Latest reviews by Stacey F

(2018)
"LOVE the State Park runs & enjoyed this race!"
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This race is a part of the Tennessee State Parks Running Tour series and is known to be one of the most difficult courses. It's hilly and slightly longer than many of the other races. Only 89 folks ran or walked it yesterday which is a little less than what the normal turn out is. I LOVE the state park series and truly think that the races are among the best, particularly for the cost!

The course for this 11K (6.8 miles) race is a big loop that starts at the swimming pool area inside Cumberland Mountain State Park and uses the main park road to take you out onto Highway 27. From there, you run along country roads until you're back in the park around the 5.3 mile mark. It's nice that the course doesn't repeat a bunch of out and backs, and there was plenty of scenery to look at along the way. Farms, horses, houses, a Dollar General store, lol. In all seriousness, it really was pretty and serene. Not a lot of car traffic once you were off Highway 127 and the hills kept things interesting.

These races keep things pretty simple -- the start "line" is generally a mark on the pavement, the aid stations have water, and the signs are handmade. Where they don't skimp though is on the timing - I appreciate that they provide chip timed events and post the results super fast online. The shirts are generally nice too and offer some variation event-to-event but aren't something you need to buy each time.

AND they have an on-course photographer 99% of the time who also posts his pictures super fast online.

Highly recommended as always!!!

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(2018)
"Amazing doesn't describe this race and this course"
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I don't know what it is about the races coordinate by Run Bum tours. So far I've only ran this one and the Yeti Nightmare Chattanooga, but I'm ready to sign up for every race they offer. The courses are well chosen, the atmosphere is great, the people are nice, the medals are amazing, and it all just has... I don't know.. a lightness about it. Like, let's all not take this too terribly seriously. We're out here to have a good time and check out some amazing views and eat some grilled cheese in a forest. This is one of the rare races that I'd love to run again next year.

Here are my overall thoughts on the Sky to Summit 50K:
Pros:
--> The overall experience was excellent. My favorite race yet! Favorite race everrrrrrrr.
--> The medal is fantastic and the shirts are pretty great too.
--> The course! Oh my gosh - it has everything you could want: scenic vistas, mountains up and mountains down, single track, dirt road, paved road, sun, shade, water crossings, waterfalls, beautiful trees and leaves. Everything! And other than a couple of out-and-back areas it wasn't just repeats of the same section of trail over and over again.
--> The aid stations were phenomenal. The volunteers were amazing and kind and so helpful. The food was great and I was so grateful for the water! And potatoes. Loved the potatoes.
--> The race takes place in Sky Valley, GA (a resort type community) which was great -- it was easy to get to, parking for the race was each, plenty of places to stay nearby, close to plenty of businesses/restaurants but still felt remote. It was about 4.5 hours from Nashville which places it right on the line of "driveable" for me! But for this, I'd make the drive again.
--> This race offered live tracking through LiveTrail which provided live updates at various scan-check-points along the course. B appreciated the updates while I was running and I loved all the data it provided me later. It kept up with timing from scan to scan (I didn't "lap" my garmin at aid stations so capturing this data was a bonus). It also provided details on placement. I loved seeing how I moved up about 25 spots during the course of the race!
--> You know I'm happy, too, for free race photos that really are super duper high quality!
--> I also appreciated all of the updates, advice and discussion on the facebook group and in the update emails from the RD. Nothing makes me more anxious about a race than dead silence from the RD/organizers in the weeks leading up to a race!
--> As I mentioned before - the Run Bum races really do have a light-heartedness about them that is hard to find anywhere else. Yes, we're all here to run and race and do this super hard thing.... but we're also here to just pretty much go run in a really pretty place. What's the hurry and the big deal and all the pressure and just calm down! I love it.... it equates to no one being super aggressive, no one mowing you down, no one on your heels or trying to push you out of the way. It also equates to a general "this is fun!" mood during the race.

Cons:
Ummmm...........
I dunno... none?
OK, if I had to pick one thing: I'd have loved a few more pink flags on the section of gravel/dirt road leaving the Three Forks aid station. True that there's literally no way to go wrong here (there are literally no intersections or trail crossings at all) but by that point I was running alone, getting tired, and seriously: I get lost on a one-way dead-end street. LOL. I was worried more than once that I'd missed a marker or something. :) OH! And a second thing: I'd have paid money for a photographer at the finish line. That's the picture I really, truly wish I had.

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(2018)
"First time for the 10k.... needs a little reworking...."
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Would I recommend this race..... ehhh... I'm leaving this as a "yes" but what I really mean is "maybe". Here's the rundown from the 2018 race and the first time that this race added the 10k distance:

PROS:
--> The race shirt is pretty nice and is one I'd actually wear to work out in.
--> The race was chip-timed, which I always appreciate.
--> I was grateful for the early start time for the 10K but honestly more time between the races was needed.
--> I was grateful for the police closing roads and directing traffic, but again, more was needed.
I actually had a pretty good run, all things considered, but as always, have thoughts on what needs to be changed/improved.....

CONS:
--> For the 10k, crossing over Baker's Bridge was a HOT MESS once the 5K started. They had ZERO crowd control and those 5K'ers couldn't have cared less that the 10K'ers were running uphill, into the crowd, and were in mile 5 of their race. An additional lane is needed or additional volunteers/police to keep the lane clear for the 10k runners. Or, better yet, change the timing or the course! I nearly collided with at least 2 dozen people and started yelling YOU HAVE TO MOVE OVER every time I was about 2 inches from plowing straight into someone.
--> The finish area was a mess. Who ever thought "you know what, guys, let's have TWO races happening at the same time and have them cross the finish the line from OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS and see what happens!!!" should be banned from planning race courses forever. It just created a second collison course that was semi-dangerous as 10k runners were trying to (yet again) plow through a crowd of runners that were oblivious! Though this time, as an added bonus, spectators were milling around too!!
--> Having packet pick up inside before the race was OK (and kind of nice that we were out of the cold) but having the food/awards inside after the race was a BAD IDEA. The space was just simply too small and it was a big mess of people and lines and you couldn't tell who was in line for what and you had people coming out of the gym with arm loads of bananas and water to deliver to people who couldn't fit inside there with the crowds.
--> No port-a-potties available at all. I mean, really, guys. Once again, who ever thought: "oh the 6 stalls in the women's locker room (and I guess 6 in the men's? I'll never know) will be sufficient for a race this size" made a bad decision. I think for a race this size some port-a-potties should be a necessity.
--> Navigating out of the parking area was a bit of mess as well. I think (if this race continues to grow in size) they're going to have to rethink where the start/finish is and where people should park. It's ironic that an enormous mall parking lot is sitting right there, empty and it's not being utilized!

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(2018)
"Witchy Fun on a Fast Course!"
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The Halloween Hunt 5 miler is a part of the Tennessee State Parks Running Tour. The race was at Long Hunter State Park and utilized the Couchville Lake area.

Overall:
Pros -
--> I know I say this about every TN State Parks Running Tour race... but for a $10 registration fee this race was phenomenal! ($10 is without the shirt, $22 with it)
--> I always say this too: the people at these races are always so friendly and great. I love it. You see a lot of the same faces from event to event, and year to year which adds to the fun.
--> The course was nice - wide enough, easy to follow, not super hilly, not crowded. The race starts at the parking area at Couchville Lake inside the main entrance to Long Hunter State Park. We ran about 4/10 of a mile to the gate and did a turn around. From there we went back through the parking lot and then onto the 2-mile paved loop. We went around counter-clockwise twice.
--> They had hot dogs cooked on the grill at the end of the race. I didn't eat them, but it was a nice bonus to provide warm food on a cold rainy day. I did take advantage of a banana though!
--> This one was chip timed, which is always nice!
--> On course photographer! Three cheers for that!

Cons -
--> This area of Long Hunter State Park has a no pets policy (of which we were unaware of and we brought our pup in costume to spectate). It was pretty annoying to be told by numerous rangers in a two hour window about that policy over and over again (she was never going to run with me, but we've never ever had a problem with her coming along to spectate!). I do realize this is a state park decision (and the rangers are just doing their jobs!) and this had nothing to do with the race organizers or the running tour. That said, there's nothing on the website for the race that mentions this policy at all.
--> The judging for the costume contest was based on cheers from the crowd. Boo to that since my #1 cheerleader was in the car with the pup and my other 2 cheerleaders had already left to go home. Hashtag Sore Loser. LOLOL

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(2018)
"Walking/Running/Crawling Tall"
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The inaugural Walking Tall 50k/25k took place on October 20, 2018. The race is on the trails within Big Hill Pond State Park (which is south of Jackson right on the Tennessee/Mississippi line). I ran the 25k option.

Overall:
Pros -
--> The finisher "medal" is awesome is it's pretty cool to have one of these sticks. I also appreciated the tower token, shirt, magnet and bag. I love that all of the swag was so specific to the history of this area!
--> Start area was great: actual bathrooms, convenient parking, shelter, maps, signage, the inflatable start line, etc. Getting to it was a breeze and being able to park so close was nice for my cheering section!
--> The course is a loop, which I tend to like, and included a lot of varied terrain (paved, single-track, gravel/mud roads, etc). The trails were really pretty and had a lot of varied terrain. Some sections were wide and flat, some were steep and muddy, some were flat and muddy, and some were just muddy. The course did have a ton of wooden bridges, including one that went across the lake (we crossed it twice). It also had the boardwalk that never ends which was long and slick and crowded. And there was a section so steep and muddy that the use of a rope to get up it was necessary. There were a few places where the mud just about sucked my shoes off, too.
--> The aid stations were incredible - super well stocked and full of friendly volunteers ready to help you in any way whatsoever.
--> The congratulations from the RD at the finish line was nice. Related, I also appreciated the 'thank you for registering' email that the RD sent to each person. It was really thoughtful and welcoming.
--> Big Hill Pond is a park I'd never visited before and honestly had no idea that there were so many awesome trails there. I love that this race got me out there!
--> For the cost, this race is an incredible value.
--> Photographers on the course in multiple places is awesome! I was so grateful for that and for the photos being made available on Facebook for free. Also, even now, a few weeks later the RD is continuing to post pics taken on "hidden cameras" on the course. Never seen that before and appreciate the sense of humor!!

Cons -
--> The course was a little crowded (at least in my experience). I realize (now) that I was in the first third of runners in the race and that may explain some of the conga-lining that was happening. At the time I couldn't figure out why the "back of the pack" was so dang crowded.
--> The fire tower was "neat" but I didn't love it.

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