Latest reviews by Juan J. Arrieta

(2017)
"Well organized, beautiful course"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

This was my first time ever running this race. To start with, the convention is held at Soldier Field which in my opinion is a good, central location to a lot of the attractive sights and things to do in Chicago. The vendors are all along the access hallways inside the stadium and there are plenty to buy literally just about everything you'd need for race day. Packet pickup is located on the upper levels after you have had a chance to go through the bulk of the vendors. Pickup is not crowded, easy, and well organized. The long sleeve tech shirt included with the packet is outstanding and I'm sure I'll be using it quite a bit for runs on colder days. The start and finish is at Jackson Park, which is about a 20 minute Lyft ride from the middle of downtown. The race offers shuttles to athletes but I passed on that option to be able to get more of sleep since the shuttle option means an earlier departure from the hotel. My cousin and I took and shared a Lyft car from our hotel at around 5:45am and arrived at Jackson Park at around 6:05am for a 7:00 race start which is plenty of time to hit port-a-potties, warmup, etc. There were plenty of participants, but the park or the corrals never felt crazy crowded, just right. The course is mostly flat with a few small inclines here and there but absolutely nothing serious or to worry about; this is definitely a flat course. The views are great most of the way as you run on Lakeshore drive with Lake Michigan to your right on the first 8 miles or so and on the left the rest of the way. Along the course they had plenty of hydration stations full of volunteers, there was never a lack of them. There were also a few with wet towels and even ice, and those were awesome as the weather was quite hot and sunny that day. The finish line had the only small issue I feel can be done better, as the width of the corral right after you cross is quite narrow and if you're not alert enough to grab Gatorade and the popsicles after they give you your medal (which is also great BTW) you'll miss them as they want you to keep on moving to keep the area clear of runners and it becomes impossible to walk back there to get any of that (I tried, they wouldn't let me). The post race beer was great, the pizza not so much, but that's not a huge deal to me; I always put a recovery drink on my bag at drop-off anyways. I'd definitely do this race again in a heartbeat and would just hope for better weather---that's something the organizers can't control. What they could control I feel they did a great job with overall.

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(2017)
"Tough Course but WELL WORTH IT!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

The Badass Texas Half Marathon is a PERFECT name for this race, as its course and weather are truly challenging, and in order to complete it or do well in it, you MUST be a badass. This year the race was held on Sunday, August 6th, and the temperature at start time was 79F, with yes, you guessed it, 100% humidity. I was soaked with sweat with just a couple of minutes easy warm-up and dynamic stretching before the race even started. The course, which starts right across from the small but nice convention center where packet pick-up is held, is TOUGH TOUGH TOUGH (see attached elevation photo). The first couple of miles are fairly easy with a little bit of roll on the asphalt road, but then the monster, straight hills start, weaving you all through the gorgeous Cameron Park and overlooking the Brazos River for the next 6 miles. The course then exits through the campus of McClennan Community College and goes mostly flat the rest of the way for the remaining 5 miles. One very positive aspect of the course (besides its beauty) is that it is mostly covered with trees and so you run the bulk of miles 2-8 under good shade. All that shade though ends at mile 8 and you must battle the tough sun for most of the last 5 miles except a small stretch towards the end. The last stretch to the finish line is certainly quite unique, as it entails crossing the old Waco Suspension Bridge over the Brazos River into the finish chute; it is truly unforgettable. Both the swag t-shirt and finisher's medal are OUTSTANDING, maybe the best combined set I've ever got. The post race food and drinks were good as well, although not necessarily the highlight of the event. The finish/resting area is quite comfortable and pinturesque in the middle of Indian Springs Park and the "Branding the Brazos" sculptures of a longhorn cattle stampede and cowboys rounding them up.

If you're a serious runner and can make it down to Waco, this race is a "must-do" in my opinion, because its course is as beautiful and rewarding as it is challenging. The following is the address to a video review I did and posted to my Instagram account:
https://www.instagram.com/p/BXdYojLhC0y/

In addition, the following is a neat video another unner posted on YouTube from the 2015 event:
https://youtu.be/-G1nirkgdMw

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