Latest reviews by Rory Leigh Correa

(2019)
"Race To The Row!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Summary:
The San Jose 408K: Race To The Row is a fun, well sponsored race with a fast flat route & amazing swag!

Packet PickUp:
Sadly, I missed packet pickup at Santana Row & I missed out on all kinds of goodies! However, race day packet pickup was super simple. My hotel was less than a half mile away from the Start area, so I grabbed my bib & ran back to the hotel to stay warm until closer to the start time. Thats how fast & easy it was! But I definately recommend doing it in the days before or having it mailed to you so that you have your race morning free.

Course Route/Elevation:

This course was a tour through San Jose! No major hills, a nice downhill & pretty much level throughout otherwise.

Swag:

After the race, we were corralled into the post race area where we collected shirts, played games & picked up our gear. At the Amazon tent, we go cooling towels & Wrist bands (they hold your id, keys, etc.). You could also take a picture, but of course - the line was long. Speaking of pictures, in addition to the FREE race photots - there are plenty of photo stations throughout the post race area to pose with your crew. After grabbing my Amazon swag, I got my finsher's tee & headed to the buses. And these weren't just any buses, these were spiffy charter buses that took us the 5 Miles back to the Start area. (Which was deserted lol)

Summary:
Represent Running & their new title sponsor, Amazon - put on quite the event! The Represent Running team are all about running local & you can sense their pride of the Bay Area. Between the free photos & swag, you more than get what you paid for! :D

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(2019)
"BQ, Ring The Bell & Have Some Wine "
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Summary:
A Boston Qualifier, the Napa Valley Marathon follows the Silverado Trail through world famous Wine Country. The inaugural Half Marathon followed the last 13.1 miles of the Marathon route. Peaceful, tranquil & serene - this was one of those most picturesque races I've ever run. 

Packet PickUp:
Packet PickUp was incredibly organized & held at the host hotel - Napa Valley Marriott & Spa! After getting checked in, I headed downstaris to the Hospitality Suite. I was fortunate enough to recieve VIP Access which included a special gift at Packet PickUp as well as receiving VIP Creds for Race Day Morning. In addition to a gift basked filled with goodies (Rudy Cabernet Savignon, Smash Mallows, a Nuun California Bottle & More!) there were water bottles & GU Stroopwaffles for us to load up on for race day. I grabbed a few & headed to the Expo. 

The Expo was just a few steps outside of the main lobby. First I grabbed my bib number in one room & then headed to the main room for my Runner's Bag. It was an intimate expo, offering your typical merchandise, local race discounts as well as merchandise from a local running store & winery. While it wasn't the biggest expo, they may want to consider moving it to a bigger room next year as it got very crowded very quickly. 

Once I received my Runner's Bag, I purchased a few items & headed out of the Expo. 

After the Expo & in the courtyard, there was a Beer & Wine Tasting presented by nakedwines.com. I grabbed a cup of Scott Kelly Pinot Noir & headed up to my room. By far the easiest expo experience! 

Course Route/Elevation:
The road does slope, so you will want to stay towards the middle of the road/yellow lines as much as possible. If you do that, you won't have any issues. 

Other than the above - this course is basically a straight shot. Its also, for the most part, closed. Its the worst when you are running along a race & have to dodge cars. I happily trotted down an open road with a few rolling hills at a consistent elevation decline. Whats not to love? Especially if you are trying to BQ, this course is perfect. It's not crowded, you can stretch out & focus on the task at hand. Yes, there are a bunch of turns at the end to get to you to the high school, but you also know once you enter the neighborhood that you have about a 1 mile to go. 

-- Aid Stations: Both GU & Nuun were offered on course & a few of the aid stations had orange slices & banana Halves. There was enough for everyone, it was well manned & stocked.

Swag/Extras:
--Wine: There was plenty of wine!

--Pasta Dinner: There was a Pasta Dinner held & the panel included some amazing runners! 

--Bag: Alot of people fly into Napa, so this study & durable bag was perfect! Everyone had to use their bag as a drop bag. I was able to throw in all kinds of items & still had plenty of room. It's nice & deep with plenty of pockets. This bag is now my official 'drop bag' at races. 

--Shirt: Although not a tech tee, this long sleeve is super lightweight & soft.

--VIP Start: Held at Conn Creek Winery, We were provided a light breakfast (Bananas, Yogurt, Granola Bars, etc.), Bag Drop & restrooms before the start of the race.

--After Race Fun: Showers & Locker Rooms at the High School. I didn't use the shower, but I did change out of my wet clothes in the Locker room - which on a cold & windy day was a true blessing! Hot soup was offered afterward as well along with the usual bananas, water & Nuun.

--Medal: The medal is big, beautiful & heavy - everything runner's want in a medal!

To Note: 
To say that the Napa County residents don't care is not at all a valid! This isn't meant to be an Urban Marathon with a huge amount crowds. What I will say is that I saw plenty of cars parked along the Silverado Trail with people in them & as the temps got warmer & the drizzle subsided - people were getting out of their cars. I even passed a few places where people were giving out treats. It was a cold & rainy day for Napa standards - previous years the temps have been in the 70s. 

Conclusion:
I had an amazing time in Napa & I PR'd my Half. The running community in Napa is amazing, many returning year after year to run this race. With the Half Marathon being inaugural, I absolutely plan on returning to run. #Legacy

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(2019)
"Get All The Chocolate in San Francisco!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
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Summary:

The Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K/5K in San Francisco is a simple, flat & beautiful out-and-back course that takes you through Golden Gate Park & along the California coast.

Packet PickUp:

Packet PickUp at any #HC15K race is a sight to behold - it's so efficient & technology forward! First, when you register - you receive a pass that you can add to your Apple Wallet. When you arrive at Packet PickUp, you take this same pass & scan it at your designated table. Bib Numbers are given to you at this time & a small little sticker prints out with your name & Corral letter designation - Cool right? The next station is where you grab your swag & then you head on to the Expo booths. Every #HC15K I've even gone to, I can be in & out in less than 10 minutes!

Swag/Extras:

The swag at this event is unbelievable! Nuun is one of the sponsors, so you can always grab a few free packets or a tube. This year, we received hoodies. The women's color is wine & the men's color is black. These hoodies are so comfy & perfect to run in! There are zippered pockets on each side & thumbholes at the end of the sleeve. While I didn't wear it during the race, I wore it home & I've worn it on my daily runs - I love it!

During the race, the aid stations are fully stocked - but there are also Sweet Stations where you can grab a few chocolate chips or M&Ms.

And of course after the race, you receive your iconic blue Hot Chocolate Finisher's Mug, filled with yummy treats: Snyder's Mini Pretzels, a Rice Crispy Treat, 2 biscottis, a Marshmallow, a scoop of hot fudge & a cup of hot cocoa. They also provided plastic bags to keep your mug in for transit. The fudge will eventually cool & harden - so you may want to put it in another container or cup. I used the bottom of our paper cups at the hotel to make fudge cups :).

More Swag: Free Photos, Free Personal Video, Legacy Status.

Course Route/Elevation:

For the run to be in San Francisco, I was expecting outrageous hills - but this course was actually pretty flat considering the locale. There were a few hilly parts, but nothing out of the ordinary. The best part of the course is when you are running along the Pacific Ocean. Words cannot describe it!

Medal:

This year, the medals got an upgrade! Each medal will be specific to the city you are running in. The San Francisco Medal is the full #HC15K candy bar with bite and the Golden Gate Bridge at the bottom. The ribbon for the medal was double sided.

Conclusion:

The #HC15K is a great race for the money. Its fairly priced so that all can participate & for what you receive - its an awesome value. You are guaranteed to make some new friends, get some cool swag & all the chocolate you can eat!

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(2018)
"26.2 Miles of Paradise!"
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Summary:
The Honolulu Marathon is an AMAZING event & a perfect Marathon for first-timers. Not only do people come from all over the country to run this race, they come from all over the world! Skip the cold December & fly down to Hawaii for sun, seafood & surf!

Packet Pick Up:
Packet PickUp was held a the Convention Center, but what was great is that the marathon organized shuttles running throughout the day around the island to drop off & pick up at the Convention Center.

The shuttle, was actually a Trolley! So it was fun to be able to see the island, while the Trolley made it various stops before dropping us off at the Expo. Once at the Expo, there was plenty of signage & photo opportunities with banners, etc. The Packet PickUp was also well signed & dispite the crowds - I had my Bib in hand in less than 10 minutes after my arrival.

The Expo had your usual expo attendants, but what I liked most about this Expo is that they featured alot of local artists. Instead of buying gels & compression socks, I opted to buy handmade items to bring back to friends & family as souveniors.

Swag/Extras:
Finally, at the Finish Line - before receiving your deserved medal, you get a shell necklace. :) After you get your necklace & medal, you enter an area where you can meet with friends who may have been watching you run. You can then enter the celebration area where you can get your Finishers shirt, food, etc. I grabbed my shirt & headed back to the hotel because I had been on my feet for 7 hours & I was ready to lay on the floor!

Medal:
The medal we received is absolutely beautiful! Its heavy, gold & double sided - making you feel like an Olympian once you receive it & wear it the rest of the day.

Course:
The course was amazing! There were so many well stocked aid stations in addition to local volunteers sharing noodles, sake & sprinklers from their homes. Words cannot describe how beautiful this island is. Everything is lush & green, the water is a blue that you just don't find on the mainland. From the beginning, I treated this marathon as a 'hike across Hawaii' & it truly was!

Conclusion:
The Honolulu Marathon is a MUST for any runner. If its your first marathon or in my case, my last marathon - you will not be disappointed! I will definitely return to this race, but just the 10K for next time. :)

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(2018)
"#FeastMode at Lake Merritt"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
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Summary:

Looking for a fun way to spend your Thanksgiving morning before you chow down with the family? The Oakland Turkey Trot has it all - costumes, food, music, games & of course running! Take a quick loop around Oakland's Lake Merritt & finish at a party!

Packet Pick Up:

The Oakland Turkey Trot, like its partner race - Oaktown Half, provide multiple packet pickup options - including an 'Expo in a Box' in which will make you a box of goodies along with your big & shirt! I always choose to pick up at the Sports Basement because you get an additional 20% off when you show them your bib. Plus, its a really big place, so there is plenty of room & never any lines when picking up your stuff. Everyone there is always super nice & helpful.

Course Route:

Course Route is very simple, 5K = one loop around Lake Merritt.

Swag:

You receive an awesome, soft t-shirt designed by local tee shop Oaklandish & a few other running goodies.

Medal:

This year's medal simply says FeastMode in all gold - like a b-boy chain. :)

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