Latest reviews by Dee A

(2018)
"Martha's Vineyard HALF"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

My friends and I were super excited for a girls’ weekend for the Martha’s Vineyard Half. (There was also a full option.) The weekend was cold, windy and on the verge of raining most of the time, which affected our experience slightly.

This is only the second year of the MVM race, and I think it’s still going through growing pains.

COURSE:
I really did like the course! We drove it the afternoon before to discover it was fairly flat. A few of the miles at the end were wide open with the ocean on both sides - beautiful, but much colder on a windy day. Not much crowd support, but also probably due to the weather. Good amount of water/Gatorade stops.

A couple cons:
- The second mile was run a bit on sand. Runners around me were trying to find the grassy patches so we wouldn’t twist our ankles.
- The starting waves. More are needed. The course path gets narrow quickly and it didn’t thin out right to make it work well. And each wave needs a pace range, not just “8:30.” Especially when the next one is “10:00 and up.” That’s a huge gap, and I was tripping over people who were slower or had already stopped to start walking. :/

PARKING/TRANSPORTATION:
This needs major work.

Since the race was point to point, there were shuttles - and transportation was a bit of a mess. My friends and I - and maybe 100 or so others - were waiting at a stop in the morning that had no bus come by. Someone called to find out where the bus was, and she was told that everyone was told that the stop had changed. We weren’t, and we had all been handed out a brochure the day before that said this was the spot. Luckily the “real” stop wasn’t too far away, and we arrived on time, though a little rattled.

With cold temperatures and winds, we hoped for better return transportation. This was even worse. They were supposed to arrive on the half-hour - and it didn’t. We were so cold - a friend’s lips were turning blue and my muscles were locking up - that we ended up splitting a van cab with a few others who were waiting, and we all overpaid like crazy.

SWAG:
Not bad! A tech shirt, a small one-strap backpack and a buff - all branded.

POST-RACE:
A missed opportunity! A simple little park directly across the street from the ocean - and there wasn’t anything to do. The MC was fantastic (he was at another half I recently ran), and there were a few snacks and a massage tent, but that was it. Since most people who ran weren’t from MV, it would have been great to give them a reason to stick around.

OVERALL:
All this being said, I wouldn’t write off this race. But maybe I’d take a few years off in hopes that the kinks would get worked out.

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(2018)
"Earth Rock Run Half - Amesbury"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I signed up for this race with a few friends, looking for a mid-spring half (April 29). Temperature-wise, I was looking forward to it, and luckily the rain held off till after I finished.

I’m not sure what year the race switched to Amesbury, but that’s where it’s currently based out of now. I knew going in it was going to be a hillier race, but I don’t necessarily need the flattest course.

My Garmin recorded 378 feet of elevation. I could feel it!

Our pacer was amazing. I stuck with the 2:00 pacer, hoping to get another sub-2. I had never run a race with a pacer before, and at mile 12, he told our group to start running - that if we all wanted a sub-2, we just needed to beat him across the finish line. And I PR’d: 1:57:43! I loved getting a PR on a course that made me work for it.

Swag was great - a big comfy hoodie (though the red color is a little much for me) and a cool trucker hat.

The medal is fun. This year’s looked like a record player.

I got to the race a little early, and parking was RIGHT THERE. I don’t remember the last time I parked so close. It was ideal to leave everything in the car and be able to switch into dry clothes so quickly.

Race management was superb. The MC was AWESOME, and the after-party was fun. (It would have been more enjoyable with better weather, but it was fine.) There were musicians out on the course (who I felt bad for, being in the rain) and a band at the finish line. We received two beers, plus there was pizza and other snacks on site. I even lost my key somewhere on the course or at the after-party - miraculously someone found it and then the race director mailed it back to me! I would definitely do more Green Stride races in the future.

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(2018)
"Miles + craft beer = great race!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I’ve meant to get out to the Redhook 5k for years, but finally had the opportunity to this year! What’s not to love: a fairly flat course that begins and ends at a brewery?!

A big reason my family drove out for this race was the kids race part of it. The whole event was very family-friendly. Both of my kids ran in the 4-and-younger race, and they loved getting a bib, a T-shirt and a medal! Such a great turnout for the kids races. Plus, they had a huuuuuuge bubble setup for the kids - they all went nuts.

The course was very similar to the St. Charles 5k I had run in this same office park last fall. It’s not the most exciting course, but I had done really well at that course - even placing! - so I was looking forward to another good race. And it ended up being my best pace so far this year!

My only complaint might be that it was difficult to identify where the starting line was (no flags). I would have loved for runners to have lined up a little better based on their pace, as I was really weaving in and out of people throughout the first mile. It actually worked out for me a little, though - my first mile also ended up being my fastest!

SWAG - a red tech shirt. They had both men’s and women’s fit - a nice fit. Free beer, free meal, too.

Being a rookie at this race, I didn’t know I should line up for food IMMEDIATELY. The beer line was super efficient and quick, but then as my family made our way to the food area, we noticed how crazy long the food line was. Because toddlers were with us, we opted out of the food and left early - which was hard to do, because there was so much and it looked AMAZING. I will definitely take note of this next time I return!

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