Latest reviews by Samantha Zimmerman

(2021)
"What a New Challenge!"
Overall
Race Management
SWAG
Virtual Support

First off, I wasn't able to fully complete the challenge, but I had a blast!! At first, I had signed up for the double route (659 miles,) but then I found out I was pregnant and well, running didn't quite happen. I then dropped down to the West-to-East route (224 miles.) I am still continuing my journey along this route, but have almost made it halfway on the route. This is me saying that even if you didn't complete the route by an end date, you can still have a blast and let me tell you why!

The race directors are amazing and had great communication during the challenge. They kept you up to date on the guidebooks, if the site was down and when it returned to track miles, and also when to expect your swag. I also loved that they offered webinars throughout the challenge and did a great job reminding participants when they were. I wasn't able to participate live as I was always at work, but I loved having them for later.

The swag was great and I was very impressed by the quality of the half zip. The best part about this virtual challenge is that since I have the guidebooks (reason I was intrigued to sign up,) I can continue along the route I am on, but also complete the other route on my own time. It's a fun challenge that doesn't have to end!

I would recommend this virtual challenge to anyone who is looking for something different and would like to take a "trip" throughout Illinois.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2020)
"Always a blast even virtually "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

This is my review for the virtual 5k! Unfortunately due to COVID the race was virtual but they delivered the experience! This was my third year legacy so I received a water bottle and an extra medal in my swag kit. My swag and everyone else’s included a great jacket with zip off hood, 3 mini dark chocolate squares, 2 packs of hot cocoa mix, a honeystinger waffle, nuun sample and the finishers medal which opened up to hold a piece of chocolate. This was all bundled with your bib in a drawstring bag. I was so thrilled to have the hot cocoa post run while sitting around in my cozy jacket. I have posted a review on my blog but also included my experiences at the in person race as well. So if you want to check that out you can go to www.myfeetinmotion.com but I honestly will tell you that if you are reading these reviews to decide if you should do this race then look no further and sign up now! Seriously. I love this series!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2020)
"Turkey Trot Gone Virtual"
Overall
Race Management
SWAG
Virtual Support

Ram races always puts on great events and even though this wasn’t in person, I knew it would be still be great because of the amazing swag. I know I am going to get great swag when I participate. There was an option to add on a blanket and dog collar and the blanket looked so cozy. I just got the regular swag pack and the jacket, medal and hat were great. I always recommend sizing up in the swag because the women’s jackets are quite fitted. I was glad to have the opportunity to run a Turkey trot still even if it wasn’t an in person race, which I am still uncomfortable doing anyway. Definitely recommend this race!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2019)
"What a Sweet Treat!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Expo: The expo took place at Union Station in St. Louis. I love this venue! I'm not savvy enough for street parking, so we paid to park in the lots. Parking was $1 for every 20 minutes. We took less than that and by the time we got to the front of the line in our car, we were rounded up to $2, which is not bad one bit.
The swag was perfect as usual and they always have an area where you can try on all the sizes and do exchanges so your gear fits perfectly.
The treats are always there to eat and they provide allergen information which is helpful for those with sensitivities or intolerances. Like I said, we were quick in and out and that's because this race is so ORGANIZED! You scan your QR code and pick up your bib then go and pick up your swag.

Day of Parking: So I had bought shuttle passes this year, but realized the pick up location was Union Station and I would have to pay to park here in addition to my shuttle cost. Since I thought I would take a million years, I thought I could leave super early and try to snag a street spot in Forest Park. Even showing up over an hour early, we were all guided away from the race to park. For future, the Zoo has parking and it's about 1 mile from the race start and will be $10. By the time the race is over and you've gotten back and enjoyed your treats, you could bop into the Zoo for a bit too! That thought crossed my mind but I needed to get home!

Course: The course is relatively easy in my opinion. You only have 1-2 inclines and the Muny Hill you get to go down. I walked/trotted this race and had no problems. The volunteers were AMAZING! I can't say enough great things about every part from the expo to the end. Their energy was high, especially along the course. I loved the kids before the 15/5k breakaway who were so amped. I loved it! The signs of encouragement and motivation towards the end of the race is also another fun part.

Aids: Towards the end of the race, somewhere in the 2nd mile you had your choice of NUUN, water and also chocolate pieces. I somehow missed the chocolate and grabbed a cup that had water instead on accident.

Post-Race Party: This is always a good time. All-State does a great job with having fun photo ops too. New this year was the ability to stand in front of your digital finish time and have your photo taken. My personal fave is the huge hot chocolates you can sit in.

New this year: The finishers of the 5k received medals this year which was so fun. The 15k medals are far more superior because they are a chocolate bar and how cool is that?! But the 5k are very heavy and cute and I loved having that at the end!

You also get your treats with hot cocoa, melted chocolate, marshmallow, pretzels, cookie straw, honeystinger waffle and banana (i'm sure I even missed some.) This year they came in a compostable bowl. Like I stated in my blog review, some people liked the plastic bowls and used them for storage, but mine ended up being donated most of the time and a lot of people would just throw them away. So I think this was a great change.

I love this race and always recommend it because of the quality you get. It's always a fun time and you always have people next to you! The corrals weren't even crazy this year!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2019)
"Bring on the Flat Terrain! "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

First of all, I love the RnR series races and would ALWAYS recommend them, especially for first time half marathoners. You always will have people surrounding you and the spectators are great!

Registration: Online registration went smoothly and I even opted in to get a full photo package of my race pictures which only cost 19.99, totally worth it in my opinion if you want on course photos. Even though, I didn't have too many this time.

Expo: Registration at the Expo was extremely quick and simple. They wanted you to have your bib# so you could go to that section of the table and quickly receive your bibs. I had a 5k and 10k bib and was able to walk right up and get them and my shirt without waiting in any line. I went Friday around 4pm. My expo experiences in the past few years with races have been a bit of a decline. I remember these races having huge expos and tons of freebies. Not so much at this one, but it was still bigger than others I have been too in the past. I appreciated free beef jerky because that is expensive!

Race Day: My corral was completely off and I didn't realize until I was looking at the pacers standing in the corral I was originally assigned. It was so crowded that I just got in the 2:10 corral where I found space. I realized that it was so crowded that people were on the other side of the fences and would just merge in once we started to move. Like others said, the corrals need to be wider and allow more space between, or at least spread out the corrals and pacers because there was barely space between the 2:10 and 2:20 pacers when lined up.

I thought it went really smooth with sending off each corral and we started 6 minutes after everyone else. It seemed pretty spaced out to me once we got going, but I also went and ran on the sidewalks to get around people in order to get into my groove. I wrote this in my blog post, but I think having porta potties in the first mile would be beneficial because much like a lot of people, I have nervous bathroom breaks and I really needed to pee. I thought it would go away once we got going but it was all I could think about. Thankfully there was a big line of them somewhere between 2 and 3 miles. My GPS was way off with everyone around and the buildings, so my miles were off.

I actually thought the amount of aid and water/gatorade stations was satisfactory. I didn't think it was too hot, in fact I thought we had beautiful weather with overcast, some sprinkles and a nice breeze, but I'm also from southern Illinois and had been running in 80-90 degrees and 97% humidity. I appreciated the sprinklers and open fire hydrants to run through. I loved the remembrance part of the race with American Flags lining the way. It was beautiful.

My favorite part of the race was between mile 9 and 10 where there was a small out and back and you could high five the runners who were going the other direction. It was great to see other Bibrave runners and then other runners wanting high fives.

I will also agree, the tunnel under McCormick Place was sketchy. There was no air, it was really dark and I was really trying to just focus on my footing but you could barely even see. I felt I definitely slowed down for my safety. It did feel amazing once you got out of the tunnel and the breeze hit! Whoever decided to put an incline in the last two miles was devilish and it almost mentally took me out, but I made it through! Honestly, that was the most "hill" like experience in the whole race in my opinion.

I will 100% do this race in the future because it was flat and fun! I probably would stay out in the burbs and take transportation in to the race to save money though. It took a lot out of my wallet to stay close to the race and the weekend.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.