!

Elevation: I did this race last yr and remember there being a hill. Mentally prepared for it. Start of the race there are some slight inclines, but didn't hit the hill till about midway. A decent incline for about .25

Parking: The brewery doesnt have ample parking, but the brewery and festival encourages paring at two nearby shopping centers. Wal-mart has plenty of parking, and an additional shopping center nearby. Plenty of parking.

Race management:
prerace: packet pickup was very smooth.
Post race: "free beer" line was smooth as well. Plenty of beer poured ahead of time, but not warm, lines managed with efficiency.
Only opportunity for improvement i can think of is more speakers for the race start. The line goes about a block. There are speakers at the starting line. Could tell there were some announcements before the national anthem, but couldn't hear them. And this has nothing to do with management, but way too many people talking during the anthem!

Few more pics can be found on my blog below:
http://caffienefeen.blogspot.com/2017/09/race-review-flying-fish-5k.html

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(2017)
"#RnRPhilly 2017!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Hi Fellow Runners!

This was my first half ever last yr, so this will always have special meaning to me. The race is a blast, so of course i did it again, and will probably sign up for 2018 this week since it's the cheapest price at the moment. Very exciting race, definitely recommend! The only thing going against this race is the weather, not really fall yet, humidity was 80%.

TShirt/Swag: Rockin' tech tee!, water, gatorade, chocolate milk, chips/pretzels, banana, and a free beer! It's the "Rock N Roll" half, so there are plenty of bands/DJ's along the course and a concert stage by beer garden.

Aid: plenty of water along the course, aid stations/medical staff throughout, ambulance carts, and huge medical tent in the finishers area.

Course Scenery: first 5k or so goes through the city around city hall, big chunk of the race is behind boathouse row /along the river and then the other side of the river and back to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Expo: tons of cool stands to check out! Brooks Running must be a sponsor, huge area just after the bib pickup. Health food, vitamins, several running shoe stands, fitness clothing, multiple other race stands to check out/signup for. Few of the stands had samples or cool free promo material.

Elevation: Majority of the course is flat, there is a slight incline before the bridge at mile 8, and another incline at the end of the race. It normally wouldn't seem that bad, but after 12 miles of humidity, you do feel the hill up to the museum.

Parking: they encourage public transportation, there are some parking lots/garages a few blocks away. Paid $13 to park.

Race Management: Everything was run very efficiently, no real constructive criticism for them to improve upon. Well, besides adding the option to mail the bib pickup. Expo's are fun, but not everyone can get back and forth to the city mult days in a row.

Additional pics can be found on my blog:
http://caffienefeen.blogspot.com/2017/09/race-review-rnrphilly.html

Keep Rocking!!

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(2017)
"My first #BroadStreetRun "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

My first #BroadStreetRun: was a bit nervous about the number of participants, 43k?! Heard the course was fast/flat/decline, ok with the distace (somewhat), biggest concern was crowds/pers space.

Additional backststory: this morning thought to myself, this time last yr, wouldn't even think about doing this. Did a 10k last summer that lead me on my way to much bigger things.

Parking: more than ample parking, they have stadium parking lots. But you will need the train from parking to starting line. Be at the stadiums early, parking was backed up. At 610 took 20 min to get from cbp to parking space. The train was packed to the brim. Glad no one had B O, yet. Plenty of time for another port o pottie check when you get to your coral.

Race/elevation/scenery: ppl told me this was a flat/fast course, the majority of the course is either flat or a slight decline. There are a couple tenths of incline, but nothing to worry about. No nature scenery, all city. To begin the course you can see city hall. Oh, it's not that far. Doesn't seem to get any closer, even disappears for a few. There are awesome crowds, signs, dj's long the way. Was sure to slap high five with the Temple owl. We eventually get to city hall, just past the half way point. I hear former gov ed rendell was there, didnt stop for a selfie. Course narrows down around city hall, takes a few to open back up. Start to see signs for #Phillies, almost by the stadiums, not really. As you do get to the stadiums, eagles band and swoop there, hi five swoop! Race ends at navy Yard, entrance is sure to tell you not done yet, another 1/4 to go. That was a long 1/4!

Aid: plenty of water along the course. Cops everywhere. Aid stations at the finishing area.

Swag: t shirt included, upcharge to change it from cotton to tech. Big snack bag after completion and a cool medal. Medal is city hall!

My only complaint: finisher area, thousands of ppl, no cell or wifi reception, couldn't contact someone I knew was done. Took over an hr to find them.

Overall, would definitely do this again! 43k ppts (well managed), tons of great spectators, fast course, so much excitement!

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