Latest reviews by Kati

(2017)
"Fun race in my home state!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

This was my first time running the 5k and I enjoyed it. I'm originally from Indiana so I've done the 1/2 several times and thought it would be nice to run the 5k this year.

The expo was super easy to get to from the interstate (I-65) and there was plenty of parking downtown. The expo was spacious and was well stocked with volunteers. I picked up my packet and packets for friends without any issues. The 5k shirt was short sleeved and the 1/2 was long sleeved. I would've preferred a long sleeve but regardless, it was a nice quality shirt and everyone also got a running hat!

Getting to the race was a breeze. There were plenty of parking garages in the downtown area that were within a short 5 minute walk of the race area. The gear check was also a breeze. The trucks were clearly marked by bib number and were within eye sight of the start line/corrals so you didn't have to wander around looking for them. I also saw a few tables with water and Gatorade set-up for people to take.

The 5k started 30 minutes before the half and there was only one start corral for it. The race started on time. The course itself was just ok. It wasn't anything very exciting. The first 1.5 miles or so were the same as the half. There were numerous turns (8, I think?) during the first half of mile 3 which also included cutting through a parking lot. I think it would've been better if they kept the entire race on normal roads and eliminated a few awkward turns. There was at least one aid station on the route that I noticed that seemed to be well stocked with fluids and volunteers.

The immediate post race area was spacious. Directly after crossing the finish line you received your race medal and your snacks (bananas, cookies, drinks, Clif Bars, etc.) and could have your photo taken. The gear check was then right outside of this space which was perfect placement. I did not wander into the larger post-race area where there was supposedly music, beers, and more fun stuff since I wanted to cheer on my friends running the 1/2.

I would recommend the 5k to anyone living in the area or if you'll already be there to spectate. It's nice to have a 5k that's well organized because it's in conjunction with one of the nation's largest half marathons.

Pic: That's me + my friend, Mike, who was the overall 5k winner!!!!!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2017)
"A festive St. Patty's Day race!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I enjoyed this race and will consider doing it again in future years!

PROS:
It was a very small race but the energy from all of the workers, volunteers, spectators and other races definitely made it feel like a bigger production! Everyone was also in the spirit of St. Patty's day, myself included, and many wore green to race.

The race fee was reasonable. I paid $40 about 1.5 weeks before the race. Had I decided to do this race earlier, I would’ve saved $10. The packet pick-up was quick and easy. It was held at a local running store so it was convenient if you needed to pick up any last minute essentials for the race.

Parking for the race was relatively easy. I used the SpotHero discount code the race offered to reserve my parking at a nearby condo complex (1/2 mile away) for $10. The zoo parking lot was also close to the race; however it was twice as expensive to park there.

The pre / post-race area was minimal but had all the essentials, including a booth selling Girl Scout cookies! There were also plenty of porta-potties so there was practically no lines.

I enjoyed the course which was an out and back, but what kept it more interesting was it was a horseshoe out and back. The out and back is also really nice when you have friends racing too since you can give them a wave or a high five along the course. There were plenty of race volunteers directing runners at the turns / turn arounds.

CONS:
I was not very impressed with the shirt. It was a long sleeve cotton tshirt with a less than attractive design. I could tolerate the cotton if the design was better. All that being said, the shirt was still a nice heavy quality cotton and a fantastic Kelly green color.

The bigger post-race party and awards ceremony was held at a restaurant about a mile away. This seemed like too much of a hassle to me so I did not attend despite winning an award. (Also, writing this review 1 month after the race, I have not received my award in the mail. I’m uncertain if I’ll actually collect it since I didn’t attend the ceremony.)

Despite the couple of con's, I still enjoyed this race and recommend it if you're looking for a festive St. Patty's day race!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2016)
"Small and friendly 5k! I love this race!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

The Seymour Oktoberfest 5k is a small, very friendly and relaxed but fast course. This race is put on in conjunction with the city's annual Oktoberfest festival. Think: beer garden, carnival rides, arts & craft booths, parades, contests (brat eating, stein hoisting, etc.) and plenty of food and music! I've done this race in the past but this was the first time in several years. Also a small disclaimer: I ran this course hundreds of times during high school XC training so it brings back great memories and all of the "cons" mentioned below didn't matter to me and didn't impact my race experience at all.

You can register online in advance (if you're able to find the registration page buried on the festival's general website) or you can sign up in person the morning of the race; however, if you wait until the day of, participant shirts are on a first-come-first-served basis. I signed up the morning of the race about 15 minutes after it 'opened' and I received one of the last (long sleeve cotton) shirts they had. The majority of day-of registrations did not receive a shirt.

The pre and post race activities are held inside the high school gym. You can stay warm and dry if the weather is unfavorable and you can use real bathrooms! The race provides very basic things for the runners: water, Gatorade, granola bars and bananas. There were also a couple of physical therapists on hand to do stretches, massages and injury screenings.

You can stay inside the school right until the start of the race. Everyone walks to the start together and once you get there, they don't waste much time. The course is clearly marked and has at least one volunteer or police officer at every turn and street crossing. There was one aid station about half-way through the race that was manned by a few people. There aren't many people cheering along the course.

The race does hire a legitimate timing company to have a clock at the finish line; however, due to the small size of the race, you are not given a timing chip. They record the finishing time whenever someone crosses the finish line and they also keep track of bib numbers as they cross. You are warned at the start of the race to stay in the finisher's chute until your bib number is recorded so that you don't mess up the results. This year they advised that 5 people exited the chute prematurely so some bib numbers were not matched with the correct finishing time.

They provide awards to the overall male and overall female (for 2016 it was a medal + plaque + gift certificate to local running store) as well as age group awards (for 2016 it was a medal + gc) in both a run category and a walk category.

I would definitely recommend this race to anyone who is visiting Seymour for the Oktoberfest or who lives close by. I love this race!

Loading Comments...

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2016)
"Beautiful course! I loved the Venice Marathon!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I loved the Venice Marathon! It’s a beautiful and unique course. If you’re in the Venice area when the race is taking place, I highly recommend it!

Pros:
•It’s Italy. Do I really need to say more?
•The bib number has your name, your country and your country’s flag. It was cool too look around at the pre-race and in the corrals to see where people were from. It was definitely dominated by Italians. However, this did lead to spectators calling me "Americano" on a couple of occasions. :)
•The race shirt was long sleeved and had a picture of a gondola and a bridge with a runner crossing the bridge. It was pretty cool and represented the city well.
•The pre-race area was on the grounds of a historic mansion. They had giant tents set-up with benches for everyone to sit until the race started. They had plenty of porta potties. The gear-check and the starting corrals were very easy to navigate.
•It’s a point-to-point course that follows the Brenta River and through smaller towns outside of Venice. It’s absolutely beautiful and cool to see parts of ‘Venice’ I otherwise would not have seen. The last 1.5 miles is in Venice along the waterfront, including a short lap around St. Mark’s Square. You run up/down over a dozen bridges in the last 1.5 miles (Legs, be prepared!)
•There were plenty of spectators as you ran through the different towns. They cheered loudly!
•The aid stations were well stocked with water, a sports drink equivalent to Gatorade, fruit and cookies(!).
•The post-race area was along the waterfront. It was very easy to get your gear checked-bag and they provided gender specific tents so you could change clothes as needed. They also gave you plenty of snacks and drinks afterwards.
•There’s also a 10k on the same day if the marathon isn’t your preferred distance.

Cons:
•The registration website is very difficult to figure out, even in English. I gave up the first time I tried to register and the second time I just started filling stuff out with what I thought it was asking and clicked on buttons until I reached the end. Don’t give up on registering… it’s worth the minor headache!
•You must provide a completed and signed health form from a doctor advising you are healthy enough to participate. You can bring it to packet pick-up or fax a copy in advance.
•Getting to the race expo was a long journey from St. Mark’s Square. Being unfamiliar with Venice, it was nearly impossible to walk the 1.5km from the Square to the Tram station without getting lost a million times, even when using a map and GPS. I finally gave up and paid for the public water taxi which would take me to the Tram. (Disclaimer: I did this on the same day I arrived in Venice and my jet-lagged mind was likely exaggerating things and how long and far things were.)
•They did not have gender specific shirts. They did have extra smalls which was nice.
•This was a very very male dominated race and many of them had no shame in dropping their shorts in the pre-race tent to very slowly apply what I assume to be Vaseline/Body Glide. It was definitely awkward.
•They gave you bottled water at the aid stations. I’m not well practiced in opening bottles of water nor drinking from a bottle while running. I would’ve preferred paper cups like the sports drink was served in.

Despite the handful of ‘Cons’ I noted, I would still recommend this race. The Venice Marathon definitely attracts people from all over the world but it’s predominately Italian. It’s a unique opportunity to experience racing in another culture.

Loading Comments...

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2016)
"Favorite winter race in the city!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I love the F3 half & 5k. I've done the half a couple of times but this year switched to the 5k at the last minute with no issues, just a small processing fee. I kept the same bib as I would have worn for the half; They were color coded. This confused some spectators and volunteers directing runners on the course but ultimately wasn’t a major issue. I knew what the course was and where I needed to turn around. :)

The packet pick-up location rotated around the city each day for the entire week. I think this is a nice option! You only received your bib number at pick-up. Due to an issue with the supplier and customs, some of the shirts did not arrive in time to be given out at packet pick-up. They asked if you were a local if you could return to a Road Runner Sports at a later TBD date to get your shirt…. No big deal! Stuff happens and it was not the race organization’s fault.

Parking was pretty easy. The price was a bit steep ($19) but worth it to me to be inside a garage and avoiding the outside elements for as long as possible. I arrived about an hour early and the line to get in the garage was reasonable but I can imagine can get pretty long closer to race start. Driving was the best option since the train doesn't come very close to Soldier Field; however, I could've taken the bus if needed.

The pre-race activities were held in the United Club at Soldier Field which is really nice since there are real bathrooms and heat! It did get a little crowded as any race does, but being warm and crowded is better than being cold and crowded! There were minimal post-race activities held here (massages, awards, results look-up), but the primary ‘after party’ was being held offsite. There was a free shuttle taking people to the after party; however, I was not interested in re-locating. If the after party was onsite I might have stuck around for a few extra minutes but either way, wasn’t too interested. Also, it was easy to sneak in and out of the United Club to go outside for a warm-up and cool-down.

The 5k course followed the same route as the half but turned around at the ~1.5 mile mark. The 5k started a few minutes after the half. I was concerned the course would be really crowded and I would have to run around a lot of people. However, most of the half participants were past the 1.5 mile mark. This didn’t cause an issue since there were so few people to navigate around. The race organization did a good job salting the course to keep it safe. The aid stations seemed to be well managed. They had plenty of refreshments and snacks at the finish line! Gear check seemed to flow decently but I do suggest getting your bag ASAP after the race to avoid needing to wait in line.

Overall this is a great race! It’s nice to have a winter race to help keep training in-check over the holidays. I will definitely be back next year if the schedule allows!

Loading Comments...

Login or sign up to leave a comment.