Latest reviews by Matthew Crooker

(2019)
"The Mack Daddy of them All!"
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The New York City Marathon was probably the greatest race I have ever participated in for numerous reasons. First, the scenery is a spectacle in itself. Crossing the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge from Staten Island into Brooklyn brought goosebumps! When I looked to my left and could see the Statue of Liberty, it was a breathtaking sight and I had to pinch myself to realize I was running the NYC Marathon! The crowds that gather in droves to watch the runner is also sight to be seen. I have never seen so many spectators for a running event in my life! When you feel down and out when you're approaching the finish, the crowd WILL bring you back to life and you'll finish stronger than ever! The aid stations were large in size and there was plenty of water/Gatorade at each mile. Lastly, the Expo was great! There were many vendors there and lots of swag to be had! I could not recommend this race enough, and if you are ever presented the opportunity to take part, DO NOT PASS IT UP!

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(2019)
"Fast Race for a Great Cause!"
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Great, fast course! The crowd support is evident early on in the race, but as you progress through the course, there are some spots where you are by yourself. This could be good or bad depending on if you feed off of the crowd. Aid stations were present every mile which is an added bonus. Parking for the race can be tricky since it is limited by the start line. Overall, if I had to choose a race for solely improving your Half PR, this race is it! There's barely any hills to slow you down, besides one towards the finish line. Lastly, the money raised for the race goes for a great cause. They have a Patient Champions at each mile to help keep you motivated. Be sure to give them a high five because I know when I did, I got faster! 😊

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(2019)
"U.S. Air Force Half Marathon"
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A great and challenging course! I loved the challenge of tackling the hills, because as everyone knows, they build character. The course was almost entirely in the open and exposed to direct sunlight. I mention this because there is not a water station every mile, so I would HIGHLY recommend bringing your own hydration to fight dehydration. I know in 2019, the temperatures were creeping up, and the humidity was high because of the thunderstorm that moved through between the 10k and the Half, so that didn't help either. The atmosphere of the race was fantastic! Everyone was supportive of each other before, during, and after! Loved that! If I had to recommend anything to make the experience better, I would have a water station at each mile. I think that would benefit all participants.

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(2019)
"I Want To Fly Like A Pig!"
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First and foremost, the Flying Pig holds a special place in my heart since it is my hometown race. When I ran the Half, I knew it was going to be challenging because the course is unique. It's mostly flat for the first 5 miles, despite the bridges going into and out of Kentucky, and then it goes 5 miles up hill (for the most part), and finished by going downhill for the last 3 miles. The scenery is great! You get to run through two states, and get to run by Cincinnati landmarks. The T-shirts are great from what you get for singing up. The aid stations are every mile and there is a stations where they give you energy gels to keep you fueled. The elevation gain is real for this race, but it's not rolling hills. Parking is a bit tricky since it is limited. If you have the chance to carpool, do it! A hint of advice would be to park in Kentucky and walk over one of the bridges to the start line. It helps for leaving too.

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(2019)
"Hills for Breakfast, Hills In My Dreams That Night!"
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Run the Bluegrass is probably the hardest Half Marathon I have ever ran in my entire life. It was also my first. When I signed up, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I saw it was "America's Prettiest" and I wanted to find out for myself. I recruited a friend of mine to join me, also his first Half Marathon. We heard and saw rumors that the race was hilly, but didn't think anything of it since we ran hills in Ohio, where we live. When we started the race, we thought to ourselves, "It can't be that bad?" Well after mile 3, we saw that the rumors and rumblings were real. It was nothing but hills! Right when we thought we would have a break... BOOM! Another hill! It got to the point where we lost count of the hills. We think there's over 30, but that might contribute to the myth! In terms of scenery, the race is beautiful! Watching the horses run on their respective farms was an alluring sight. The swag is great! There are endless choices to choose from. The water stations were plentiful and there's really no need to carry your own hydration. I highly recommend this race for not only its sights, but the challenge it presents as well.

P.S. the medals for this race are probably the best ones you can find anywhere!

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