Latest reviews by Miles Walser

(2019)
"A scenic tour of a beautiful city"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Montreal is amazing!

The expo was easy to navigate. I got my bib and shirt (and easily adjusted to a different size shirt) quickly. I got to taste-test some fuel options that I hadn't heard of before.

The host hotel was right at the finish line, and only a block or two away from the start line, which made race morning super easy. I got to the start in plenty of time without needing to wake up outrageously early.

This year there was an unfortunate delay in start time. We were supposed to start at 7:15, and my corral didn't cross the start line until about 8:15. The delay was a bummer, but other than messing with my fueling strategy, honestly didn't impact the race much. The temps were still comfortable, and the crowds were fantastic.

The course was gorgeous! I loved getting to see a tour of Montreal, including the old city, Parc La Fontaine, and the 76 Olympic Stadium. There was one big hill and a few small inclines, but it was mostly a comfortable flat course.

All in all, I had an amazing day in Montreal. I'd recommend this race to anyone looking for an easy international experience on the run!

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(2019)
"Who doesn't love chocolate?"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

On April 27, I had the chance to run the Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k Brooklyn. It was 2.5 loops of Prospect Park, which is one of my absolute favorite places to run. Even better, I was running with my wife of exactly 8 days, which was a blast.

The Expo was simple--I was late because I had to work that day. When I got there, it was easy to find my bag and bib. I also had the opportunity to try on my swag sweatshirt and exchange it for a different size. I WISH MORE RACES DID THIS. If they did, I'd wear race shirts more often.

The race itself was well-managed. It's hard in NYC to manage a park race where every day non-racers still have access to the roads, etc. I thought HC had the right amount of signage, and the course was simple enough that I always knew where I was in the race.

Also, there's chocolate on course. Obvs. Two of the aid stations came armed with chocolate discs and marshmallows. I, with my overly sensitive stomach, passed on the course candy, but my wife had an excellent time pairing the chocolate with her orange blossom honey stinger gummies.

The course was hilly. I knew that going in, but even with the forewarning, the third time up the prospect park hill is a doozy. I definitely felt wiped by the time I hit the finish line.

Which was all the better, because the finish line treats are arguably the number one reason to do one of the Hot Chocolate 15ks. We got a bowl filled with warm dipping chocolate and a bunch of treats to dunk in it, along with some hot chocolate. It was a far more fun alternative to the standard granola bar and plain bagel.

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(2019)
"Come for the race; Stay for the Pretzel "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Expo
The expo was easy to navigate. Campus was a little crowded on Saturday, but there was plenty of parking when I got there. It was so fast to get my bib and shirt. There weren’t a ton of vendors, but I did manage to pick up some fuel and a pair of running shorts at a rad discount, so I am happy about that.

Start Line
The start line logistics were really well laid out on the race site. I stayed at the recommended hotel, which was about a 10 minute walk to the finish line. From the finish line I picked up a shuttle to the start line, which was easy to find. At the start there were plenty of portapotties and water/nuun to get you hydrated for the start. There weren’t multiple corrals—it was a smaller race, so they wouldn’t have been necessary—but the pacers were well-identified and that made it easy to slot myself in at my expected pace.

Race Course
The course was fairly flat—some smaller ups and downs—and had plenty of turns to keep your mind busy. There were a handful of smaller out-and-backs with hairpin turns, which aren’t my favorite, but did provide me with multiple chances to interact with fellow runners, which is a nice morale boost at mile 10!

The course winds through the Rutgers Campus, including a loop back through the start line, which made it really easy for my fiancé to spectate and catch me multiple times during the race, which I always love.

Finish
The finish line was a burst of energy! A small band was playing us in at mile 13, which was a great push through the last .1.

And, most importantly, thanks to Rutgers Unite, I know have my new favorite post-race snack: A salted soft pretzel. They were passing them out at the finish and I can’t even begin to tell you how much it hit the spot. ALL OTHER RACES, TAKE NOTE: Soft pretzels. I’m telling you, you won’t regret it.

Overall
Overall, I had a really nice weekend in NJ! It was a fun race, a nice sized crowd--I'd recommend the race for any east coasters looking for a nice small Half.

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(2018)
"Beautiful hilly course!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

If you can get past the fact that race day weather might be as cold as 20 degrees (as it was today), this is a great event!

The Expo runs the Friday and Saturday before the race. It was small, but the vendors had some great deals on clothing and fuel, and it was easy to get in and out.

Parking on race morning is a little tough--the race start/finish line is on the capital square, and there is plenty of parking around, but you'll have to give yourself time because of the road closures for the race route. Pretty much all park is going to be ramp parking, but the costs aren't too bad.

The only complaint I really have is the starting area-- they handed out maps ahead of time, but when I went to where I thought the line of portapotties would be, there were only 2, and a line about 30 people deep waiting. Someone came up at some point and told us that there were more about a block away, but at that point there was only 10 minutes until the half started and I didn't feel like I had time to be running around looking for a shorter bathroom line. I wish there'd been better signage--the layout of the capital square makes it difficult to see everything around you, and signs that indicated where the bathrooms were would have been helpful.

As a Madison native, I appreciated the opportunity to see my hometown from a different perspective. The course wrapped around the northeast part of Madison, and was hilly but scenic. There's a particularly deadly hill right at the very end (about miles 12.5 of the half) but the change of elevation throughout the course kept it interesting.

The post-race party was small, but nice. Given how freezing it was, I didn't really have any interest in hanging around for too long, but I did enjoy my complimentary beer before racing to the car to warm up!

All in all, I think this is a really fun fall race. Madison weather can be a little ruthless, but the crowds were great, the course was dynamic and kept things interest, and, for what it's worth, the medal is super cool! I would absolutely run this race again.

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(2018)
"Beautiful hilly course!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

If you can get past the fact that race day weather might be as cold as 20 degrees (as it was today), this is a great event!

The Expo runs the Friday and Saturday before the race. It was small, but the vendors had some great deals on clothing and fuel, and it was easy to get in and out.

Parking on race morning is a little tough--the race start/finish line is on the capital square, and there is plenty of parking around, but you'll have to give yourself time because of the road closures for the race route. Pretty much all park is going to be ramp parking, but the costs aren't too bad.

The only complaint I really have is the starting area-- they handed out maps ahead of time, but when I went to where I thought the line of portapotties would be, there were only 2, and a line about 30 people deep waiting. Someone came up at some point and told us that there were more about a block away, but at that point there was only 10 minutes until the half started and I didn't feel like I had time to be running around looking for a shorter bathroom line. I wish there'd been better signage--the layout of the capital square makes it difficult to see everything around you, and signs that indicated where the bathrooms were would have been helpful.

As a Madison native, I appreciated the opportunity to see my hometown from a different perspective. The course wrapped around the northeast part of Madison, and was hilly but scenic. There's a particularly deadly hill right at the very end (about miles 12.5 of the half) but the change of elevation throughout the course kept it interesting.

The post-race party was small, but nice. Given how freezing it was, I didn't really have any interest in hanging around for too long, but I did enjoy my complimentary beer before racing to the car to warm up!

All in all, I think this is a really fun fall race. Madison weather can be a little ruthless, but the crowds were great, the course was dynamic and kept things interest, and, for what it's worth, the medal is super cool! I would absolutely run this race again.

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