Latest reviews by Maggie Jenkins

(2014)
"Not worth the money"
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Yes, I realize I signed up a little last minute, but come on, $127 for a half marathon?!? I’m here to tell you, it wasn’t worth it. I mean, it WAS, because I hit my goal and such, but otherwise, no.

I loved the expo. The pre-race setup was great, with water and bananas and bagels available, and what appeared to be a well-organized and easily accessible gear check area. The charity village and post-race party were in close proximity to the start/finish, and everything seemed to flow well. The shirts are solid, and the race medals are cool.

RnR nailed the pre-race and post-race. The actual race? Not so much.

Plenty of water stops were spread throughout the course, which is absolutely crucial for a race in late July in Chicago. The aid stations were not clearly marked – they really could’ve used some of those giant flag thingers – and the majority of the stops did not have enough volunteers passing out water and Gatorade. Three times I grabbed my own cup of water off the table. A friend who finished in just over 2 hours said by the time he got to the aid station at mile 12, volunteers were furiously trying to fill cups from jugs of water and he nearly had to pour one for himself. So, if we front-and-middle-of-the-pack runners had issues at the aid stations, I can only imagine what it was like for the back-of-the-pack runners.

One of the things the RnR series boasts about is “bands at every mile” along the course. Well, that wasn’t EXACTLY true for Chicago. The first band didn’t appear until about mile 6.5, when we were leaving downtown. I wasn’t complaining because I totally understand that setting up a stage in the loop is probably not viable. And really, when you’re running past the stage, you get to hear the band for, what, 30 seconds? A minute or two, tops? So the concept doesn’t really do much for me.

The course itself could use some improvement, too.

READ MY FULL RECAP: http://rulesforrunning.com/2014/07/23/race-recap-rock-n-roll-chicago-half-marathon/

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(2014)
"Madison Half Marathon: A Beautiful Challenge"
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Thumb kmr 7197

As I sipped an ice cold post-race beer in the shade with my best friend, both of us bursting with pride from a race well-run, I was once again reminded why I love this sport. This race — and this weekend — was everything I hoped for and more. Not only did I love Madison and the course, the race shirt, expo, medal and event organization were all top-notch (save for a couple water stops, ahem, not being exactly in line with the course map).

READ MY COMPLETE RECAP: http://rulesforrunning.com/2014/05/29/dueling-race-recap-madison-half-marathon/

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(2013)
"I Heart Chicago"
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I have fallen in love with the Chicago Marathon — and the city of Chicago — all over again.

Each marathon has been incredibly special in its own way, and No. 4 proved to be more emotionally powerful than I even imagined.

I walked to the El platform before sun-up (when many Chicagoans were just stumbling home from another wild Saturday night). Every person on the train was either wearing a bib number or holding signs in preparation to spectate. At each stop, more runners and fans piled on, and my heart swelled with joy and excitement.

A big to-do was made about the marathon’s increased security measures, but honestly, it made everything run much more smoothly. There was zero question of where you had to go and how to get there. And with no non-runners allowed in the start and finish areas, it was far easier to maneuver your way around. In my opinion, the race organizers knocked it out of the park on their first try. In making things safer, they also made things more efficient. Win-win.)

READ MORE: http://rulesforrunning.com/2013/10/17/race-recap-chicago-marathon-3/

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(2013)
"As good as advertised"
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I crossed another one off the life list.

I got my first real taste of running in 2001 while working as a sports intern for the Observer-Dispatch in Utica, N.Y. Going in, I had no idea that running was the thing to do in this part of the world. But I learned quickly — one of my first assignments was to cover a 5K — and soon began to run myself.

The biggest event in Utica — not just running, I mean event, period — is the Boilermaker Road Race. With 14,000 runners annually, it is one of the largest and longest-running 15Ks in the world. It draws elite athletes from around the world and thousands of local runners who go for the hills and stay for the post-race party at F.X. Matt Brewery.

Twelve years later, I can call myself a Boilermaker finisher. All I can say is, the event from top to bottom was as good as advertised.

READ MORE HERE: http://rulesforrunning.com/2013/07/18/race-recap-boilermaker-15k/

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(2013)
"Lovely lakefront race"
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They put on a helluva race! Lovely course, great volunteers, tons of well-run aid stations, fun post-race party, solid shirts, rad-ass medal. I would most definitely do this race again — and likely will.

Read my complete recap here: http://rulesforrunning.com/2013/06/12/race-recap-allstate-13-1-chicago/

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