Latest reviews by scott snell

(2019)
"First Time Relay Experience at The GAP = Awesome!"
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The Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) Trail Relay was a very well organized and fun event for my first experience running a relay race. The race website and prerace emails were both super informative and included all of the information the teams needed to prepare for the event. The individual leg maps with turn by turn instructions were clutch for our team getting from checkpoint to checkpoint. Especially since cell service was spotty at locations when we were trying to use GPS. In hindsight, I would highly recommend downloading the maps ahead of time so they are available on your mapping app of choice for those situations when/if you lose service. The only improvement I would recommend to the race organizers for the turn by turn directions provided on the website is to include distances between turns.

Race management also went all out with the swag. Our swag bags at the start were packed with lots of great running gear and other useful items. We all got a long sleeve shirt, a Nathan flashing wearable safety light for night running, a $10 Sheetz gift card, Honey Stinger waffles, Honey Stinger gels, GU Hoppy Trails gel, body glide, Balega socks, and Nuun tabs. It was quite a haul!

All of the course that I saw was beautiful and completely runnable. My only gripe about the course at all is that two of the four legs I ran were after dark so I wasn’t able to enjoy the sights. From the views I got during daylight, I can only imagine what sights I missed out on during the night time hours. I realize that with a 150 mile course running portions in the dark is unavoidable so I’m not complaining about it. I enjoy night runs through the woods with only a headlamp to light my way, but it is a trade off for missing out on the daylight views. Regardless, I still enjoyed the course and having a bit of time between legs to check out the sights at the exchange stations along the way. One of the exchange station highlights was the train museum that had a full miniature train set on display.

Support at the exchange points provided by the race organizers was good throughout and seemed to improve as a greater distance was covered. The Domino's pizza over night was a real treat. The Panera bagels and coffee in the morning was also much appreciated. The other bonuses like the photo booth at Boston (exchange station #20) was also a nice surprise.

The finish line celebration was also very well done. With the finish line celebratory music (yeah Linkin Park!) well within earshot, our final runner came into view. When she reached us we all got our legs to move again and ran across the finish line as a team. The announcer was quite the hype man and got every team pumped as they crossed the finish line calling out their team name. After receiving our hefty finisher medals and getting some finish line photos, we made our way over to the conveniently located after party at the Hofbrauhaus. With the beautiful South Shore Riverfront Park in view from our seating area, we were served large soft dough pretzels with cheese dipping sauce and our choice of biers: lager, hefe weizen, or dunkel. On top of it all, there was a bottomless pierogi buffet that our table ate our share of.

Read my full race report at https://www.beastcoasttrailrunning.com/2019/10/2019-gap-trail-relay-initial-impressions.html

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(2019)
"Second trip around Pine Creek"
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My second time running Eastern States 100 did not go as I had hoped. Nothing went terribly wrong, I just didn't have a stellar day. The race itself was super organized and appeared to be managed flawlessly with no hint of any problems. I wouldn't recommend it as a first time 100 miler, but I would say it is a great race for anyone who enjoys a challenging course with plenty of beautiful scenery.

Read my full race report at https://www.beastcoasttrailrunning.com/2019/08/2019-eastern-states-100.html

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(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"
Overall
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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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