Latest reviews by Angie Maske-Berka

(2021)
"A Prairie of Hills"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

August 7, 2021 - Summer temps, humid

Registration: Available online, maybe around $25/$30. Included was a short sleeve cotton shirt. Could register in person on race day.

Pre-race: Parking was not available at the start, but in lots nearby on the same grounds. (Race takes place in the Herbert Hoover Historic Site, Prairie.) No port-o-potties. Announcements were made about the course, lots of turns!

Race:
-Various terrain, asphalt, grass, prairie
-Hills
-run through the gravesite of Hoover, prairie views
-no photographers
-volunteer at every turn, signs along the course marking the turns
-aid stations with water

My race: I ran this event the first year and was excited they were going to host it again. The prairie is a challenging place to run, and I still wasn't prepared. We started on the paved area then turned into the prairie, immediately climbing a hill. The grass was also dewy, glad I wore trail shoes. I never felt lost, there was someone at every intersection or turn. Besides the tougher course, I had a decent race and came to the finish line with no issues. A volunteer snagged my bib number and wrote down my finish time.

Post Race/Finish: Bottled water and bananas were available. After all participants were back (there was also a mile walk.) Awards were announced. I won my age group!!

Overall: This race coincides with the weekend festival - Hoover Days. Over the years there has been a race associated with the festival, then it went away, so it's nice the Lions Club brought it back and made it more challenging, highlighting the features if the town. I will try to continue to support this as the Lions Club gives a lot back to the community and do it if it fits in my schedule.

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(2021)
"MMM Pizza and Beer!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

July 25, 2021, Summer time running conditions - sunny, warm, humid, late morning start.

Registration: Online for near $40. First 100 to register received a gift bag. Bib and timing chip included. *I received the "gift bag." The bag is an insulated cooler, had some coozies, pens, socks & headband inside.

Pre-race: Runners could pick up their bibs about an hour or so before the race. Parking on city side streets or ramps. Race takes place outside the Need Pizza restaurant, bathrooms inside. Announcements were made on how the race will work and about the PR Foundation.
"EAT PIZZA, RUN 1/2 MILE--DRINK A PINT OF CRAFT BEER, RUN ANOTHER 1/2 MILE TO THE FINISH!!!
This pizza and beer 1-mile race is put on by the PRFoundation. This is a charitable sports run that will help support veterans through the Freedom Foundation in the Cedar Rapids area as well as a no kill animal shelter, Critter Crusaders of Cedar Rapids! Even though the PRFoundation was founded by Robert Kabakoff of Chicago and "Panini" Pete Blohme of Alabama, they feel wherever there is an event that their cause can support, that money can be used in the community!" - taken from the race website.

Race: The race started with eating a GIANT slice of cheese pizza, then your timing started, run a half mile, come back and drink a can of Big Grove Boomtown, then run another half mile.
-Closed city streets
-flat
-photographers near start/finish
-GIANT slices of pizza
-ICE COLD beer (root beer option)
-views of downtown city scape
-volunteers and police at every intersection
-few spectators

My race: This concept is new to me, but I was very excited to give this a go. I made the day work by joining a group run earlier in the morning for longer miles and then topped off the day with this. I was more worried about eating something than drinking something, I really thought I would puke.

The race started a few minutes later than posted, but I would imagine it's because the pizza was fresh out of the oven. They cut it up and plated it on paper plates. People were invited over to start eating. I picked up a huge slice and tried to chew as fast as I could - which wasn't a great idea as my time would start when I crossed the timing mat. I just couldn't chew fast enough. Once I was done, I started running. I just had to do a loop, I had no issues and I was back at the starting area. I picked a can of the coldest beer ever from the ice tub and started drinking. It was soooo cold I couldn't drink it, it hurt my throat. I was trying as now it mattered, I was on the clock! This seemed to take forever. I was finally done and I did the next loop. It was great to be able to run the entire street and not worry about cars. I came across the finish line and that was it! No puking. I had run the mile in 11:28.

Finish / Post Race: After everyone was done there were awards and some door prizes I think. The awards were recycled (other sport) trophies.. Participants were given a post race free beer too. Could hang out in the pizza restaurant or in the street. The results were posted to the window.

Overall: Fun! The price is a bit much, but it's outlined upfront that this supports a foundation, plus you get pizza and beer and I had a great time. I see there is already a date for next year and I hope I can better my time.

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(2021)
"Sweatin in Solon"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

The 2021 event took place Saturday, July 17at 7:30 AM. It was sunny, temps in upper 70's with high humidity. The 5k and one mile event were run at the same time.

Registration: Available online with a no t-shirt option for less. 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 for an additional $12. The were short sleeve, unisex, cotton.

Packet pick-up: Bibs and shirts could be picked up the morning of the race. If you pre-registered they were handed out in a plastic bag with 4 advertisement papers.

Pre-race: There was parking available near the start/finish for free at the nearby rec complex. Port-o-potties were available. The were a few announcements and the National Anthem was sung.

Race /Course: A route through town
-Terrain: Paved and chip n seal
-Scenery: Rural small Iowa town.
-Course Markings: The course had each turn marked with spray paint on the ground. I don't recall mile markers.
-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, just before the 2 mile mark.
-Volunteers: plenty and always felt safe on the course. Law enforcement at major intersections.
-Photography: No photographers
-Elevation: While there are no mountainous climbs, I think every hill in town was on the course

Finish / post race: There was a giant clock at the finish and lots of people standing around, only because this is where the food and water was located. There were bananas and granola bars, in addition to ice cold bottles of water. A table of random prizes awarded by raffle was nearby. The timing guy provided printouts of your time.

Awards were held after the race. Prizes to overall and age groups.

Overall: The event has been a tradition of this small town celebration for years. It still keeps it small town charm while drawing a speedy crowd. Great price for your basic 5k needs.

My Race: I can't resist the small town festival race and in my area there are so many happening. I have participated in this event many times over the years and it happened to fit in my schedule this year. I had no expectations but to give it a good effort.

The start was a bit crowded, but once I found my place I tried to push as much as I could. I saw some people I know and said hi as I huffed and puffed up the next incline. The pressure was on to not get passed by them.

I had an uneventful 5k, it was tough with the humidity and the hills, but I managed to find the finish line with a time of 28:13, good enough for 173rd place. It was a super speedy field.

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(2021)
"Out and Back"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

July 17, 2021 0 overcast, summer temps and humidity.

Registration: Not sure online registration was available. On race day paid only $15, no shirt. Could purchase shirt for additional fee, short sleeve cotton. This got us a bib, no timing chip.

Pre-race: Free parking near the start. Real toilets available at the neighboring campsite. Announcements made about the course - specifically about the turnaround and the distance not being short.

Race:
-Crushed Limestone trail, shaded
-each turn around was an aid station. Water only
- no spectators - except with out and back, runners cheered each other on
-Volunteers at water stops, and there was an ambulance at the one road crossing on my way out
-Flat
-no photographers

Finish: There were volunteers snagging the strip off the bottom of the bib to record your finish time. Each distance was marked with a sticker so they knew what race to place you in. There was a gathering of runners cheering everyone in.

Post Race: When everyone was done, awards were given out. Overall and for each age group. Finisher and gift certificates were awarded. There was an easel with all finisher bib strips, showing the results. Nice spread of treats too including string cheese! Kid finishers even got an entire bag of things.

My Race: I have run this event before, I enjoy the Pony Hollow Trail where this happens. This race is also no frills and straight forward. Run out 3 miles and turnaround. There were not a lot of participants, so at times it felt like I took a wrong turn (impossible.) I did eventually have another runner in my sight, but I could not catch them. I enjoyed cheering on my husband and another friend as we passed on the out and back. The course was a little short, but I did end up winning my age group. I had a good race.

Overall: You can't beat a $15 race registration. I will come back to this event if it works with my schedule. Sometimes you don't need all the bells and whistles to enjoy running.

This race is part of the Sweet Corn Festival, afterwards I competed in a donut hole eating contest and we enjoyed all there was to offer.

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(2021)
"Run for a cold one"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Run to Exile. Saturday, June 12, 2021. 75 ish degrees, sunny. Exile Brewery, Des Moines, IA.

Registration: Available online, until race day. The price tier was spelled out on the website, topped out at $50. Included was a short sleeve tech shirt, a post race beer, timing chip and pint glass.

Expo / Packet Pick up: There was no expo. You could pick up your packet starting the Thursday before at the local running store and then at the brewery on Friday and Saturday morning.

Pre-Race: There were 2 events taking place, and each race was at a different start time. So as each race started there were announcements and music on a loud speaker.. The 10k started at 8:45, with the 5k following at 8:56. There was a bank of port-o-potties set up. Parking was available on the street in the surrounding areas. The race encouraged parking in a specific ramp (3 blocks away) and it was free!

After an instrumental version of the National Anthem, it was time for the rolling start. A group of 10(ish) people were told to approach the starting line, encouraging the speedier participants to approach first. When that group got to the top of the hill (yes it started with a short uphill) the next group was to go. It was a combination of encouragement from an announcer and people just lining up in groups and going. It appeared to work well, no clustering. However, people do not pay attention and the 5k walkers were starting with the speedier 10k runners. When all 10k people were through, then the rolling start of 5k runners did the same.

Race / Course: Both courses started at the brewery, both being some version of a loop. The 10 split off and went around the lake. Each had some out and back sections.

-paved / asphalt
-roads were closed to traffic
-little to no spectators
-photographer at the start/finish
-one water stop for the 10k about mile 4.
-relatively flat
-Police at all major road crossings
-don't recall mile markers

Finish / Post Race: An Arch, timing mat, clock and announcer greeted people at the finish. The post race food was splayed on a table - bananas and granola bars. There were tubs of water bottles iced down. There were trash receptacles. There were 3 beer choices, a volunteer marked your bib and gave you one of your choice.

Results were posted on a TV screen from the race timing trailer, awards only for overall finishers.
There were tables set up in the brewery parking lot in addition to the outside brewery space. Plenty of room for everyone to have their space. The brewery also had breakfast burritos for sale.
There was a stein holding contest after the race.

My race: I was looking forward to my 2nd in person race in over a year, plus there was beer at the end. I was also a week out from a marathon, I didn't have many expectations but to just enjoy the race.

During the announcements it was noted there were not many 10k runners. Many thoughts ran through my head, but I knew I just had to run my own pace.

I really had an uneventful race. I was familiar with the course as it's part of the Des Moines marathon. As the temperature warmed up I think struggling with the heat was my only problem, which was minimal as I have been training in it. There was only one water stop, and I say it all the time, should have brought my own hydration.

I came to the finish line and felt good. close to an hour and a great for me pace. Anymore that is the goal, feel good when I am done. When I checked my results, I was third in my age group.

After the race it was nice to enjoy race day atmosphere again. We watched the stein holding contest and took it all in.

Overall: I think this race was a good combination of an actual event and still following what remains of CDC guidelines. The feeling of race day was there, but more laid back. I've actually run a few events by the same organization, and I will say I might like this one the best so far.

It's really hard to write a review in this time of current events. In Iowa the guidelines were dropped so fast, yet at the same time events couldn't make the same changes. I would suggest registering early to save on the price, but it's a laid back event with a chance to still be competitive.

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