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)
"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)
"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)
"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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