Latest reviews by William Brent

"Take my money....."
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Race Management

Disclaimer: There is a monologue before the review.

The NYC Marathon was MY Boston. It is the race that I've wanted to do since I actually wanted to run marathons. PS. i flubbed it. But.... I will go back for seconds.

The Good. There is a lot of good.
The bad. its hard. (yes, marathons are hard, but these NYRR people throw some $**T at you!

Registration. Yes its a lottery. But generally speaking the registration process is pretty straight forward. If you want a poncho sign up early for it!
FYI, the NYRR site is not super mobile friendly, so i would recommend using an actual computer.

Communication: Race team communicates pretty frequently. I feel its mostly advertising for gear. Thankfully there was nothing epic / catastrophic going on that needed communicating. But I doubt that anything of that nature would have been missed. They did a good job reminding participants to sign up for transportation options.

The Expo: I have to say I loved the lay out. I could buzz in and out and not have to navigate vendors....but i love expos so I did.
The Expo was laid out well. I never felt crowded or herded at any point.
As a point of comparison, the flow felt off in Chicago, super crowded and had to walk through all the vendors to get my packet
Berlin--although it was the same as Chicago direction-ally, felt less crowded--but was maaaasive

The Course:
First the start village and corrals were pretty amazing. Yes, there was kind of a refugee vibe going; but organizationally, this was so much better than Chicago (sorry chi-town.) I didn't feel like we were cattle. There were porto-johns everywhere! for 51K people there were really no lines.
I like the clothes collection idea which makes it a good option to ditch the sweats before the race in a sustainable way.

Starting on the Verazano bridge was neat, in and of itself, but the view was spectacular. I think it would be rough on a rainy day, but this year the weather was perfect-so the view was perfect and empowering. Yes there were people taking pictures... yes I wanted to be one of them... yes i was mildly resentful that they were stopping people from running by pulling out their phones and taking selfies.
but i'm not an elite and i'm not going to win my age group so i took it in stride.

The first 5 miles are really fast. mainly because you have a huge down hill coming off the bridge then you have the energy of the race. Mile 7 is where the crowds start picking up but there are people on the porches (or if you're from where i'm from, stoops) yelling for you once you're off the bridge.

The last 4 miles are rough from a rolling hills perspective (at leas that's my take on it.) there aren't sweeping changes in elevation, but coming out of the bronx it felt as if there was never a down hill...

The post race party.....
there wasn't one... there was another mile of walking....
the poncho is pretty legit though. its cozy and i like it =)

The swag:
the shirt is about average. nothing to write home about. You have to choose the poncho or bag drop which is a little rough if you're like me and do not generally have 'throw away' clothes. but i did it this year and got rid of some old pajamas. I did really like that pajama shirt though......

executive summary:
join me in 2019. i'll see you at the starting line.

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"It's a world major for a reason"
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Race Management

I will probably not run Chicago again. But i am glad i did it.
I suggest you run it for the expereince and when you do sign up for the CARA VIP experience.

The good: Its a flat course
The bad : its crowded

A lot of this review will be in comparison to Berlin (sorry but its my frame of reference for a world major)

Communication leading up to the race: i really appreciated both the paper brochure and the email. Kudos to the RD!
Also with the weather being as tumultuous as it has been the communication about conditions was on par.

The Expo:
I am a bit torn. It was manageable (not borderline overwhelming lile Berlin) but it lacked some of the things i have come to expect at expos.... DISCOUNTS lol
In all seriousness though, the "official" race merch and the "other" race merch were difficult for me to distinguish. There were several vendors selling chicago shirts and 26.2 shirts but they weren't Chicago Marathon... If that makes sense.
I was happy with the samples and impressed with the beer and wine vendors.
The only problem was going in and out was a hassle. I understand its for secjroty reasons but at least with Berlin i had a wrist band which let me back in...

The course:
Good god the crowds...(I'm now anxious about New York....)
There were sooo many people and there were soo many in the incorrect corrals and there were so many everywhere.
Which on the one hand made this a really cool race. There was never a dead spot between the runners and the people cheering. Juat when the crowds thinned they picked right back up. SURPRISINGLY... The portopotties were never crowded or gross 👏👏
I didnt like how difficult it was to navigate the bodies, especially when the course narrowed.
Course support was fantastic amd everyone was cheering and helpful.
Also running through the different parts of the city was really cool
The spiraling glass Towers were juxtaposed with the semi gothic-looking churches and the seemingly out-of-place IHOP made the race pass by pretty quickly

Also I don't know who put that guy in drag on the stage but thank him/her for cheering

I think the only thing I didn't like about the course was somewhere around mile 19 or 20 there was train tracks and they were annoying not impossible just annoying.
Okay and since i am complaining mile 5 and mile 15 do need to be repatched so if someone from the city of Chicago reads this please patch mile 5 and mile 15

Post race:
I like the bag of snacks they give you and the tape they use to hold you heat shield was pretty dope.
Beer was good. Really good.

I never made it to the Biofreeze mile 27 which i kind of regretted time???

All in all-do the race.
I probably wont be back, but i also said i probably wont run a marathon 🙈🙉🙊

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Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Race Management

The Good: flat. Pancake flat.
The bad: mile 12 is so flat i almost fell asleep.....

The Expo:....
Sadly I did not go. I live about 2 hours from this race and grabbed the packet in the morning.
I will say that the timing folks and the volunteers are pretty Helpful. I was scheduled to run the half-marathon but must have signed up for the full Marathon and they were able to switch the timing pretty easily.

Pre race communication:
The week leading up to the race there was a lot of communication.
Before that though it was kind of ...crickets
The one thing I have to say is the documents that the race director provides are thorough but I'm a mobile phone user and it was problematic to open the attachments on my phone
** as a side note it was difficult to navigate this site when I initially registered for the race but after I knew what I wanted to do on the race site it was pretty easy

The course:
I think the highlight of this course is that the first mile is a loop around Dover International Speedway!
While I couldn't do a whole race like that it is pretty neat to run that Loop like you're a human race car.
There is a ton of police presence which helps to direct traffic (that way you do not get run over by a car.)
There is the occasional driver who honks or is not "runner friendly" because the course is not closed.
I personallydid not like that we had to cross live intersections so frequently, but there were no issues and the poloce were friendly.

The finish:
I was a little let down because I thought that the Finish Line was going to be a bit...I don't know; cooler?
The race director was there welcoming finishers which was actually pretty neat--he was announcing Runners as they were coming in, as opposed to people just finishing in silence or having someone outside of the org do the announcing; so the Personal Touch was really nice.
they had a pizza truck that wasn't open yet and they had a beer truck that wasn't open yet and i thought they were aupposed to have a masseuse who wasnt there (yet?)

They had a cooler filled with water...
Any way
The race director allowed me to pick up my age-group award early which was very thoughtful! He absolutely could have said "no kid wait your turn" but didnt.
***side note , there is a good possibility pizza and beer would have been avaialable if I had run the Marathon.****

Others: the scenery was okay. The speedway piece was cool.
Miles 10-12.7 were meh. The last half mile was really a good ramp up to the finish. There is an awkward turn around before the route 1 bridge and it gives the runners a good "dig" point.

All in all this was a low ke, well organized race. I like the charity the race benefits.

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"There is a reason 40000 people did this race. You need to be 40001"
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Race Management

The good: I set a PR
Lots of energy on the course from the crowds.
The bad: I should have planned my nutrition better.

Pretty straightforward, not difficult or terribly confusing even though there is clearly a translation gap.
Everything is extra though.
You pay for the chip (a rental fee if you give it back at the end of the race.
You pay for the shirt (if you want it).
You can pre pay for a massage if you need / want it which is cool.

The Expo:
Holy masses of people batman. I couldn't tell if i was at a race expo or the launch of the new iPhone! There were soooo many people lined up AN HOUR before the doors opened!!! Whaaaat???
The expo was in an airplane hanger....well in 3 of them. This expo puts anything RnR puta on to shame ( sorry comp group.🙍)
It was laid out pretty well too. You were routed from the front to the back to get your bib/chip and then you were free to do whatever you wanted. Leave, look at the vendors, eat at the food trucks
Yes, I said food trucks!
It was insane, but in a good way!
A map of thw vendors would have been helpful but not necessary.

Communication leading up to the race:
Really good. I think it was just enough. There were not too many or too few. I felt like I had ample information. 1 or 2 more wouldn't have been bad, but I was good.

The course.
Amazing. I am former student of German history so i was geeking out a bit, but there were so many churches and neighborhoods and and just all around interesting things to see!
Its a super fast course and there are so many peopke so there is a real danger of goinf out too fast (guilty)
There are race pacers and if you keep with them you will be good!
Its also really flat which helps you be fast!
There was never really a lull in the crowd either. There was always someone on the side of the road rooting you on.

A few things to note:
1. there is very little shade. Wear sun screen.
2. This is NOT an American Race. There is not water every mile, there is not nuun or gu at every stop. If you have a nutrition strategy pack it with you!
I made the mistake of only packing 3 gels assuming i would have a reprieve on the course.
I didn't
The one spot for gel was after the half. Maybe even further...
And it was gross.
The sample i had was NOT what they gave out on the course

The aid stations.
Well staffed plenty of water. Not enough of the "sport drink" early on.
But they had banana slices and apple slices and beer and tea and sport drink.

The finish line:
Super well organized. TONs of massage tables.
Tons of alcohol free beer. Lots of water and helpers. And really spread out so youre not on top of one a other.

The medal.

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"Who gets a PR in San Francisco"
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Race Management

First. I set a pr.

Mostly Senic. The bridge and the trail after the bridge made the race. There were some cool neighborhoods and it was interesting the see the volunteers change in appearance as the neighborhood changes (different ethnic groups seemed to stick together ❤)
There are so many people speaking so many languages and this is just a really cool experience
Expo was IN-sane. There were so many people but there was a lot to do.

Race communication:
Good. At First i thought it was very sparse but as we got closer to race day lots of information came rolling in.

Expo: i didnt like the layout of the expo. You enter through the "back" of the expo (front of the building) and have to walk past all the vendors and navigate the masses of people to get your bib and shirt. It would have bewn helpful to route people through the rear of the building or have the signs numered (1 for pick up, 2 for shirt etc.)
Lots to do and see though.

On the 1 hand i really liked the option to take a bus to the start line. I didnt like the price but you pay for convenience. On the other i didn't like there was no signage or formal communication on the bus location other than the "bart station"

The Race
5:30 is a really decent start time because you can still run your race and get back to your hotel or Airbnb take a shower and a nap before everything is closed
I was a little let down by the run through the zoo. I thought that was going to be like running through a zoo...with animals... not running through a park...
I have to give the race directors and course marshalls kudos for putting on four completely different races all at the same time 5 if you can clue the ultramarathon
But unfortunately the folks that were doing me half marathons we're walking the water stations (which in and of itself is not a bad thing) but unfortunately they were stopping and there were still Runners coming by...
I'd like to take this moment to apologize to the three people who stopped that I ran into.
The last two miles (or maybe the Last Mile and three-quarters) were on a particularly uncomfortable Road in my opinion it should be paved but it's not even Cobblestone it's just broken asphalt so is just uncomfortable on the legs.
Enough bashing
the bridge was gorgeous. I was really surprised that there is a trail portion to this city run but it was welcomed and enjoyable. Actually mile 5 through 11 (or maybe even 13) had to be my favorite parts of the Run.
running through Fisherman's Wharf was really cool
Ghirardelli Square was nice

Still with me?
The volunteers were fantastic there were plenty of people handing out water
And the Finish Line Festival
It was good I was surprised at how much that they were giving away I was surprised at how much they were charging for other things
I personally like free or low-cost massages at the end of a race not having to pay for them but they were there the Biofreeze foam rollers and yoga mats are amazing and I'm going to suggest that to every race director I talk to you from now on

If you're in the Bay Area do the trace heck even if you have to travel through this rates it super worth

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