Latest reviews by Barbara Sweet

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

Expo
I went to the expo expecting it to be small and only about getting your swag and leaving, but I was so wrong! The expo was at a convention center in South San Francisco. I didn't have a problem finding a parking spot or finding my way into the expo. There were lots of volunteers and signs to show you the way. I didn't have to wait long in line to get my gear either. There were plenty of people working to hand out the swag bags, bibs, and shirts. Inside the expo, there were several vendor booths with racing-related merchandise. There even booths promoting other races in the Bay Area that offered additional swag if you signed up for the race while at the expo.
Swag
My husband and I both got long-sleeved technical racing shirts. They even had a front zippered pocket for your car keys, some money, or something small.

Course
Beautiful views of Golden Gate Park and by the ocean. It was an ever-changing scenery that kept you motivated.

Aid Stations
There were several aid stations that there were well stocked and well run. There were a lot of volunteers there with both Nuun drinks and water on hand to give out. There was no need to slow down too much or stop to get your refreshments.

Atmosphere
It was a big race with over 5,000 people. The shuttle service made it easy for people to get to and from the event. The parking for the race was perfect. I arrived and immediately found a parking spot. Once at the event, there were some inflatables and other photo opportunities hot chocolate themed of course. There were many families and small groups racing together. It was a fun contagious atmosphere.

Post-race
Post race I beelined for to get my finisher's mug. I ripped out the bottom part of my bib and exchanged it for a Hot Chocolate finishers mug with goodies. It was the perfect finally to a great race. The mug included a cup of hot chocolate, dipping chocolate, pretzels, cookies, a banana, and a rice crispy treat. I can see why Hot Chocolate races are so popular. They're a lot of fun!

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(2017)
"Fun Holiday themed race"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Expo
The pickup location was at the Sunnyvale Sports Basement. There was plenty of parking available when I arrived and there were a lot of volunteers helping hand out the bibs and shirts.

Swag
For the price of the race, you got an elf themed long sleeve technical shirt, a bib, and a finishers medal.

Course
The course was a 5K that started and ended at different locations. We parked near the end so that we would be closer to the car when the race was over. The end of the race was next to Christmas in the Park in San Jose. It was a great location for the finish line.

Aid Stations
This aspect was weak. There was only one water station throughout the route. It was poorly coordinated. When I arrived at the table there were many cups on the table, but they were all empty! I had to wait for the volunteer to fill up my cup. I was a little frustrated with this since I’m trying to run at a fast pace and this definitely slowed me down.

Atmosphere
The atmosphere was great! A lot of people were wearing either the elf shirt provided, a Santa costume, or some other holiday-themed outfit. At one point I looked around me and I was in a sea of red and green.

Post-race
Once I crossed the finish line, I was given my medal and a bottle of water. A little further down there were some volunteers handing out milk and cookies. Isn’t that a great idea! I grabbed my race snack and headed over to one of the benches at Christmas in the Park to rest for a minute and recharge. I looked around and I was surrounded by Christmas trees, lights, and Christmas music. It was the perfect ending to a Santa race!

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(2017)
"Run Through Stanford Campus"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

This year was the 17th year this race has taken place and the first time I've done it. There were about 4 portapotties near the parking lot and actual restrooms nearby by the stadium and by the race track. Parking was abundant and free. When you registered for the race you could choose to have a chipped bib or not. There was a $5 difference between the two.

The course went through Stanford Campus. Stanford is such a beautiful University. I enjoyed the route as it was different the entire way. Each of the Stanford buildings had a different style of architecture and design. The grounds have several eucalyptus trees that you can smell along the way.

There were lots of volunteers at the race. Many had cowbells and were holding signs that times made me laugh as I passed them.

Some of the paths were limited to the sidewalk since traffic was not stopped, but I found that running on the bike lane worked out just fine. There were several walkers on the course. Several companies and teams had special shirts and showed their team spirit. There were people of ages running or walking. There were definitely a lot of families running together with their dogs.

There was one water station along the route. I only saw one of the mile markers, but then I was keeping track of the mileage on my Fitbit. I wasn't putting a lot of effort on spotting the mile markers.

At the end of the race, there were many people cheering the runners on as they passed the finish line. No medals were awarded, except for top runners in each category. After you finished running, you could go claim your t-shirt. I found it strange that it wasn't handed out before, but I'm assuming there was a good reason for it. It was a nice technical long-sleeved shirt. The volunteers at the shirt table were doing a nice job of helping people decide on what size shirt best fit them.

Of course, after running you will need to replenish your energy. There were plenty of free snacks for everyone to enjoy. There was freshly popped popcorn, string cheese, donuts, fish crackers, and more.

Overall, great race. I would definitely do it again.

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

Expo: This was my first runDisney race, so I don't know if this is always the case or just the exception. I found the Expo to be rather small. I was expecting vendors to have samples of their products and that wasn't the case. There was an area with the exclusive merchandise for the weekend. It was crowded, but I was still able to get the things I was looking for. If you're an Annual Passholder or a Disney Credit Card holder, you get a discount at checkout.

Swag: The swag consisted of a long-sleeve technical shirt and a clear plastic bag. That's it!

Course: The course ran through the back allies of both California Adventure and Disneyland. In fact, it seemed like the course was mostly on back roads and not as much in the parks. There were holographic projections of the various Avenger symbols along the way to let you know you were on track and as a reminder of the theme of the race. Parts of the back roads were very narrow and it forced runners to slow down their pace in order to pass all the walkers.

Aid Stations: There were aid stations throughout the course with cups of water and some had pain relieving gel.

Atmosphere: The atmosphere was upbeat. Many of the Disney employees were out cheering the runners on. They seemed sincere and happy to see us there. I didn't have anyone cheering for me in the crowd, so it was nice to have encouragement from the employees.

Post-Race: After you got your medal there was a very long line to get your photo taken with some of the Disney Photographers. I just wanted to get my snack and sit down. There were some standing tables, but not enough for the crowd so I sat on the floor. I thought the snack box was a good selection of healthy items. The banana I got was green and not edible, but other than that there was a variety of sweet and salty treats.

There were aid stations at the end were people could get ice bags for their sore joints or legs.

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(2017)
"Good family friendly course"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Expo-
The pick-up location for the bibs was Road Runner Sports in Berkley. The store was very small. I was hoping for a store with a larger selection of running gear. Also, Berkley seemed further away that I would have liked to travel. There are probably and better sporting stores than Berkley.

Swag-
I got a cotton shirt, a magazine, and several samples. There was the option to upgrade to a technical shirt, but I just went with the cotton one. The backs of the shirts were great! It was a reminder that this would be the last race of the year.

Course-
The course was fairly flat, trail, not paved. It looped around the Quarry Lakes in Fremont.

Aid Stations-
There was one water station for the 5K race. I thought it was plenty for the distance we were doing. The people at the aid station were prepared with cups in hand. Now that's what I like to see. I don't want to have to slow down;

Atmosphere-
The atmosphere was great! Plenty of music being blasted by the speakers. Families and friends in groups were there together either racing or supporting a racer. I did see dogs on the trail even though the website said it was prohibited. There was no one actually paying attention to that.

Post-race-
I didn't stay very long after the race was done. Some people did. We picked up our jackets and left. It was an easy stroll to the car.

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