Latest reviews by Katie Fox

(2020)
"Cute local trail 5k!"
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The McKaig Nature Trail 5k is a small, but well organized local trail race. Bib and tee shirt pickup happened the morning of the race, and was smooth and quick. The RD shared a few announcements, and then had runners line up in pairs. He then let runners start with 10-15 seconds between each pair, to allow for adequate spacing/social distancing. The route starts behind an elemantary school, and then climbs into the McKaig Nature Center. This was a fun route, with lots of climbing! The trails were well maintained and marked. The route ended at the start. There were no finisher awards (medal, etc), only those who placed in their age group were awarded medals. There were snacks and water available. Parking was easy! I would recommend this as a low-pressure, local trail race.

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(2020)
"Fun and challenging rail trail race!"
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Pine Creek Challenge was my first race in the COVID-era of racing. I originally signed up for the 50 miler, but dropped to the marathon distance after a weak summer of training. The expo took place the night before at a local sporting good store. It was small, and included swag pickup and an opportunity to shop the store. Bib pickup happened race morning at the start line. This was easy and simple, there was lots of parking, and the volunteers were friendly and helpful.
About 10 minutes before the start, the RD pulled together the group and shared a few announcements about the course and aid stations. Without much fan fair, we were off!
The course follows the Pine Creek Trail, an old rail road that runs through Pine Creek Gorge. The area was beautiful! The terrain was gravel and dirt, so not a true trail race, but more challenging than a road race. There were 2 aid stations in the marathon distance; one at mile ~4 and one at mile ~8. The marathon turned around at the halfway point and returned to the start, providing 2 more opportunities to stop for water and snacks.
The finish line was small, but enthusiastic! Finishers of the marathon distance were awarded a pretty wooden metal, and an opportunity to grab snacks.
Overall, this was a nice race. The views were terrific and the RD and volunteers were friendly, helpful, and encouraging.

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(2019)
"Nice local half!"
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I have run the Philadelphia Half Marathon twice and really enjoyed it both times. The expo is nice; lots of vendors and branded race gear, and bib pickup is a breeze. The start line can be crowded, and lines for porta-potties can be long, but there has been a heated tent in the past for keeping warm and waiting for the race to start.
The race loops through the city, showing runners the best parts of Philadelphia, before heading out to West Fairmount Park. Crowds can be thin outside the city, but local running clubs have big cheer zones and there's never a stretch without support. Aid stations are frequent and well stocked with water and electrolyte drinks, and some with gels.
The race ends by running past Boathouse Row on Kelly Drive and up past the Art Museum. The finish line is a party! Lots of spectators cheering and an enthusiastic announcer.

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(2019)
"Dirty German 25k"
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The Dirty German Endurance Fest is one of the best race experiences in the Philadelphia region. The RD, Stephen, works hard to provide a terrific race with outstanding support! I ran the 25k distance, which is one loop around the park. The 50k is two loops, the 50 mile is 2 loops plus a little extra. Bib pickup is the morning of the race, at the start/finish line. Parking at the park is relatively easy, so it was quick to pickup my bib. The race shirt was a high quality long sleeve tech zip up shirt, with the Dirty German logo.
The only downside to this race is that it's very popular and can be crowded for the first mile or two as folks settle into their paces on the trail. After that, it's terrific! The aid stations are better than any race; hot food, snacks, homemade PB&J sandwiches, etc. Everything trail and ultra runners love!
Pennypack Park trails aren't super technical, but the woods are nice and it's a pretty course. The race ends where it started with a live band and hot food.
This is one of my favorite races for a reason!

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(2019)
"Tough and technical trail race!"
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The Charlie Horse Half Marathon is a trail race outside Reading, PA. Bib pickup is the morning of the race. Bib pickup happens at the finish line, and there's an option to take a bus to the start or get dropped off. Bib pickup was easy, and the race tech tee shirt was nice! The race starts in a park where there's an immediate water crossing - fun! It's a true trail race with lots of climbing, water, and mud. The aid stations were well stocked with treats (oreos FTW!) and basics, and the volunteers were very friendly. The route ends at another park where there was a BBQ, live music, and a hose to wash off the mud. This is a fun and small trail race that I would recommend to anyone who doesn't mind getting a bit dirty!

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