Latest reviews by Kauser Bhaila

(2022)
"All Along The Coast"
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I ran the Half marathon and had a great time!

My friend and I traveled to the race from PA. Gulfport/Biloxi airport was a quick 20 minute ride to the partner hotels or other hotels in the area. We stayed at the Beau Rivage and it was beautiful and right across from the shuttle stop and finish line!

We walked to Margaritaville for the packet pick up. A nice 30 minute walk along the shore. The packet pick up included bib pick up, a fun photo booth and official merchandise. we explored the hotel a bit and got a ride back to our hotel. Had dinner nearby, lots of nice restaurants to choose from. Reservations highly recommended.

Race morning was super early. We had to take a bus to the start line which start at 5 am. Well organized and it was pretty easy to get there from the Beau Rivage. Got to start line in about 20 minutes. getting the 5:30 bus gave us plenty of time to warm up, stretch and use the porta johns plenty of times :) Gear check was available and again very well organized.

We lined up around 6:30 and took off right on time at 7 am. Nice straight and flat road to Biloxi until mile 11 where the only elevation of the course makes an appearance. A bridge! The course itself was pretty with the gulf shore the entire way! it was a hazy day but I'm sure its even nicer on a sunny day. A nice down hill finish to the MGM park and you can see yourself on the jumbo tron!

The post race food was amazing! there was shrimp Gumbo!!! Also pulled pork sandwiches, coke, core power shakes and beer. They give you so many tickets for the food! Another plus FREE pictures!

Definitely recommend this race for a fast, flat, fun, beautiful course! Very well organized and great swag! My friend had a massive PR!

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(2022)
"Snagged my 2nd best time in state #17"
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This was my first race as a Bibrave pro and first time in Hilton head, SC. I got into Hilton Head on Friday afternoon, rented a car and drove to The Palmetto running club where the packet pickup was held. It was a very quick process and the volunteers was so friendly and even gave me tips on where to eat :) Although there was no traditional expo, the running store had some nice deals just for the Hilton Head marathon weekend, and I walked out with a new shoe that I got 50% off.

For dinner I met up with 2 other Bibrave pros, which was so fun. WE had some great pasta at Pomodori Italian eatery.

Race started at 8 am, which is so nice! race start was at Jarvis Creek Park and there was plenty of parking available at a high school which was just a short walk away. Perfect way to warm up. Race started promptly and I was able to get my race pace going early on. The route is out and back, starting at the park, going onto a bike path across a bridge on highway and back again and finish at the park. There is a nice lake at the park where you can enjoy the food/drink and makes a great photo opp. The Bridge was the only significant elevation on the course ( according to my Garmin, total Ascent was 361 feet, for a Half marathon that is not bad at all) Starting Temperature was 45 degrees and I was cruising along great, it did jump to 60 when I finished with my 2nd best time of 1:54:09 :D The race was small with 310 half finishers this year, but had plenty of volunteers to guide us on the course and at aid stations. Crowd support was mainly at aid stations and finish but there were some who drove and parked their cars on some sections of highway and that was greatly appreciated. There were enough aid stations throughout the course (6 for the out and back) and some included Nuun, porta stops ( thankfully I didn't need them) and one with energy gels.

After finishing there was Pizza available, which was a super plus in my book and each runner got 2 free beers! I got to talk to some other runners and was able to cheer on everyone who was doing the full marathon and going for the 2nd loop of course.

As race swag I love the quarter zip fleece lined pull over and a simple yet beautiful embossed medal! Another nice tough was we got free race pictures!

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(2022)
"A FREE RACE!!"
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I happened to find this race when I was researching races and couldn't believe it was completely free. They just asked to bring some canned goods for donations for the food drive.

I drove with friends on Friday for the Saturday morning race that started at 8 am. There was no Expo and the bib pick up was on the morning of race. Very easy access to race start, plenty of parking. The start/finish area was the same by the beach and very nice.

This race is notorious for being hot and this year was no different. It was very humid to begin with and got hot very early on. There were plenty of aid stations and even water hose provided by community members. Many rolling hills and not too much shade. The scenery was mainly the neighborhoods with beach views at the beginning and end. Close to 1000 people ran this year and although not too much crowd supports on course I never felt lonely.

Great race organization overall, and even get a nice medal. No t-shirt but we had the option of buying one on race morning for $10. We got to speak to race director and everyone in the team was very nice. Great after party and we hung out at the bar right on the beach for a long time. Finishing by the beach on a hot day meant we could go right in the ocean to cool off.

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(2022)
"A Dream Marathon"
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My one friend and I had a very bumpy start for this weekend with a flight delay so much that we couldn't make the expo. Thankfully our other friend had gotten there earlier and picked up our bibs. From what I heard the Expo was really great!

Morning was pretty smooth, we stayed at the Holiday Inn which is the partner hotel and the shuttle bus pick up was right across, where we walked to on the connecting bridge from hotel to convention center. The train would have been super fun but we missed that getting by maybe a minute. We got on the bus around 5 am and it took us about 30 minutes to get to start line village. everyone running either half or full have to take the bus to the start line.

At start area it was very lively with music and everyone warming up or standing in porta potty lines. We had enough time to do the porta lines 2x :) If there is anything In would add to race would be more portas.

The start was amazing with jets flying overhead and national anthem playing. everyone lines up at based on paces. No corrals and it was one start after the elites and wheel chair athletes took off.

The start of race was a bit narrow but opened up pretty fast. first couple of miles was just nice getting into the groove and both sides were tree lined. There was a porta Potty starting at mile 1 even though the aid stations didn't start until mile 3. At half way point you all the portas that the half marathons had and was a great quick stop for me since there were no lines at all. All aid stations had water and Powerade and I think mile 17 or so had maple syrup gels. I just used mine so not too sure exact mileage on that. suddenly around that time you see the first glimpse of the lake and it was just beautiful!! we Ran along the Lake with views pretty much the whole time and it was amazing! The crowds started at mile 5 and I was surprised how many people had come out, The spectators were just amazing and at all the right spots to bring energy and I felt when there weren't any people it was just what was needed to dial down on pace. The volunteers were absolutely so nice and friendly!

Towards the last miles we get into town and there was crowd support at many spots. The college cheer section was so fun! I didn't think I would be laughing towards the end of a marathon. I knew I had yet to conquer "The Lemon Drop Hill" at mile 22 and kept thinking about it but it really wasn't bad and again the crowds made it feel much easier than I had worked it up in my head.

The energy in the last bit was so so wonderful and made me run my fastest mile! Great organization at finish line and nice after party. We didn't hang around much because it got super cold. I bought some merchandise at the tent and headed back to the hotel.

Grandma's Marathon is known to be a bit warm and humid, and although at the start till about mile 10 it seemed like it might get warm the weather turned to be perfect race conditions. It got cooler and had a nice Breeze. The wind actually was in my face the last two miles which wasn't ideal but no one can control that!

This was my 2nd marathon after years of setbacks and it was just so amazing! All stars aligned for me to start and finish this race feeling strong the entire way ending in negative splits at 4:14:37 a 45 minute PR and a very emotional finish! State number 18 at MN was definitely a great experience. I loved that the race shirts were finisher shirts and we got it after finishing along with the beautiful medal!

Duluth is such a nice town and we had lunch at the Grandma's Saloon and Grill where it was packed with racers.

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(2022)
"Top Notch "
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I flew into Houston on Saturday morning, A friend had picked up my bib but I checked into my hotel (JW Marriot Downtown) and walked to the convention center, which was about a half mile away where the expo is. Greta expo with picture opportunities, name wall and a lot of vendors. You could spend a lot of time in there. I collected some samples, took some pictures. The t-shirt is a finisher shirt so was only given after race finish. I thought that was really special.

Race morning, runners get to stay in the convention center and walk out to start line that was about another 1/2 mile. I left the center around 6:40 for a 7am corral close. I have never seen so many porta potties at a start before! Inside the convention center it was a never ending wall of portas and the lines were so quick because of that. They even had extra toilet paper towers :) There was a Gatorade/water station in there too. on the way to corral I made another stop at the "last minute" portas they had just before the corrals. This race they actually checked who was getting in the corrals and if we had the right bib, that was pretty impressive too considering the 33000 race field.

Marathoners and Half marathoners start together and stay till almost 8 miles. No pacers for half but can stay with marathon pacer group if anyone wanted. The energy running with so many was amazing. It was a chilly day, starting at feel like temperatures of 28 degrees. There were so many volunteers, aid station every 1.5 miles and medic stations. Some course entertainment and plenty of crowd support. The course itself was flat and so many straight roads that makes it a PR friendly course. I was able to snag a PR, and seems like many did this year, including the American marathon and half marathon records! The PR bell line was long :)

After finish we walk right back into the convention center where the family reunion area is. Also a huge medical are that looked like a mini hospital. They were amazing, Due to severe cramps right after finish I had to be wheeled into medical so that was a first time for me. The convention center even had a changing area dedicated to men and women for after the race. Right outside the center in the green area was the after party with many vendors and the PR bell.

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