Latest reviews by Kim Maves

(2018)
"PR Ready!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I got to the expo super late around 30 min before it closed. It looked like it was a nice expo, large with a lot of vendors and a photo booth. Parking and access was easy. I didn't browse much since I wanted to go to my hotel to eat and sleep. They had a pasta dinner runners could buy a ticket for. Participants received a nice drawstring bag and a long sleeve shirt.

Saturday Morning:

I stayed at the Fairfield Marriott about 15 min away. Checkout was at noon which was nice. I was able to go back and shower. Driving access to and from the race was easy. I parked at the State Farm arena and it was free and easy to get in and out.

Gear check, this was confusing for me in the morning. You dropped everything in a truck (it wasn't obvious) and then they sorted it inside the stadium.

The race started without a hitch. There were a few corrals and I was in A. These pacers were probably the most accurate I have experienced in a race.

Course roads were well maintained and I did not notice any section that was really bad. The course was flat and produces some good times.

My only complaint is the aid stations. Each one was set up different. Some had gatorade second. Some had water on one side and gatorade on the other, some had water first. You get the picture, there wasn't any consistency which can be frustrating. That being said the volunteers were great, cheering on runners and handing off cups like pros.
There was an orange aid station and I think they had other food too, unsure. Also a gel aid station.

Running into the stadium was fun! The finish area was one of the best I've been apart of. Runners can hang out on the field and take photos, stretch, and wait for their friends. Or they can sit in the stands. Which is cool. A lot of races kick you out as soon as you finish. As you walk into the stairs volunteers gave you an electrolyte drink that was really good, so if you remember what that was let me know. Inside the stadium was a ton of food, cookies, chips, granola bars, pizza, milk, pasta, beef jerky, and probably something else. After runners leave the stadium there is the post race party with beer. I didn't stay around for that, since I wanted to get to my hotel.

Full marathoners received finishing blankets which is amazing. All finishers received a medal and a heatsheet.

Another bonus: FREE PHOTOS were available within hours of the race finish.

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(2017)
"Monumental Marathon "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Overall this is a good race! I did this race as a redemption from Chicago, looking for a PR.
Expo: go early, I went at 5PM Friday and Parking and getting around the city was a nightmare. Getting around Indy was busy so go early. I spent more time in the parking garage than in the expo.

Expo
Local vendors, Clif bar, the same running store/ group that sells at every big expo, other races in the Midwest I walked around since I wanted chapstick, thankfully I found it. Got my bib and shirt. I didn't look at the race swag available for purchase.

Race Morning:
Runners could hang out in the convention center with real toilets and tables + chairs to sit at. They had volunteers with signs that said, "ask me" which was helpful.
I pre-booked my parking on SpotHero and found a four dollar garage spot. It was a mile-ish from the start, but I didn't want to be parked in from the road closures.
Volunteers were not checking bibs to get into the waves and there were a ton of people in my wave that were supposed to be in 2-3 which was super annoying and caused the corrals to overcrowd.

Gear check was easy, blocked off by bib number .

Course:
A few hills from 15-19 nothing horrible, however they are taxing at that part in the race. The road wasn't in the best condition in parts and it would have been easy to trip. Half marathon and full marathon split is clearly marked. They even marked off the end where the runners met up again as to not congest with each other.

Extra Course marshals were necessary. Especially on major intersections more were needed to direct traffic. A guy drove through the race course yelling at runners 20-30 feet in front of me which is scary.

Aid stations
Tiny and some only had water. Some had a small table of gatorade. It was kind of confusing as to WHEN Gatorade would be served. Two stations of Clif shots and they were calling out what flavors which was nice. I also saw a banana and pretzel station. I think the bike med team was also carrying salt if you asked.

Finishing chute:
You get a Heatsheet, Medal, FINISHERS HAT (race specific), banana, chips, clif bar, pizza, cookie, chocolate milk.

Things that can be improved: additional course marshals, more Gatorade at aid stations, and probably not a good idea to request everyone to bow their heads and pray. However the race is in Indiana so...

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(2017)
"5th year in a row!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

This is my 5th Drumstick Dash. Modified 2016 post.

SWAG: Each participant receives a LONG SLEEVE COTTON T! I am a huge fan of long sleeve cotton t-shirts, especially in winter. This year was light blue with a new Turkey logo. For $5 participants could upgrade to a long sleeve 1/4 zip. I opted for the cotton t-shirt because I love them

Aid Stations: One station about half way through, all that is necessary and just water. I did grab water today because I felt like it was necessary. I wish there was water or Gatorade pre race. None of the bubblers worked today inside Miller park and I left my bottle in the car.

Course Scenery: I love running around Miller Park. As always, it is a nice change up from the Chicago Lakefront trail, neighborhoods, etc. One of my favorite parts of the course is running on the bridge to get to the stadium grounds from the general parking lots.

Expo: Same as previous years. A few cut outs to take pictures. Other Vision events were there. I think you could sign up, but not sure. Performance Running Outfitters was also there, they were selling product and promoting Black Friday.
- Expo is only open until 3PM

Elevation Difficulty: There is a GIANT hill (to me) and a few little rollers and it's an uphill sprint to the finish. Some tight Hairpin turns make it fun!

Parking: Super easy, free parking at Miller Park! Can't beat it!

Race Management: Vision is always fantastic! Volunteers were great.

Other:
Post Race Food was a banana, cookie, and bottle of water.
Miller Park is open before the race, you can go to the bathroom sit, etc.
First three men and women get an award.
Self-seed Run, Run with Stroller, Walk, Walk with Stroller

The Racing Sausages and Bernie all come out for photos after the race

I know Feeding America was collecting food on race day.

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(2017)
"2017 Chicago Marathon "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

This is my second Chicago Marathon

Pre Race - Expo this year seemed lacking compared to years past, but it is still top notch. You can get gear from almost every brand. Get there early! If you want Nike gear go to Fleet Feet or one of the Nike stores to buy it. That line is the longest. I love the participant shirt from this year. Definitely one of the best. I also liked the blue one from 2013? It was a year I didn't run. Super easy to get there via train or uber.

Race Morning - I thankfully trained with CARA and went to the Palmer House pre race. Easy to get to the start and we had private port o potties. I didn't wait in line to pee a second time, sometimes race day makes you do bold things. I understand security being tight, but it was super unorganized. Let red bibs go first and those without bags go in a separate line. It was a stressful situation. C corral was "oversold" so it was huge to start, but I think that was the way for all of the red bibs.

The Race- This is the best race, period. The course, fans, aid stations. You can see so many friends along the course who can see you multiple ties the way the course it set up. It is such a great experience even though I felt like sh!t, I reminded myself how much I love running and the city of Chicago.

Post race - The medal ribbon was kind of eh, and the post race snacks were all cheese type crackers - something plain would have been lovely. But they put it in a BAG for you so you don't have to carry a ton of stuff with you in post marathon hands. You get a heetsheet. It was too hot for one, then my body temp dropped and I was freezing so I'm glad I had it for the walk back to the Palmer House.

I didn't go to the post race party. The Chicago Marathon is the best race, the weather can be a crap shoot and is the only negative factor when thinking about entering for 2018. If I'm not racing it I'm out spectating it.

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(2017)
"Chicago Spring 10K "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Pros:
-Packet Pick up at Fleet Feet Old Town over two days, you could pick up for a friend too. Needed to have their id.
-In the packet was a shirt (I would wear this one), beet juice, body wipe, some sort of anti inflammatory cream, fliers and coupons.
-easy race access if you're taking public transit, driving, or Uber. Unfortunately I picked the AON building to park in and they check cars and record drivers license numbers and their machine wasn't working that morning so it was super backed up. Had I been running the half I would have missed the start. The race had a partnership with SpotHero and showed options. I picked the cheapest
-Half Marathon start at 7 ... more on the 10K start.
-Easy walk to the start line from parking easy to find.
-Race was well marked.
-3 or 4 water stations for the 10k it was a hot day so it was needed
-If you like medals this one was night, the Ferris wheel spun
-Post race party had various vendors, Athletico, races, a breakfast buffet, and a flower! My favorite part was getting the flower and taking it home and planting it.
-Finishers Chute was a banana, bottle of gatorade, and water

Can be improved:
-10K starts later and there is a turn around where the 10k peels off to the right for a short distance then crosses southbound running traffic to get back running north. It's not really safe at all. This could be fixed by having the 10K turn elsewhere and then the races could start at the same time
-2-3 volunteers to be found at the first two aid stations, they seemed a little chaotic.
-self seeded corrals for the 10K. Self seeded corrals are never a good idea. They didn't have any pace signs either so people started at the front and started walking. I don't mind the weaving, my main concern is safety.
-This isn't on the race but I ran into the 2:40 and 3hr pace groups for the half, the groups were massive and taking over both sides of the path. Again, runner safety, I asked the pacers to keep their groups tighter since the 10K was coming through. The front runners of the half marathon were coming back too and the bike marshals were doing a good job of leading them and attempting to clear people, while the front 10K runners were going by. The back pace groups and their leaders however were not doing a good job of being respectful on an open path.

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