Latest reviews by Michelle Haarhues

(2018)
"Rock N Roll All Night"
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I am not really sure how they do their corrals, but it needs a lot of work. When we registered, we requested a corral based on our timing. As it ended up, there were walkers in the first corral and runners for the half starting after runners for the half marathon. My friends picked up their packets first so I know to ask for a different corral. I had been put with the walkers behind the 10k runners. When I went to change the corral, I was asked which one I wanted to be in, and it was changed...no questions asked.

Getting to the run early Sunday morning, we were met with long lines at the porta-potties, the gear check, and to get into the run corral. This started us off on the wrong foot for the run. As mentioned, I changed into an earlier corral and I think everyone else did, too. It was overcrowded you could not get in to the start. It felt like there was no real pre-race prep by the race organizers.

Once on the route, things got a little better. Traffic and the route were great. The aid stations were only ok. The first aid station did not have enough people working so they were pouring water as we approached the tables. There was no water on the table to grab or people to hand it out. Then at other aid stations there were too many people. They also were not spaced very evenly. Management needs to look at these things and tighten things up.

The swag was good...it was a nice medal, and the after run treats were good.

Yes, I would do this race again but only if a group of friends were participating. It is not one that gets an automatic registration.

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(2018)
"Small but Mighty"
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It was a last minute decision to do Runapalooza this year but I am glad I made the decision. This was a well organized run...hats off to the race management.

There were four distance options: 13.1m, 10k, 5k, or 1m. The half was an lollipop route and the other three went on the same course but as an out and back. The 10k (as well as 5k and 1m) were all on a multi-use path so there was no interaction with vehicles. It was also a very shady path which helped keep the temperatures down.

The half marathon group took off first, followed by the 10k then 5k then 1m. The timing was great because each group was finished and on their way out of the facility when the next race finished. This kept any congestion at the finish line to a minimum.

At the finish line was a bottle of water, a cold towel for my neck, and my medal. I have never been to a run where they give you a cold towel but more runs should think about it. It was such a relief after my 6.2 miles. And speaking of 6.2 miles, this run was right on the dot with mileage. I have done others where the distance is ‘close’ to what they advertise but this was exactly 6.2 miles. Yeah race management (again!).

The water stations were spaced out well and were available both directions and for multiple races. My only ‘complaint’ with one water station was that the water was too cold. This sounds weird, but taking in super cold water when I am run upsets my stomach and gives me brain freeze. Cold water is ok but super cold is too much. I am sure they wanted to make sure the runners were cool.

Back at the finish, breakfast was waiting for me. I had a breakfast taco (bacon or veggie option), oranges, bananas, and bagels. I was ready for that!

Also at the finish was the results, online and up on a big screen. You could walk up and they would enter your bib number and display your information.

The race management does a great job with coordination and taking care of the runners. I have only done one other run by this company before, but I will reconsider and seek them out next time I want to sign up for a run.

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(2018)
"I love running at sea level"
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This is a great destination run for anyone whether you are traveling a few hours or across the country. I had never been to Rhode Island before so selected this race for that reason. This run was on Runner's World list of top 10 small town runs. I agree! Getting to Providence from a major city is pretty easy. It is a couple of hours from Boston and four hours from New York City. Coming from Colorado, I chose to fly in and out of Boston. That was more convenient than I expected. I got there Friday afternoon so I could have some time to explore the area. There is so much history in Rhode Island and some beautiful places to visit. Newport is close and another great place to visit.

We stayed in the hotel situated right at the start line which was wonderful. On Saturday we went to breakfast in downtown Providence. There are so many great restaurants within walking distance and every meal we ate out was delicious. The expo was at the hotel/convention center next door. I would not recommend staying there. It was crazy! There was a gymnastics event at the convention center along with all of the people for the run.

The expo was as expected. Packet pickup was easy and there were a few vendors. They sold a lot of even clothing at the expo. The prices were not bad (some are very over-priced). I bought a few souvenirs for myself. ;-)

This was my first time staying at a hotel in front of the start/finish line. I plan to do that more often! It was so convenient to get up, get ready, and walk out the door to the start. There were no corrals for this run, just pacers spaced throughout the start group. The whole route was nice and there were a lot of spectators along the route. That made it fun having all of those people cheering us on. It was even possible for my friends to see me in a couple of spots in the race and be back at the finish line before I got there. The water stations were well spaced and there were always enough volunteers to hand out water.

Within the last mile or two, you run through a park and along the river for a short period. This was the only place I did not like in the run. While the scenery was beautiful, you run about 25-50 yards on cobblestones. After 12 miles, the last thing my feet want is to run on cobblestones. But I made it through and to the finish line where there was a large crowd cheering on the runners.

After the run, we hit the post-run party for 30 minutes then headed to the hotel. They have late check-out for runners which was nice. I was able to shower then we headed back to Boston. We flew out of Boston that night. Not something I would recommend, but I had to get back to work on Monday.

This was a great weekend overall...the tourism, the food, the run. It is advertised as a fast marathon and great to get your BQ, but it is more. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a half.

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(2018)
"First Timer"
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This was my first time running any distance for the Colfax Marathon weekend and it was a pretty good experience. The t-shirts are always cool. I see people wearing them around town which prompted me to sign up for the run.

Scenery - it was ok. I was on the relay team running down Colfax. There is not much to see there.

Expo - There were a lot of vendors and a lot of swag. It was like a maze and you had to go from start to finish. I went to get my t-shirt from the other side and was not allowed to go backwards. I understand the reason behind that, but I had to walk through the expo, exit, walk around the stadium outside, then come back in and start through the expo a second time to get back to the point I needed to be. That was SUPER annoying.

The other ‘complaint’ was the food at the end of the run. I was on the relay so at the point I handed off the baton, there was limited selection of food. The marathon, final leg of the relay, half marathon, and 10 mile run all ended in City Park. There was sandwiches, fruit, ice cream, and on and on at that point. I did not have access to this area so I could not have any of the goodies at the finish. I got on dry bagel. :-( There needs to be a way to let the team members go through the finish to get some of the treats.

It was an overall pretty good experience and I would do another run, although I am not sure what distance. All I know is that I am going to finish at City Park so I can partake in the goodies.

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(2018)
"Sneaky"
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The Cherry Creek Sneak is a staple in the Denver running community and this year was the first year I did this run. Maybe it was because I lucked out with the weather this year. The run is held on the last weekend in April in Denver. You can have sunny and 60 or cloudy, snow and 20 weather...you never know. That said, I had a great day and I would recommend this to everyone.

This year, just like every year, they have a great t-shirt. I got a really cute long sleeve blue t-shirt that is super soft. It has become one of my favorite long sleeve shirts in my collection. They always have a great design and I love the little running cherry logo.

There are three starts for different distances (10mile, 5 mile, and 5k). The course is laid out well and the starts offset enough that everyone finishes around the same time but you are not running over each other. You have enough room to sprint to the finish without having to weave around slower runners. That is one of my biggest pet peaves...trying to sprint to the finish and people walking a shorter distance are walking 4 wide and blocking the route. The Cherry Creek Sneak does a great job of separating the runners for the different distances near the finish so you don't get tangled up with other runners.

Some people think parking in Cherry Creek is not very convenient. The mall has several multi-level parking lots and parking is free before noon on run day. It is easy to get in and out of the mall parking lots, avoiding runners and the post-race party.

The course is also laid out well and there are more than enough aid stations for the run. I run all over Denver but I found some new places to run that are part of the route. The race organizers do a great job positioning the water stations where they can be accessed from two sides with runners going opposite directions.

I was not excited with the ‘free’ photos that they advertise and offer. They offered free photos to all runners but they have not associated bib numbers to the photos. You have to search through thousands of photos to find yours. I thought it was just me or my bib #, but I looked through other runners and nobody had any photos associated with their account. If you want a photo, have a friend take one because you probably won’t get one on the course unless you are one of the top finishers. That is why we wear our bibs on the front, so they can associate photos with the individual runners.

The website is not very informative. Registration was not a problem, but I could not find anything on the site about the race directors, the history of the run, and any other information. I use the website as a resource and there is a lot of information not provided that most other runs offer.

That said, I would recommend this run. It was a great day and based on the organization on race day, the organizers know what they are doing and are probably runners.

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