Latest reviews by Dee Brandes

(2019)
"PR City!"
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The highlight of the expo was hearing Deena Kastor speak. I was also able to meet her afterwards. I love that this sport offers us these opportunities. I think I could spend all day at expos.
Swag: the shirts were low quality and ugly, in my opinion. This was a PR race for me so I'll cherish the swag for that reason but the shirt is just not my style. My husband did the half marathon and loves his t-shirt, so to each their own. Upon finishing, we were given a race hat and medal, both very nice.
We stayed at a Holiday Inn by the Lucas Oil Stadium and had a short walk to the start/finish. I highly recommend staying within a mile walk from the start/finish. It was 28° when the race started. I wore several layers of clothes that I discarded before the gun went off. Aside from the cold, the weather cooperated with the exception of a head wind in the later miles.
The Course:
Super flat. Lots of people qualified for the Olympic Trials that day. Very competitive field. The course offered lovely views of Indianapolis in autumn. There were more spectators than I expected with the chilly temps. Lots of great energy. Outstanding finish line.
Post race food options were lacking. The only warm food was pizza which looked a bit spent. I was also a bit spent and once the chills set in, I was ready to hobble back to the hotel. The race was a very positive experience for which I'm quite thankful. If you're on the fence and enjoy bigger races, go for it! Indianapolis is a fun city to explore.

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(2019)
"Fast & fun"
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Packet pick up was organized and easy at a local running store. There was a little traffic on race day morning so give yourself extra time to find parking and walk to the start. The course was flat and fast with the only hiccup being navigating around some of the quarter marathon walkers on the homestretch. The course went through Glacier Ridge Park which provided a little shade. Great energy at the finish line. It's August so it was a warmer race. Nice race tank and cooling towel.

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(2019)
"Boston knows how to hold a race!"
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Boston rolls out the red carpet for all of its runners. Everyone is treated like an elite. I love the expo and try to listen to as many speakers as possible. This year my favorite session included Meb, Deena and Ryan Hall in a panel discussion. So inspiring to hear these runners talk about their journey. My husband has to talk me into leaving so as to not spend too much time on my feet.
The swag in 2019 was a high quality long sleeved tech shirt. I picked up my first Adidas Celebration jacket as the colors were awesome for this race. I did Boston in 2016 as well and the jackets were awful that year! If you go to Boston, ya gotta get a jacket!
I encourage anyone doing this race to stay in Boston. Part of the experience is taking the bus to Hopkinton and hanging out in the Athlete's Village Village beforehand. You will meet so many runners from around the world and I love thinking about how our common thread is that we're all so passionate about this sport. We have all gone to great lengths to toe this line. Boston is a dream that comes true with 30,000 other dreamers! Most runners are balancing jobs and families with training their tails off so the accomplishment arriving at the starting line is no small feat!
You can hear the college kids in Wellesley cheering much before you can see them. Save some energy for the hills in Newton. Heartbreak Hill is amazing because you have a ton of people cheering for you! My favorite part of the course is running down the the other side of Heartbreak Hill. You got it from there. And then that Citgo sign is just so dang big! Such a welcome sight!
The whole course is lined with spectators and there's something unique about this group. I've done my share of big races and I can honestly say that the way these fans support the runners is really special. It's Patriot's Day so the kids have the day off school...they're all out there rooting for you too. I get so much energy from the spectators...especially the kids. If you high five one of them, 10 more will stick out their enthusiastic little hands. It's the sweetest thing ever.
Few things are finer then turning onto Boylston Street for the home stretch. Slow down a bit and take it all in. Enjoy every single mile on race day. You earned it.
Getting to Boston requires a lot of focus and commitment. Is it worth it? Absolutely.

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(2019)
"I love everything about this event!"
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Special Olympics athletes will lead participants in reciting the Special Olympics Athletes Oath before the event begins. I love knowing that proceeds go to support their endeavors in Delaware and Richland Counties. The race is held inside Delaware State Park and parking is a not an issue. The Race Directors are some of the finest people you'll meet. Both seasoned ultra runners with hearts of gold. Distances offered are 10 miles and a 30k. The course is nontechnical and fairly flat and includes a couple small stream crossings. Nothing crazy. It has a tendency to get muddy, but it IS a trail race after all. This event is close to St. Patrick's Day and the Irish heritage is definitely celebrated. Sometimes there is a kilt division! If you're lucky enough to place in your age group, you will receive an awesomely unique trophy. The swag is among my favorite from all races I've done. In the past, a flask was included in the swag. In 2019, we were given a t-shirt, a high quality winter hat, a bucket, bumper sticker and free (well done!) race photos. Of course, there are stocked aid stations and post race treats too. Both distances sell out very fast so be ready to register at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve!

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(2018)
"My kinda town."
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Excellent expo! Got to meet Paula Radcliffe. Heard Joan Benoit Samuelson speak. Great race t-shirt. We used the free shuttle service to get to the Expo. We like to stay within a mile of the starting line as it makes race morning much easier. There were plenty of volunteers to help you find your corral. Super fun & fast course with tons of crowd support. If you like big races, this race is for you. Do not expect your first mile to be as quick as you'd like. It takes a mile or so for the course to open up enough to easily navigate around others. Read up on all of the historical sights you will be running past as this city has a lot of history to share. The finish line is outstanding. I'm so glad the wind waited until the tail end of my race to act up. This was my 2nd Chicago Marathon and I hope to return again someday.

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