Latest reviews by Frank Nardomarino

(2016)
"Lincoln Presidntial Half Marathon Awesomeness"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

So this is my first race running for BibRave and I couldn't have picked a better one! This is a must-do race for anyone looking for a fun-filled scenic and historic 1/2 marathon. I always heard great things about the race and had it on my to-do list. I;m glad I had the opportunity to participate in a race that goes all out to ensure the runners have a memorable experience.

Expo - The expo was held at the Double Tree Hilton in the Ballroom and while I didn't stay at this hotel, it seemed to be well organized. I stayed across the street and walked over around 5pm and was greeted by the friendly volunteers who guided you to the lines (alphabetically). The volunteers handing out the packets couldn't have been more polite and enthusiastic. After receiving my goodies and bib, I walked around to see everything else around the expo. The first thing that caught my eye was the pacer boards. I've never seen a posterboard of bios on those that will lead you through the coarse. It showed how many times they've run the Lincoln Half as well as how many marathons they completed. It was nice to see what their goal was for pacing (Neutral splits, start off slow, etc). The rest of the expo had some vendors selling miscellaneous tshirts, socks, GU, and other running items). The last spot I stopped in at was for the Rolling Meadows beer samples. I tried the Abe's Ale and the Lincoln's Lager and well, loved them both. They were small cute shot sized samples just to tempt your senses.

Prerace - I always love the excitement of everyone walking to the start line and scoping out the competition. This start line at 6th and Washington was such a perfect spot in front of the Old State Capitol with plenty of spots for prerace photos. I of course with fellow BibRave Pros, opted to get in some photos with the Abe Lincoln impersonator. This guy is a treasure for this race. They picked the perfect guy to play Lincoln. He was genuinely attired and played that role to a tee with a little humor added in.

Race/Scenery - The start line pacers began to assemble in the area and I picked my pacing group in anticipation of getting a realistic PR. Before we began, the Race Director gave out a few encouraging words and handed the microphone over the Abe himself for a great funny speech before the sounds of firing muskets starting us running. I loved that part of the race that gives you chills to the roaring crowds! The race takes you through some extremely beautiful areas through cobblestone and brick streets in some areas. Running past some historic buildings with actors dressing the part and encouraging you as the runners went by. There was so much support along the coarse from residents cheering from their home as well as police officers and volunteers offering their support. Running through the cemetery and along the scenic river were two of my favorite spots to run around. But, nothing beats the finish line. Before you round the corner, you can hear the roars of the crowd and once you see the finish line itself, you get that last bit of adrenalin to push on.

Postrace - Thank you to those volunteers handing you the medals. They were so friendly and congratulating everyone with a medal and some hugs. Right after that, you get enticed with the usual postrace needs like water and gatorade. On the lawn of the Old State Capitol, you can already smell the goodness that is beer and donuts! They also had orange slices, banana slices, and trail bars but of course the postrace beer and Krispy Kreme donuts were the popular choices. The band that played on the stage by the Capitol was just awesome! I'm a fan of any band that has a banjo in it!

All-in-all - This was such a fun race and I'd highly recommend it to anyone looking for such an interactive historic race. The Race Director does an incredible job to ensure that everyone has a great time. The Abe Lincoln impersonator is icing on the cake. You can tell that every detail was thought about throughout the entire experience from registration to finish line.

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(2015)
"Galena Lead Rush 1/2 Marathon"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I knew that signing up for this race would get me to train a little harder because this elevation was brutal! This was my first race that had such intense elevation changes. I trained hard for it but I probably should have done some more hillwork!

Registration - The staff was extremely friendly and encouraging and there was absolutely no wait for me. The price was hard to beat too!

Course - I was just floored at the layout of this course. It was some of most beautiful scenery you could ever ask for in a race. The first few miles were pretty acceptable and leg friendly with some minor hills but once you hit mile 6...OUCH! Thos hills were just painful. I didn't see many people running the big hill but if they did - Bravo to those machines! I'm a big fan of the downhills on the backside and I've heard many people saying that they hate the downhills. I get it but after those substantial uphills, cruising down was right up my alley. The rest of the course was just breathtaking through the windy course leading up to a picture perfect finish line at the base of the ski hill!

Swag - I really feel bad having any complaints at all as the shirt was awesome! This was my first long sleeve shirt from a race and it is absolutely perfect. The only thing I was a little disappointed in was the finishers medal. It was much smaller than I was expecting after seeing a few of the years past medals. I understand that the race was very cost friendly and that may have had an effect on the medals but maybe something a little bigger next year? Maybe some color in it?

Race staff - I don't think you could find a more friendly and supportive group of volunteers along a course. They braved the cold temps and wind to be there for the runners and I can't thank them enough.

Post race party - The finish line at the bottom of the ski hill was just about as perfect as it gets. The finish line cheers were just awesome and everything seemed flawless. Everything you could ask for at the end of a race was there and easily accessible (fruits, drinks, medals, silver blankets!) Plus, the ski lift back to the top was pretty interesting. It was a little windy and cold but after that hilly race, I wasn't about to walk up the hill!

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(2015)
"Galena Lead Rush 1/2 Marathon"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I knew that signing up for this race would get me to train a little harder because this elevation was brutal! This was my first race that had such intense elevation changes. I trained hard for it but I probably should have done some more hillwork!

Registration - The staff was extremely friendly and encouraging and there was absolutely no wait for me. The price was hard to beat too!

Course - I was just floored at the layout of this course. It was some of most beautiful scenery you could ever ask for in a race. The first few miles were pretty acceptable and leg friendly with some minor hills but once you hit mile 6...OUCH! Those hills were just painful. I didn't see many people running the big hill but if they did - Bravo to those machines! I'm a big fan of the downhills on the backside and I've heard many people saying that they hate the downhills. I get it but after those substantial uphills, cruising down was right up my alley. The rest of the course was just breathtaking through the windy course leading up to a picture perfect finish line at the base of the ski hill!

Swag - I really feel bad having any complaints at all as the shirt was awesome! This was my first long sleeve shirt from a race and it is absolutely perfect. The only thing I was a little disappointed in was the finishers medal. It was much smaller than I was expecting after seeing a few of the years past medals. I understand that the race was very cost friendly and that may have had an effect on the medals but maybe something a little bigger next year? Maybe some color in it?

Race staff - I don't think you could find a more friendly and supportive group of volunteers along a course. They braved the cold temps and wind to be there for the runners and I can't thank them enough.

Post race party - The finish line at the bottom of the ski hill was just about as perfect as it gets. The finish line cheers were just awesome and everything seemed flawless. Everything you could ask for at the end of a race was there and easily accessible (fruits, drinks, medals, silver blankets!) Plus, the ski lift back to the top was pretty interesting. It was a little windy and cold but after that hilly race, I wasn't about to walk up the hill!

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(2015)
"9/11 Heroes Run"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I have always been a fan of military/1st responder races to show my support and while this was a relatively small race, it had a big effect on me. This was the races first time in Chicago and I know that next year will be even bigger as I'm telling all of my friends to get in!

The parking is about as easy as it gets along the harbor parking lots and if you get there early, you can chat with the organizers and watch them set up their well planned course equipment. They are truly professional and organized. Since there was no expo for packet pickups, they did it at the event before the race began and I think the wait was approximately 2 minutes at most!

The staff and volunteers were extremely friendly and helpful and really did make for a great experience. As for the course, how much more scenic can you get along the parks and lakefront?? Just a perfect route and tons of support around the trails.

The start of the race with the salute and tribute to our heroes was inspirational as well as the Chicago Fire Department hanging the American Flag above the first bridge. I finished my race much faster than I anticipated and had a 5k PR!!

After the race, there was plenty of drinks and fruit and friendly faces congratulating you. I stayed for a while to support the rest of the runners and as the crowds dispersed, I decided to leave. Little did I know that I took second place in my age division and some great photo opportunities. I wish I knew that there were going to be medals after the race but the race officials mailed me my medal and I can't thank them enough for it!

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(2015)
"9/11 Heroes Run"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I have always been a fan of military/1st responder races to show my support and while this was a relatively small race, it had a big effect on me. This was the races first time in Chicago and I know that next year will be even bigger as I'm telling all of my friends to get in!

The parking is about as easy as it gets along the harbor parking lots and if you get there early, you can chat with the organizers and watch them set up their well planned course equipment. They are truly professional and organized. Since there was no expo for packet pickups, they did it at the event before the race began and I think the wait was approximately 2 minutes at most!

The staff and volunteers were extremely friendly and helpful and really did make for a great experience. As for the course, how much more scenic can you get along the parks and lakefront?? Just a perfect route and tons of support around the trails.

The start of the race with the salute and tribute to our heroes was inspirational as well as the Chicago Fire Department hanging the American Flag above the first bridge. I finished my race much faster than I anticipated and had a 5k PR!!

After the race, there was plenty of drinks and fruit and friendly faces congratulating you. I stayed for a while to support the rest of the runners and as the crowds disperced, I decided to leave. Little did I know that I took second place in my age division and some great photo opportunities. I wish I knew that there were going to be medals after the race but the race officials mailed me my medal and I can't thank them enough for it!

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