Latest reviews by Angela Gillis

(2021)
"A fun virtual experience"
Overall
Race Management
SWAG
Virtual Support

This is one of my favorite races to run each year, but this year it went virtual. The virtual experience was amazing. There was an option for in-person packet pickup or a mailed packet. Since I live several hours away from Austin, I got the mailed packet. You could run the race anytime between April 11 - 30, 2021.

I ran my race on April 11, but I didn't get my packet until the following day in the mail. No biggie. It's about the mindset and getting it done. The only bummer about it is I missed all the fun swag in the packet. There was a finish line tape to run through for your finish, and a chalk stick to mark your starting line and have others write messages along your route. We may have missed the in-person experience, but race management supplied us with everything to create our own experience beyond a t-shirt, bib, and medal.

Austin in hilly, and I got the the easy end in southeast Texas. Everything is nice and flat here, and the weather was nice. All in all, it was a great virtual experience, but I look forward to running it in person next year. 10 out of 10 for creating a great experience with some great swag.

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(2020)
"Great race with tree views"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I ran this race for the first time in 2019 and was impressed. The Woodlands Marathon/Half Marathon is the last race I ran in 2020, and it was a great experience. The race is well organized and with a good number of people running the race. As a back of the packer, I never felt alone. I love running this race on the tree-lined huge streets because it doesn't feel like you're running through a large city. It's a great way to run a city with a rural race feel.

The expo:
You must pick up your packet the day before at the race expo if you don't pay for the minimal race day pickup. The race day pick up sells out fast, so if you want it and it's available, get it. The expo is small and takes just a few minutes to get through, but there are lots of freebies along the way. I got some "race dots," a number holder belt, and a visor. The swag for this race is great. The finisher shirt is one of my favorites.

Area to stay:
There are many hotels near the start line. The prices vary for what you're willing to pay. I waited until the week of the race to get my hotel, and it was less than a mile from the expo/start, and the price was reasonable. Staying closer was the best decision I made because finding parking on race day is difficult, and you have to get there EARLY. Many locals run this race, so many people are looking for parking spots.

The race:
There are corrals at the start, which are genuine. The corrals have opening and closing times. The race always starts on time, and as I mentioned before, there is a significant number of people who run this race. The streets are wide so that you won't be running on top of people and there isn't any jam up at the start. You are running on roads, and it's not the most exciting but running through The Woodlands and finishing on the Waterway is nice. The aid stations were always ready with water.

The finish:
The finish is my favorite part of the race finishing on the Waterway and everyone cheering you. It's very serene and an excellent finish in a pretty place. The finish area is large, and there's a lot of food to enjoy—tacos, ice cream, beer, pizza, and of course, your finisher shirts. There are many tables to sit down to eat, and it's a great party on The Waterway. There is a lot of walking involved to get back to your car, but it's nice to have a bit of recovery. The atmosphere is family fun in the end. It's an overall great experience. The medal and finisher shirt are some of the best around. There are no dinky medals here.

Run this race if you can. The price tag is a bit steep, but it has all the perks you want in a race.

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(2019)
"Hardest of the Bridge series"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

If you're going to run this race, run the series. This is the HARDEST of my the bridge races. It's a steep incline on the bridge and the four passes you have to make on it are challenging. That being said, it's nice to run this race and the parking situation is the best. Get there early and you don't have to worry about a thing.

There's not much to say about running this 10k. It's challenging and you'll feel accomplished at the end. The shirts are nice and simple which is a plus. The medals have always been nice, but the bonus comes with running all the races in the series. The race benefits The Bridge over Troubled Waters charity: https://www.bridgeotw.org/.

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(2019)
"More than a race, it's an experience."
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
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Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
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Everyone talks about SeaWheeze, and I tried several times to get in...and I finally did. My biggest advice is to enjoy the WHOLE weekend. It's an experience and more than a race. Yes, it's a money grab for Lululemon and the Lulu fans, but it's a great experience. There's yoga, panels, exhibits, and just a chill crowd of people. The race was the cherry on top.

There is a lottery to get into this race, so may the odds be in your favor. If you get it but are on the fence, make it work and GO. Every participant receives Lulu shorts before the race. Everything at the race is planed out and monitored by your wrist band. You sign up for time slots before you arrive and make the schedule that works for you. The shop is a big draw for everyone. People were running around in there, picking up lots of clothing. If you're into that thing, you better get an early slot in the store. Everything is planned before you get there, the schedule is seamless, and all you have to do is scan your wrist band to get into everything. There's hair braiding, bra fittings, shoe insert fitting, and so much more. Of course, there's lots of YOGA. Do the yoga even if you're not into that thing. It's part of the experience.

I didn't stay downtown in Vancouver because I traveled by myself, and it was expensive. Next time, I will remain downtown. I missed many events because I wasn't nearby, and I missed a bit of the experience. SeaWheeze is the most organized race weekend.

Race day was easy. I had to take a cab because no public transportation was running that early in the morning—no big deal. The race experience wasn't competitive, but more like a festive party. People talked to each other and cheered for each other. The race was peaceful and fun, and the scenery was beautiful. I'm not a Vancouver native, which was my first time there, so it was nice to see city sights on foot. The weather was perfect for running. It was a wonderful experience.

At the finish, I received a Lululemon hat and a fabulous medal. Then there was a post-run breakfast with chia seed pudding and banana bread. There weren't many places to sit, but everyone was happy and smiling with their new friends. I can't speak more highly about this race.

The post-race party was later at Vancouver City Park. Shuttles from were downtown took participants and family members to the Sunset Festival. It was simple and easy. There was more yoga and a concert that night. It was great to be with friends and talk about the weekend. You have to pay for the things at the festival, but it was just the cherry on top of a beautiful weekend.

For more information on my SeaWheeze experience, watch my videos:
My SeaWheeze Experience - Day 1: https://youtu.be/T8lFNv02xdo
Tips for Running SeaWheeze: https://youtu.be/kbRDcJ0tvDo

SeaWheeze is a race you must do. When the lottery opens, enter the hunt to get in. You won't regret it. Don't miss out.

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(2019)
"The PIG is hard but FUN race."
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
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Race Management

I've run this race several times, but this was my first time running the marathon. I actually did the 5k/10k and marathon. The swag for this race is unbelievable and the BEST. I feel like this is the last living race expo. The expo was large and there are lots of vendors. It was a good family time.

The parking for this event isn't ideal. Arrive earlier than what you think you should. I almost missed the race start in previous years. It's best to stay downtown if you're doing the whole weekend. I know the hotels are more expensive, but it's worth it. It's impossible to find food in downtown Cincinnati the night before the race. Everywhere was packed and taking forever and it wasted our time a bit.

Highlights of the race:
I enjoyed the doing the whole race series and getting the extra swag. Running the 5k and 10k one day and the marathon the next day was murder on the legs, but so much fun.

The excitement of the race is felt in the air and it's just a good time. Being able to run in Kentucky and Ohio is always fun.

I'm from the land of the flat, so this race was hilly. When I thought I had reached the top of the hill, it just kept going. I enjoyed the challenge.

The medical assistance on the course is amazing. I was running with a few people who needed assistance and they were quick to help and there were many of these stations along the marathon route.

This is one of the best finish lines I've ever encountered, even as a back of the packer.

I enjoyed this race so much and being in the environment of the pig. Run this race if you can, you won't regret it.

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