Latest reviews by Erin Tierney

(2016)
"When 10K turns into 12K of marvellous trail running"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
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Course Scenery
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Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
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This was my first trail race and I couldn't have picked a better one! While this was first advertised as a 10K (the race also has 22K/35K options), the organisers let everyone know closer to the day that it was going to change to an 11K run, but on the day I clocked 12K exactly.

The race itself is held at Raffertys Resort at Cam's Wharf, about halfway between the Central Coast and Newcastle on the NSW Coast.

Expo: There was a small village atmosphere on the lakefront of Raffertys Resort, with a couple of food stalls, thermatech (sponsor) and registration. It was easy to pick up my bib prior to the race. There was a line of portaloos near the village.

Parking: The area is inside a holiday resort, so parking is limited. I ended up seeing all the cars parked in the nearby roads and found a spot in a public park carpark. Ended up walking about 1km to the start line, I had 10mins spare to the pre-race briefing!

Course: I wasn't too sure about the trail course prior to running, a look the night before showed a massive hill quite early on. The beginning of the course is a mix of trail and pedestrian path, then complete trail followed by trail/road at the end. I made sure that I had kept the energy levels at a right level while everyone left the start area like a bull out of the gate knowing that there were hills coming up. Overall the trails were quite enjoyable, nothing too hard (with the exception of the makeshift ladder and ropes to pull yourself up near the aid station) and nothing that a beginner couldn't handle! The only negative was a rude dirtbike riders who sprayed a fellow runner with debris as she said something to him, we reported it to the aid station and then I reported it to the solutions tent at the finish. It was nothing to do with the organisers of the race, but really brings it back how it's just yourself and your surroundings out there. Luckily the runner was ok, a bit shaken but she did finish.

The course was well marked with pink tape and arrows (crosses where you weren't meant to go). Volunteers were placed at areas such as roads and where the other courses continued and the 11KM course headed back. A few people seemed to get off track, but they came back easy. I was concerned that I'd get lost but didn't feel at any time that I was not on the right course.

Aid stations: Ok, so I've heard all about the aid stations at trail races and I may have been too conservative in taking some goodies when I first passed through - since I started to feel like I needed sugar a little up the road. I had my Orange Mud pack so was able to top up my drink bottles (no cups), there was also Tailwind available as well as a selection of fruit, lollies and potato chips. I tell you, those chips tasted amazing when I came through the second time.

Swag: Nothing at the beginning, but you ended up with a nice medal and a finisher's bag (including a bottle of local beer!) with a whole bunch of goodies which was nice.

I would definitely do this race again, it was completely enjoyable and I didn't feel that it was a stretch of my trail running experience. I'd be interested to hear about the extra km, but when you think about it - I paid for 10 and ended up with 12!

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(2016)
"It really is good times at the Gold Coast Half! "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Registration: Rego opened up in December for the July Marathon Weekend and was available online. I made it during the early bird rego - which was about $100 for the Half Marathon. There was no option to get your bib mailed out but there was several pick up (Check in centres) locations that you could choose from in the lead up to the event.

Expo: One of the biggest running events in the country definitely has one of the biggest expos! I turned up at open on the last day and was able to pick up my bib with no line. Once it's been picked up they check to see if the timer is working (the first expo to do this) and then let you loose on the vendors! The Asics booth (sponsor of the run) was the biggest with a mixture of both GCAM branded gear and standard Asics gear. There was a mixture of apparel and other races from neighbouring countries, it was really interesting to find out about some of the other races in Japan!

Swag: At the expo you got a reusable GCAM16 bag, and the vendors have a huge amount of samples (such as Gold Kiwifruit) that you can get. I took advantage of the Asics Pace band which I entered some information pre-expo and was able to print out a band specific to my goal.

Course: Amazing, flat and fast course! The Half Marathon starts off at Southport and heads north, along a scenic route through Biggera Waters and Runaway Bay (where you then take a left turn for a little out and back before hitting the main street), up to Paradise Point before turning around and making your way back towards Southport and the finish line! The course does detour on the way back at Labrador so you run along the water (elites actually don't run this way), before joining the street again at the final bridge before the final km.

The course is entirely on closed roads, with safety barriers along specific sections, especially around the race precinct. The crowd support was outstanding! It was great to see support from young and old, especially the folks outside the retirement village sitting there with the "Free Oxygen" signs!

Aid stations were plenty, although the first one you come across is actually for the Marathon so it isn't set up when you run past. The Half one is a little further up. They had a mix of Endura and Water, however it was quite warm as the morning progressed, and although the map said there was a station just after the 19K mark I thought that there should have been another station before the finish.

There were photographers on the course, and they took some awesome pictures with the sun rising along the beach.

Once you hit the 600m to go, you hit the race precinct complete with a 250m to go sign (which is actually a pedestrian overpass) and you enter the absolute finish with spectator seating and blue ground. It's a pretty awesome way to finish!

Once you finish you walk through to the post-race food (kiwi fruit/orange) and water. You then need to look for your respective size tent to pic up your finisher's shirt and medal.

From there you are spit out into the race precinct which is pretty big. I ended up going to the lost person's tent since I couldn't find my party (I ended up being faster than what I assumed) and they were great to let me borrow a phone to call them.

On a personal note: This was my goal race and I ended up getting a massive PR! I used the pace band and was able to make sure I was under the required pace. It was an enjoyable half marathon, possibly one of the best halves that I have ran!

I recommend this to anyone wanting to run a race in Australia - whether you are local or international. It's got a great international feel to it, and is a nice, flat course along the beach. Can't wait to run again next year!

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(2016)
"Bay to Bay - the Half Marathon version"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
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This is my third experience with the Bay to Bay Running Festival - the first two times I had completed the 12K race, this time I thought I'd tackle the Half Marathon, which has eluded me for 2 years!

Registration: Registration was online, however they were accepting registrations at packet pickup and I think even the morning of the race.

Expo: Packet pickup was held at the stadium where the finish line was. There was a local running shop stall set up selling all sorts of running gear but that was it.

Swag: No swag - you just received your bib & event shirt - there was no difference between the 12K & Half shirts this year (previous years had your event listed on the front).

Course: This was the second year of the new course, where the finish line is in the stadium. What is awesome is that it means that the half runners don't run part the finish line and then up a hill, but rather you keep to the left at the end and run around the lakefront for about 2km then head back to the stadium for the finish.

Where the 12K starts at the Woy Woy bridge and heads straight towards Gosford, the Half actually starts facing the opposite way, running along the lake in an out and back (which turns into grass at one stage) so you have about 8K under your belt before you hit the start line for the 12K. It does mean you'll be running in front of all the 12K runners. The rest of the course is flat, and mostly along the lake edge. There is a bit of a hill around the 13K/14K mark, but nothing too worrying.

Once you hit the parks you don't have that long to go, the race does make its way out to the main highway, then back into parkland before almost hitting the finish line. Once you hit that spot where the 12K heads to the finish line, it was a little crazy where the half runners are trying to finish and the people who had finished and walking back to their cars taking over the footpath. Once you get through the out and back portion and make your way around the stadium to the finish line, the half runners are pleasantly surprised with a medal!

From the finish line you head back into the race precinct which includes sponsor areas - where you can collect sample bags, and of course food!

This is one of my favourite races since this is local. I didn't have the best race myself, and mentally gave up when the 12K runners went past me. I also wasn't able to find myself in some of the pictures from the run (they packed up before I got there), and I was running a 2:41 half. There are real toilets once you get to the parks, which was great! It's cheap, and gets some great local support, it's definitely a must-do if you're in the region!

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(2016)
"The BEST 10K you could ask for! "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
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I'll cut straight to it. If you're looking for a 10K to run while enjoying the runDisney experience then hands down, this race is for you. I've done the Disneyland Half 10K twice and this course was far more enjoyable as it was entirely in the park (save for a few moments at the beginning).

Expo: Significantly smaller than WDW, you'll find all the major exhibitors here without the walking! Packet pickup is located underneath the Disneyland Hotel Convention Centre, with gear pick up located in the main expo room (along with the Speaker stage and the general race merchandise). All race bib, pre-ordered commemorative items, park tickets are charity tables are in one place which is extremely convenient, however can become crowded. As per runDisney guidelines, challenge runners need to get their picture taken at pickup so they're able to cross reference at the end of the final event.

Swag: You'll get the technical race shirt for the 10K (Challenge runners will get 3 shirts overall), gear bag and a mini Clif Bar. There's plenty of product samples from painkillers to Clif products to bananas from the exhibitors on the floor.

Course: This weekend's events all start the opposite way from the Disneyland Half & Tinkerbell Half start - heading up Disneyland Drive rather down towards Katella Ave. There's some slight road running before you turn off backstage past the Disneyland Admin buildings, down the side of Disneyland Park (look to your left and you'll see Harbor Blvd!) and coming out around the Tower of Terror before heading back into Disneyland Park. You'll run through the gates and then head backstage to appear in Tomorrowland and BAM! you've hit the 2 mile mark! It's a run through the castle up into Fantasyland, looping around the Matterhorn and through the "Darth Vader" tunnel (it's pretty cool) to Big Thunder Mountain. Once you get through Frontierland you've made it 3 miles, and you've still got California Adventure to go!

Running down Main Street is a completely different experience to running up it as you head out to the supporters lining the space between the two parks. Once inside California Adventure you'll head back towards Hollywood Land and out running a loop up through the tram turnaround points. 4 miles down and you're running behind Cars Land to come out beside Radiator Springs Racers. The colours of the pseudo mountains look amazing when the sun is rising, so definitely take it all in at this point!

After the mile 5 marker you're running around Paradise Bay (all lit up) back up past Grizzly River Run and onto Downtown Disney and to the finish line near the Disneyland Hotel.

NOTE: This course is pre-Star Wars land construction.

Aid Stations: There were three water stops and one medical tent along the course.
There were plenty of portaloos before the corrals and all restrooms are open in the park.

Atmosphere: There was atmospheric sounds being played through the park's speaker system (Star Wars themed of course) and a selected amount of characters were spread throughout the course (some static like R2D2 & BB8). These character stops were incredibly popular and the lines were closed earlier to ensure all runners weren't going to be swept. Additional to the character stops were prop scenes where you could put yourself in the movie - these had shorter lines.
There was also Star Wars themed projections on buildings which added to the overall theming of the event.

Post-race: Disney are great for herding runners through the finish line area. Once you pickup your medal you're encouraged to continue through to photos, medical and food. Food-wise you do get a runner's box full of goodies plus a water (and Powerade if you please).

Since the race area is central to the overall resort area there's no transportation required to get back.

This was a fun and fast course around both parks. I definitely think that this is the best configuration that they can possibly do to keep the kilometres within the property. While they'll change the course once Star Wars land is completed, if they keep the foundation; it will easily be the best course on the runDisney 10K roster!

2016 additional notes: runDisney has changed the process in getting to the corrals at Disneyland and all runners must clear through bag check prior to entering the corrals. Where previously you could just walk straight to the corral, you must now enter through Downtown Disney and loop back down Disneyland Drive.

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(2016)
"Another fun half on a flat, fast course"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management
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Expo: Significantly smaller than WDW, you'll find all the major exhibitors here without the walking! Packet pickup is located underneath the Disneyland Hotel Convention Centre, with gear pick up located in the main expo room (along with the Speaker stage and the general race merchandise). All race bib, pre-ordered commemorative items, park tickets are charity tables are in one place which is extremely convenient, however can become crowded. As per runDisney guidelines, challenge runners need to get their picture taken at pickup so they're able to cross reference at the end of the final event.

Swag: You'll get the technical race shirt for the half (Challenge runners will get 3 shirts overall), gear bag and a mini Clif Bar. There's plenty of product samples from painkillers to Clif products to bananas from the exhibitors on the floor.

Course: This weekend's events all start the opposite way from the Disneyland Half & Tinkerbell Half start - heading up Disneyland Drive rather down towards Katella Ave. There's some slight road running before you turn off backstage past the Disneyland Admin buildings, down the side of Disneyland Park (look to your left and you'll see Harbor Blvd!) and coming out in Tomorrowland. It's a run through through Fantasyland and the "Darth Vader" tunnel (for the second time if you're a challenge runner) down to Big Thunder Mountain. You'll run up through the castle, around the Matterhorn and back down through Main Street.

Then onto California Adventure! Crossing into the second park you'll run past Grizzly River Run, around Paradise Pier and up towards Tower of Terror. This is the final park kilometres before heading out to Harbor Blvd and completing the rest of the course on the streets of Anaheim.

When you hit Katella Ave, you'll notice that the course is an out and back type - the race leaders are making their return on your right. You keep on Harbour until you get to Garden Grove, where you complete a loop including making your way down a different kind of Main St (it's really cute) and then back along Euclid Ave, Chapman Ave and finally back onto Harbor Blvd for the remaining 2.1 miles. I do prefer this entry to the finish line from Disneyland Drive and through Downtown Drive than the Disneyland Half course that takes you through the Simba car park.

NOTE: This course is pre-Star Wars land construction.

Aid Stations: There were nine water/Powerade stops and one Clif Shot Gel stop at mile 8. There are 4 medical stops.
There were plenty of portaloos before the corrals, on the course near the water stops and all restrooms are open in the park.

Atmosphere: There was atmospheric sounds being played through the park's speaker system (Star Wars themed of course) and a selected amount of characters were spread throughout the course (some static like R2D2 & BB8). These character stops were incredibly popular and the lines were closed earlier to ensure all runners weren't going to be swept. Additional to the character stops were prop scenes where you could put yourself in the movie - these had shorter lines.
There was also Star Wars themed projections on buildings which added to the overall theming of the event.

Once out on the streets there were high-school dancers & bands however there were a lot less than what you experience at the Disneyland Half. I don't know if the residential area that you're running through has anything to do with it.

Around mile 9 the 501st Legion lines the streets in costume, so if you don't get your chance in the park you'll be certain to get a pic here. In fact, there's volunteers on hand to take your pic for you!

Crowd support is awesome as per usual at a Disneyland event, you'll find that people have set up stations on the later part of the course handing out mini-pretzels, red vines and oranges for runners.

Post-race: Disney are great for herding runners through the finish line area. Once you pickup your medal you're encouraged to continue through to photos, medical and food. Challenge runners (and those getting their Coast-to-Coast medal) need to go through the appropriate tents to pick up their additional medals once all requirements have been checked. Food-wise you do get a runner's box full of goodies plus a water (and Powerade if you please).

Since the race area is central to the overall resort area there's no transportation required to get back.

This is a flat and fast course. If you are looking to PR a half marathon at a Disney race this is definitely the one to do it at. At no point did the course feel narrow, or overcrowded and once onto the road you had all the room in the world. One thing I did notice upon getting my results was that this course - perhaps due to the theme - does seem to attract the 3hr+ half runner.

2016 additional notes: runDisney has changed the process in getting to the corrals at Disneyland and all runners must clear through bag check prior to entering the corrals. Where previously you could just walk straight to the corral, you must now enter through Downtown Disney and loop back down Disneyland Drive.

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