Latest reviews by Ken Bray

(2019)
"The Mushroom Capitol of the World!"
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Kennett Square, PA the self-proclaimed Mushroom Capitol of the World is home of the Mushroom Cap Half Marathon! This race takes place the first weekend in November and boasts amazing autumn views and cool, crisp weather!

The event is held in conjunction with The Creamery of Kennett which makes for a great time and great venue to host a half marathon. The town of Kennett and surrounding townships do a great job of keeping the roads clear of vehicles and maintaining a safe course. The course is mostly ran on asphalt with an occasional mile stretch or two on compacted gravel. Overall the course provides ample aide stations and port-a-johns.

The elevation does include hills. Yes, this course has a few hills, which are fairly common for Pennsylvania countryside courses. The biggest hill is around the 8-9 mile marker, but otherwise if you’ve trained properly the course is wonderfully challenging. There are just about equal amounts of uphill and downhill sections, enjoy the ride!

See my full race recap here: https://kenstandsonthings.wordpress.com/2019/11/05/race-recap-mushroom-cap-half-marathon/

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(2019)
"Off the beaten path..."
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This was my first year running the Gettysburg Blue-Gray Half Marathon. Before signing up for the race I reviewed the course map and noticed this does not run through the main battlefields where most of the tourists flock, but rather takes you on a 13-mile journey through, what I feel, is a neglected part of this historical area. This doesn't mean the course is boring by any means, rather this course is free of tourist traffic and allows you to really spread out and enjoy the beautiful countryside. The course has some rolling hills, but nothing difficult for your average runner.

The finishers medals are top quality, the shirts are your standard tech shirt, no frills there. I was a little bummed out that they had nice jackets for sale at the expo... these weren't well advertised as I didn't see them anywhere. The expo is held in a forgotten part of the back of the Gateway Movie theater, so things were a little jumbled, hence the 3-star review.

There was plenty of parking on race day which is a plus. Race management could use some social media improvements in handling questions and responses to runners.

Bonus: Aid Stations were always around every corner, no complaints! Thanks to the volunteers who pulled that off!

Catch my complete review on my blog http://kenstandsonthings.wordpress.com

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(2019)
"Exceeds all Expectations!"
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The half marathon of the Freedoms Run was such a great experience. The weather was perfectly cool for what has probably been one of my favorite half marathon experiences so far!

West Virginia, “almost like heaven”, is a great place for an early fall half marathon. The season is fresh and the possibilities for cooler weather are nearly endless. Shepard’s town is a sleepy little village north of Harpers Ferry, and sits in the heart of the Antietam battlefields.

Packet pickup was a breeze, the event coordinators did an amazing job of keeping everything orderly and structured. The race director’s email updates on registration, pickup locations, as well as the timing of events was spot on and provided excellent notice for participants to not be confused on race day.

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They even had a large number of volunteers walking around during packet pickup that were more than welcome to chat and fill you in on all the necessary race details. I had a great conversation with a volunteer that gave me the scope on parking for the day of the race and I left feeling confident I wasn’t going to have any logistical issues the morning of the race.

Email updates included photos, maps, and links to addresses for various locations. Again, I can’t express enough how great of the job the team did on executing this race.

Read my full review with more information on the race: https://kenstandsonthings.wordpress.com/2019/10/08/race-recap-freedoms-run-half-marathon/

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(2019)
"Fun Course!"
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2019 marks the 4th year returning to the Philadelphia Hot Chocolate Run 15K! This course is super fun and always means a good time!

This year the weather was cool and comfortable which meant everything was in favor of catching a PR! The weather remained cool for me up until mile 7-8, when my sweater proved to be a little too much for comfort. Even though I stopped to “change” my outfit, I still somehow managed to catch a PR for the fourth year in a row!

Even though the pictures don’t show it, I swear I looked up and smiled for most of the race.

Be sure to check out my blog for the complete details: https://kenstandsonthings.wordpress.com/2019/04/07/race-recap-hot-chocolate-run-15k-philadelphia/

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(2019)
"Awesome Country Race"
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The New Holland Farmer’s 5k is held in April every year in New Holland, Pennsylvania. The race helps fund the Garden Spot Running and Cross-Country program for the Elanco School District.

The course runs along the country roads of New Holland and offers a great opportunity to catch a speed record. I found the entire event was fun and super enjoyable.

After the 5K there is a free 1/2 mile kids race which was a big hit for the kid spectators!

If you’ve run the Garden Spot Half Marathon, then this is definitely a great fun race to enjoy fast times and great scenery.

See more here: https://kenstandsonthings.wordpress.com/2019/04/19/race-recap-new-holland-farmers-5k/

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