Latest reviews by Barbara Sweet

(2018)
"Family Fun in the City"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Expo
The expo included booths of things not related to running or racing. It seems like they opened up the vendor space to anyone willing to pay the fee instead of focusing on what runners what would be interested in.

Swag
Swag included a t-shirt, medal, and a bobblehead. It was unique to get a bobblehead. It gives you one other thing to collect, especially if you are a Giants fan.

Course
The 5K course was flat throughout. San Francisco is known for very curvy streets, but not for this race. It went by the marina and turned around. The finish line was inside the stadium, which was the highlight of the race for me. What a great opportunity!

Aid Stations
There were two water stations for 5K. I would have liked the aid stations more reasonably spread out. It felt like you got water and then again you were offered water right away.

Atmosphere
There were a lot of families running and or walking. It was great seeing the orange and black colors running through the city. The races were staggered so there wasn't any pushing or slowpokes to wait for.

Post-race
After the race, there were some snack freebies to enjoy that included: carrots, yogurt, milk, pretzels, etc. There were non-runners trying to get onto the field, but the field was reserved for runners only. A great way to finish a race! There were also some photo opportunities spread out on the way out.

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(2018)
"Fun in Green"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

This was a small local race with less than 300 runners. I picked it because it was close by and because of the theme. I love holiday or themed races. I enjoy dressing up and seeing what the other runners come up with.

The weather was 41F at the starting line. Way too cold for it to be Spring, but at least it wasn't raining.

Swag

All runners received a long-sleeved technical shirt. Women's shirts were white and men were grey. I wondered why the race was called Go Green and yet our shirts weren't green. There was no finishers medal in this race. Instead, runners received a pint glass. Runners who placed in their age group received a bottle opener medal.

Course

The race was at Hellyer Park in San Jose. The course was paved and flat the whole way. I did have to make my way around other walkers, runners, bikers that were on the same route.

Aid Stations

There were two water stations along the 10K route. The cups were filled with water and ready to go. I hate having to slow down and wait for someone to pour the water. Luckily, I didn't have to go through that this time.

Atmosphere

Many people came to the race dressed up in something related to St. Patrick's Day whether it was green, leprechauns, or some other character. There was even a group dressed as French mushrooms (that's the white costumes). I'm not sure how that fits into the theme, but it was festive.

Post-race

After the race runners, 21 and older could enjoy a beer in their new pint glass. There were plenty of fruit and snacks to refuel on as well as bottles of water. Overall, I thought the race was well organized and well done.

How did I do?

Not bad. I was happy with my results.

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(2018)
"Fun Family Friendly Race"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Expo:
The address for the expo and bib pick-up was an address with no location landmarks, like for example, in front of the restaurant or next to, ... Maybe for next year's bib pick-up instructions, the organizers can be more specific. It was not easy to find where to go. Google Maps put me two blocks away with a lot of stores and restaurants in between. I didn't have to wait in line for my bib. The bibs were handed out by number so you had to come prepared with your bib number. We received a few emails warning us of this, so it was not a surprise. There were two other tables that were promoting other Bay Area races and that was it for the expo.

Swag
For the race entry fee, I received a technical short-sleeve shirt and a finishers medal at the end.

Course
The course was on pavement and flat the entire way. It was obvious where to go and there was always someone along the route making sure the runners stayed in the right lane. The route started at the SAP Center in Downtown San Jose and finished at Santana Row.

There was a sweat check provided by UPS. You could hand off your jackets and other items and the UPS employee would put a label on it with your bib number and hand it back to you at the end of the race. I was impressed with how many UPS trucks were present. There were also a lot of porta-potties at the beginning of the race. Along the race, I only saw two porta potties on two different stops.

This race has two key mile marker events. One is Memorial Mile and the other is Mariachi Mile. Memorial Mile depends on Veterans to volunteer their time and come out and cheer on the runners. I thought I would see more Veterans present, but I only counted a mere 4. Mariachi Mile was towards the end of the course. There were several mariachi bands playing along that mile. It was great fun to see the different costumes, the various age groups of the performers, and of course, the wonderful music. It was a great photo opportunity. Where else do you get to run past mariachi bands?

Aid Stations
The aid stations were weak. There were two along the 8K route and they only had water, no electrolytes, or snacks. Also at the beginning of the race Amazon had a booth with hot coffee, pastries, snacks, and fruit, but it was only for Amazon employees. The race itself had nothing other than water to offer runners to fuel up for the race.
I did see a blind runner being guided by a race volunteer. It warmed my heart to see that the organizers are providing opportunities for everyone.

Atmosphere
It was a fun atmosphere. Many people were running with at least one other person, if not a whole group. It was a timed race, but I didn't feel like its anything more than a fun run, where people could take their time and go as fast or as slow as they wanted.

Post-race
At the end of the race, the volunteers handing out the medals weren't ready. I had to wait a few minutes for them to get more and walk over to where I was and hand me one. After the race, I walked over to the Lululemon store that was promoting that they had custom 408K merchandise on sale. I noticed as I was leaving that there was a group of Mexican dancers posing with runners and there was a long line to get your photo taken with them. I didn't walk to the end of Santana Row, so I don't know if there were any snacks at the end.

Parking tip: I parked at Santana Row early in the morning. I then took a Lyft ride to the SAP Center. This worked out well for us as our car was waiting for us at the finish line and we didn't have to wait for the bus to take us back to downtown San Jose.

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(2018)
"Beautiful views"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Expo:
The expo was in a big open location under a tent. I appreciated that it was open until 8 pm on Friday before the race, however, it would have been nice to know ahead of time that you can pick-up your bib on race day. I flew in on Friday and almost didn't make it to the pick-up. A stressful experience that could have been easily avoided.
There were a handful of vendors selling everything from Sedona socks and t-shirts to runner specific gear like recovery sandals and hydration packs.

Swag
Swag included a t-shirt, bib, and finishers medal. I learned that the medal we received is actually part of a 4 piece set. So, I will definitely need to come next year to claim the next piece of the puzzle.

Course
The 10K course was not too hard. There were some hills, but they were doable. I just made a point to go faster downhill and take my time going uphill. The course was on a paved road the entire time. 

Sedona is at a high elevation, so the air is thin with no humidity. I actually got very dehydrated after the race. I know now to drink more water. The scenery is the best part, it's breathtaking! I kept looking around as I ran and being amazed. 

Aid Stations
I felt like there were plenty of aid stations throughout the course with both electrolytes and regular water. There were also many volunteers along the race cheering runners on with both handmade signs and cowbells.

Atmosphere
Everyone was so nice! It was a friendly environment. Many tourists came in that weekend just for the race. The locals were very kind and welcoming.

Post-race
There was a beer garden available. I'm not a beer drinker, but there were many people enjoying having a cold beer after the race. There were vendor food trucks available, for those that had worked up an appetite. Some food options that I saw available were pizza, loaded fries, and pork sandwiches.

After the race was done there was plenty to do, since Sedona has been rated as one of the top 10 most beautiful locations in the U.S. There's a lot of opportunities for sightseeing before or after the race and even if you don't have the time for that, you will love just looking around at the beautiful red rocks that surround the town.

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(2018)
"Family Friendly Fun Run"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Expo:
This was a small race of about 130 people, so there was no expo.

Swag:
The swag was a t-shirt and a bib. No medals were handed out. There was no goodie bag or samples.

Course:
The course was a 5K in Coyote Point Recreation Center in San Mateo. It was mainly a flat rate, but it has a hill that put you right above the ocean. The views were ever changing as you passed one mile to the next. It passed by a marina where you could see sailboats to your right, so it wasn't your average park run.

Aid Stations:
This race promotes diabetes awareness, so it wasn't surprising to find two aid stations named "low stations" with both insulin and juice bags. There was one water station on the course about half-way through. However, there were plenty of snacks before and after the race.

Atmosphere:
Many people were there as a family or with other runners. It was a friendly environment were people were out to have fun and get exercise.

Post-race:
Once I passed the finish line, a person ripped off the bottom half of our bib, since it was our first time doing this race, we didn't know what was that for. There were no chips on the bib. The time was manually kept for the top runners and posted on a board by the finish line. I didn't stay for long after finishing the race. Based on the photos of the event, it seems like there were prizes raffled out. I thought prizes at the end meant that they were going to hand out medals to the top finishers. Had I known that it was raffle prizes, I might have stayed longer.

There were many tables set-up, but as in many races, the volunteers didn't know what they were supposed to be doing. A recommendation for next year would be to have someone oversee the volunteers to ensure a smoother process.

There was plenty of parking spaces. You did have to pay $6 to park, but it was announced via email ahead of time and the organizers encouraged people to carpool to save on the parking fee.

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