Latest reviews by Katrina Plyler

(2020)
"Christmas Story 5K. I didn't shoot my eye out. "
Overall
Race Management
SWAG
Virtual Support

My December running goals just did not happen. Between being sick most of the month and trying to hang on to teaching, I had to dial things down to walking and resting. I was not able to complete this virtual run on Christmas day. But I had hopes of completing it before the end of the year.

I chose one of my favorite places in Tuscaloosa. The Riverwalk area around the campus of University of Alabama is beautiful, flat, and safe.

This time of year, we have 2 sections of the Riverwalk designated for the Tinsel Trail. Local business and groups contribute decorated trees for the public to explore. During this year of social distancing, it was one of the few things that were not cancelled.

Today was perfect weather for taking on the 5K. I slowed down for the trees, sped up to chase squirrels and puppies, and walked to take in the end of the trail.

This virtual run is part of Ram Races and these guys do a phenomenal job of hosting races. In a year when runners needed something to help fill the void of in-person racing, Ram Races really stepped up.

Registration was super-easy and quick. Once you have an account with RAM, it just takes a few clicks to pick your race, gear, and extras before the checkout.

My packet and gear arrived quickly. The clothing is always great quality. I also love the creative finisher medals.
While this closes out my 2020 year, I look forward to more virtual races with BibRave and Ram races.

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(2020)
"Christmas Story 5K. I didn't shoot my eye out. "
Overall
Race Management
SWAG
Virtual Support

My December running goals just did not happen. Between being sick most of the month and trying to hang on to teaching, I had to dial things down to walking and resting. I was not able to complete this virtual run on Christmas day. But I had hopes of completing it before the end of the year.

I chose one of my favorite places in Tuscaloosa. The Riverwalk area around the campus of University of Alabama is beautiful, flat, and safe.

This time of year, we have 2 sections of the Riverwalk designated for the Tinsel Trail. Local business and groups contribute decorated trees for the public to explore. During this year of social distancing, it was one of the few things that were not cancelled.

Today was perfect weather for taking on the 5K. I slowed down for the trees, sped up to chase squirrels and puppies, and walked to take in the end of the trail.

This virtual run is part of Ram Races and these guys do a phenomenal job of hosting races. In a year when runners needed something to help fill the void of in-person racing, Ram Races really stepped up.

Registration was super-easy and quick. Once you have an account with RAM, it just takes a few clicks to pick your race, gear, and extras before the checkout.

My packet and gear arrived quickly. The clothing is always great quality. I also love the creative finisher medals.
While this closes out my 2020 year, I look forward to more virtual races with BibRave and Ram races.

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(2020)
"Like Wow! It's a Scooby Doo Family and Pet Run. "
Overall
Race Management
SWAG
Virtual Support

Have you ever participated in a family pet race? This was the first one for Atlas and I and we had so much fun with the Scooby Doo Run! The Scooby Doo Family pet run is virtual so anyone can participate in any location. This is a great alternative for the many races that have had to cancel in-person racing.

The swag bags this year included some great gear with a 20oz water bottle and long-sleeved tech hoodie. Atlas especially loved this dog collar. They arrived quickly included the medal. I like this so we could celebrate our run with the medal immediately after finishing.

For race day, we used our local park. It’s close to our house, has a marked course, and water fountains. We did most of our training runs there so Atlas was very familiar with the area and all the smells around the track. He’s a bird dog, so his sniffer worked overtime for his first few laps around the walking track.

Registering for the Scooby Doo Family and Pet Virtual Run was easy. Once you are registered, I received many emails and updates. The event is very active on social media so I could interact and meet other participants. Who doesn’t love a ton of pet pictures?

Another thing I loved about this event was their chosen charity. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is my favorite charity to support, through events and personal donations. I was thrilled to see their name on the single charity list.

Virtual races and runs are great for those who like the flexibility to run your event when and where you choose, within the timelines of the run. With so many in-person races cancelled right now, the Scooby Doo Family and Pet virtual run is a great option! We had a lot of fun training and we loved the gear bag. Thank you BibRave and Scooby Doo!

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(2020)
"I love being a Virtual Wonder Woman!"
Overall
Race Management
SWAG
Virtual Support

Since 2020 decided to push most themed races to Virtual, I have seen a wide variety of these virtual runs. DC Wonder Woman is one of the best. Registration was easy and quick. All I had to do was pick my size for the jacket.

Jacket?? Oh yes. This organization has gone way beyond the rest of the entry shirt competition. This isn’t your everyday cotton T-shirt. It's a quarter zip lined tech long-sleeve jacket.

What I LOVE about virtual racing? Not having to figure out parking and the logistics of post-race finding my car.

I didn’t have to worry about that for the DC Wonder Woman Run. I chose my local river walk for this run. I had a great time. I thought a lot about upcoming events and staying in touch with our local running group. I made plans to participate in more DC Wonder Woman events! I felt safe in my own environment. I had a BLAST!

As far as virtual support, I received plenty of email support and their social media posts were outstanding. I didn't feel like this organization takes your money, sends your stuff, and then forgets about you. I loved the post-race results option and playing around with photo stickers.

This was a great virtual run and this organization provides a fantastic "virtual" experience.

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(2020)
"Allstate Hot Chocolate Nashville"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

The Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k/5k in Nashville was such a great race! This was my first event in the Hot Chocolate series and I will definitely be back for more.

Since I was driving up the morning of the race, I opted to have my race bag with the FANTASTIC layered jacket mailed to me the week before the race. This jacket the best thing I’ve ever found in a race goodie bag. I have tons of race shirts, but this jacket beats them all.

Race morning was REALLY cold, for us folks in the south. Nashville temps at race time was 23*. We were all bundled in all the layers. The staggered start took a few minutes, but I greatly appreciated this for a larger race.

The course was very clearly marked. There was a split for the 5K and the 15K and there were signs and plenty of people to direct us to the right path. Both distances were out-and-back so the finish line was close to the starting line.

Aid stations with chocolate? Yes, please. We had water, Nuun electrolyte drink, and cups of mini chocolate wafers.
After the finish, we were directed to the field in Bicentennial Park. There was some confusion because there was a line of people for the finish time photos.

Many people thought that was the line for the finisher mugs with the hot chocolate. The clearly-marked “finisher mugs” tent was at the very end of the field.

Continuing with the great race theme, we received a bowl of chocolate goodness. It includes hot chocolate, dipping chocolate sauce, marshmallow, banana, pretzels, rice krispy treat, Honey Stinger waffle, and small rolled wafer cookie.

The hot chocolate was thick and very creamy. I was prepared for some watery, powderish stuff that tastes like a melted brown crayon. This was so rich and decadent.

I was very pleasantly surprised to see a Gluten Free Honey Stinger waffle. I checked and double-checked the ingredient list and it included a gluten-free flour blend. Just last September at a different race, I had to give away the Honey Stinger waffle because it had wheat flour.

On a frigid morning after this race, the hot chocolate was a great post-race treat.

Overall, this was such a great race. I greatly appreciated the Participant guide that we received before the race. I liked that the parking spaces were clearly detailed with driving maps. The website has plenty of information, FAQ’s, and resources to make for a great race day.

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