Latest reviews by William Brent
The good: it's pretty flat and fast
The bad: where are the bathrooms?
In full disclosure, I won a social media contest for entry to this race which should make this pretty easy review... it was awesome...
In true 2019 fashion. I skipped the expo. This really bummed me out because I wanted to see Des Linden and Meb. But we will cross paths again.
I really thought the shirt was nice this year. The race medal is the nicest measure produced medal I've received this year. The liberty bell actually rings!
Gear check; I feel, was atrocious.
I think the RD was under the impression if you can go to whatever van you want, then linea will move faster. I just felt that was poorly executed. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great. I did like that everyone got a wrist band at drop off which made things a bit easier...
The first 7 miles flying by. You wrap through the city and along the water. If anything it's down hill; but mostly flat. You wrap around the zoo and cut through Fairmont park. The only problem... no restrooms.
There were some at mile 2 or 3 and maybe 6... but then nothing until 15. There were a few stops after 15 along Kelly drive but it was difficult finding a place to relieve nature's urges.
This is a good local race if you are from the area! Kelly drive can get boring. But there were a lot of spectators at Girard!
They were there in patches. I am not certain if that's because of the weather but I just ran New York and Chicago so I was a bit bummed that it wasn't wall to wall people. There were a bunch the first mile, then there were some around the water stops.
Mile 20 was amazing because of all the people in Manayunk.
The aid stations were fully staffed! Amazing support there!
Finish festival was amazing too!!!
Massage tents which moved pretty fast! Hot soup! You cant beat that!!
Sausage or hot dogs from Deitz and Watson.
If I work from Finish line back, the race was a much better experience than from the start line forward.
I am really on the fence about recommending the race. I think if I paid for it; I would probably say no; there are better fall races. But...its not a bad race.
Just do it.
The good. Everything
No. Really. Everything.
This is such a Runner's Focused event that you cant really go wrong running it.
Maybe this is too much information; but in really needed a rest room. I felt there could have been a more strategically placed one between 7 and 14. There was one at 9 but it was not convenient. There was one at mile 7 but there was a line.
I registered a year or so ago when it first opened sonits hard to remember how easy or difficult it actually was.
The race director and team were super communicative and supportive leading up to the race. They also did a great job of making sure the important emails were easily distinguishable from the promotional ones.
I was really very happy with the expo. It was small but more than just a bib pick up.
There were a few vendors for some last minute necessities
I would say it bordered on epic.
I am a history fan and running through the civil war battle fields were pretty sweet.
The imagery of hanving to tread those hills with wool uniforms and maybe leather boots made you feel the perspective.
If you do the full; the first half is flat.
If you do the half; the whole thing is rolling hills.
Any way you slice it, the course is fantastic.
The flat portion on the canal is very scenic. I feel that weather would play a part in the experience; but it was cool and easy to run.
Crossing the water on the bridge (pictured) was an breath of fresh air early in the race.
The race makes you want to learn more about the history you are running through.
The aid stations were my only gripe. The helpers at mile 9 were not "handing" the water out. I personally like when water is handed to me because I cant process having to pick up the water while in running...maybe that's haughty...The rest of the helpers were pretty on it...until mile 21 ish the poor girl was standing there just looking at me with Gatorade in her hand..I took water from the next person instead.
There were not a lot of crowds, which was almost refershing.
It was nice to run for running sake and only have a few "cheer stations" along the route.
One thing to note:
If you want to spectate this race there are TONs of opportunities to drive along the course and jump in to cheer. It would be welcomed around mile 11 and 13.5
Oh my goodness
They give you everything and the kitchen sink.
A shirt, a water bottle, a beer glass, as much pizza as I could eat, a really interesting "metal"
It was unique and had an almost custom made feel to it (meaning not mass produced)
The finish festival
I loved the 50 yard line finish. That was fun
They have 2 finish parties.
Pizza, yoga, stretching and pictures at the finish line.
Beer, massages and food at the Bavarian Inn across the street.
Do this race.
Even if you run-walk it you are in for a good time!
The good: Scenery
I was really surprised with how many churches Montreal had. The crowds were pretty great too; especially going through the barracks!
The bad: the half marathon course hits all the highlights of the city. The marathon is a little boring.
Registration: is through active.com so its pretty straight forward.
It was super easy to register and add things like extra races or heavy metal bling.
Communication: RnR does a good job of communicating in general; BUT I wish they would have told us SOMEWHERE they were providing a bus pass for runners. This was super cool of them; but it would have made my travel arrangements so much easier! I was elated and thankful to hear we were getting transit passes but at the same time; we found out the week before the race.
The expo: weak.
'Nuff said. I compare RnR expos to one another and of all the RnR races I've done DC takes the cake; with Virginia Beach being a close second.
The title sponsor had a booth (of course) and there were two hair straighteners. 1 gear booth and three tens machine booths.
Maybe 2 others. No music or hype.
I am spoiled because other RnR races have music every mile. It's not always a live band, but its something. I think it was every 5 or so in Montreal. Some of them were giving it their all; some I think were there because they had to be... at least that was the feel. The girl at 8 / 12 was great.
I loved rolling through the streets and seeing the churches. The city is so clean and the people are super supportive.
Going through the Olympic Stadium was cool!
It's massive; and I think that's inspiring.
I think if we could have gone through the park (garden) after the stadium that would have made the marathon course better. As it stands; the half marathon got all the sights and the marathon got lots of... well road.
Additionally; it was really difficult to find a support tent or first aid.
I did see a few but they were not easy to find.
The swag: the shirt was okay; I mean I remember when RnR have out jackets... but it's a different time now. The medal; however, was pretty neat. I am happy to add this to my collection!
Post race party.
I think there were more vendors or tents at the post race party than there were at the expo.
The post race party was really something; they had a giant slide for the kids!
I only within could have stayed to enjoy it. Sadly the race started an hour later than planned. In addition to that messing up my fueling strategy I had to run to check out of the hotel.
All in all; RnR puts on a good race. This one, IMO; is a great half; but i doubt I'll do the full again.
1st. I am going back for the marathon
That should say something....
Pros: expertly executed. Amazing scenery
Cons: not "participation" medal.
I went into this race knowing the elevation was going to murder me. I am a low-lander and this race starts at nearly 7000 feet....
It was amazing. No humidity; 50-something degrees. I know why people flock to colorado!
Registration: really simple and really reasonable. Its administrated through bike registration so, it has a familiar look and feel to other medium sized races.
The ability to find race related information could be better; but it is there.
What's even nicer; I had signed up for the marathon but during packet pick up they allowed me to drop to the half.
Communication leading up to the event. Unlike other races there is little communication leading up the the event. The notices they send are accurate and helpful; but you will be waiting for them.
All the way.
But; the hills are alive with the sound of music
It was really well marked also; typically I get lost while running and I survived!
On course support
Surprised thay the was a many aid stations as there were! Filed to the brim with waffles and nuun.
The expo is a simple packet pick up; but it happens at the same time as the bike race so the vendors which are there for bike race are also the for the runners packet pickup.
The tshirt is pretty standard (I think the 2013 shirt is nicer material)
They give out a honey Stinger grahm cracker
There is no medal. I'm actually okay with that. I have enough medals.
There is a band and beer and lunch and a few vendors. It really friendly and community feeling.
I really liked it; maybe more than one of those finish festivals with a headliner concert!
In short: do this race. With or without elevation acclimating (but if you can spare the 18 days to acclimate... steamboat springs is gorgeous)
The good: gorgeous scenery
The bad: felt like the first time they had the race.
Ease of signing up.
Runsign up. All my info autofills easy peasy
Holy Over Communication batman. I get it. I really do. You dont want anyone to miss anything. But for real I received a dozen email in the 2 weeks leading up to the race.
The other thing; the updates were not "organized"
I felt the communication was overwhelming
Low key. Like low.
It's cool though. It was really just a bib pick up
1st ; parking was 20 minutes from the start.
HUGE kudos for the shuttle buses. That was the highlight. Good job RD.
The course was flat and along the water. I could see a bald eagle chilling in the trees
The aid stations were volunteers handing out water but they had the water / Gatorade staggered in an odd way.
Plenty of water. Good call rd
Not enough restrooms.
It was neat it was an oil lamp.
The AG awards were neat too!
Trophies for the overall winners; pint glasses for the AG placers.