Latest reviews by Melissa Freeman

(2019)
"Vermont City Marathon "
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Course Scenery
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Pre-Race
We drove up to Burlington from Indianapolis, Indiana on Wednesday. With a lot of stops and traffic it took us about 14 hours.

Expo
The Expo was at the Doubletree Hotel in Burlington and is also where we stayed. It is two miles from the starting line and is a convenient location. For a “smaller” race I was very impressed with the expo. There were a lot of local vendors and products to look at. The expo is Friday and Saturday before the race.

Parking was very easy, I was worried because the race was in downtown Burlington. The entire town is shut down for the race and it feels like everyone is outside cheering or volunteering.

Race Course
The course was very easy for my fiancé is spectate. There was a ton of crowd support especially for a smaller sized city. The course is gorgeous and goes along the coastline. The finish line was packed with people cheering and it really made the finish line experience special.
Vermont Marathon Race Management knows how to put on an amazing race! It was really fun to see the entire town cheering!

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(2019)
"Hot Chocolate Indianapolis "
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This was my first experience with a hot chocolate race and my first 15k!
Expo: The expo was held at the convention center which is convenient for people who work downtown and for people traveling to the race. Since the expo was held at the convention center I expected it to be big and full of vendors. I was disappointed to only find three vendors, but maybe it was because the Carmel marathon was having their expo at the same time.
Race day: Unfortunately, there was 100% chance of rain the entire day. The race directors did a great job communicating via email and at the expo. I noticed a lot of people didn’t show up, probably because of the weather. But those of us who chose to run had a great time! Also, the aid stations were amazing! Each aid station had water, Nuun tablets, and raisins.
Post-Race Party: The post-race party was fun, and I love the mug! Unfortunately, there weren’t a lot of people that stayed for the party, again probably because of the weather.
Swag: I LOVE the quarter zip jacket! Hot Chocolate does a great job of allowing runners to vote on which jacket color they want every year. The medal was awesome as well, I LOVE how it included the Indianapolis skyline.
Overall: I had a great time at this race. The race directors did an awesome job dealing with the weather and made it a fun morning. Can’t wait to do it again next year!

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(2019)
"Shamrock Shuffle "
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The Shamrock Shuffle is one of my favorite races! I had an amazing time running through the heart of Chicago with thousands of fellow runners.

The race swag was awesome, I loved the quality and design of the shirts and medals. The race course is fantastic, it starts at Grant Park and takes you right through the heart of downtown Chicago. The course is definitely my favorite part of the race. The crowd encouragement is amazing, I love how much the city supports this race. The weather was great! We got lucky and the rain held out for us.

This race is a Chicago favorite and is a great kickoff to the 2019 racing season! I will definitely be running the Shuffle again in 2020!

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(2018)
"DAV 5k Cincinnati"
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This was my first-time hearing about the DAV 5k but it will not be my last! The DAV stands for Disabled American Veterans and supports injured veterans and their families.

I ran the DAV 5k in Cincinnati and it was my first time running there. The course began at Sawyer Point and you could either run the 5k or a one mile loop. The course was nice and flat and was a great tour of the city. This year the race was not timed but instead focuses on everyone finishing and having a good time. The streets were blocked off for us and there were friendly police officers at every intersection cheering us on.

My favorite part of the race was when veterans lined up along the course and gave high fives to the runners. We were able to run along and say thank you to each of them.

Parking for the race was right across the street from Sawyer Point and was just $5 cash or card. Very convenient and easy to get in and out of the parking lot.

Overall the race atmosphere and organization were amazing! I will definitely be running this race next year!

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(2018)
"Toyota Park Stadium Sprint"
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The Spartan Toyota Park Stadium Sprint was my first Spartan Race. I expected mud and rough terrain but instead received three miles of stairs and obstacles. The course ran through the stadium’s stands, locker-room, and around the outside of the stadium.

The waves were staggered to allow around 15 people to start every few minutes. We had a 10:45am start and was very organized. Be prepared because will have your first obstacle before the race even starts, you have to jump over a wall to get into your start corral. The sprint distance varies from 3-5 miles and isn’t overly difficult.

The obstacles were all focused on upper body strength which was a challenge for me. Mostly walls, ropes, stairs, and burpees. My upper body was sore the next day but nothing too bad.

I loved the race swag, the shirt and medal were awesome! The post-race food was standard and included a banana, granola bar, and water.

The race gave free photos, which was a nice bonus!

I’m not sure if I will do a Stadium Series Spartan again, I instead want to experience the traditional Spartan race and experience the mud.

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