Latest reviews by Stacey F

(2018)
"Monster Hill of Mud! "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
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Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
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Pros:
- the scenery is absolutely stunning in the first three to four miles of this race.
- there is a ton of parking available and it's easily found off of Interstate I-40.
- the organizers had a ton of food at every aid station as well as at the finish line.
- the staggered start times was great! The half marathon runners and marathon runners began an hour before the 10K and 5K runners. This helped with the start and also made it so that most everyone was finishing about the same time.
- the other runners were great on this run - a lot of comrades mucking through the rain!
- the medal is awesome! It is a wood medallion engraved with the logo.
- actual restrooms at the start area is a huge bonus!

Cons:
- So they are in no way joking when they say that this is a difficult course with a lot of elevation change. I really thought that I had ran courses that were equally challenging - but I really didn't know what I was in for. The first couple of miles of this course are almost all straight downhill. So you start out the race by wearing out your quads almost immediately. Once you reach the creek, it is a straight up hill climb for a mile or more. This uphill climb includes an unpaved road which, on the day that I was running this race, was the Monster Hill of Mud due to the pouring down rain. I rarely - if ever - walk during a half marathon but I walked the majority of this hill! From there through the end of the course it is a lot of rolling hills through mostly residential and farm areas.
- The roads are not closed to street traffic and in a couple of spots seemed a little bit dangerous due to the curves in the road and the limited visibility of the car drivers.
- the t-shirt for this race is just okay. It's one that I will wear around the house and to sleep in.

Verdict? Honestly, after I finish this race I said never again! I think that if it were not raining it would have been a slightly different experience. Sure it would have still been hilly, but it would not have been wet and cold! That definitely makes a big difference.

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(2018)
"Great State Park Race! "
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Pros:
- this race is part of the Tennessee State Parks running tour and is organized by that group.
- this year's frostbite race had only about half as many participants as they've had in previous years. I know that they recertify the course this year so I'm not sure if the turnout was lowered due to that? Regardless a smaller crowd is a pro to me!
- the course goes through Cedars of Lebanon State Park on an out-and-back stretch before leaving the park and entering into neighboring farm and residential areas. While the roads were not close to street traffic, there is so little traffic on these roads that it was not an issue at all. They also had numerous people at every intersection to ensure that there were no issues.
- the t-shirts for this race are optional but we're very cute this year. They were long sleeve technical t-shirts.
- I appreciate that the cost of this race, like all of the other running series races, is very low.
- I really love races where you can run on the entire road and really spread yourselves out. The scenery is pretty nice too. I run on these streets in this area quite a lot for my training runs and tend to enjoy seeing the trees and the open space.

Cons:
- none! Of course I wish that the weather had been warmer but that is no fault at all of the organizers.

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(2017)
"Not bad for a first year race... some improvements needed!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

General:
- About 1000 people ran one of the two races (875 for 8k, 250 for 8 mile)
- Both races start at the same time and use the same course for the first 5 miles

Pros:
- The tshirt for this race is pretty nice and is something I'd actually wear!
- The results were posted online almost immediately, in real time.
- Free photos are promised (they haven't been loaded yet) but I only saw one photographer on the entire course and none at the finish line so I'm not too hopeful!

Cons:
- This race starts and ends near the Wave Pool playground area at Two Rivers park. Participants parked in the large parking lot near the Wave Pool entrance... the start line was close to the playground. The course crosses the ONLY park road in/out of the parking lot which wasn't an issue at the start... but certainly was at the end. Leaving took quite a while as there were still runners on the course needing to cross that road!
- The first 2 miles were VERY congested - anyone who runs the Shelby greenway regularly knows that the walking path isn't THAT wide and there were lots of people being really aggressive when passing. There were also a lot of kids and families at the start of the lineup who most definitely needed to be much farther back. I wish there had been a staggered start.
- There was a lot of confusion around the 7.5 mile mark - there was no where near enough directional signs or volunteers helping along the last mile of the course. Many of us ended up on a road? Which was wrong? It was confusing!
- There were no participation medals even though the website indicated there would be when I registered. There was a lot of confusion about this at the finish line and a lot of people standing in a line unnecessarily (in the picture included)
- I wish there had been something other than the cinnamon roll at the finish line... even some bananas? A little gatorade? There was nothing!

Verdict?
I don't know that I'd run this one again next year unless they make a few improvements! Most importantly, rethinking the parking and the route - maybe don't have it cross the one road in/out? Just an idea! Maybe stagger the start? Just a thought!

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(2017)
"Challenging but beautiful! "
Overall
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Durbin Race Mgmnt does such a great job hosting this race. The packet pickup is straightforward and the tshirt & running hat feature a nice design. The post race food was top notch - burgers, veggie options, chili, brownies etc.

The course is primarily on roads on the north end of Land Between the Lakes. You start out in Grand Rivers, run along the main road into the park and through some "side roads" that are paved and or gravel. Its a gorgeous course and perfect time if year to see the fall colors.

There's several aid stations offering water and one that you pass twice also offering Gatorade and gels.

The small town atmosphere is great. I LOVE small races and this one typically has between 100-200 folks. Perfect size, to me!

The medals are full color and pretty. The trophies are pretty awesome too. I also appreciated that as you finished the race a volunteer hands you your medal, a print out of your results, and your trophy if you placed. Great idea and wonderful to not have to wait around on a ceremony.

Will definitely do this one again!!!

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(2017)
"Rainy but fast!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
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Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

This is the third NRC "6 mile series" race I've completed.

Pros: NRC does a nice job choosing courses that offer variety - in this case it was combining the old runway with unpaved trails. I've run several races at Shelby over the years and never one on these trails. I liked it! As with the other races, the tshirt design is great! Another huge plus: free professional photos!

Cons: I know GPS can be wonky on trails but I didn't quite get 6 miles with my garmin. I can usually excuse this in remote areas with hilly terrain but this race is held in a populated, flat area. Who knows! The trails themselves were in great shape - I was ready for mud - and in most areas there was space to spread out and pass/be passed. There was one aid station that only had water.

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