Latest reviews by Larry Wapnitsky

(2018)
"Great race for a great cause, but need to work on distance issues"
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This was a well-organized race designed to raise money in the name of a little girl who left us way too early.

The course was very nice, some decent hills, and a quick trip through the Ambler campus of Temple University. Unfortunately, the course wound up being short by at least half a mile. Although Run The Day is usually good about updating information on a race when its been found to be invalid, they still (to this day) have not updated the course distance, showing me with a significantly faster pace than I actually ran.

Added on the the race is a nice family carnival that will be expanding in 2018. I'm definitely up for doing this race again, and hope that the RD marks the course appropriately for this year.

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(2018)
"Everyone should run this at least once, and in the nude!"
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RACE REPORT: Bouncing Buns Clothing Optional 7k Trail Run

This race (and its sibling race, the Wiggle Jiggle and Giggle 5k) have been on my radar for a few years. Those who know me well know that I have very little in the way of shame. These same people also know that I'm comfortable in my own skin (literally and figuratively), so signing up for it was a no-brainer.

Let me answer a few questions before the report:

* YES, it was at a nudist resort.
* YES, the majority of people there were nude
* NO, I was not uncomfortable around other nude people. If anything, it was more relaxing than a regular resort
* YES, I ran the race with nothing on but socks, shoes, and a buff (yes, I see the irony)

More questions will be answered later, so let's get on with the weekend.

This was my first race since coming off of the injured list. While I'm still somewhat injured, my doctor said I can start running again, and stop if the pain continues. I've only been running a week at this point in time, longest run is 3 road miles. A 4.2 mile trail run shouldn't be TOO tough, right?

I planned on camping overnight so that I wouldn't have to drive up early on Sunday morning for the race. I got a later start than planned. Check-in was very easy. Once you're through the gate, it's completely clothing-optional. People just strolling along, NBD. All ages, shapes, sizes, ethnicities, families. It was like any other resort. Everyone was very friendly, especially those who had long-term RV/mobile-home sites. This is their neighborhood, just like anyplace else.

By the time I got up there, few tent campsites were available (no reservations taken for tent camping). The tent camping areas were very basic - no firepits or anything. Just pitch your tent and stay the night. Once my campsite was set up, off with the clothes, a quick stroll down to the pool, and I wound up having some very nice conversations with people from Amsterdam about their travels, running (the husband was a former runner), and food. Eventually, I grabbed some dinner, walked back to the campsite, and crashed for the evening after reading. I didn't put the rainfly up on my tent, so I had a beautiful view of the moon and stars the entire night.

Sunday morning, I woke up early, grabbed a spot down by the pool, and dropped my towel and bags off before breakfast. (SIDE NOTE - carry a towel with you everywhere so you have something to sit on) After breakfast, I wound up changing into my running kit (from sandals to socks and trail shoes, more sunscreen, bug spray, and a bit too much chamois butt'r - friction made it expand a bit :) ). I went to the race registration, checked in, got my shirt and my bib. Since I was running nude, there was obviously no place for a bib, so they were writing your bib number on your leg in Sharpie.

The crowd of runners was increasing. Overall, I'd say about 85% of the runners were fully nude. There were a few woman who chose to wear a sports bra (and nothing else), and a few who remained fully clothed. This still puzzles me - why sign up for a race like this and run fully clothed? (SIDE NOTE - with race entry, you get access to the resort and all its amenities for the rest of the day. It's a hell of a bargain! One clothed couple took advantage of the facilities later on in the afternoon, but a small group of women came down to the pool, had a worrisome look on their face, then left after about 5 minutes. To each their own - no judgement).

"But, Larry!", you question. "What if someone you knew was running? Wouldn't that be uncomfortable or awkward?" Well, actually, I met a friend up there. He and his wife were volunteers at the race. We chatted for a good 20 minutes before the race. Really nice people! If anything, conversing with people that I knew, even in the nude, made me even more relaxed than I already was.

Ok. The race...right!

The first mile was on the roads of the resort throughout the camping area. It was about a mile of people cheering all the runners on. I went out WAY too fast, it was humid out, and I was a little worn down by the time we got to the trails.

Oy - the trails. I wasn't expecting anything this technical. While I didn't have to climb over rocks or anything, it was narrow, overgrown in a few spots, a bit rocky, and some BIG puddles from the recent rains. I slowed way down, doing a lot more walking than I had originally planned. Then again, I'm not a big trail runner (though it's a lot of fun and want to do more). 3+ more miles of running this route, with the Cardiac hill up and back, and I felt good. No leg pains, a bit out of breath. I finished to another crowd of people cheering the runners in, got my snacks, water, Gatorade, and a green banana :) Eventually, I made my way back down to the pool to shower off, get more sunscreen on, then got some lunch and a beer with a few other runners.

Where are the photos? Not allowed :)
Would I do this race again? In a heartbeat!
Would I do the 5k road race next year? In a heartbeat!
Would I recommend this race? Yes
Would I recommend doing it nude? Yes, but only if you're comfortable with it, and can see the nudity as natural and not sexual. There are rules at the resort that govern such behavior. It's a very respectful environment.

Additionally, it's truly amazing to see the mechanics of the human body as it runs when not clothed. We use these muscles all the time, and we cover them up. Not a single one of us is perfect - we all have our flaws. That's what makes us human, and is truly one of the big draws of the race and the resort - being human without having to try too much.

I've been a bit sore in my lower back since the run, but overall, I feel great. It was a rocky start to restarting after injury, but I'm looking forward to regaining my athleticism and fitness. As for getting in shape - pear is a shape, and I'm a happy pear :)

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(2018)
"A fun race that could use a few improvements"
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--- Disclaimer - I received entry to this race as a member of the pacing team for the 15k ---

This was my third year pacing the Hot Chocolate 15k, and it's definitely one of the races I enjoy doing in the city of Philadelphia.

Like the past 2 years, the weather was dismal, with the possibility of rain and/or snow in the morning. Thankfully, there were only a few flakes at the start line, and the ground wasn't too wet. This year, some good advance planning by RAM had them put straw down on the fields by Eakins Oval to help prevent slipping in the mud before and after the race.

In terms of scenery for this race, the best parts are the start/end at Eakins Oval, and parts along the river where you can see the boathouses and people out in their boats. Beyond that, it's very brick-heavy with some greenery. Considering the poor weather the past few years, it's also been very gray (little sunshine), but there's nothing that can be done about that.

Along the route, there were plenty of people out at the tables with water, candy ( yay! ) and Nuun. As a Nuunbassador, it's still disheartening to hear "Gatorade" or "sports drink". That's more of a training issue for the volunteers. It didn't affect how generous they were down the line. Additionally, the volunteers this year seemed to help move people along a bit quicker than usual.

What could be improved upon? Two things in particular:

1) Course marshals - a woman was injured a few minutes in front of me, and finding a course marshal or first-aid worker was nigh impossible for a significant distance. With such long stretches on pothole-heavy roads, a few extras around could have been helpful

2) The expo - among the least impressive of expos I've been to. Yes, the food/drink samples are good, but there are few merchants/sponsors, and it's held in one of the darker, more dismal halls of the convention center.

What's great?

1) The swag. The pullover is very nice this year, even sans pockets. The medals are great quality, and the extra touch of a Philadelphia-specific Liberty Bell was really nice. And the post-race food...how can you go wrong with chocolate, bananas, cookies, rice-krispie treats???

2) Communication from RAM is great. They keep on top of you, without overloading your inbox. They offer training tips and good directions to follow the day of the race

3) The people. This is one race where everyone seems to have a great time, no matter what. The announcers have fun, the volunteers are great.

I'm looking forward to pacing again next year if given the opportunity. I'm always in awe of those who are thankful for me getting them to the end, whether on pace, ahead of pace, or if I've taught them something new.

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(2018)
"A nice little run through the Navy Yards"
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This is a small event used to raise money for IBD awareness for the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. There is a 2 mile walk, but I ran the 5k this year.

It's a relatively easy course through the revamped Navy Yard area of South Philadelphia. The course is a nice out-and-back through the office complexes and alongside some of the old ships.

There is no expo, but there is plenty on race-day at the event. Hot dogs, ice cream, snacks, and a silent auction.

Definitely doing this again for the cause

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(2018)
"Always a fun race, no matter the temperature!"
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This was my third year running this race, and it was yet another good one.

The race runs on the paved roads in Washington Crossing Park, with a out-and-back along the towpath next to the canal. It gets a bit narrow at points, especially under the bridge, but it's overall a nice course.

While not gourmet, there's something to be said about hot tomato soup and fresh grilled-cheese sandwiches. The only thing that I would ask is that there is better monitoring of who is getting food. While the race ran out of soup last year, the RD more than handled it well this year with an abundance of soup. Slower (but still amazingly awesome) runners were coming in and had to wait on sandwiches this year, as people were taking multiples.

Can't wait to do this race yet again next year and get yet another soup mug!!

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