Latest reviews by Lisa Ponti

(2019)
"Big Fan!"
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Full disclosure...Philadelphia native who looooves running in her hometown. This was the first year we did this one though. Figured it would be a nice tune up for the Philly Half in 2 weeks. Packet pick up no frills but efficient. Some gear for sale on site (was very bummed they didn't have the eat lightning, crap thunder sweatshirt in my size!). Some parking if you're driving but we just Ubered. We actually paid for race day pick up but didn't want to have to be in the cold any longer than necessary so we traveled in early to pick up Friday instead. Wish they had a mailing option.

Race itself was good. If you wanted to run the Italian Stallion Challenge (5k then the 10 miler) you did have a bit of a wait between races, which was not great given the temps that morning, but hardly the organizers fault. Wave start really did help avoid the beginning of the race clumping.

Race was mostly in the park, as opposed to on the city streets, which cuts way down on spectators compared to the Half or the BSR but it did make for lovely autumnal scenery and there were tons of participants to keep you company. Every mile had a station which played various cuts from the Rocky soundtracks. Could be oddly motivating or annoying I suppose, depending on your POV (I am in the former camp for sure, husband in the latter). We ran through parts of Fairmount Park I hadn't run through before. Mount Drago (as it was labeled, complete with a giant Drago head) about midway through the course was unexpected and NOT easy.

Post race snacks were a bit lacking (I really wanted my soft pretzel and TastyKakes...) but it's not like we weren't going to get cleaned up and go out for lunch and college football viewing anyway. The bling for the 10 miler was nice but the 3 medals my husband got for completing the challenge?? Very cool!!

Overall we had a really great run, enjoyed ourselves and will consider this one for next year as well....Yo Adrian...I did it!!

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(2019)
"More Hometown Running!!"
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I hadn't run this race in several years but after I got the flu for the 2018 Philly Half I was determined to get back to my hometown for another race and I hadn't heard back from the BSR lottery by the time I registered (got into that too so I'll review that eventually as well). Hubs had never run the race so we both registered in hopes of improving on our undertrained performance in Charleston in January!
Because the race was a Saturday and we'd be heading down after work we opted out of the expo and had our bibs etc. mailed to us. I must say that the HCR really does the attire up right, very excited by our swag, the zip up jacket. It was very hard not to wear it before the race (b/c that's bad juju!).
Because we stay in town the night before we don't have to deal with parking or anything but just walk up to the starting line. It seemed to me that the first time I ran this we started earlier (I could be wrong) but I liked the 8:00 start time. The weather cooperated for the most part and it was nice not to have to be up at some ungodly hour. Found our corral easily enough as we saw the 5K participants finishing up.
The course is a bit different from the BSR and the Philly Half in that only part of it is in town, down the parkway and then most of it is along the Schuykill and up into the park. Seeing Boathouse Row etc. is nice, although you get more spectators on the city streets. But everyone's energy was so great that we just cheered each other along.
Post race snacks of dipping chocolate, hot chocolate (which wasn't too hot to pretty much swill down!) and things to dip in the chocolate were pretty good. I think a soft pretzel would have been good for dipping....just saying...there were vendor tents and music etc. and the sun was out but we didn't hang out for too long. Walked back to our hotel for post race showers and then ventured out for post race adult beverages and lunch. Philly has no shortage of good places to eat and drink, that's for sure.
Liked the race, had a good day, and it fit well into our training plan for May's BSR. Have to say that I'll be considering this again next year if my work travel schedule allows.

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(2019)
"A Nice Local Race!"
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We decided to run this race to stay loose for upcoming longer races (and so I could earn good daughter points by swinging by to take my mother to lunch after the race) and I'm glad we did. Getting to the start to pick up our stuff was quite easy, plenty of parking nearby which allowed us to put our shirts back in the car, no gear check required. The staff were pretty organized and kept everyone moving. (Wrist bands needed for post race adult beverage...)
Having grown up in the area I really liked the course. Newtown is a pretty little town and the course was flat for the most part. Still fighting a cold so no PR for me, although both hubs and I thought the race measured a bit short (which did wonders for my posted pace but still...).
Post race festivities were pretty well organized too. The party was under a tent next to sponsor Green Parrot and the free adult beverage was a 26.2, a beer especially brewed for the Boston Marathon that is now available elsewhere. I thought that was kind of cool and the beer itself was a good choice for me post race, not too heavy. We didn't stay at the party long though because of the aforementioned family obligations but I would definitely recommend this race. Really like the baseball style tshirt and we also received nice trucker hats when we registered.

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(2019)
"We made it this year!"
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So we were registered to run in 2018 but it being Buffalo in March our flight up on Friday was cancelled due to snow. We rebooked as best we could but missed the race. The event staff was kind enough to make sure we got our swag, some very nice race sweatshirts. This year we were not to be denied...we booked earlier flights to give us some wiggle room and we made it to Buffalo without incident.
Of course this being Buffalo in March, it snowed THE ENTIRE RACE. And I was recovering from a cold. That being said though I would still recommend this race. The residents are so supportive, the runners are all properly in St. Patrick's Day mode and it was fun! We got great sweatshirts again this year, the event staff were so nice as usual. Even had a pre race donut! If you're lacking in St. Patty's Day gear there are locals selling all sorts of socks, etc. so that you have your green on.
The course definitely had a few hills that challenged me a bit but I had to laugh that there were not 1 but 2 beer "aid" stations. I didn't stop b/c I was afraid I wouldn't get started again!
The after party was very well attended but after this run all I wanted was a HOT shower. Getting to and from the race was seamless. We found street parking pretty easily and it wasn't a far walk to the start (and you could wait inside, which was appreciated!).
Buffalo is a fun city that really gets into the spirit of St. Patty's and I would recommend this race but warn all comers that it will likely be cold so dress appropriately and you'll be fine!

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(2019)
"I'll be back!!"
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After having run the Shrimp and Grits 5k a few times and cheered on hubs at the finish of the Full I've wanted to run this race for a while now. I was a bit undertrained but having the race on my calendar kept me a wee bit more honest during the holiday season.
I went down on Thursday evening before the race and went to the expo to pick up our stuff (I NEVER go to expos but who says no to extra days in Charleston in January?). The expo was walkable from our downtown location and well organized. I must say I enjoyed picking up a few extra race items (maybe this is why I don't go to expos?)....
Race day (which was a Saturday...a big plus for me!) started early and while we could have walked to the start (about 2 miles) we decided to drive. Streets were a bit congested but we did find parking pretty easily. I believe the route might have been changed a bit and this year we ran through the campus of the Citadel, which was very pretty, although I would have liked running along the Battery as well. Going up King Street gave us plenty to look at (wish there'd been a few more spectators but the weather wasn't great. Fine for the runners, but to be standing still? Not so much.) There was definitely a lull in the action the last few miles as we ran through a fairly industrial area to get to the North Charleston finish line.
The finish line area wasn't the same as the years I ran the 5k, and tbh by the time I finished (remember, undertrained!) I wasn't in the mood to hang around. It did seem like others were enjoying their beers and food etc. Plus I got a very nice shot of hubs and I (possibly the only one I've ever purchased!) at the finish line (I did cross first...just sayin...) and getting back to our car was really seamless.
The course was very flat (they don't call it the Lowcountry for nothing) and I've heard tell that some use the Full to try to get a BQ. There was one small hill around mile 11 that was just hard in the timing of it and not really the incline.
I would recommend this race, if only for the excuse to come to Charleston, and we've already registered for next year, so if you decide to run you might see us there!

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