Latest reviews by Melissa Freeman

(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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(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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(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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(2018)
"2018 BTN Big10K"
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T-Shirts/SWAG
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Course Scenery
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Packet pickup/Expo: There was not an expo at this race, only packet pickup at Road Runner Sports. Packet pickup was easy and efficient. No race day pickup at this race but you can get your packet mailed to you for an additional fee.
T-shirts/Swag: LOVED the shirts for this event, it was awesome to see everyone representing their university! In previous years the shirts did not fit right, but that seems to have been sorted out! I like the medal from previous years more because after the race you went to your alumni tent and received a school specific magnet for your medal.
Course: The race course went along Lakeshore drive and was a bit crowded. A lot of us had to run in the dirt next to the trail, but after mile three everyone spread out and we had more room.
Post-Race: The afterparty was awesome! The post-race is a tailgate with beer and sausages. Each school had a tent where you could go and take pictures. Every tent was handing out things to their alumni. Unfortunately, IU didn’t have anything for us, which is a school issue- not a race issue. Hopefully in the future each school will be able to provide the same post-race items for all. Bill Murray was also hanging out at the after party, which was awesome!
Overall: Overall, I had a great time and will be back next year! It is a fun race with an awesome atmosphere! The after party is my favorite part and people hang out for a while after- eat, play games, and hang out with friends and alumni.

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