Latest reviews by Adam Pethia
Let me start by saying this was the first half marathon I've ever completed outside a city landscape. I love large races, I've done Pittsburgh, Columbus, Baltimore, and Toledo. I'm trying to run a half in every state and I chose this as my KY race because of the stellar reviews on Bibrave and the race's "America's prettiest half marathon" tagline. I came into this high expectations of a mid-sized race with incredible course scenery and rolling hills. While the hills were indeed rolling, the course left much to be desired...
- Having experienced only city-half's, I was shocked and disappointed by how few spectators there were... and by few I mean like maybe 20 people total all race, with the exception of the start and finish. I couldn't believe that I only saw a couple groups of spectators, and many weren't even cheering on the runners continuously. Assuming they were only waiting for the runner(s) they knew to cheer? Pro Tip: if you're cheering- cheer on all the runners, it helps, we love it. It makes a difference.
- Another disappointment was the scenery. I saw some beautiful farms and houses, don't get me wrong, but I only saw a handful of horses, I was expecting more to be out and about on the farms. Maybe that's my own fault for having high expectations. I'm surprised the farmers weren't out to cheer on the runners or out bringing the horses for people to see. It coincides with the overall lack of people spectating. I will say it was supposed to rain all day with strong winds, so I did expect less people to show, but the rain and wind held off until about an hour into the race, and even then it was only a drizzle. Regardless, if you're looking for a race with a large crowd support, look elsewhere.
- I was a little disappointed with the expo as well. Not too many vendors, and the main area with all the race merchandise and packet pickup was in the small, congested space. It was tough to navigate.
- Great race management and contact the entire race and leading up to the event. They're active on social media as well.
- FREE RACE PICS!!! Huge plus, as race pictures are usually really expensive.
- There is a TON of parking and you can get there pretty close to the start and still make, extremely accessible.
- The medal is one of the prettiest and most-detailed medal I've ever seen. It really is a thing of beauty
- The race shirt options- you can have a gender-specific short or long sleeve tech tee, or pay to have an upgraded jacket. I got the short sleeve and it's incredibly soft, but it runs big and baggy unfortunately so it doesn't fit. Sad it wasn't athletic fit.
Post-race was pretty standard with food options, beer, and a band playing. NO protein option, like a bar, which was disappointing. But again, super easy to access if someone is coming at after the race starts.
As far as the hills, they aren't THAT bad, at least not if you come from a hilly location. I'm from Pittsburgh so I didn't think they were anything crazy, I even PR'd. If you have the time Friday or beforehand, go drive the course, it was a HUGE benefit. I got to see where the larger hills and drops where in-person and was able to note when to reserve some energy. If I recall correctly, after mile 6 it gets pretty choppy for about 3 miles.
Overall, if you're from the area or near by I'd run it the race, it's a nice small to mid-sized race that's managed well and I would definitely recommend it as a local race. But I wouldn't recommend people traveling far for it, I.E. making a trip all the way from Pittsburgh just for this race. There's plenty of other options in KY, like the Urban Bourbon Half Marathon. Unless of course you like the smaller races where there's less congestion and you can relax and enjoy a calm run. Then I would completely recommend it. All depends on what you expect and are looking for. Looking back I think I just expected too much out of this race and compared it to city races, which this is not.
I absolutely love this local 5k race on the 4th of July. Its actually one of the largest, longest running, and most popular 5k races in the Tri-State area (PA, OH, WV). 9am start is a bit odd, as most races tend to start sooner, but they have this lined up so as the last runners are finishing the local 4th of July parade starts.
Packet pickup is available at multiple locations, days, and times, which is incredibly convenient. They gave out local coupons, a branded drifit shirt, and a collapsible branded lunch box for 2018.
This year was actually the hottest race on record, but luckily there were a bunch of water/Gatorade stops, and many residents actually had their garden hoses out, sprinkling the runners, which was amazing.
The best part of this course is that it is LINED with people, shoulder to shoulder. This race, along with the parade that follows is a BFD in the area. You won't have any shortage of spectators cheering you on as you run along Brownsville Road. It's a down and back course- start at Giant Eagle at Brentwood Town Square, and the turnaround is at Italian Village Pizza. The course has very small rolling hills (about 5 to the turnaround), and about 226ft in elevation gain. The last maybe 0.25mi is slightly uphill so make sure to save some in the tank for the end.
As you finish the race there's free photos taken of you crossing the finish line, and misting fans to cool you off. After the finish you're corralled into the upper parking lot of Brentwood Town Square, where there's your standard post-race snacks- water, Gatorade, bananas, cookies, plus bonus points for having popsicle and free beer! No medal is given out, which I like. It's old-school like that- only medals for those who win the race or age group. A bunch of vendor tents are set up as well, one was giving out massages, and there's a DJ blasting jams throughout. Local running clubs are there with tents as well, and there's food and snacks available to buy. All in all it's a great post-race experience that you can stick around for, and there's even the parade afterwords.
FYI- parking is a bit tough depending on where you're coming from so definitely plan ahead. Luckily it's in a suburban area with tons of side roads and street parking. Just note that they block off the upper portion of Brentwood Town Square so you can't park there in the morning.
First time running this and I'm glad I did- it was a beautiful day and scenic course through North Park and around the lake (if you're running more than the 5k). I actually signed up morning-of, so I can't speak to any communication they send out, but I do know they have multiple pickup dates and locations for your bib and gear. Speaking of- I think the best part of this race is that they give out something all runners use but is an uncommon giveaway- running shorts! They're a nice pair of lined running shorts, and you get socks as well.
I came from the South Hills so there wasn't any traffic, even getting to the event near the lake there wasn't much traffic. They do warn you that all the parking lots fill up quickly, so they offer a free shuttle to the area. I was able to find a spot on the road about 30min prior to the start.
Everyone follows the 5k course, which actually is the toughest part- there's extremely steep hill (1/4 mile 7% grade hill at the 3/4 mile mark) that lead you from the start back to the lake. From there you complete 1-3 clockwise laps around the lake (5mi), depending on which distance you signed up for. I personally ran the half marathon distance (2 laps). There's maybe about 100ft elevation gain in the 5k, and 200ft gain per lap around the lake. Finish is at the boathouse and it's marked clearly which lane to choose, whether you're still running another lap, or finishing. Half Marathon and 30k runners receive a medal at the end, and everyone receives free photos. Which is a HUGE perk IMO.
They offer the standard snacks- water and Gatorade, chips, bagels, bananas. NO PROTEIN BARS though. They have a couple of local vendors on-site, and running clubs there.
It's a cheap race, really cheap, and you get a lot of bang for your buck. Great, relaxing views of North Park, and it's a great race to use if you're pacing for the Pittsburgh Marathon or another early Spring marathon. It's nice that there's multiple distances for everyone as well. If you're not a fan of huge, crowded city races like the PGH Marathon, this is definitely a great race for you. Not to say it's underpopulated- there's definitely a good amount of people who run it, but definitely less congested and you still get all the water/Gatorade/energy gel/aid stations like the big races. I definitely recommend it