Latest reviews by Maria Abramowicz

(2018)
"The BEST Medal and Swag"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

What? Hot Chocolate 15k
When? October 7, 2018
How far? 15K
Website? www.hotchocolate15k.com/denver
Pre-Race:

Packet pickup was at an expo in Denver’s National Western Complex. Because of the size of the event, there was no race-day packet pick-up available. The expo was a good size and was all running related which was nice. When picking up the swag bag, they had stations to make sure the hoodie fit and exchange booths in case it didn’t. This was a first for me at a race since it’s usually “you get what you get.”

Race:

Since most of my races are usually in the middle of no where (or at least they feel that way) it was really cool to run through Denver. The aid stations were well stocked, and the traffic control was on point. The weather was chilly, which added to the experience of wanting a piping hot cup of hot chocolate.

Post-race:

Ooh wee there was a lot of people at the after event! The finish line/post-race party was at Civic Center Park, which provided a gorgeous background of the Capitol building to each photo. There were plenty of photo opps available with inflatable Hot Chocolate themed props. Plus, you got a cool finisher’s mug filled with hot chocolate and other chocolate goodies.

Summary

This was a big race through downtown Denver. Everything was spot on and professional. I have to say that the medal and hoodie that came were the best I’ve seen so far. The quality is absolutely stunning. Overall the race was a ton of fun and it was great to be part of a positive and excited crowd of runners.

Note: I gave parking 1 star because it was nearly impossible, but that's also part of running in a city.

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(2018)
"Challenging and Beautiful Race Up A Mountain! "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

What? UA Copper Mountain
When? July 14, 2018
How far? 10K
Website? www.uamountainrunning.com

Pre-Race:
Packet pick-up was at the course, but they also offered free same day pick-up which is nice since Copper Mountain is a drive for many people. On race day, the expo was open very early (starting at 5:30). Since this event took place at the ski resort, Starbucks was open which was a nice treat, but UA also put out free food and refreshments. It’s technically the off-season at Copper, so the base of the mountain was dedicated to the race expo which made it exciting and easy to navigate through. Another highlight was the free bag check, which I always appreciate since I start the early morning bundled up with layers that I don’t want to carry or dispose of on the run.

Race:
2 words: elevation and altitude. This race is no joke as you are literally climbing up a ski mountain for the first 3 miles. I’m lucky that I only live less than 2 hours from Copper, so the thin air did not effect me as much as I thought it would. But I passed many many people who were having difficulty getting enough oxygen on the climb. This race is not impossible and shouldn’t be avoided because of the altitude, but it is definitely something to keep in mind.

The good news is that all of that climbing led to an absolutely gorgeous view especially with the summer wildflowers blooming. Plus, after mile 3, it was (mostly) downhill! I say mostly because there was a steep hill around mile 5.5 that was about 0.25 miles. It did, however, lead to an aid station that was stocked with Honey Stinger.

Post-race:
The post-race was a fun time as all of the athletes really took advantage of the expo. They had a LARGE recovery zone with foam rollers and NormaTec boots. You also got a complimentary beer from 10 Barrell Brewing. I don’t drink so I didn’t take advantage of that, but I did have a free kombucha that was absolutely delicious!

Summary
This was an UnderArmour event, so I was expecting everything to be first-class, and it did not disappoint. The swag and expo were high quality, but the course was the star of the show. This is an event that offers a course for everyone (5K-50K). I will definitely be running this course next year and will tackle the 25K. Overall, this course was not just a race, but an experience.

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(2018)
"Beautiful Run Through Colorado's Open Spaces"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Race Information
What Arctic Prairie Dog Half Marathon
When: January 14, 2017
Distance: 13.1 Miles, Half Marathon
Where: Louisville, Colorado
Website: http://prairiedoghalf.com/winter---louisville.html

Pre-race
The Arctic Prairie Dog Half Marathon begins at Coal Creek Golf Course. Although parking in the gold course lot becomes full almost immediately, there is plenty of safe parking in the neighborhood. Race instructions were clear and there were plenty of bathrooms available.

Race
The race was mostly flat with some small hills, and varied between road and packed gravel surfaces. Most of the race is run throughout the open space areas in Louisville which provide beautiful views of the Rocky Mountains and surrounding areas. Volunteers were excellent with aid stations and controlling traffic during a few crosswalks you had to run through.

Post-race
After the race, there was a small expo and awards ceremony. I ran slowly thanks to a pulled IT Band around mile 8, so by the time I finished, many of the festivities had already taken place. The race medal and pint glass were very well designed and I personally love that their Mascot is Peedy the Prairie Dog. Anyone who runs through these areas of Colorado is very familiar with the adorable prairie dogs that line the trails.

Suggestions/Critiques
Overall, this was a well-organized, and beautiful race through Louisville. My only suggestion would be to have a larger expo at the end; however, this is not necessary for an enjoyable race.

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(2017)
"Beautiful Downhill Race"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Race Information
What: Equinox Half Marathon
When: September 17, 2017
Distance: 13.1 Miles, Half Marathon
Where: Poudre Canyon, Fort Collins Colorado
Website: www.equinoxhalfmarathon.com

Pre-race
The Equinox Half Marathon is a fast, downhill race that runs you through the Poudre Canyon near Fort Collins, Colorado. Overall, I was extremely happy with this race. First, there is a shuttle bus service that is required in order to reach the starting area at the top of the canyon. Shuttles ran from 5am-5:30am (eesh, early) from a central area in Fort Collins. Despite being in a somewhat secluded area, the start area included water stations, coffee, tea, and plenty of bathroom facilities.

Race
During the race, the aid stations were well-stocked with water and Nuun hydration drinks as well as Honey Stinger gels upon request. Having the gel at the last aid station was a near miracle for me as it really got me through the last few miles. I also am impressed at a race offering gels, so that’s also a bonus.

Post-race
After the race, there was a live band and a fully-stocked food and beverage section to start the recovery process. Each runner also got a free beer from a local craft brewing company.

The medals and commemorative pint glasses are great as well as the long sleeve technical shirt. You can really tell that a lot of good design work and quality products were utilized.

Suggestions/Critiques
My only suggestion would be to increase some of the vendors, if possible, in the finishing area as I would have liked to browse more running-related tents after the race. Although there was a foam rolling station which was such a relief after running 13 miles.

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(2017)
"A Fun, Energetic Race Through Bolder!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Race Information
What: Bolder Boulder
When: Memorial Day 2017, May 29, 2017
Distance: 6.2 miles, 10K
Where: Boulder, Colorado
Website: www.bolderboulder.com

Pre-race
I recently moved to Colorado before running this yer’s (2017) Bolder Boulder, and I was excited to begin to get into the Colorado running circuit. This race was heralded as one of the largest 10Ks in the country, and it did NOT disappoint.

Before the race, there were plenty of bathrooms with surprisingly short lines for the amount of people. Each wave was organized into sections which were easy to find.

Race
The run itself seemed fairly flat minus a few small rolling hills, but it was the crowd that really made this race special. The route takes you through many residential areas of Boulder where spectators and residents lined the sides of the streets to offer encouragement, a few wonderful water hose downs, and sometimes even beer. I have never ran a race where the community spirit was so abundant and supportive.

The aid stations were fantastic and stocked with water and Nuun. There were professional photographers along the course which offered free high quality race photos so you can show off your sweaty face in high definition for no cost.

Post-race
The race finished in the stadium where there was a large expo with a ton of vendors including a pizza food truck! Each runner also received a free beverage (beer or soda) and a packed lunch in a commemorative bag.

Suggestions/Critiques
My only negative critique of this race was that unless you take a bus, getting to the start line is almost impossible. This makes sense since the race is so large and so much of Boulder has to be closed off for the event.

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