Latest reviews by Christine Guenther

(2018)
"Windermere Half marathon"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

After a change in work schedule, I was able to run the Windermere Half Marathon this year. Because it was a few weeks before the start, it was about $100 for the half, which is on the high end for what I'm willing to pay, but it's one of the few races I've been able to do that's local and that I didn't have to travel for.

The Expo: Held at the U District PT site and only on the Saturday before the race from 10 a- 4 p. I wish there would have been something available Friday as well. Not a whole lot of parking available, so people were trying to find something in the lots or on the road. I feel like a better location just in terms of more Parking space would have been nice. Quick in and out, to get your bib and string back pack. Shirts are handed out at the finish. Supplies were there to make signs and that was about it. I didn't necessarily mind no vendors because I have so much running stuff anyways.

The race: Point to point with shuttles available from the Spokane Convention Center to the full start (from 5-6 AM) and to the half start (from 6-7 AM). Starts are in different locations so make sure you get the right shuttles. There was limited parking if you wanted to park at the start, but for me it was easier to park in one of the garages downtown and shuttle up to the start. Bag checks at the start with them being shuttled to the finish area.

The Half marathon started at 8 AM sharp. The course is mainly downhill, though there were some soft hills. It's a combination of Centennial Trail and road, but everything is paved. One minor complaint I had was with the active traffic on some of the roads. The river waters were elevated this year where there was some flooding on course, which I believe led to some of the course being altered. Since this was my first year doing Windermere, I'm not sure what normal is for the course. Aid stations were ever 1-2 miles, but there didn't seem to be a rhyme or reason as to what the spacing was. Plenty of gels and water, but they could have had some more electrolytes (Powerade/gatorade, whatever). The finish was by the convention center.

Post race: first came medals, then came finisher shirts. This year, they were long sleeved 1/4 zip shirts, which I appreciate because I can actually wear it when it's cooler out. Chocolate milk, water and some food was available. There was an area to check results, another area for massages ($15 for 15 minutes) and some other things to do. I couldn't hang around though, since I had to work at noon.

Good race overall, but I wish the expo was somewhere with better parking.

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(2018)
"T9 Mermaid 10K"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
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Race Management

Part of a series of races put on by Title 9 across the country, I think this is the first time in awhile it's been in Spokane, because I don't remember it from years past. Geared primarily towards women, but does allow men to sign up was well. This year, it was held the first weekend in June.

Packet pick up was at the Title 9 store (the main sponsor for the race) during business hours on the Thursday-Saturday before the race. Bib numbers were assigned as you picked up your bib. You also got a bag, shirt and coupon for T9. Also had the option to pick up on race day as well.

The race itself was held at Riverfront Park and started/finished at the Lilac Bowl. Given it started at 8 AM (the 10K) and 830AM (the 5K), downtown was pretty quiet and easy to park. Street parking is also free on Sundays, which is a plus. For the 10K, we started right at 8 AM. Some people needed to do a better job of separating themselves or placing themselves based on their pace (walkers really don't need to be in the front). Most of the race was on Centennial trail and by Gonzaga. The first mile takes you out along the Spokane River and has you go across a suspension bridge, which moves and really throws you off, before you turn towards the convention center. There's a turn around right before mile 2, where you head back along the same course you just came out on. Instead of turning back on the bridge, you keep going along the river and ultimately come off the trail and head towards Gonzaga. You ultimately get back on the trail and take it to Mission Park, where you have a second turn around and head back towards the park. You follow the trail and then the Spokane River before finishing where we started. Some hills, not terrible. Water stops ever 1-1.5 miles or so.

Something that needs to be fixed in the future is the mile markings. The course itself was 6.2 miles, but there were mile markers that weren't place right by any means. The 3 mile marker was 1/3 mile sooner than it should have been, the 5 mile marker was 1/3 mile past where it should have been and I'm pretty sure that miles 2 and 4 were off a bit too. Shouldn't be that hard.

Not a lot of 10ks in the area, so I'm hoping this keeps up. If I don't have to work, I'd keep coming back.

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(2018)
"Troika Olympic Triathlon"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
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Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
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First time doing Troika. It has a bunch of options to choose from, The sprint, Olympic or Long Triathlon, a Duathlon and an Aquabike option. I signed up for the Olympic distance this time around for what was my first triathlon. Multiple start times with the long distance going first, then the sprint followed by the olympic distance.

Transition times open at 530 AM, tend to stay open until 815 AM (15 min after the Long Distance goes out). I just with that the bike areas were marked and in order than pick where you want your bike to be. Bring a wetsuit, weather and water temps can be variable. Most people were fine, but I'm not great controlling body temperature anyways so I was so cold the entire time (the kayakers nearly pulled me out I think). I was the last one out of the swim portion (you have an hour for the Olympic Swim).

The Bike for the olympic distance is 25 miles, not terrible. Some hills, downhills and flat. Be careful, as it's on open road. Marked at areas where you have to do something, but no mile/KM markers so I was relying on my Garmin. Only 1 aid station and really not much support on the bike route otherwise. You had a mount/dismount area that took some extra time.

The run was 10K and 2 laps around Medical Lake. You had to make sure you were following the long course route at certain points and at one point on the way back around on the first loop, I had no idea if I was going the right way. To boot, the volunteers were kind of clueless when I asked, since the only thing marked on it was for the long course, but nothing for the sprint/olympic distances (turned out it was the right direction). Aid stations were every mile or so; give or take.

Overall, on the fence on this one. Wish the bike course had something in terms of marking and more course support. If something happened or you got hurt, you were sort of out luck and no one would know. We'll see if I come back for this one.

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(2018)
"Hapalua 2018"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
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The joys of living on the west coast means easier access to Hawaii! I as finally able to get out and run Hapalua and cross Hawaii off my half marathon list. I was able to fly out Friday morning before the race and still get in by 1 PM Hawaii time. I stayed at one of the Hilton resorts, but wish I would have stayed closer to the start/Finish area on Waikiki.

After getting settled at the hotel and a shake out run in, I went over to the Expo at the Hawaii Convention Center. This is the same location for the Honolulu Marathon Expo, however, the Hapalua Expo is on a smaller scale I feel like. Bib numbers were emailed out a few days prior to the expo, but there were bib look up areas just in case. After getting your bib, you went to a second table to get your shirt and bag. They also had a table with clear bags for you to write your bib number on if you planned on using bag check on race day. There were some local running stores, Hapalua Race Gear and some other smaller vendors to check out.

Saturday, there was a shake out run in Kapiolani Park, where you could meet the runners participating in the Chase: Hawaii runners vs Elites essentially. Good way to get loosened up before race day!

Race Day:
Start is at 6 AM. Not bad when you're still on PST and feels like 9 AM, though I still had about 10 alarms set. Again, if you're traveling in for the race, stay closer to Waikiki. I walked a good 1.25 miles to the Duke Statue, where the start of the race was. The Chase this year had a 24 minute handicap, so some runners started around 5:36 AM, with varying starts up until 5:54 or 5:56 this morning. The elites started at 6 AM with the rest of us. Plenty of porta potties at the start, though I didn't have time to get a pre race drink of water.

One thing that needs worked on though is the start. It's kind of a hot mess. There's no division of runners and no corrals, which actually makes the first mile difficult. There were walkers at the front and people who were inappropriately placing themselves faster than they were, so faster runners were trying to not run over other people. If there could be some sort of corral system like for the Honolulu Marathon or other races in general, it would make life a lot easier.

The Course is fairly flat for the first 9 miles or so. You start in front of the Duke Statue and head along Kalakaua Avenue to Ala Moana Blvd and the Nimitz Highway. You pass Ala Moana Beach Park, the Harbor and Aloha Tower before turning and coming back some on King Street. You make some turns and double back on Ala Moana and it's kind of fun seeing runners come towards you. If you time it right, you can see some of the chase happening on the way out on Ala Moana Blvd. Over the next few miles, you end up back on Kalakaua Avenue and you get some crowd support there. You pass the Duke Statue and head towards Waikiki and Kapiolani Park. Here, you pass the 9 mile mark and start making the trek around Diamond Head. Be ready for some hills/incline because you don't realize how much there is until it's there. Or, like me, you forget what the hills were like during the Honolulu Marathon because you chose to forget that part of the race. You have some pretty decent incline from miles 9 to 10, some downhill before heading back up again at mile 11 for about half a mile. After that, it's all downhill along Diamond Head. The last part of the race takes you along some neighborhoods and into Kapoilani Park, same finish as the Honolulu Marathon. You were greeted with medals and water misters (so needed). Afterwards, when I was walking back to the hotel, though, you could see more than a bunch of walkers still on course who had to move to the sidewalk as traffic opened back up.

Weather: you could cut the Humidity today with a knife. That, plus the 70* + weather, I was having some flashbacks to the 2010 Chicago Marathon. Be prepared and hydrate well a day or two before the race.

Post Race: plenty of medals, food (read frozen ice drinks, Malasadas, etc. Mainly, Malasadas), water, pineapple juice and more. Could we get some chocolate milk though?

Water Stations on course: It felt like every 2 ish miles or so, give or take. I felt like they needed more because it was so hot and humid on course. Hard to stay hydrated when the water stations are so spread out.

Overall, a fun race. I'd come back for Hapalua in a heart beat. Just gotta work on the start and the aid stations!

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(2018)
"Inaugural Run Crandic"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
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2018 was the inaugural Run CRANDIC (Cedar Rapid and Iowa City) Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K. I signed up in an attempt to get Iowa off my half marathon state list.

Expo: two days to pick up bibs. Friday, was in Iowa City and more of a grab and go sort of deal with no vendors. Saturday, this was in Cedar Rapids and at NewBo Market. Running stores/booths were there, which was good, because I needed throw away gloves (who knew I'd be saying that in April). Both were small, but it's also kind of nice to not be attacked by vendors to buy things.

Pre Race Parking/Getting to the Start: Parking was at Kinnick Stadium at the University of Iowa where 3-4 lots were blocked off for runners. Shuttles for the full started leaving at something ridiculously early since they started earlier than the full. Half marathon shuttles starting leaving at 630 AM for the half marathon start. You had to register for shuttles, and were given a pass, though I feel like they weren't being checked.

At the Start: I was on one of the first shuttles to the start in North Liberty. Iowa has some flat areas in it, and with the wind and some chilliness, it was cold (you never know what weather Iowa will give you). Luckily, a dentist opened up his office and a bunch of runners were in keeping warm, but it would have been nice to have some tents/heaters to keep warm. If you couldn't pick up your bib during the expo, the half did have a limited pick up option race morning.

The course: Race started at 815 and there were pacers set up for runners. There were semi corrals which was nice (and runners did pretty well self seeding so you weren't running over slower runners). There were waves let out about a minute between each other due to some narrow areas at the start, which was smart. The first 3-4 miles of the half were in North Liberty before we connected with the full marathon. There were some hills the middle portion of the course, but it wasn't terrible considering what the full marathon had to deal with. We wound our way through Coralville before heading into Iowa City and finishing at Kinnick Stadium. Aid stations were well marked and they were well stocked with water, gatorade, gels and oranges. I appreciated the signs in front saying what was available

The Finish: at Kinnick Stadium. You ran through the stadium (and waved at the kids in the children's hospital). You finished outside the stadium, but there wasn't enough room for people (we were too packed in). Medals and chocolate milk were available, but I couldn't find any post race food.

The good: very well run, good communication, you wouldn't necessarily know it was the first year of the race.

Things to improve on: the medal situation. I realize not wanting to over order medals, but at the finish, they were checking bib numbers to make sure you had registered prior to the medal order dead line. They may have been better off ordering some medals that didn't have years on them so they could be used in the future if there were too many. Additionally, there needed to be a finish area that could accommodate the people coming through. Also, Couldn't find any post race food, which was an issue. They did have a post race party at a local bar/pub with shuttles going too and from, but something more visible at the finish would have been awesome.

Overall, some learning curves, but definitely a race to have on your radar and do!

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