Latest reviews by Jeremy Diamond

(2020)
"Hospital Hill Half - an excellent virutal race experience!!"
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Virtual Support

Hospital Hill Run is a great example of RDs making the most of the virtual race. It created a special hashtag for the virtual race and encouraged racers to share their photos on social media. It created a special virtual run Facebook Page for racers to connect socially. The RDs have also created virtual challenges that allow you to enter to win free running gear by completing challenges and uploading that info to the virtual race Facebook group. This promotes further social engagement and gets the sponsors involved. Once your virtual half marathon is complete you will receive a digital finisher certificate and a swag packet consisting of a shirt and medal (both are excellent quality). Hospital Hill Run has done a great job creating a community around the virtual race. It was still committed to the community and charities through the foundation.

I was thoroughly impressed with the way the RDs managed the virtual race. By far it has been my best virtual race experience to date. The online community was key in fostering an atmosphere of inclusion instead of isolation that one usually feels in solo events. I really enjoyed seeing everyone complete their race and share photos. I was also happy that the RDs sent out the race swag early. This made for a more authentic post-race experience and gave me something to look forward to post race. The Hospital Hill Half Marathon is a race I want to run in person. The virtual race experience has convinced me that the in person experience would be amazing. I want to run the streets of Kansas City, I want to experience the expo, I want to enjoy the food and breweries and I want to support this race in the future.

I ended up creating a damn hard route for an unsupported race. The route combined with the Florida humidity made this half marathon one of my tougher races. Thankfully I had a local friend register with the BibRave discount code and race with me. We did start the race an hour later than I wanted which made a huge difference in heat, humidity and my performance. (For those with no summer experience in the south an hour can make a huge difference in real and feel like temperature). My Hospital Hill Half Marathon route time was 2:13, which is my highest half run time, with approximately 458 feet of elevation gain.

Overall the Hospital Hill Half Marathon was an amazing virtual race experience. I encourage you to visit their website (http://www.hospitalhillrun.com) to learn more about the race and consider registering for the 2021 race. Further this opportunity would not have been possible without BibRave and the BibRave family of runners. Be sure to visit BibRave.com to read reviews of races, leave a review of your own and follow BibRave on all social media channels.

Cheers!

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(2020)
"From Downtown to the Beach."
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This is a fun and fast race that takes you on a scenic view of Downtown Pensacola to Gulf Breeze and finally ending at Pensacola Beach. It also ran over the new 3 Mile Bridge (Pcola to Gulf Breeze) which has a better contour than the last bridge. This is my third year of participating in this race. It is a must do local race!

The race director is a local non-profit that sponsors multiple sports for youth and adults as well as a few races. The Double Bridge Run has been around for a while so they have the logistics worked out pretty smoothly. There are two options a 5K or 15K. I always run the 15K. This race is a point to point which I really like. You also get a lot of spectators cheering you on as you pass through the two towns and at the finish line.

As this is a local race, the expo is smaller and features mostly local vendors. It is decent for a local style race. You receive a voucher for a pre-race pasta dinner at a local restaurant. You receive a nice quality shirt and finisher medal for both distances. Each year the shirt is long sleeve performance style. The medal this year was very nice. It is in the shape of the race logo, but this year a section with the race name and year spun which was a very cool touch. The course is mainly flat and fast with the exception of three very nominal inclines (319ft of vert) on the two bridges and one overpass. The course has ample water stations but no other forms of nutrition. There are also a few DJs on the course playing hype music.

The race begins on the bay at the Maritime Park in Downtown Pensacola and ends at the beach. For those having to drive, there is ample parking at the finish line and the race director provides buses to take the runners back to the starting point. This is very convenience and an easy process. The starting line is set against Pensacola Bay which is a really nice spot in the morning with the sun rise. There are self policed corrals based on your projected pace and the starts are staggered by 30 seconds. Another cool touch with this race is a local mardi gras krewe brings their pirate ship float out and fires a cannon for every corral start. The after party is on the beach and there is an after after party at a local venue as well. There is much fan fair at the finish line which is awesome and helps bring the energy for a strong finish. There was free beer, water, fruits, sample flatbread pizza, muffins, etc. at the finish. A restaurant, located at the finish line, provides not only the pre-race pasta dinner but also a post-race lunch (red beans and rice this year) as a sponsor. Both are free for racers. There are multiple restaurant and bar options to continue the after race part well into the afternoon. For a new addition to the race, the race director worked with a local restaurant to create a signature cocktail and with a local brewery to create a signature beer and both were available at the finish line for free to racers. And both tasted great!!

Again this a great race for locals and visitors. It is a lot of fun with excellent support from the community. The after party can be as fun as you want to make it. However, the free beer tends to run out quickly so you are left with purchasing beer and food at local watering holes, which is not a bad thing. At the end of it all, you get to go veg out at the beach across the street from the finish line.

Race Time: 1:24:38
Race Pace: 9:05 min/mi.

CHEERS!

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(2020)
"1 Mile every 30 Minutes For 24 Hours"
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This was unlike any race I have ever ran and possibly to toughest to date.

But housekeeping first! Over 70 racers began the challenge with few DNF'ing. You had the option of running solos or in a two person team. Race temps were as low as 30's at night and as high as 50's during the day. There was no expo. Packet pickup was at the race location, and began a few hours before the race started. Each racer received a quality long sleeve hoodie shirt with the Race logo on the front and the sponsors and name of each participant on the back. Each racer also received a performance reversible beanie by Headsweats with the race logo on the front and race director logo on the back. The finisher medal was in the shape of Joe Relaxo with the year hanging below. It is designed to add each year you participate. Aid stations were not necessary as this was a looped event. However, the race director secured two restaurant sponsors who brought soup and sandwiches to the race location three different times. The race was located in downtown Pensacola at the Maritime Community Park with the staging area right on Pensacola Bay. Therefore, 80% of the run was was boardered by the water with the other 20% following the road. You could not ask for a better setting for a race like this. We saw two sunsets and one sunrise over the course of the race. The course was concrete and some brick. The unforgiving nature of the sidewalk began to wear on your body over the 24hrs. The runners were able to stage their gear on a grassy area at the start line. This was nice as it promoted socializing with other racers and I actually met several new runners from my community. The runners had access to clean, large bathrooms which was very nice.

This race was both mentally and physically tough. The goal of the race is to run 1 mile every 30 minutes for a 24 hour period. You completed a total of 48 miles at the end of the period. Every mile had to be started and completed in that 30 minutes period, and there was no banking miles. I logged a total of 1,776 ft. of elevation gain for the 48 miles, so each loop was negligible. The race began at 7pm on Friday night and ended at 7pm on Saturday night. Personally the toughest mental part was between midnight and sunrise of the first night, the last few hours of the race, and the waiting. I ran between a 7-9min/mile on each loop. So that is approximately 15 minutes of waiting before lining up in the corral for the next mile. Sometimes it went by very fast, but most times it went by excruciatingly slow. And believe me your mind did not SHUT UP! Especially during that cold, windy, wet early morning. There was an amazing burst of energy for every racer at sunrise on Saturday morning. But Friday night was extremely difficult mentally and physically and I wanted to quit several times!

I had a night kit and day kit. Other than underestimating the cold Friday night/Saturday morning, my hear worked well. I started the race in Altra Escalante, changed to Luna Mono Gordo sandals after mile 32, and ended the race in Altra Duos. I refer real food nutrition on longer races, so I had black bean wraps, Pringle's Salt & Vinegar, and gummy bears. I had tailwind and water for hydration. I personally pushed every mile of the race. My goal was not to just participate but to run strong and I ultimately finished in the top 10% (official results have not been posted as of this date).

I recommend this race to anyone wanting to challenge themselves. It will test your toughness as long as you approach it with the intent to run hard every mile. I managed a 9:08 Avg. Pace for the 48 miles (that includes a celebratory walk for the last mile with friends).

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(2019)
"Longleaf Pine, Wire Grass and Sand for Days."
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Krul Lake is a spring fed, sandy bottom 6.5 acre lake and recreational area. It is part of the larger Blackwater River State Forest. Blackwater River State Forest is located roughly one hour drive from downtown Pensacola, Florida and is fifteen minutes from Milton, Florida. Milton has restaurants, a brewery and several access point to Blackwater River.

The race director is the owner of the local running store. They put on several races throughout the year. There is no expo since it is a local trail race. Packet pickup can be done the Friday before the race and the morning of the race. As it is located in a park area there is plenty of parking right at the start line. There was 166 registered runners for the this race. The race is professionally timed although there is only a chip reader at the start/finish line.

The course is really fun to run and has a lot to offer. The course is comprised of 2 thigh high water crossings (I'm 6ft) and 3 ankle deep water crossings. The trail is mostly wide enough for 2 runners side by side with a few sections of single track. The trail difficulty is upped because of the sandy terrain and significant roots. I use a Garmin 235 and logged 552 feet of elevation over the half marathon. The elevation gain is comprised of long, steady climbs.

This is a great local race with beautiful scenery. The race director provided food catered by a local bbq spot and music over the loud speaker. The swag is a nice quality t-shirt with the logo on the front with the sponsors and all the registrants names on the back, which I thought was a cool touch. The medal is wooden and in the shape of the race logo. The race ends at the lake and many participants, including myself, went for a post race swim! I was happy with my initial pace until mile 11 when I hit the brick wall so I missed my target time.

Race Time: 2:17:05
Race Pace: 10.09 min/mi

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(2019)
"WHO DAT! "
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The last few years I have limited my 5K race participation. However, I never pass up a chance to run a unique race venue. That is what the Saints Kickoff Run 5K was for me.

There is no expo. Only bib and shirt pick up the day before at the basketball arena in the new Orleans Business District. It was easy to get too and there was plenty of parking for the packet pickup. The medal was the Saints logo ( a black and gold fleur de lis) and the shirt was a middling quality performance shirt with "Saints" across the front. The shirt was white with black and gold accents. For a September race it was still very humid, but it is South Louisiana so it is expected.

Now the best part of the race, and the reason I ran it, is the starting line. The race begins on the 50 yard line inside the Super Dome. The owner of the team, Gayle Benson, several cheerleaders and a few past players were present at the start line. This was very cool!!

There was 5,609 runners for this race. The organizers broke the runners into several heats. Each heat began with a countdown and some pyrotechnics. Again, very cool. Now this is the only part of the race that was frustratingly disorganized. Each heat had its own section to sit in in the stadium. The jumbotron announced the heat that should be lining up at the starting line corral. It was slow and difficult getting from the seats to the corral because of bottlenecking. I ended up starting with two heats lower than my original placement. The route was a good view of NOLA's business district. It follows Poydras Street towards the river, left on Tchoupitoulas Street, cross Canal Street onto North Peters. You u-turn on N. Peters and return the same way back to Champions Square. The after party was in Champions Square outside of the Superdome. There was free, unlimited Dixie beer (a local brew). Basic post race snacks. Cold towels. A local cover band played as well.

Overall the race is worth doing at least once if you are in New Orleans or just a Saints fan because you get to start on the Superdome Field and the fun after party.

Race Time: 27:27 min.
Race Pace: 8:51 min/mi.

CHEERS!

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