Latest reviews by scott snell

(2019)
"Racing to an unknown finish line"
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This event is a slight twist on the last person standing race format made explosively popular recently by Courtney Dauwalter and Johan Steene’s amazing performances (279.168 and 283.335 miles respectively) at the 2018 Big Backyard Ultra hosted by the evil genius Gary Cantrell aka Lazarus Lake. The race format requires runners to complete a 4.166667 mile loop in under an hour. The beauty of the rather seemingly random distance is that in exactly 24 hours you’ll have run exactly 100 miles. Sounds pretty easy so far, but every hour the race restarts and all runners must do it again and again and again until all but one runner remains. The last runner to finish one lap more than any other runner becomes the sole winner; all other runners receive a big fat DNF (Did Not Finish). Is it fair? Maybe not. Could it be soul crushing? Maybe so, but that is how the race format works. In fact, there could be no winner at all if a final group of runners goes out and none of them make it back before the one hour cut off.

The RDs of Run Ragged added a few twists to the format making it a bit unique amongst the abundant crop of so many new races that have popped up recently which are nearly exact replicas of the Big Backyard Ultra format. Where the traditional format uses a daylight trail loop and a night road course, Run Ragged used a single trail loop for its entirety. Most last person standing races use a relatively easy 4.166667-mile-long course. Run Ragged opted for a more challenging 5k loop. It was a shorter distance, but from what I’ve heard of other last person standing events the terrain and elevation gain (≈ 500’ per lap) made it a tougher course. While a good portion of the Run Ragged course was runnable, it was not easy or mindless running. The more runnable sections were broken up by technical stretches, short and steep climbs, and some tricky descents.

Read my full race report at: https://www.beastcoasttrailrunning.com/2019/06/2019-run-ragged-last-person-standing.html

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(2019)
"Marathon PR! - 10 Years In The Making"
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I unfortunately was not able to check out the pre race expo and pick up my race bib. Thankfully, race management allowed for my bib to be picked up by someone else. Which leads me to how impressed I was with the steady updates of pertinent information the race emails contained leading up to the race (such as how to get your bib if you can’t make it to the expo). Everything a runner needed to know was included in a pre race email, on their website, or both.

The Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon was my first road marathon in over 10 years. Coming from running mostly trail races in the past few years, the crowd size made me a bit uneasy, but it was extremely well organized and very well managed. The aid stations were spaced well and well stocked with plenty of water, gatorade,and friendly volunteers; there is no need to carry fluids at this race! Also, I really appreciated the Honey Stinger gels as they are my preferred source of quick calories. The swag was well done also including a race shirt, some locally sourced salt water taffy, and one of the coolest medals I’ve received. The medal is made to look like a vinyl record and actually spins! Bravo there! The finish area had a festive vibe and the 26.2 brews offered were super refreshing. The shuttles at the finish made it extremely convenient to get back to the starting area where there was ample parking for the thousands of people. I was impressed that I did not have to wait in line at all to hop on a shuttle and be back at my car after a short bus ride.

The course overall was great also. Around the halfway point of the race, the course got a bit more interesting and scenic in my opinion. Rather than mostly running through neighborhood roads (my take on the majority of the first half), the second half really displayed more of the traditional Jersey shore scenery as the ocean and beaches were in sight and we began running stretches of the boardwalk. Along with the more attractive scenery came the out and back portion of the course. Seeing the fast marathon front runners still hammering hard after 20 or so miles kept me inspired and motivated to keep my pace up. I was shooting for a marathon PR at this race, and I realized while running it that this course was a perfect choice for a PR attempt. It is nothing but flat and fast!

If you’re looking for a marathon that encompasses the feeling of the Jersey Shore, look no further than the Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon. You won’t be disappointed.

Read my full race report at: https://www.beastcoasttrailrunning.com/2019/05/2019-novo-nordisk-new-jersey-marathon.html

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(2019)
"Just As Good the Third Time As the First Time"
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Just as amazing of a race for my third consecutive year of running it as it was my first time there. Beautiful trails, great and helpful aid station volunteers, and an amazing after party. This race is nearly everything a trail ultra should be.

Read my full race report at https://www.beastcoasttrailrunning.com/2019/06/2019-hyner-view-trail-challenge-50k.html

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(2018)
"Back to Iowa for a 100 Miler"
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I had a hard time believing that the 2018 Mine of Spain was the inaugural year of the event. It was so well organized, ran so smoothly, and had such great support that it seemed like a trail race event that has been around for years and is well established. I think the race director, Joshua Sun, has created something really special here and I'm excited to watch it grow and develop into its full potential. I dare say that I believe it could become a premier trail race in the Midwest.

The course is mostly trail, but also mostly runnable. The event offers 100k and 100 mile distances on a 20 mile course. The course is a mix of loops and out and backs with plenty of well stocked aid stations along the way. The scenery is diverse and much more scenic than I was expecting for a 20 mile course in Iowa. Having grown up in Iowa only about an one hour drive from where the course is and having never visited the area, I was shocked by the crazy rock walls of the old quarry that the course takes you through. And if your expecting a flat 100 miler in Iowa, the 14,000 feet of gain at Mines of Spain will also surprise you. The swag was pretty generous in my opinion, with a High Desert drop bag, shirt, collapsible cup, sticker, finisher medallion, and the biggest 100 mile finisher buckle I've ever received shaped like the state of Iowa!

If you're in the Midwest and are looking for a fun, well organized 100 miler or 100k, I would highly recommend checking out the Mines of Spain.

Read my full race report at:
https://scottcsnell.blogspot.com/2018/11/2018-mines-of-spain-100-mile-footrace.html

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(2018)
"Fueled by Candy Corn and Mountain Dew"
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The 2018 Squatchung Surprise was an inaugural event. However, given the level of organization I witnessed there you would have never known it. First off, the race format is unique and unlike any race format I have run before. Basically every runner is randomly assigned one of four trail loops to run for the duration of the event so every runners’ race will be a little different. You may end up running the same two loops all day or you may end up running all four loops one or two times each. It is almost completely random. Almost. The event takes place at the Watchung Reservation in Union County, NJ and offers three race options: 5k, 3 hour, and 6 hour. I chose to run the 6 hour option and was using this race as a fun way to get in my final long training run before my 100 mile “A” race for the year. The trails at the reserve were all pretty much entirely runnable making it a great course for newer trail runners to up their distance. The timed event options add to the attractiveness of this event for runners who are looking to shoot for their longest distance run to date. The aid station fare was pretty standard ultramarathon fare, but no gels offered. There was plenty of parking available at the reservation and bathrooms were just a short walk from the start finish area. Race swag was pretty good with a cool Sasquatch carabiner mug and a sticker (no shirt). The race format made this a really fun event to run as the front runners, middle of the packers, and back of the packers from both the 3 and 6 hour events all crossed paths at multiple time throughout the day.

Read my full race report at: https://scottcsnell.blogspot.com/2018/10/fueled-by-candy-corn-and-mountain-dew.html

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