Latest reviews by Jessica Murphy

(2017)
"Always a pleasure"
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There's a reason I come back to this race year after year. You always know you can expect a great race experience.

Expo - spacious with lots of vendors.

Race Start - More security this year, understandably so, but one of the easiest large races from a logistics standpoint. They "wanded" everyone and did bag check so always prepare for some security line back-up. But once you are through it's easy to navigate and get where you need to go.

Course - Aid stations are one of the best out there. Always long, both sides. Always gatorade first, water second with color coded cups AND flag banners so you know where which starts.

Swag - always a great shirt (one of my faves, and I have quite the collection now!) and Medal. And a variety of snacks in the bag AND post-race! Pirates Booty post-race this year!!! Amazing!!

Highly recommend this race to anyone, from newbies to those looking for a PR!

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(2017)
"A PR course!"
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I'm honored to run any major and Berlin was not any different. I was gunning for a PR and despite wet, rainy, humid conditions I was able to pull it out!

It had all of the energy and excitement of the other majors i've run (Chi, Boston, London), but a few things that made the race different.

Expo - A unique space but VERY tight quarters. Be prepared for the crowds

Swag - I loved the option to not get a shirt. Race shirts don't always fit me great so it gave me the option to use that money to buy other race swag. BUT...the official race gear this year seemed like a small collection and not the best pieces.

Race Start/Finish - Location is great and accessible by nearby hotels or train so that was great. In the morning though, the gear check locations were not properly labeled so it led to a lot of wandering. There was also unnecessary crowding because porta-pottie lines were flowing into the sidewalk. The start felt chaotic to me...and then the corrals were 100% full....literally people on all sides with zero room to move at all. I have never experienced crowding like that in a corral before so it was a bit claustrophobic

Course - Loved running through the city. You really get to see some different neighborhoods. The aid stations were def different from the US majors. Plastic cups for water (not ideal) and often water before their electrolyte drinks (which was served in paper cups). They also had stations with tea, and a red bull station! But I didn't partake in those :). You run over a number of train tracks so watch out for those. I was particularly nervous because it was rainy.

Finish - Make sure you look at the map because there are a lot of turns the last 2 miles and false finishes. You also run through the Brandenburg gate which is awesome, you want to feel like that's the finish, but it's not - keep going!! :)

Post-race you do move through pretty fast. They had shower stations which was nice if people wanted to hang out for a while at the post-race party, but I just bundled up and head back to my hotel via the train. Medal was nice this year (bigger than the one I saw last year!).

Overall, it's a major so it's a must. It was definitely interesting to see different race traditions in other countries!

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(2017)
"Beautiful race!"
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What a wonderful event that totally lives up to it's expectation! Mt Hood 50K fills up within hours. I was fairly high on the wait list so was told by friends who were familiar with the race that I would get in - which I did!

Overall it's a very manageable 50K to run in the PNW which is know for challenging trail conditions and elevation gain. At approx 2500 ft of gain it was fairly manageable. Much of the course is runnable/soft trail and fairly flat. And the scenery is absolutely gorgeous!!! Amazing views of Mt. Hood and Timothy Lake, and then Mt. Hood BEHIND Timothy Lake. Extra bonus, most of the course is well shaded to block from a strong July sun!

All of the aid station volunteers were amazing, they were all well stocked and extremely organized. And the course markings were perfect. This is probably one of the most well marked trail runs I've done. The "confidence cones" were KEY, especially to a tired ultra runner who needs to get re-assured they are going in the right direction!

Lastly, post race party and swag were a delight! You get your swag (pint glass!) at the finish from the race director who's there for lots of high-fives, hugs, and a mister to cool you down! Tons of food and beer at the finish in a beautiful setting. The accessibility was also key because you could park so close, which made changing post-race quite easy.

As for MY race...I ended up with a great time but probably went out a little fast and didn't fuel enough to support my faster pace. I struggled a ton the last 5 miles but still came in under 5 hours which was exciting!

I definitely hope to do this race again!

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(2017)
"Great local offering!"
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This is a great local offering in Portland! The weekday race starts at 6:15. The course changes every week. There's always water and electrolyte at the start/finish and great raffle prizes. While you may be able to run in Forest Park at anytime there's something about being out there on race day with others. The Go Beyond team does a great job making everyone feel a part of the family!

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(2017)
"Disney never disappoints"
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This is my second runDisney experience and consistent with their reputation this race is extremely well run! I'm already committed to doing Dopey 2018 and this has me extremely excited for it!

Expo - Nice space with lots of fun Disney related costume options if you haven't planned one in advance. One thing I realized is that there wasn't a ton of nutrition vendors (I normally buy something at the expo, but was able to buy my chews at the running store in Disney Springs later that night!). I bought a Sparkly Soul tiara headband and it was the perfect accent.

Transportation - Nothing beats staying at a Disney hotel and taking a shuttle to the race. It completely takes the stress out of driving to the race, traffic, parking, walking from the parking lot etc. I stayed at the Coronado Springs and transport was seamless. Tons of cones/volunteers got us to the pre-race staging area where there was lots of space and some coffee/snacks for purchase.

Race - Once you go through gear-check there is water and a TON of port-a-potties. As many mention, there is a 1 mile or so walk to the start from gear check, but SO many port-a-potties to access. I think I peed 3 times on that walk which was amazing because it let me get all my nerves out!

I decided to run this race to PR vs stopping for pics. It definitely brought a diff POV. The non park areas were the best to zone in on the run with wide flat streets, and they still had entertainment on those stretches. The parks ended up being more challenging due to the turns and different running surfaces, but you pass through them quickly when you aren't stopping to take pics.

As I've written before the aid stations and volunteers are SO good at Disney. So well organized, diff colored cups for Powerade vs water, with Powerade first and then water.

Post-Race - you get your food box and banana and water quick. They also gave out a bag to hold your goodies which is ALWAYS appreciated! I also loved that they had Princesses in the post-race party area so I still got to snap a princess pic! Time from finish to get back on the shuttle is quick and close (always nice on tired legs).

Personally, I was on-pace to BARELY PR and had to sprint the final mile to eke out an 18-second PR. Super happy with the race and can't wait for Dopey 2018!

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