Latest reviews by SHERRY BOESCH

(2021)
"Fun trail race"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
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Course Scenery
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Parking/Access
Race Management

While I've run several of DC Timing's races, and several at Waverly Park, this was my first time running Hotter Than July. Because we're still in COVID times, they offered in-person and virtual. If you did in-person (I did), you picked a wave. My husband, my friends, and I all picked the 9am wave.

I was a little irritated at first because they sent an email a few days before the race saying that all participants had to be there before the first wave at 7am. I understand why - parking is extremely limited at the park, and the start/finish was right by the parking lot. However, I wasn't planning to show up two hours before my wave, so I emailed back to tell them I couldn't. Apparently they received a lot of feedback about that, because the email that went out the day before the race simply asked folks to carpool (we did) and remind them to be careful and watch for runners.

Packet pickup was the day of the race, and we were expecting it to be hard to find someone since we didn't start until 9am. However, as soon as we walked up to the picnic table, two volunteers met us and got us set up. I started to get irritated again because the volunteer who helped me saw that I ordered a small shirt, and she thought she had given away the last small, but she found one. One of my friends also ordered a small, and the volunteer ended up giving her her shirt. I'm guessing this happened because people wanted to trade shirt sizes, but I would assume they would wait until everyone had picked up their packet before they let anyone trade. I definitely would've been upset if they hadn't had my size that I specifically requested.

We were about 20 minutes early, and they told us we could start whenever we wanted, so we headed out. The trail was well marked with arrows, which I definitely appreciated. I get lost easily! My friends and I did the 1/4 marathon and there was also a 1/2 marathon option that was just a second loop, so several folks passed us doing their second loop. We encountered one aid station that had water and some fruit in little cups. I normally don't stop at aid stations but I loved having a chunk of watermelon mid race!

We definitely took our time on the trail so I wasn't expected there to be much fanfare when we finished, but several people had hung around and they clapped and cheered for us when we finished. Women from our running group were volunteering and handed us our medals. The last few DC Timing races, the shirts have been lesser quality, so I was happy to see that these shirts were their famously soft tee-shirts that I've gotten used to.

Overall it was a good race and a fun time!

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(2021)
"Loved participating virtually!"
Overall
Race Management
SWAG
Virtual Support

I didn't have the gorgeous scenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains for my virtual 10k, but I decided to run my race in Iroquois Park, which has several rolling hills. Participants in the virtual race could run theirs anytime April 1-30, but I ran mine the same day as the in-person race. The race directors sent out a helpful email a couple weeks prior with lots of great information. The communication detailed how to upload virtual results and notified us that swag would be mailed out after April 30. I can't review the swag yet, but was definitely impressed with how communicative the management was.

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(2021)
"Well run and organized live race in COVID times!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

In order to safely hold the event in-person this year, the race organizers had to do things a little differently. Instead of everyone racing on the same day, they spread the half marathon across four days (Thursday, April 22 – Sunday, April 25) and the marathon was held on Saturday, April 24. Runners signed up to start at a specific time. While I don’t remember the timeframe, I think it was something like 7 – 11:30am. There were waves every 15 minutes and a maximum of 50 runners per wave.

When I had to pick, I had no idea if I would be vaccinated by race day (spoiler alert – I was!), so I purposely picked Thursday at 8:45am hoping it would be the least crowded.

Packet pickup was a drive-thru event spread across three days. Because I went on the first day and the only weekend day for packet pickup I thought it might be crowded, but there was no wait at all! Volunteers directed every car to one of the tents, and after verifying our identities, we were given our bags.

One thing that wasn’t well advertised – and about the only complaint I have about this year’s race – was that parking in the Lynn Family Stadium lot was $10.

Our corral wasn’t crowded at all – maybe 15 people total. The marshal explained that we needed to keep our masks on but as soon as we crossed the start line, we could take them off. He apologized that there was no horn or fanfare, and that he would simply yell, “Go!” when it was time. And then it was time!

The course this year was different since the race was spread over four days. This year, after leaving the stadium, we ran across the Big Four Bridge and made our way to the Greenway, which runs along the Ohio River. I wasn’t especially excited about the course, but one good thing about an out and back is that you pass other runners – which means you can cheer each other on. And I did just that! Nearly every runner I passed, I told them, “Great job!” or “Way to go!” Seriously – that was the best part of the race.

Overall, I thought the race was incredibly well run and organized. I’m glad I ran on Thursday because it wasn’t crowded at all. Other than the charge for parking, my only other complaint is that I’m not a fan of the shirt. The design shows the four bridges in downtown Louisville, and it’s forest green. I love green, but what do you wear with forest green? Regardless, I’ll definitely run this again.

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(2021)
"Awesome swag!"
Overall
Race Management
SWAG
Virtual Support

This was my first time running the Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k. In Louisville, it's the final race in a three-race series, and the 15k was a perfect fit in my half marathon training plan.

One thing that impressed me right away was that the swag arrived early - and there's a lot! You get a super nice jacket (with a removable hood), a cool medal (unlike any other medal I have), a couple pieces of dark chocolate, two packets of hot chocolate mix, and some Nuun. Everything was very on brand!

Submitting my time was also super easy. As I mentioned above, this is part of a three-race series and you have to submit all three times at the same time, but the process was flawless. I'll definitely run this race again - hopefully in person!

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(2021)
"At least the medal is cool"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

This is the third and last trail race in a series and I chose to do it virtually. Unfortunately, due to the date I had to submit my time and the unlucky weather streak we had, I had to run it in five inches of snow. Not fun, but it definitely challenged me. Yesterday, we received our swag – a hat and medal. The hat is…interesting. It seems they kept with the 90s clip art theme they used for the t-shirts in the other two races in the series. I’ll likely the donate the hat. I’m not impressed at all. The medal is a different story. It’s the whole reason I decided to do the virtual series in the first place. It magnetically connects to the medals from the Harrod’s Creek and Waverly Park races, and it’s so pretty! I’m usually not the person who races for the medals, but this one is an exception. Will I do this race series again? Likely, especially when life is back to normal and I feel comfortable participating in a live race. DC Timing knows how to put on fun races, and there’s usually donuts and coffee at the end. I do hope they’ll rethink their swag and revisit the t-shirts from a couple of years ago. They were incredible soft, colorful, and had great graphics.

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