Latest reviews by Greg Arampatzis

(2020)
"#100racesin2020 Race #1- Pretzel City Sports- 2019 Dirty Bird 30k- in January 2020"
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Course Scenery
Expo Quality
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This race is typically scheduled for the weekend after Thanksgiving, (hence the Dirty Bird name). However, due to a change in the PA Game Commission schedule that was made the first day of rifle deer hunting season (instead of the following Monday). The race director made the decision to reschedule the race due to safety concerns since it is held at a state park that has areas where hunting is allowed.

The race is held at French Creek State Park in Birdsboro, PA; which is about 25 minutes SE of Reading. The area is very scenic and the course travels past 2 different lakes. The layout is a loop with an out and back section. Runners have the option to stop after the first 15k loop, or continue on for the 2nd loop to complete the 30k. It is mostly single track trail, but there are a few sections of gravel road, and paved roads. The course was challenging with many hills (2,579 elevation gain for the 30k). There was everything you would expect for a trail race in PA: rocks, roots, downed trees, stream crossings, etc. It was a cold morning and the wind gusts made it extra chilly at times. There was 1 aid station on course that you passed twice each loop. I think it was just stocked with water and Tailwind. There was also an aid station just past the start/finish for those that were continuing on for the 30k.

The post race refreshments included cookies, candy, twizzlers, grilled cheese sandwiches, hot dogs, water, etc. All the standards of races put on by Pretzel City Sports. All of their races are very fun and festive events. Great sense of community and tons of awards! I highly recommend this race!

For a more detailed recap of my experience check out my blog at:
https://gna35runner.home.blog/2020/01/10/100racesin2020-race-1/

Strava stats:
https://www.strava.com/activities/2985486085/overview

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(2020)
"#100racesin2020 Race #5- Pretzel City Sports- Chilly Cheeks 11k Trail Run"
Overall
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This is another fantastic, and fun event put on by Pretzel City Sports!

The 11k distance is different, as are many aspects about a Pretzel City Sports race. The pre and post race activities take place at the Reading Liederkranz, which is a German club/pub. There is a good amount of parking onsite but it's best to get there early since these races are rather popular. Registration/check-in was inside and there were indoor bathrooms as well as porta-potties outside.
The start area was about a 1/4 mile from the club, across the street from Egelman Park. The course consisted of some paved and dirt road sections, but was mostly single track trail. It was a moderately challenging course with plenty of steep climbs and descents, including a section of bike trail with some gravel jumps. There were funny signs posted in a few sections that matched the humor of the pre-race announcements given by the RD.

There were 2 water stops on the course, the 2nd of which also had some "alternative" beverages as well. Once we got to the top of the mountain we passed right by the old stone William Penn Fire Tower, and had a great view of the city of Reading below. The finish line was back at the Liederkranz where there were plenty of post race refreshments outside; and the race fee also included a breakfast inside. There was scrambled eggs, pancakes, and toast! Pre-registrants had the option of a long sleeve tech shirt and/or a hoodie. (I opted for both). There were also many AG awards given out.

Overall this was a great race and I am looking forward to coming back next month for the Ugly Mudder 13k!

Check out my full race recap here:
https://gna35runner.home.blog/2020/01/30/100racesin2020-race-5/

Strava stats: https://www.strava.com/activities/3045794299/overview

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(2020)
"#100racesin2020 Race #4- Trail Dawgs Phunt 50k - An ultra phun day!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
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I made the drive down to Elkton, MD on the morning of the race. I got there about an hour before the race started. There was plenty of parking and volunteers directing the traffic. It was just a short walk to the activity hall where bib pickup was. It was quick to get through the line and the registration also included a Phunt buff, and a collapsible cup to use at the aid stations. There was plenty of room inside the hall to hang out before the race started; and there were also indoor bathrooms, and room to leave your gear for after the race. There were plenty of porta-potties outside also, and the start/finish area was right near the activity hall.

The race started on time and some light snow flurries started at the same time. The light snow occasionally changed over to sleet, but I enjoyed the weather. The course was a 25k loop. It briefly started on paved road before changing to gravel road. About a mile and a half in we entered the woods and the majority of the rest of the course was single track trails. The trails meandered through the woods. We traversed over rocks, roots, downed trees, we ran up and down some hills, and crossed a few small streams.

There were aid stations roughly about every 4.5 miles, and they were stocked with an awesome array of food/fuel and awesome volunteers. They had GU gels, Honey Stinger Waffles, oranges, bananas, candy, cookies, chips, pb&j sandwiches, grilled cheese sandwiches, bacon, pierogies, baked potatoes, water, and Tailwind!

The course scenery was great as well and included a few creeks, running by some old ruins, running through a covered bridge, and through a tunnel. There was plenty to keep you interested throughout the many hours of running.

The phinisher medal was cool phuckle- a medal that doubled as a belt buckle!

There was a post race party inside the activity hall, and there were changing areas set up as well. The post-race spread included: grilled cheese sandwiches, hot dogs, phries, chili, lentil soup, beer, water and a few other things. There was a DJ playing some great music, so there were some people dancing, and they also had a bean bag toss game.

Overall this was an ultra phun event and I highly recommend it!!! The 2021 race sold out the day after this year's race, but it's definitely worth putting your name on the waiting list.

Check out my full race recap:
https://gna35runner.home.blog/2020/01/23/100racesin2020-race-4/

Strava stats:
https://www.strava.com/activities/3023033821/overview

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(2020)
"#100racesin2020 Race # 3 - Pagoda Pacers.- Shiver by the River 5k/10k "
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This race is put on by the Pagoda Pacers Athletic Club, which is the local running club in Reading, PA. It is also timed by Pretzel City Sports. It is part of an annual winter monthly series, with races being held from December to March.

The start/finish is at a park that is located next to the Schuylkill River. There is ample parking and plenty of volunteers. Registration takes place inside the clubhouse at the park. There are also plenty of porta-potties near the clubhouse, and another one in the parking lot. There is a paved path that circles the soccer fields near the start/finish- which is convenient for warmups/cool downs.

The course itself is on paved roads with some small hills. It is a 5k loop, so runners have the option of completing 1 loop or 2. It starts off with a long slight climb to exit the park. The course then winds its way through a residential neighborhood. There was 1 water stop just past the start/finish for those that were running the 10k.

The post race refreshments included: cookies, candy, bagels, chicken noodle soup, and water.
The chicken noodle soup was awesome!

The shirt was a long sleeve cotton tee. There are no awards given for the individual races, but there are awards at the end of the series. Since this race was timed by Pretzel City Sports there was an instant results board, which is always nice.

Overall this is a nice race. It’s fun that you can try to improve your time from one month to the next, and it’s nice to see some familiar faces. It would be even better if the course was actually by the river though. I’m guessing it may have been at some point since this is the 30th year for the series, and the development the course now runs through seems to only be a few years old.

For a more detailed recap check out my blog at:
https://gna35runner.home.blog/2020/01/17/100racesin2020-race-3/

Strava stats:
https://www.strava.com/activities/3005321122/overview

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(2020)
"#100racesin2020 Race # 2 -Scranton Running Co.- Shiver by the River 5k/10k "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

This race is put on by the Scranton Running Company which is a running store in Scranton, PA. They also provide race timing services and host some other local races including the Scranton Half Marathon in March. This race is part of an annual 2 race winter series; occurring in January and February each year.

The address provided on the registration is actually for the store itself, which is conveniently located right next to the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail that the race is run on. The store is in a strip shopping plaza, so there is ample parking there plus there is also a gravel overfill lot right next to the paved lot. The actual race start/finish is right across the street at the Pavillion next to the trail.
Bib pickup was quick and easy, there were also 2 porta-potties right next to the pavillion- 1 designated for females and 1 for males. The timing clock was also setup with a countdown timer to race start time.

The trail itself was a paved rail trail. It ran next to the Lackawanna River and was semi-flat with one small hill. The course was an out and back. At the 5k turnaround (at 1.55 miles) there was a sign and 2 race staff volunteers, 1 was directing 5k runners to turn around and the other was giving split times as the runners passed. This was also the case when we got to the 10k turnaround, and passed the 5k turnaround on the way back. I thought that was a cool thing to hear them give the times as you went past. I also liked that this was an out and back course because I was able to know what place I was in as I neared the 10k turnaround.

The post race refreshments included ice cream and toppings, bagels and spreads, nuts, oranges, bananas, etc.

The awards were unique- containers of rock salt.

Overall I really enjoyed this race and am planning to go back for the one next month. I enjoyed the scenery of being near the river, seeing the artwork on the bridge supports, passing by an old train station, and hearing some train horns nearby.

**Note- there were no aid stations on course, and I did not register in time for the shirt deadline, they seemed to be long sleeve cotton shirts though.**

For a more detailed recap of my experience check out my blog at:
https://gna35runner.home.blog/2020/01/16/100racesin2020-race-2/

Strava stats:
https://www.strava.com/activities/3001868495/overview

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