Latest reviews by Jessica Murphy

(2019)
"Always an honor"
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This was my 4th Boston, but I haven't run it in 3 years. It's amazing how quickly you can forget how challenging this course is.

I was thankfully on the Fleet Feet Boston 365 bus so I was able to wait-out the pre-race rain. By race time the weather cleared up and the crowds were as boisterous as ever!!

One thing I did notice was that the aid station signage was sparse, but i am guessing that is due to the crazy high winds pre-race.

As I struggled from the better part of the back half of the race the crowds really did keep me going. Boston knows how to treat their Marathoners right and make race day and the entire weekend a wonderful celebration. Despite my own struggles on race day I know I'll be back to experience this again next year!

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(2019)
"Such a delight!"
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This is such a Portland institution and I FINALLY ran it this year! The weather could not be beat - perfect racing weather and tons of sunshine for the post-race party. The variety of race distances and the amazing post-race Irish band kept the party going all morning.

The 15K takes you through some beautiful hills of Portland, but really it's all about this after-party. Tons of food post-race, from bars, various drinks, and fruit, to lentil soup and lots of beer! Oh, and seriously one of the best Irish bands around (disclaimer, our friend is the lead singer and penny whistle player, but we've seen then play many times at Kell's. Highly recommend this race to all locals and anyone looking for an excuse to visit the PNW!

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(2018)
"25K - hard, but worth it!"
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I did the 25K but there is also a 50K, 5K, and 10K option.

This is a great race weekend getaway for a group of friends looking to enjoy a weekend in the mountains! We flew in Friday to Denver. Copper Mountain is about 1.5-2 hrs away from DEN pending traffic :)

Once you arrive on-property everything is seamless because it's right there! The start/finish, also where packet pick-up, gear check etc is located, is centrally-located so if you are staying on-property it's an extremely convenient experience all weekend. We ate a few places on property and had great meals.

Now to the race...

Unless you live at elevation, the climb is going to be a challenge so you have to prepare for it! But as with all things mountain-related it's all worth it when you get to the top:

Course - Very well marked! Lots of mile markers (more than most trail runs I've done). The one thing that got to me is I didn't research the course enough so when we had to go back-up a hill around mile 11/12-ish I was a little demoralized. I should've looked at the course in advance to know there was more climbing at the end. I did a good power hike up most of the climbs (did some jog/walking up the less steep inclines) and then I was able to get some good running in on the flats and downhills. I negative split by 37 minutes!

Aid Stations - Great volunteers and well stocked w/ lots of hydration/fuel options (Powerade, Coke, Red Bull, gels, chews, pretzels, and more!)

The best part is post-race the finish festival is right there. There are two restaurants just steps away from the finish area and other food being sold as well. Under Armour has a huge recovery area built out with HyperIce vibrating rollers and other mat/recovery tools. With gorgeous weather and the mountains in the background it made a perfect scene to just hang out all day!

AND, another star is that this race is on a Saturday! So you can fully enjoy the day vs hurrying back home like many other Sunday races.

Such a fun weekend!

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(2018)
"Speedy course, true to it's name."
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This was the inaugural year for this race and I ran the Half Marathon.

PROS:
True to it's reputation this is a fast course! Only 2 very small uphill moments with enough downhill to more than make up for the up! This time of year at time of day the weather was perfect! 50s, crisp, cool. Definitely PR'able. I ran a 2.5 minute PR not in full fitness, and also came in 1st in my AG! I'm definitely thinking I'll be back to race it even harder in the future.

CONS
*There are some specific logistics to be aware of for this race when you are committing. Because it's point to point you need to get on a bus in Sandy OR (30-45 min outside Portland) around 3:30 am, which means waking up in the city at 2am! Then prepare for waiting, a long bus ride, waiting in a staging area. If you are prepared for it (like people are for Boston, NYC, it's fine). But if you are not prepared it will leave you feeling restless. After the race, you also need to be bussed from the finish area to where you parked your car. The line for this was long. Race staff was nice enough to run out water, pizza, and donuts while we waited which was much appreciated! Again, if you are prepared for this it's fine. But if you are expecting to get on a bus quickly to head back it can feel frustrating.

OTHER
COURSE - For the half you are on back roads until mile 11 where you run on Hwy 26 for 2 miles. I didn't mind this portion because it's short, but i heard the Full is on the hwy almost the whole time so I could see it potentially be unnerving having speedy cars pass you constantly on the shoulder. The half was great, very peaceful. Some of the roads were at a pitch, so I did end up weaving a bit to make sure I could run on the flattest part of the road.

AID STATIONS - Most of the aid stations were great, but one there around Mile 11 where there were zero people handing out cups. Running at PR pace I tried to pick a cup up off the table but fumbled so missed water. Also the cups are all the same color so I constantly had to yell for water or Powerade and wait to hear what was where. Again, knowing people are trying to PR it would be great to have diff color cups and make sure people are ready to hand out cups that were clearly marked.

SWAG - T-shirt and hat were nice giveaways. There are also throwaway gloves and a space blanket in the bag which are nice in the morning when you are waiting in the staging area.

POST-RACE - Love the pizza and coke post-race food offering. You also get water, protein shake, and banana post-race. Lots of places to take pics, lay in the grass, or go back to cheer on others. Def a plus of a race this size.

START - When you get off the bus and walk to the staging area it's pitch black. If you have a headlamp it could be nice to bring it to offer some visibility. There were plenty of portapotties so you never had to wait long which was nice. I was able to go twice to ease my nerves :) They also had water at the start.

Overall, it was great to run a Revel race after hearing so much about the series. Hoping they'll tweak some of the issues for year two!

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(2018)
"Fun in the Sun!"
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I've been wanting to do this race forever since it's the OG Rock 'n' Roll. San Diego is such a delightful city to visit. Our entire weekend was pleasant, and to wake up on race morning and be able to walk to the start (we stayed in the Gaslamp District so it was just under 2 miles - we walked and warm-up jogged in the morning) was such a nice treat.

I was VERY happy to be doing the half though because it was warming up throughout the morning.

EXPO - this expo was happening! Lots of activity and lots to see

COURSE - I really liked exploring the neighborhoods and seeing the people of SD really get into the race. Loved seeing the neighborhood lawn bars I've heard so much about as well. There are hills, but I do think there's enough downhill to make up for the uphill. So if you pace yourself ok and save enough to push on the down you can run strong.

AID STATIONS - These were all great! Well stocked and volunteers were great

POST-RACE - Finishing right by the water and enjoying the post-race in the sunshine was the best! Afterwards we were able to walk right back to the Gaslamp district. I loved the convenience.

Overall, great race. Would definitely go back and do it again!

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