Latest reviews by Dan Kittaka

(2014)
"Bobby Crim Knows Your Name"
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Flint, Michigan is notorious for violence per capita however to paraphrase a resident, the town comes together for the Crim Festival of Races.

Founded in 1977, by Bobby Crim, the race is known for its rich history of competitive fields with past racers including greats like Bill Rodgers, Greg Meyer, Benji Durden, Dick Beardsley, and more!

2014's field did not disappoint as I got totally trounced by men and woman alike. It was great!

The course winds through the rolling hills of Flint and presents a decent challenge to anyone hoping to run fast. My Flint acquaintance was right though, the townspeople were out supporting the runners throughout the course, old and young, black and white, Flint seemed to really appreciate the race and what it means for the town.

Next time, I'm waiting until I'm absolutely fit for a 10 mile race as this one is one of the best in the country.

Finally, I was greeted by none other than Bobby Crim at the finish. How cool is that! Also even though my bib said my full name, "Daniel," he called me Dan! Attached is a photo of the Bobby Crim statue that has been erected in his honor!

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(2014)
"A Decent Fitness Barometer"
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I've run this race three times: 2010, 2011, and 2014. It has been fun to see the event grow and evolve. It's a decent event overall: the course features a nice swath of the South Shore, and the event is pretty well managed as they had 2800 finishers start on a course that has a 120 degree turn in the first 400 meters.

It is difficult for me to comment with any real observations about the aid stations as I'm not sure what they were like when the course got crowded. It was a bit difficult at times to identify the contents of the cups as only some of the stations received water and Gatorade specific cups. They were also kind of short. I'm not sure if this is what people normally deal with or not.

Finally, a word to the wise, if you're looking to run fast, though the course is decently quick, it may be difficult to do so as I feel like this usually one of the first longer races that is held before anyone in Chicago has acclimated to running hard when it is hot out.

I typically use it as a barometer of fitness/workout going into a summer marathon build up.

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(2014)
"Grandma's Knows How to Spoil Marathoners"
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Grandma's Marathon is a fantastic event. I would venture to say it is a must-run event for the competitive marathoner. The event is well produced.

Quite surprisingly, the logistics of this point-to-point marathon were a breeze. Running along Lake Superior kept the weather ideal for marathon running and the support from volunteers and spectators was great: enough at good intervals. The coast line was pretty though shrouded in fog for most of my run.

The rolling course was as easy on the legs as a 26 mile race can be. Watch out for the cobble stones though in the last couple miles.

I stayed at St. Scholastica, however UM-D and UW- Superior also offer dorm rentals. You're locked in to two nights, but I felt it was worth it.

My biggest challenge was getting to the race. Traveling to a destination race that isn't in a major city can be a bit hairy. I ended up driving instead of flying last minute. Plan ahead and consider flying a day early if that's your mode of transport.

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(2014)
"Good Out of the Gate"
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This race felt like a "home" meet. The course is the typical 5k that starts at Montrose harbor, running north past Foster and back to the start, so nothing of note, but for me at least a very familiar stretch of real estate.

It was fun to see folks getting into the 70s theme with awesome t-shirts ("Stop Pre"), facial hair, and more! It was also neat to see a bunch of the Fleet Feet Sports Sales Associates get in on the action, running for different vendors: Nike, New Balance, Brooks, and Asics! Hopefully they'll expand this to the general population as I think it would be interesting to see how the different self-selected teams stack up!

Fleet Feet Sports is one of the few race production companies I trust will provide a good experience out of the gate and they didn't disappoint.

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(2014)
"Boston Love"
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While at its core, a running race, the Boston Marathon more so than any other race in which I've participated, reflects the hopes and dreams of the watching world, its host community, and its determined participants. The crowds celebrate the runners for their perseverance in pursuing their goals and the runners salute the crowds with great performances.

The event itself features some logistical challenges due to its point-to-point course. I took a Fleet Feet Sports/Adidas Boston365 charter bus (at 5:45 am for a 10am start) to Hopkinton and was able to wait inside the bus (to stay warm) until I started walking to the start corrals.

I've never been to a race with as deep a field as the 2014 Boston Marathon. It took me 45 seconds to start the race after the gun! This also made some of the early aid stations hard to spot as there were so many runners around! This isn't really a caveat as much as an observation. If you're going to run in the low 2:40s, be prepared to run with a crowd!

Last note, if you've run smart, the Newton Hills aren't tough climbs, what will get you is the fact that both halves of the course have significant descents to deal with and over the course of 26 miles your body will take a beating!

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