Latest reviews by Angie Maske-Berka

(2018)
"No Coast is the Best Coast "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

A review of the 30k.
The 2018 race was held on Saturday, September 15th. There was a 45k that started at 8:00 and the 15k started with the 30k at 8:30am. It was a cooler morning, but warmed up quickly to a sunny, 90 degrees. *New for 2018 - start times were moved back an hour from previous years.

Registration: You could register online and as race day approached the fee increased. Race day registration was available. This year the soft cotton, short sleeve, unisex t-shirt was optional, as well as a BOCO hat. Included with registration was a bib, (ankle style) timing chip, and multifunctional headwrap.

Packet Pickup / Expo: There was no race expo, but there was a packet pick up held the Friday before at a local brewery. You could also pick your bib up the morning before the race. Someone else could pick up your packet.

Pre-Race: The race is held at Pleasant Creek State Recreation area, there were signs posted in the park to direct runners to the event. There was plenty of parking for everyone, but if you arrived early you got a closer spot. The race start/finish changed locations this year and the bath house was open to use. Timing chips were distributed at this time, they were an ankle bracelet. Last minute registration was open. Runners milled about and announcements were made throughout the morning. The National Anthem was sung live.

Race/Course: The race was a clockwise loop around the lake. each loop was ~15k. I ran 2 loops
-Terrain: Trail - rock, dirt, ruts, grass, sand, single track, open prairie.
-Elevation: not steep, but felt like we were always climbing or descending - lots of ups and downs
-Aid Stations: 3 on each loop, plus the one at the start/finish. Water, Gatorade on course. Paper cups available to drink from, or you could fill your own. Candy and snacks at start/finish aid and halfway point aid station.
-Photographers: nothing official, just pictures from volunteers and other participants, posted to social media for free
-Spectators: there were only certain areas to access the trail, so spectators were mostly friends, family & volunteers
-Course Markings: there were flags closing off other trail entrances, signs on course with arrows. No mile markers. The course is marked with permanent trail markers.
-Volunteers: very friendly and attentive, always a smile when you approached an aid station, and happy to answer a question. They were happy to fill water packs and assist with everything. Only saw volunteers at aid stations.
-Medical: There was an ambulance at the second aid station (I believe)
-Bathroom: bath house at the start and one on course at halfway point
-Scenery: the trail was out in the woods, and near a lake. Many things to see

Finish/ Post Race: The timing mat was strewn out, a timing clock and the remaining people, sitting at the tables, eating their post race food, were cheering you on. A “medal” was handed out along with a bottle of water and a cold rag as your chip was removed from your ankle. The medals were hand made from tree limbs that were cleared from the trail. All medals and awards were hand made.

The post race area was happening! There were grilled hamburgers, and hot dogs, watermelon, candy, chips, and much more. There was water, soda and I imagine there was beer somewhere. I had to get going so didn't stick around long. I also assume there was a an awards ceremony.

Overall: I will always try to do this race if I can. It always happens during the Iowa football season. The race is put on by runners for runners, everything is done right! The race is also part of the no coast trail series.

My race: I debated running the 45k distance this year, but I knew timing would be close, so I stayed with the 30k, which still had me pinched for time to get back to tailgate. I knew it was going to be a hot day, so I had been hydrating to prepare, I also ran with my pack. I ran my first loop in 1:57 and I knew I needed to keep the second loop around 2 hours to keep with my schedule. I was feeling ok up until this point, I just keep moving and walked the uphills. Then during the second loop, it was just hot, I was starting to "cook" so I slowed it down and made sure to stop and drink water and dump water on my head, and grab ice. I knew the course, and just decided I would do my best to get to the finish. Then with about 2 miles to go, I came upon a volunteer with a participant. The volunteer was going to get their car as the runner was throwing up and dry heaving. I asked if I could help, because that's what you do. So it was suggested I stay with the runner while help came in a car. This delayed me for about 15 more minutes or so. Looking back, I am grateful for taking this break, I was hot too. The worst part was waiting in the mosquito filled shade. I hope the runner is ok!.

I made it to the finish line, where they were cheering me in, which was awesome. I never looked up as the surface is grass and I didn't want to fall.

I didn't get the time I wanted, but everyone is safe and will run another day. I grabbed some animal crackers as I wasn't hungry, too hot to eat, and while people wanted to chit chat, I made the adventurous drive back to Iowa City.

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(2018)
"Why do I keep running this?"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

The 7 mile race took place on Saturday, August 18th at 5pm.(The 5k started at the same time, different location) It was sunny, humid and around 80 ish degrees - HOT and miserable!

Registration: Available online starting at $25 and topping off near $50. If you were alert, discount codes were offered across social media / emails. I think you could register at packet pick up times. Included with registration, gender specific tech shirt, pint glass, chip timing, and post race beer.
*It's not a great fitting shirt, but I like the pint glass

Expo/Packet pickup: There was no expo. Packet pickup was multiple times before the race at Backpocket Brewery. Someone else could pick up your packet with a signed wavier. There was parking nearby in a ramp, or on the street for FREE.

Pre-Race: The race is point to point, runners needed to get to the shuttle bus at 4pm. I believe you would check your gear before you got on a shuttle bus (a gear check bag was provided.) Once at the bus drop off there were port-o-potties. There were cups and water. A short walk to the starting line, on the main road over the dam, which is not closed to traffic. I did not hear any race announcements.

Race/Course: The course is a point to point from the Coralville Dam to the Backpocket Brewery.
-Scenery: Race starts on top of the dam, run the road until there is a sidewalk along a busy highway. Run through Water Works Park, the Peninsula Neighborhood, finishing up along the Iowa River at the Brewery. Road and residential.
-Terrain: Due to construction near the end, there was a email warning " short dirt trail section." Otherwise all paved surfaces, except a wood bridge crossing. *The short trail section was waist high with weeds, and more like single track mud trail.
-Elevation: Hills, they are all decent climbs.
-Spectators: Few and far between.
-Aid Stations: There were maybe 4 or so, all had water and no Gatorade this year.. In paper cups
-Course markings: miles marked with signs and cones. Roads were open to traffic.
-Photographers; there were people taking pictures along the course, and they were posted promptly and free
-Volunteers: Most volunteers were at aid stations as the intersections were handled by law enforcement

Finish: Easily marked with a blue timing mat, and the timing company was making sure each participants chips registered. Once you finished someone handed runners a bottle of water. There was a choice to grab a Propel.

Post Race: The actual post race takes part in the beer garden. This is where you could get a free beer. When the results were complete, the awards were handed out. After the awards there was a stein holding contest to win free beer for a year.

My race: I always need training miles, so I decided to run 8 miles to the start from my house. The summer running conditions have been crap, but I made it to the start with time to spare, and time to wait in the shade. Then it came time to run the actual race... I was miserable, my worst race ever. I had my pack, so I had hydration and food, but the problem was my ears were plugged and it made me feel horrible. I tried everything to get them to pop, and they just wouldn't. This is nothing to do with the race or course, but maybe if there were more shade, I would have felt better, or if the race started later when the sun went down.

So, because I was on the struggle bus, the section that was advertised as dirt track pissed me off even more, because it was not even close to that. It was waist high with weeds... a weed wacker would have helped. I even like running trails.

I was one of the last to finish and I did not see any post race food, there was a table that had granola bars, but was not sure if that was the post race food. There was plenty of water and Propel, and I received my FREE beer.

As the title suggests, I don't know why I keep running this race... I think I keep wanting to prove I can run at the most miserable time of the day, and there's beer, and I don't have to travel to get to the start. I just feel every year, the same disappointments happen, when it can be much more. Gosh darn beer gets me every time.

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(2018)
"Durant's 5k"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

The 2018 event took place Friday, August 10, at 7pm, It was hot, in the 80's and sunny.

A kids fun run, one mile run and 5k held with the community's firefighter's celebration to fundraise for the Durant Cross Country team.

Registration: You could sign up online, print a form and send it in, or register on race day. Price increased until it reached race day. Included with your registration was a shoe timing chip and a bag of goodies - including a water bottle. There was a choice to get a unisex, short sleeve, cotton t-shirt for $5 more.

Pre-Race: There is no expo for a race this size, about 100-150 participants. Usually runners mill about talking to their friends, or do some warming up. The start / finish are near the town's rec fields and park. There were real park bathrooms nearby. Parking was plentiful, just pull along the curb on a side street.

The kids fun run was first, Then the National Anthem was sung, followed by the mile. I ran the mile with my niece.

Race / Course: The course was through residential areas of Durant. Kept on the north side of town, so wouldn't have to cross the main Highway (Hwy 6) through town.
Terrain: asphalt, cement - keep an eye out for uneven surfaces. HOT surface. There were parts of town where the streets were under construction and there was loose gravel.
Aid station: A water stop on the course
Spectators: residents in their driveways, but not many out and about
Course markings: marked with spray paint on pavement, arrows and many volunteers at each intersection
no photographers
Elevation: flat, no hills, but a small incline at the halfway point
Volunteers: many at all intersections
roads were open to traffic, but there was no traffic
Scenery: small town Iowa, residential neighborhoods to a neighboring livestock farm from which the smell was blowing in

Finish / post race: The finish was marked with a timing mat and clock. Then someone clipped the chip from your shoe. There were bananas, cookies, popsicles, Body Armor and bottled water.

There were awards for the overall winners in the mile and then overall winners in the 5k as well as age group winners. Members of the XC team presented these.

Overall: It's nice to kick the weekend off with a Friday evening race. There is nothing special about this 5k, it's a nice community event, with rides and live music later in the evening.

My race: I was excited to run the mile with my niece, she took off at the start of the one mile and I let her go, this was my warmup. I eventually caught up with her and it appeared she was enjoying every step. Once that was over, I lined up for the 5k. I thought I had a chance in my AG, so I also took off, my first mile was an 8:26- which is speedy for me... that didn't last and I had 9 minute miles to finish it out. I did end sub 30, and took 3rd in my AG. My niece proudly wore my medal.

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(2018)
"Flat , no frills, good price"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

The 2018 event took place Sunday, July 15 at 8 AM. It was overcast, temps in upper 70's with high humidity.

Registration: A form was available online to print and submit via mail. Or you could register on race day. Cost was around $20, shirts were guaranteed by a certain time and available first come first serve on race day. The were short sleeve, unisex, cotton.

Packet pick-up: Bibs and shirts could be picked up the morning of the race.

Pre-race: There was parking available near the start/finish for free at the fairgrounds. Real bathrooms were available in a nearby building. The race started promptly after some announcements. Including a note that younger kids needed to move at least 3 rows from the starting line.

Race /Course: An out and back starting at the county fairgrounds
-Terrain: Paved and gravel, railroad crossing
-Scenery: Rural small Iowa town.
-Course Markings: The course had signs set up at every turn, easy to navigate. I believe there were mile makers.
-Spectators: A few people were out and about, lots of empty chairs as people were saving spots for a parade later that day
-Aid Station: Water on course
-Volunteers: plenty and always felt safe on the course
-Photography: There was a photographer at the start / finish area. Photos are posted for free on the race club's website
-Elevation: flat, no hills

Finish / post race: There was no timing system except the giant clock at the finish line. A volunteer handed everyone a stick with a number, which is turned in to determine your placing. There were bananas and water available.

Awards were held after the kids races. Overall winners also received AG awards.

Overall: There are no frills, easy course, simple registration. If you are fast you also might win some money!

My Race: I just like to run all the races. My 5k goal is always sub 30, I really thought I had a chance at an AG award based on the size of the field. I gave it my all, but the humidity sucked the life out of me and I wore the wrong hat. I did come in with a time of 28:45, which put my 2nd in my AG.

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(2018)
"Beautiful and Challenging"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

The 2018 event took place on Saturday July 7. It was a perfect summer day, sunny and temps around 60 to start, warming up as the day went on. There were 3 events; 56k started at 8 AM, the 28k at 8:20 and waves of the 14k at 8:40. One loop of the course is 14k.

Registration: Available online starting near $80 Canadian, and the price tier increased based on number of registrants. Race day registration for around $100. Included with registration was a short sleeve, gender specific cotton shirt, each race had a different color with the same logo. The back of the bib had a timing strip.

Packet Pick Up /Expo: There was no expo. You could pick up your bib the morning of the race only.

The Limberlost area offered camping the evening before the event.

Pre-race: Participants were encouraged to carpool as the grass parking is crammed. Lots of port-o-potties on site with hand washing stations. There is a "meeting" before the race.

Race / Course: looped trail around the Limberlost Reserve.
-Elevation: Constantly going up or down, for 3 loops a total elevation gain of 3,507 according to my watch
-Terrain: Trail which included a short gravel section, spongy wooded areas, tree roots, mud, boulders, grass and boardwalk. Lots of single track, some areas were crowded for passing.
-Scenery: GORGEOUS!!!!! The majority of the race is on wooded trail around lakes. Each loop appeared to look different with the changing sunlight
-Aid Stations: There were 2 stations on the course and a stop at the start/finish line. Each stop had water and Heed.There were a variety of snacks including watermelon, cookies, pretzels and bowls of salt! There were lots of energetic volunteers at all the stops.
-Course Markings: Each kn was marked with a sign and the course was marked with orange flags in the ground. As the day went you foot traffic made the trail obvious.
-Volunteers: They were at the aid stations, no need for them on other parts of the course.
-There were port - o- potties at the aid stations.
-Spectators: they were in the form of other participants and volunteers as the reserve is remote.
-Photography: There was a photographer on the course in one spot, but had to pass through at the time they were set up.

Finish / post race: After being welcomed to the finish line, a volunteer placed a medal around your neck. The finish area food was under a big tent, there was a buffet of homemade salads, apples, chicken on the grill, bread and a tub of cold water and soft drinks. There were tables and places to sit and enjoy your food and watch people finish. If you wanted you could walk over to the lake and jump in.

Overall: Great trail race!! The price is awesome if you convert to US dollars. This is not a beginner trail event, the views are awesome. The only issue I have is having the speedy runners start later, making it hard to run the trails because they needed to pass. I enjoyed the race and would add it to your list.

My race: Where do I begin? I am not a new trail runner, I am maybe an inexperienced trail runner. The trails I have in my area do not compare to what I ran during this event. I was nervous headed into this one, I was attempting to run my longest event yet, a 56k. After experiencing a near anxiety attack on the first loop with the unfamiliarity of the terrain and the "worry" about the faster runners who started after me trying to pass me, II wanted to quit after the second loop. As luck would have it and in most trail events, I ended up chatting with someone on course and I was starting to feel better about myself and started to enjoy it. I then was up against the time. I needed to be done with my 3rd loop by 3:30 pm. I had done the math and was watching my watch after each loop, I was getting slower, and when I started the 3rd loop, I knew there was no way I would be able to start the 4th loop.

I ended up hanging with some other women for the majority of my 3rd loop, who were also up against the clock. They were optimistic, and I just didn't want to be too far alone out there. I made sure to take pictures and just take it all in, every muddy hole, every steep climb and all the views of the lake.

Each kilometer started to feel longer, but another guy and I passed the women and we went ahead and started to chat. Seriously trails are the best, the community is just awesome. Then just like that is was time to run the last kilometer - the longest one ever!!! I even did some actual running too.

When the lady at the finish line put the medal around my neck, I made sure to tell her I did not complete my race. I set out for 56k and only completed 42 - a marathon distance. The woman didn't care and made sure I kept my medal. Also, the shorter distance races received the same medal, so I didn't feel too guilty.

So yes, I DNF'd. However, I am not pouting, I am proud. I wanted to quit and I didn't. I forged on and did what I could. I am disappointed that I did not get all 4 loops, but sometimes it's more about the journey itself than the finish line.

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