Latest reviews by Shannon Chenoweth

(2014)
"Fun, local 5k"
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I have run this race for the past three years now and love it. Now that I live about 5 minutes away from the race start, it is a must-do race. The only downside is that this race can be pretty warm due to the time of year. Otherwise, it is a great fun run.

The race starts by the Orlando Science Center and makes its way around the Florida Hospital area which includes two lakes before coming back to the finish at Orlando Cultural Park. It's a scenic 5k around a great part of Orlando.

A perk of this race is a nice medal at the end, since it's the first of Track Shack's Running Series races. It's rare to get a medal for a 5k, and this one always has a great one for your collection.

I definitely recommend this 5k if you are a local to the area, or happen to be in town race weekend. Track Shack puts on the best races in Central Florida.

Check out my blog review from the 2013 race here: http://girlsgotsole.com/blog/race-report-2013-celebration-of-running-5k/

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(2014)
"Winter Park Road Race"
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This was my third time running the Winter Park Road Race and this is usually my favorite local 10k. There are lots of 5ks through the year, but the 10k distance is harder to come by.

Overall, it's an awesome race and I love it (heck, I've come back two more times :) ). The only bad part is the amount of brick roads that you have to run. Winter Park is a beautiful place to run and this race really gives you the opportunity to enjoy a good deal of it.

There isn't an expo, as it's a little local race and you pick up your packet at Track Shack or race morning. There are plenty of water and aid stations throughout the race. The post-race is always fun. Lots of fruit (bananas, strawberries, etc) to be had, as well as local businesses offering samples like Planet Smoothie and there is beer available.

Lots of perks! You not only get a medal, but this year (and they have done it in previous years) you also were given a wine glass. I can't recommend this race more. Like I previously said, the only downside is the brick roads, but if you are prepared for them, it's not an issue. Also, it's all worth it in the end.

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(2014)
"WDW Marathon"
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This was my third marathon and while it ended up being my slowest time-wise, I really enjoyed the experience. Disney races are best when you run them with friends and set out to have a good time, which is just what I did.

The marathon goes through all of the Walt Disney World parks as well as a good deal of the back areas and Osceola Parkway. My favorite parts are definitely going down Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom, as well as running through the castle. I also enjoyed running through the other parks. You also run on the Speedway and a good deal of the ESPN Sports Complex. The latter is my least favorite of the course route, but that's simply because you spend a good deal of time there.

There are plenty of water stops, aid stations and support throughout the course which is great. Just like all Disney races, you can stop and take character photos as well if you want. I have yet to do it, but I have been tempted!

The finish line is just what you expect and want from Disney. In fact, I was greeted by Donald himself and got a high-five right before crossing the finish line. Definitely a fun time!

Please check out my full, more detailed review on my blog of this race:
http://girlsgotsole.com/blog/race-report-2014-wdw-marathon/

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(2013)
"The Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer"
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The 26.2 with Donna was my first-ever marathon and the race that I will forever be running until I can no longer run. :)

The race has both a full marathon and a half marathon. I had heard about the 26.2 with DONNA through my Galloway training group and knew that it had to be my first marathon. The 26.2 with DONNA is a private non-profit organization in Northeast Florida producing the only marathon in the U.S. dedicated solely to raising funds to end breast cancer. One hundred percent of raised funds and race proceeds for all 26.2 with DONNA events go to breast cancer research and care.

When I arrived at the expo the day before the race, I immediately knew this race was like no other. The expo is first-class and is just amazing. It's still my favorite race expo and I now look forward to it every year. There are all kinds of vendors, not just products, but informative ones that are there to educate about breast cancer and other forms of the horrible disease. I left the expo ready for the race the next morning and feeling even more excited about it.

The race itself in one word: AMAZING. There are Galloway pacers (which you can meet at the expo) which you can line up with at the start and they are with you through every mile. These are the folks that were a big part of helping ease my fears on race morning.

Along the course, the spectator and community support is like no other. It is as if the entire city of Jacksonville comes out to cheer on the runners of the event. I felt so much love and support from start to finish. The spectators even have snacks and drinks for the runners! This is in addition to the actual race aid stations. Talk about a stand-out community!

The year I ran this race, it was freezing cold, as it was in the early 30s with some pretty harsh headwinds, but that didn't stop us all from braving it. When you are on the course, you are right out there with breast cancer survivors and that is extremely motivating. If they can not only get through fighting that horrible disease, but also get out there and run a marathon, you know you can get through the miles.

I finished this race and my emotions were a plenty. It was an amazing experience that while I try to put into words, I feel they are just never quite good enough. Every marathon is an awesome accomplishment for every runner, but there's just something about the 26.2 with DONNA that I experienced on that day that is like no other race. I can only tell people that they HAVE to do this race, if not the full marathon, the half marathon. Get out there and experience the love and greatness that this race is.

My full race report on my blog:
http://girlsgotsole.com/blog/race-report-26-2-with-donna/

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(2013)
"Ladies Only Race Fun"
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I've run the Lady Track Shack 5k since venturing into running in 2010. The 2010 race was my first ever 5k, so I try to do this local race every year. What makes it special is that it's a "ladies only" race, only ladies can run it. Sometimes, it's nice to do a race with just ladies.

I did this particular year's race just before my first marathon. Since I run with a local Galloway training group, a number of us always frequent Track Shack's races. The 2013 race was no exception. A group of us all met up before the race and carpooled over to the race starting area.

The race takes place at Mead Gardens, which is a beautiful outdoor park venue in Winter Park. Since the finish is located right inside the park, you have to park nearby at one of a few suggested locations and walk a bit to the Gardens. It's a nice little warm up for the legs. Starting area is just outside Mead Gardens. There's usually a lot of folks gathered around the area cheering for you as you begin the race, especially guys. :)

The course takes you from Mead Gardens north on Denning Drive through the area neighborhoods which is quite beautiful. It's an older part of Winter Park and it's scenic. Now, there are bricks on the course, so if that's not something you are fond of, keep that in mind. But, I think the beauty of the course makes it worth running.

As you round the neighborhood, you come back around to Mead Gardens from just behind where you started from back onto Denning and straight into the Gardens. Spectators line the course as you sprint to the finish line. It's a nice way to end the race, with lots of encouraging folks all around!

Once you finish the race, there's a nice finishers area to enjoy with local businesses such as the sponsor, Florida Hospital which usually offers massages and physical assessments, as well as Planet Smoothie, Brooks Running and more.

I do recommend this race if you are a Central Florida local or happen to be visiting the area when the race is taking place. It's one to run or walk with your girlfriends and just have fun.

Check out my blog post on the race: http://girlsgotsole.com/blog/lady-track-shack-5k-and-more/

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