Latest reviews by Julia Montag

(2017)
"First Portland Race!"
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I had heard about the Shamrock Run, even back when I lived in Chicago. It's one of the most famous Portland races, thus I had to try it out my first year in this city.

Leading up to the race, communication are not very good. It was a few days out, and I realized I hadn't received 1 race email with packet pick up details, start time info, etc. It wasn't a huge deal, I went to the website to find the info, but I did have to double check that i did indeed register because it was so odd to not get any emails from the race.

The expo was really nice. It was at the Oregon convention center, and we found street parking super easily. It was bigger than I expected - a ton of booths giving out free beer, snacks, or games. Grabbing your bib and shirt was a breeze too, and everyone was really nice and helpful.

On race day, we biked there, and it was hard to find a spot to lock up. If the race could, it would be nice to see additional bike storage brought in to encourage more bikers. There was also a gear check, but you couldn't check a bag. They had garbage bags to put your clothes in. Not a big deal, since I looked this up prior to race-day, but something that would have been good to email out the week before.

The announcer was calling pacers for the 15K to get into the corral. We waited a bit, probably a bit too long, and jumped in. The pacers were nowhere to be seen, and I had no idea where to line up. The corral also curved and there was 2 start lines so it was hard to tell if I was at the back or the front, which was pretty stressful. We started the race, and I was way too far back, I had to push through a ton of people the first mile or so. Def my fault for jumping into the corral so late, but also they could have done a better job marking the start.

The course was beautiful! It was hilly, and took you through an area of Portland I don't normally run through. There were a decent amount of volunteers and aid stations out there. I def wasn't used to grabbing a cup off the table (normally volunteers had them to me in previous races I've done), and I dropped most cups I tried to grab.

The finish was awesome! There was a huge post-race area with a live Irish band, free beer, free food. It was the first beautiful day in Portland in awhile too, which definitely helped the atmosphere.

Overall, I loved this race - great St. Patricks Day theme, great post-race celebration, and a really cheap registration price. There were a few hiccups or areas for improvements, but I'll def run this again!

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(2017)
"Tough personal race, great race experience"
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This was my first ever Disney race, and I'm really happy I got to experience one. I do want to first say that I'm not a huge Disney fan. I have nothing against it, I'm just not super into Disney or Disney World. That said, the management of RunDisney events is incredible, everything flows smoothly and the way they move people around flawlessly is impressive. I had pretty high expectations because of how much every single person you talk to raves about these races, but to fully appreciate these events, you do need to be a Disney fan, so some of it was lost on me.

So, we stayed at a Disney resort, and I'm so glad we did. The ease of waking up in the morning (super early, 3am!), and having the resort shuttle take us directly to the starting area was a huge bonus. Disney volunteers direct you through the starting area, gear check, and to the start line. There is about a mile walk from the time you check gear until you get to your corral. I appreciated the time to warm up, but the long walk might throw people off if they weren't expecting it (good thing for BibRave reviews, ammmiiiright?). They do an awesome job of lining this walk with port-o-potties, seriously, there was hardly any lines because of how many port-o-potties there were!

The start is amazing! They have a huge pink start line and shoot off fireworks for every corral. The course was OK to me, you run on highways for the majority of the race, and only spend a small amount of time actually in the parks. Here is where I think being a Disney fan is key. I didn't care to take pics of characters on course (I was running for time), and while I did appreciate the attention to detail (mile markers with Disney Princesses on them!), the excitement was kind of lost on me.

The finish again is so well organized. You cross the finish line with Mickey and Minnie welcoming in the runners, are handed a medal, a box with food AND a string bag to put all your things in. I absolutely hate having to hold all the things at the finish, and Disney made all the post-race goodies so convenient by offering the bag. The post-race had live music and Disney princess characters to take pics with. We got on the shuttle pretty quickly after the race.

Overall, these races are run incredibly well. Every detail is thought out, and everything flows really easily, so that as a runner, you don't need to worry about anything. If you have the chance to run a RunDisney race, you must take it!

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(2016)
"One of the Best Post-Race Events"
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I had a blast at this race. I'll walk through what made this event so special from packet pick up to post-race party!

Packet pick-up - the nicest volunteers were working the packet pick up. I have never had such nice people give me my bib and shirt, it was such a treat, and really started the race off on a good note. They also had really nice things in the bag - snacks that I was actually interested in AND discounts for the wineries near the race! The pick-up was at Foot Traffic, a running store in Portland. There wasn't much to it, but i'm totally ok with that. It was also nice that the race took place in Washington, but they offered a pick up in Portland, very convenient.

Race day - The race gave really detailed instructions a few days before the event. They took everyone to park about a half mile from the race start at a school that was providing free parking. The race then shuttled everyone to Rusty Grape Vineyards. I needed to warm up, so I just ran to the start.

Race area - the race started and finished at the vineyard. There were a good amount of port-o-potties, and lots of volunteers giving all sort of info you'd need. I'm pretty sure you could also pick-up your packet on race day. The day started out really foggy, and the vineyard was beautiful.

Race - The race was self-seeded and everyone was pretty respectful of where they should start. We started right on time, going down a 2 lane highway. Roads were closed off, so traffic was coming in both directions. It threw me off at first, but once I knew to expect it, it wasn't a huge deal. There were 4 waters stations, 2 of which were at other vineyards in the area and they offered gatorade, water, and wine! That was a really cool touch. They water and gatorade was in the same cups, which made it kinda hard to know what you were grabbing, but that's an easy fix. This race was hilly - lots of rolling hills, rarely were you running on flat, but I'm also kind of a baby when it comes to hills. It was about 800ft of elevation.

Post-race - We got AWESOME medals - it was a wine stopper/pourer but in the shape of a bull's head - so cool! The race director, Elby was at the finish line welcoming everyone in. He was so energetic and really made each runner feel special. All runners also got a North County Wine Run stemless wine glass, and free wine from Rusty Vineyards. They also had pasta, dinner rolls, and salad for everyone - it was super tasty! The vineyard had super cool out door areas with fire pits. It was a blast to hang out, enjoy the nice day, and have fun with everyone who ran.

I definitely recommend doing this race - bring your friends and make a day of it. We checked out another vineyard about a mile away, and it was also tasty. We got FREE tastings, thanks to a coupon in the race packet. The volunteers of this race def love the event. From runners, to staff, to volunteers, everyone was incredibly nice, and there to have a great time to together.

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(2016)
"Never a Disapointment"
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I'm a HUGE Abe Lincoln fan, so it really doesn't get better than a Lincoln road race for me. That said, they do a fantastic job putting on this event, year after year. If you can travel to Springfield for this race , you must go!

I was late for the expo, but stopped in about 15min after it ended and the crew was packing up. The race director was still there, and we chatted for a bit. He was incredibly friendly, excited about the event, and excited for us to be there. It was a great touch meeting him, and pretty cool that he was willing to chat even after the expo had ended.

The race starts right in front of the Old Capital. Springfield is small so parking was easy, and most hotels are in walking distance. The race director got the runners ready, then Abe Lincoln gave a speak, and THEN the race starts with Civil War re-enactors shooting off musket guns. YES! They shoot off musket guns to start the race!!

The course is really pretty. You run past Lincoln's home, the old & new Capital, Lincoln's tomb and through a ton of really pretty neighborhoods and parks. For a small race, so many people were on course cheering us on, I loved it! The volunteers were also awesome, and cops did a fantastic job keep cars off course.

Abe Lincoln was at the finish running everyone in, it was awesome - holding hands with Abe as I crossed the finish line? Come on! We were then handed a big shiny penny medal, on a really nice red ribbon. Easily my favorite medal ever, but again, I love everything Abe Lincoln.

The post-race party takes places on the lawn of the Old Capital. There was chocolate milk, granola bars, donuts, and beer from a local brewery. All the volunteers again were super friendly, and let you take as much as you wanted. There weren't even beer tickets, you could just kinda help yourself! There was also a live folk band playing. It was really just an awesome post-race event. Very low key, and a ton of fun.

Around mile 7 I dropped my gel. A few minutes later, a runner came up to hand it to mel! He pushed ahead just to give it to me. I think that experience really embodies everything about this event. From the race director to the volunteers, and even the participants, everyone was easy going, super friendly, and really just there for a good time.

Any opportunity I have I will run this race. I highly recommend it for every single runner.

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(2016)
"Solid local 5K"
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I live a block away from this race, so for me, the accessibility and ease to run this race was huge. I've ran the 10 miler a few times, and enjoyed that a lot more. They added the 5K for the first time this year, and it felt like a last minute add-on.

I had a not-so-great registration experience. I registered late, and ended up paying $55. This seemed very high to me for a 5K. There are a lot of different price tiers. For example, the price increases as the race date draws closer, but you also pay more if you're not a CARA member, which I get. To sign up, you have to use the CARA website. If you've ever registered on this site before, you needed to use your email log in, which for me meant resetting my log in info. I hadn't signed on to this site in along time, so this look me more time than I would like to sign up for a race. Once I got in, selected 5K, and put in my information, there was no confirmation page to tell me how much I'd end up paying before I submitted. This bothered me. I entered a $10 discount code, but it did not take, and I didn't know this until it was too late. With all the different price tiers, I would like to see my total before my card is charged.

Packet pick up was around the city at different fitness stores. Pretty quick and easy. We got a nice long-sleeve tech quarter-zip, both 10 mile and 5K got the same shirt I think. Nice quality.

The race took place at Montrose Harbor. I walked over, so can't report on parking. They had a nice race area set up with tents, vendors, etc. They led warm up stretches, and the announcer was really good about giving updates. Lots of port-to-potties, and just a good vibe.

The 10 mile and 5K went off together. I liked this because I was able to use some of the fast 10 milers to pace a few miles of my 5K. We split around mile 1.5 or 2. The course ran through Montrose park. The pavement was super uneven, with a lot of potholes to jump around. This wouldn't normally bothered me, but I was having a bad racing day. Def not a knock against the race, just a note.

There was a nice "finish" banner and they gave medals to the 5K-ers. I think they also had water and bananas, maybe even bagels for the finishers. I didn't check this area out, or grab anything so I can't report more. When I was done, I was able to go cheer on the 10 milers, which was a lot of fun.

The 10 miler finishers get cash for winning - 1st male & female ($350), 2nd male & female ($250), 3rd ($150). I came in first female for the 5K. The awards weren't until 11:30ish, and I finished around 930 or before so couldn't wait around. I reached out to CARA to ask if I won anything, and I was informed it was a button and I could pick it up from the CARA office. I def didn't expect as much money as the 10 miler placers, but thought I'd get more than a button. Seemed a little unfair to me.

Again, this race is well organized, and a great local option. The 10 mile has been around for awhile, and the 5K seemed like an afterthought, in my oppinion. I'd def run this race again, and just had small gripes about the award and registration process.

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