Latest reviews by Evan Reister

(2019)
"ChicaGO run this marathon!"
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Such an awesome experience! This was my first big city marathon, and it was an unforgettable and amazing atmosphere. In the other two marathons I had run before Chicago, I ended up running alone quite a bit from miles 18 to 24. This was when I needed people the most too! Both of these previous marathons I bonked super hard and came nowhere close to reaching my time goal. I went into this race thinking that I would probably bonk again and not come close to the 3 hour mark and BQ I was shooting for. I ran the first half of Chicago in around 1:27 and was feeling good. By the time I got to mile 18 (where I normally start to bonk), I was still feeling good. Once I got to mile 20, I realized I might actually have a shot at breaking 3 hours! The crowds the entire race were amazing. Spectators lined basically the entire course, and every time I thought about slowing down, I would be urged on again by the crowds. Not only that, but I was surrounded by about 45,000 new runner friends. I for sure never had to worry about running alone in this race. But despite the huge number of runners, I never felt claustrophobic or squeezed in. It was such a perfect environment for running! And all the volunteers did such a great job, regardless of whether they were handing out Gatorade or directing runners. Overall, I ended up finishing the marathon in around 2:56.30. I was so grateful and felt so blessed to have finished under 3 hours. I didn't have super high expectations going into the race, but the flat terrain, perfect weather, and amazing crowds all combined to create a perfect situation for a big PR! ChicaGO run this marathon! You won't regret it.

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(2019)
"Good Concept, Poor Execution."
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This race had a fun concept: start the race at 8 pm, let fireflies light up the night and guide your way, and finish sometime in the wee hours of the morning. However, there were a few issues. For one, the course was not marked very well. In the first of two and half loops I ran (and even after that), I got lost multiple times. I was always able to find the right way eventually, but not before stopping about ten times to check if I was going the right way. Additionally, while the first loop of the course was fine because it was still light enough to see, the darkness brought a some issues. One half of the loop was an extremely technical course, with roots and rocks all over the place. This was manageable when it was light out, but I about sprained my ankle ten times once it got dark (even though I had a headlight on the whole time). This led to me having to run very slowly and carefully so as not to hurt myself. Additionally, there was hardly anyone signed up for the 50k or the 50-miler, so most of my running was done alone... in the dark. I had originally signed up for the 50-miler, but decided after the 50k that I had had enough. I felt physically fine, but I was mentally over this course and couldn't imagine having to do more loops in the dark. The aid station workers were super nice and supportive and for an hour or so the fireflies were really amazing, but overall I wouldn't recommend this race.

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(2019)
"WHAT HAPPENED TO MY SHOE?!?!"
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This race will not disappoint! The first two miles and the last two miles are definitely some of the trickiest. These stretches of the race are full of thick, thick mud. At the start, the mud isn't too bad. But by the end of the day, when hundreds of runners have trekked through this mud, it becomes ankle-deep and shoe-sucking. When I was about a half mile from the finish, the mud sucked my shoe straight off my foot (Dances With Dirt? More like Fights With Mud!). It took me a couple minutes to yank it out and get it back on! The first half of the race went by pretty quickly. It was a beautiful day, and I was just admiring the beauty of Brown County State Park. As I started to grow a little tired, I found a running buddy. Some of my favorite times in ultramarathons have been when I've run with someone and just chatted for a few miles. In this race, I ran about five miles with a high school teacher. It helped the miles go by super fast and I didn't even think about how much I still had to run. Once we went our separate ways, things got a little more difficult. Around mile 18, I was hit by hill after hill for a few miles. As someone that lives in West Lafayette, IN, I was not used to hills in the slightest. The hills wore me out, and to make matters worse, we then had to run a mile or two off course. There was no trail, and the only thing to guide me were small little pink ribbons. I almost got lost a time or two, but the race volunteers did an overall good job of marking the trail! Once I thought I was finally done with most of the hills, I came across a set of wooden stairs. And when I say a set of wooden stairs, I mean a LOT of wooden stairs (146 to be exact). This is the last thing you want to see towards the end of an ultramarathon, but I eventually made it to the top! After this, the end was only a few miles away. If I could handle the hills and the stairs, I knew I could handle the rest of the race. I finished in the top ten overall, but boy was I exhausted! Despite all the mud and hills and stairs, it was a great event and so much fun! I would definitely recommend this race to anyone and everyone looking for adventure! But make sure and bring an extra pair of shoes in case the mud takes yours.

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(2019)
"Wet and Wild!"
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The Carmel Marathon did not have the most ideal weather in 2019. Let's just say that there was a bit of rain. It poured right up until the race started, but luckily for us the weather cleared up a little as we began to run. It was still a wet and wild time! I ran most of the race with a pacer, and he was such a nice guy! He was super energetic and did a great job of distracting me from the fact that I was running 26.2 miles. The first half of the race went super well, but as we neared the half marathon finish, all the runners around me started disappearing. While I was running in a pack of around 20 at the beginning of the race, by the halfway point I was only with two runners (the pacer and one other guy). With the weather what it was, not many fans were out in support. This, along with the fact that there weren't many other runners around, led to me giving in to the bonk. I bonked super hard. While this course is super super flat and conducive to fast running, I run best with a bunch of fans and other runners around me. So this race wasn't my best, but I still really enjoyed it overall! Even though the weather was terrible, I was still able to enjoy the beauty of the course. Quite a few miles are run on the Monon Trail, which is a beautiful bike path surrounded by blossoming trees! I would definitely recommend this race if you're trying to qualify for Boston. Almost 25% of runners qualify in this race! Hopefully next year it'll be better weather for you!

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(2018)
"Run for the Roses"
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This was my first marathon, and I couldn't think of a better place to run it than in my hometown. The crowds at the beginning of the race were amazing! There were so many people lining the streets and it really made for an exciting environment. Around the halfway point, you run a few miles through Iroquois Park. This is the only part of the race where you actually have to deal with hills. It seems almost cruel to force you to run hill after hill after you've already run 12 or 13 miles, but it doesn't last too long! The toughest part of the race was definitely from mile 18 until the end of the race. While there were a ton of fans at the beginning of the race, there was hardly anyone to be seen in these last few miles. There were a few runners around me, but for the most part I was alone. You really have to dig deep at this point! I reminded myself of all the training I had done and kept pushing through the physical and mental pain. Eventually I finished and joined the giant party at the end of the race. It was great to see different parts of Louisville that I had never seen before, and I was so proud to have finally ran a marathon. Overall, I would definitely recommend this race! It's your chance to run for the roses!

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