Latest reviews by Chloe Keidaish

(2020)
"Fun and Festive Holiday Race"
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There's no better way to get into the holiday spirit than running the Mount Dora Half Marathon !!! This race goes all out with a Christmas theme including a giant Santa to greet the runners on the final stretch, a Christmas tree finish line, candy cane and nutcracker performers, and a snowman. The medal and swag are top notch - this year's theme was Rudolph the reindeer wearing a Covid mask. And my favorite takeways from the race are the super fun photo booth strips and the free finish line picture can double as your Happy Holidays Card. The course itself is on rolling hills lined with spectacular oak trees draped in Spanish moss.
And Mount Dora itself is an incredibly cute historic town in Central Florida not far from Orlando. There are many beautiful old buildings, main street and square all decked out in holiday lights. The town is full of cute eclectic stores and great restaurants. I stayed at the Lakeside Inn which is the oldest continuously operated hotel in Florida built in 1883. It is set on a lake with sunset views, and classic veranda lined with rocking chairs, and right at the start finish line.

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(2020)
"Perfect Small Town Race with Windmills"
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When the Boston Marathon decided to go Virtual, I knew immediately that I would find a small town race to run it in for course support and safety. Holland Haven popped up on my radar immediately advertising their race as an alternative for Boston runners. The location looked fantastic and a similar course as Boston - point to point from Grand Haven to Holland, with some rolling hills. I registered immediately knowing there was a great risk that even this smaller race capped at 300 runners could get canceled due to the pandemic. But race director Eddie Kline was determined to make it happen, and he kept everyone updated almost daily on his conversations with local authorities. Right down to the last week he had to make big changes to the race plan to satisfy health officials - this included dividing one marathon into three separate events starting an hour apart with waves to socially distance runners. The race went forward successfully with 291 finishers. The course was extremely beautiful, well supported with volunteers and the race medal is one of my favorites !!! Holland is a super cute small town well worth the visit with fantastic restaurants and breweries. Be sure to visit the nearby lighthouses on Lake Michigan and the Windmill Garden in Holland.

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(2020)
"Stunning Downhill Course in Spearfish Canyon !!!"
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Such an incredibly beautiful , fast course down Spearfish Canyon in the Black Hills National Forest of South Dakota. Probably due to the remote location this race has always been small, which gave it the advantage for being able to run during a pandemic. Traditionally a women's only race, men were allowed to run this year as there are so few options to get a BQ. The course starts at Lead Country Club and follows the Spearfish Creek through Cheyenne Crossing and Savoy before ending in Spearfish. There is a short, slight uphill out and back at Roughneck Falls and several other waterfalls along the route. This was my first marathon without headphones which are not allowed, I enjoyed the sounds of nature the first half but was missing my tunes after that. A huge shout out to the race director Elaine, whose emails were very heartfelt and thoughtful as she navigated the event through difficult times. It meant so much to everyone who were so happy to finally be able to run a real race. At the finish there was an emotional applause for one woman who had just completed her 50th Marathon State and so many others achieved PRs. The scenery was absolutely stunning and it was a perfect race-cation with Mt Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Devils Tower, Historic Deadwood, and the Badlands National Park nearby.

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(2020)
"Spectacular Scenery in the Virgina Highlands "
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Previously a small local event, Jackson River has more than doubled its marathon entries this year to 142 with runners coming in from all over the country for what may be the first available race that has not been canceled due to Covid19. I've seen Berlin Marathon hats, Boston Qualifier shirts and Revel-BOS luggage tags in this remote little town in the Allegheny highlands, a special breed that will travel any distance to run a race.
Everything about this race was fantastic, the race director, communications, social distancing protocol and the course itself. The Jackson River Scenic trail is a green tunnel of foliage that runs alongside the river the whole way out and back so the course was shady the entire time. The trail is hard packed crushed gravel the width of a railroad path. I met runners from all over who were just ecstatic to be there. The temperature was actually not bad for a summer race, but it was very humid throughout. I ran this race at an easy pace and am happy with my slow time since I havent trained much during the quarantine. Afterwards I cooled off in the Jackson River at Humpback Bridge and visited the Falling Spring Waterfall

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(2020)
"Spectacular Beach Course !!!"
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Oak Island is such an adorable beach town !!! This was such a beautiful course which runs along the beach lined with adorable beach homes and a huge lighthouse at the end. For a small race, the swag was over the top with a gorgeous 8" stained glass medal and a truckers hat. I ran a strong race and came in first for my age group - the award is a super cute ceramic tile which I will treasure.

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