Latest reviews by Christina
Breaking my review up into categories listed above....
At packet pick up, you are handed your bag. In the clear (gear check) bag is your bib, safety pins, long sleeve tech shirt, honey samples and a Macy’s coupon. I love the long sleeve T-shirt. It’s November and its cold so the long sleeve is much appreciated. The medal is beautiful! Very high quality and a cool design. Besides the tshirt and medal, there isn’t any other “swag”. No printed race guides. (Just emails) I take into consideration the cost of registration when it comes to the swag or the lack of. For that reason, this category is 4 out of 5.
If I remember correctly, there was a water/Gatorade stop every 2 miles. There were also 2 different stops of people handing out tissues. With the cool temperatures, the tissues were needed. I didn’t see anyone handing out candy, GU, oranges or basically anything edible. I knew this from years past so I knew to bring my own. For that reason, this category is 4 out of 5.
There’s not a lot of scenery. You start in a mall parking lot and continue through commercial areas. You pass Turfway Horse Park. For a brief moment, you can see some planes on a nearby runway. There’s an area between miles 8-10 that’s in the middle of trees. When choosing races to run, scenery is the last reason why I would choose a race so this category isn’t important to me. I still can only give it 4 out of 5 because there’s no comparison to Yellowstone or Utah where I have to give those races a 5.
It’s hard to rate this category.. It’s more like a packet pick up. It’s held inside the Florence shopping Mall. Easy to find, park and get to. The hours for 2017 were Saturday from 12-9pm. I missed having the option this year of picking up my packet after work on Friday but with race day pick up, it’s not too big of an issue. At packet pick up, the local running store has a few things available to purchase. If you need fuel, you have the opportunity to buy it then. Do I love me a big expo that has tons of vendors and opportunities for freebies? You bet! But sometimes it’s nice to get in and get out. For that reason, this category is a 4.8 out of 5, only deducting because I miss my Friday pick up. Just have the expectation that this expo is a low key, easy, convenient packet pick up.
It’s hilly. Rolling hills. Every year we debate if it’s hillier than the Flying Pig. I still say it is. I ran the Indianapolis Monumental the week prior and it was flat. My times were only a minute apart so the hills didn’t affect my time. Probably because the Indy roads were in terrible condition so I was always breaking my stride to avoid potholes. With the Honor Run, there’s only a small portion of a road that needs work before you hit Turfway Park, otherwise the roads are in great shape. This category is a 4 out of 5 because of the hills and sometimes slanted hills.
Definitely a 5. You park at the Florence Mall that has plenty of free parking. Parking drastically improved this year with the help of officers/volunteers directly you through stop signs to speed up the line to park. I park at the mall entrance which gives me a nice cool down walk back to my car after the race. The mall is open in the morning to give you an opportunity to use their restrooms and also a place to stay warm and meet up with friends in the food court. This is also were you would catch the relay bus if you are participating in the relay event.
I have only had to email RD Scott once to confirm registration and the response was quick. I also said hello to him at an expo he was at to ask him if they had plans to recognize participants who participate in every Honor Run race. Since I have ran 4 out of the 4 races, I will run the 5th to be a part of that legacy group. Not only for that status, but what a great way to raise funds for our Veterans! I’m happy to participate in a race that gives back year after year!
Other things to be considered:
Safety. I have ran other races were the roads were only partially closed and I didn’t feel safe. I am terrified of a speeding, distracted driver. 95% of the roads for the Honor Run are closed. This is important to me. I felt safe running. 5 stars!
Characters: You don’t need a Disney race for characters! For the Honor Run, you can take your picture with Mr. Red or Gapper from the local Cincinnati Reds. Seeing them always brings a smile to my face.
Area info: if you are from out of town, there are several hotels (probably none in walking distance though.) I look forward to grabbing a beer and some food immediately after the race-- there are lots of restaurants nearby. (I would love to see some coupons in our packet for local restaurants to enjoy after the race. Or bring your medal in after the race for a free appetizer.) However, most open at 11am so if you are a fast runner, you may have to wait for the doors to open.
Medical: I believe there was a medical tent with the water stop at miles 8 and 10. I stopped at mile 8 for some Tylenol because of some unexplained knee pain. They said they didn’t have any which surprised me. Usually medical tents have Tylenol, Vaseline or Bio Freeze. I didn’t see any of them.
Race photos: You get “free” race photos from J.A. Laub Photography. This is a nice perk. Not a lot but appreciated. Just don’t have the expectation that it’s like MarathonFoto where there is a photographer every 3 miles. This race, I saw the photographer once and I was able to download 2 race photos. I didn’t see a race backdrop for finisher photos. That might be a nice addition in the future. Which leads me to my final comments…
Race finish area: If I was to make any improvement, it would be here. This year, Skyline Chili was supposed to be there and with our coupon attached on our bib, we were to get a free cheese coney. They announced at the start of the race that Skyline had an equipment failure and were unable to be there. Not a big deal. I’m glad it was announced before the race so I wasn’t running the entire race thinking about it. I finished the race in 2:43. By the time I finished, a lot of the food options were gone. I didn’t get a sub sandwich or a cupcake that the other reviewer mentioned. My only option was the goetta sandwich and that was okay! Let me tell you, that little sandwich made up for the other missing items! Chocolate milk is also a must have and that didn’t disappoint. Also available was Gatorade, water and bagels. Overall, the choices were lacking. I’m not usually too hungry immediately after running so it’s nice to grab a banana or an orange (which there were none of) and eat it on the way home. In addition, the post race area is in the mall parking lot. Because of this, there is no comfortable place to sit down and enjoy the food and/or stretch. While race management can’t add a nice grassy area to relax, I feel some added table and chairs would improve this category.
The race finish area is what takes this race overall score to 4 stars out of 5.