Latest reviews by Sarah Bulin

(2020)
"A Texas-Sized Race"
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The corrals were so organized! About 5 separate corrals were laid out parallel to the start line, so the later corrals could see the first groups start out, and corrals were enforced. This meant you couldn’t bump yourself up to a faster corral, but could bump down to a slower one to run with friends. I know this doesn’t seem like a big deal, but its a safety issue. A runner in a too fast corral could very easily be ran over in the herd of runners leaving the very tight start line. The first half mile is always very crowded and it’s easy to run into other runners if your pace isn’t similar.

The first mile was compact and completely downhill. I am terrible about starting out too fast in these big hype, big races, but the downward slope of the first mile didn’t make it seem as fast. Really! The first 5 miles were relatively easy and mostly flat with a few rolling hills. We ran through some parks, and the crowd support was great. Lots of bands and cheering sections along the course.

The Stockyards are the highlight of the race. This area is SO COOL. You run down a hill, take a sharp right and the road becomes brick. Lots of businesses are out and waving. Women dressed as saloon girls, lots of music, and even a longhorn (who seemed very disinterested in the whole thing).

If you’re not from Texas, this is probably the MOST TEXAS you can get during a race. For a vacation race, this one should definitely be on the list. They really embrace the city’s highlights.

Mile 9 starts at the bottom of a bridge that is uphill for about a half mile into downtown. Its beautifully framed with the Tarrant Country Courthouse being directly across the bridge. BUT, you can see this hill FOREVEEEEER. I especially loved the music and the energy at the top of this hill.

After the race, I was pretty irked by the beer tent. They were refusing to serve any beers or seltzers for another hour according to one man at the tent. (And he was rude about it, so I’m guessing runners had been coming by for a bit asking.) It was unusual, and ended up leaving without the finisher’s beer. A first for me, but I’m definitely not letting it ruin an awesome race and and awesome PR.

In Summary
The Cowtown Marathon is definitely a race that I’ll be running again. The course is challenging, but has some awesome sights and a definitely a “Cowtown” feel. Water stops were plentiful and the crowd support was amazing. (And some great swag!)

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(2019)
"A Party worth the Hills!"
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The Expo: Relatively good sized expo. Getting your bib is super fast, and you get a nice zip up fleece jacket for the half/full marathon. I had requested a size women's small, but they let you try one on and I downsized to an XS with no problem or hassel. Extra points because I never know how race shirts are gonna fit me.

Aid Stations: Gatorade and Water at every aid station and an aid station every mile. I didn't use them all, but it was nice to have the option so frequently.

The Course: The course winds through a lot of neighborhoods, parks, and the old Route 66 bridge. If you like fall foliage, this race is great for it! Additionally, this race has some of the best crowd support I've ever seen. Lots of "unofficial aid stations" throughout the neighborhoods, with music, beer, and JELLO SHOTS! (Some offered fireball, buuut that might be a bit too much for me trying to PR) However, this course is HILLY and one of the more difficult ones I've done. It's not flat and fast, but I did still PR!

Parking at both the race and the expo were easy. Having the start and finish on different sides of downtown helped alot.

The Swag! Awesome medal with a rotating center, and if you do the Center of the Universe Detour for an extra 0.3 miles you also get a coin for the "World's Shortest Ultra" AND FREE RACE PHOTOS!

Overall, the Route 66 Marathon was a fun race, and definitely worth the hills!

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(2019)
"Another Great Race!"
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Packet Pickup: They have packet pickup the day before at the Alamo Brewery. Its kinda out of my way, so I did packet pickup the morning of the race. They're well organized and there is never a wait to get your bib.

The Race: Since there are three distances (20M, 10M, 5k), they have very staggered starts that are about 45 minutes a part. Since I was running the 10 miler, the 20 mile folks had already started by the time I had parked and picked up my packet. I really like this, because I've been to races in the past where the 5kers had finished way earlier and most of the beer and food was gone by the time I finished. These staggered times mean we all finish around the same time (except for some of the 20 milers) They have no time limit for the race, so the 20 mile folks didn't have to feel rushed through their race.

The race started in the parking lot of an apartment complex, then turns a hard corner to go onto the San Antonio Greenway trail system. Beautiful course, but since you're following the river on an out and back course, its going to be slightly downhill the first half, and uphill on your return. On the 10 Mile course, the two water stops were a bit close together at the beginning. This was probably so that both were hit by the 5k, but an additional one at the turnaround point would have been great. I actually took a gel near the turnaround thinking there would be water there. Not a hot day though, so it wasn't a super big deal.

The SWAAAAG: Great tech tshirt (with women's sizing, so it fits me!) and a nice medal. This is actually the fourth race in a series, and if you did all four you received a second medal at the race. Additionally, they post free race photos on facebook after the race. Mine is attached below.

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(2019)
"Be Ready to Battle some Hills"
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This is my third year running the Battle of Hillotes half marathon, and I have to say that it is my favorite local race in San Antonio. Technically in the nearby town of Helotes, the race starts in their cool little downtown area with shops and restaurants and turns out into the hilly terrain of the Texas Hill Country. Mostly wooded back roads, you'll pass through a very nice neighborhood thats always decked out for Halloween. Overall, a gorgeous course and from some points in the course, you can look down into San Antonio.

This course has STEEP hills and very little of it is flat. Its a challenging race that you definitely won't PR on, but its fun to come out every year and see if you can improve your time from the previous year.

Scallywompus is great about having a lot of water stops. While this race seems to always have good weather, its still capable of being very hot in San Antonio in midOctober, and they're great about making sure there is a water stop about every mile. Portopotties too, which seems pretty rare for these smaller homegrown races.

Races always come with a Beer themed medal, and tech tshirt (in both mens and womens sizes), and BEER after the race. This last year, both Alamo Brewing and Ranger Creek (two local breweries) where handing out drinks afterwards. As well as spiked hot apple cider and margaritas by a local distillery. The party afterwards is always great!

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(2019)
"Great FREE Race put on by the City"
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The District 4 Heroes 5k is actually part of a series put on by the city of San Antonio. Each on of the districts puts on a race each year as part of the city's FitPass program. Each of these races are FREE and chip timed. If you sign up early enough, you even can get a free unisex tshirt (Cotton). I usually request that I don't receive a shirt, as they tend to run rather large and reach almost my knees.

The race itself has a great deal amount of parking, free booths of giveaways, and there is a truck that will give measure your BMI and Blood pressure. The course is relatively flat and easy, though the scenery isn't the best. Best part is that the first 1000 people across the finish line receive a medal at a free race! It's even a nice one, being made of medal and sponsored by a local car dealership.

My only complaint is that these events are not well advertised. I usually only know about them through the local running community or through a facebook event thats not updated or answered at all. But hey, its a free race with a tshirt, timing chip, and a medal! Keep your eyes peeled for these races, because they are well worth it.

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