Latest reviews by Christine Guenther

(2019)
"At least I got Maine off my list of half marathons?"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

For Christmas, my parents gave me some gift cards for flights and I used one to come out to Maine for the Old Port Half Marathon in order to check main off my list of races. For a race that calls itself the premier half marathon of Maine, it could certainly use some work.

The Expo: at the Cross Insurance Arena, which I think was a change this year. Also new was them assigning bibs as you checked in. It was downright horrible. Pick up was from. 2-8 on Friday afternoon and I got in line at 315. It took 45 minutes to get inside, get my bib and my shirt. The line was out the door and it looked like stayed like that most of the day. Only 4-5 people assigning numbers if that. Not much in terms of vendors, only a race, lululemon, life is good and a handful of other places if that.

The race: starts in the Old Port District. Be ready for some hills as they’re scattered. Throughout the course. The first 5 miles or so are downtown and afterwards, you get taken around the Cove. There’s a good stretch around the cove where you have a mix of gravel/sand path and not a whole lot of room to pass. A good 1/10 of a mile towards the end run on cobblestone and made everyone worried they were going to turn an ankle. Aid stations were scattered throughout the course, but no real rhyme to the distance between them, which seemed odd.

Post race: food/beer garden were together. Didn’t even see any ice cream and the pizza line was so long it wasn’t worth waiting for. Water/medals available in the finish shoot, though people were standing around blocking the finish after finishing themselves

Volunteers: my parents are in Portland this weekend and my mom volunteered at the finish. THe volunteer coordinator didn’t show up and there was no one to give any sort of direction. Most of what got set up was done by the volunteers, but only because some of them had prior race volunteer experience. Didn’t seem like the race had any clue what was going on

Overall, decent course, but packet pick up needs a major redo, more organization is needed at the finish and there needs to be more water stations at the minimum

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(2019)
"RnR Seattle needs some work"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

If you’re looking for a Seattle Half or Full, I’d actually look for a different race. I’ve lived in Washington State for 3 years and this is my first time doing RnR Seattle, and likely my last. I had signed up last year during their Global Running Day sale, which was the only saving grace.

Price: I registered early for something like $50. Race weekend sign up was insane ($75 for the 5K, $175 for the half and $189 for the full)

Packet Pick Up is at Century Link Field and I had no issues getting my bibs or shirts (I did the 5K as well). I browsed some, but wasn’t all that impressed with the expo. The shirts were meh and mine’s probably going in the donation bin when I get home. I arrived at 3 pm and had no shirt issues, but by the end of FRIDAY pick up, the S/M shirts were already out. How does this even happen?

Start/Finish: at the Seattle Center. I walked to the start from my hotel and took the Monorail back into town before walking to my hotel

The Course: oh the course. I don’t know how you get excited over a new course and it’s less than desirable. The first 1.5 miles was in town, but then the next 3.5 and change were on I-5. Yes, that I-5 that is a highway. They had some of it shut down for runners and I began having some flashbacks that was the HC 15K disaster of DC about 10 years ago. You had a few good views, but I still don’t understand how you’re seeing Seattle from I-5. After we got off the highway, we had about 2 miles around Lake Union before running by the ship canal which was meh. We crossed over Ballard Bridge and I saw a few people wipe out and fall because of running on uneven surfaces. Be prepared for some major incline from about mile 10.25-11, where most people were hiking up the hills rather than running. Afterwards, you passed the Gray’s Anatomy House, decent views of downtown at Kerry Park before heading down the steepness of hills you just ran up towards the finish. If the goal was to see Seattle, sure we got some views, but there could have been a lot better job at course design to see the city.

Water Stations: every 1 mile +. Some with Gatorade and water, some just water, some had gels

Finish: met with medals, water, chocolate milk and food, nothing special. Forgot about my remix medal until after I got back to the hotel and didn’t even care or want to go back for it.

Overall, something’s got to be done about the course, the shirt situations and just overall organization of the race....

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(2019)
"RnR Seattle 5K"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Did the 5K and the half marathon this weekend and started with the 5K. Fairly quick pick up of bibs at the expo, but there was some shirt snafu, so shirts were at the finish. Not a whole lot of people doing the 5K, but it was a decent race.

Race was at 9 AM and was at the Museum of Flight. Not the easiest place to get to if you flew in from out of town. I took an Uber and ended up walking 1/4 a mile to the start, which was no big deal, but something to consider with road closures. 6 corrals total I think, but hard to see and you were guessing on where to go. Corrals didn’t seem to make sense as there were walkers in the early corrals. Quick start and then on to road before running through part of the flight museum. It was tight quarters and the flooring was slick to the point I was hoping I wouldn’t fall. At one point, we were single file if that says anything. After you got out of the flight museum, you were redirected to road, which was essentially an out and back course to the finish. 1 water station about half way in, water, shirts and medals at the finish. Not sure what happened with the shirts, but it was kind of obnoxious to have more stuff to carry back to the hotel.

Leaving, a bunch of runners had to make the 1/4 mile track back the way we came and then figure out Ubers/Lyfts from there. Just glad it all worked out

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(2019)
"Ottawa 2K"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I did 3 races Race weekend (2K, 5K and the full marathon) and considered doing the lumber jack challenge which included the 10k, but didn’t think me legs would tolerate the miles over the weekend (I was right...). 2K is Saturday afternoon and the first race to go off. Some sprinkling rain, nothing to cry home about. Quick race, took me about 10 minutes start to finish, mainly in the neighborhoods and flat. WHat needs worked on is there’s zero organization to who goes where. Walkers are in the front, runners are trying to weave around kids. I was just glad I didn’t trip and fall on my face while plowing over a kid. Great idea for a family fun race, but some sort of organization needs to happen for people legitimately trying to run this or doing one of the challenges.

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(2019)
"Ottawa Marathon"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

First Ottawa Marathon for me and I came in from Washington State for it. If you’re bold, take advantage of the Lumberjack Challenge and do the 2K/5K/10K on Saturday and the Full on Sunday.

The Expo: At the Shaw Center, I walked there from my hotel. Held Thursday/Friday/Saturday. Picked up my bibs (kits in Canada) on Friday with no wait. Only swag per say in the bag was the shirts that you get for signing up. Good amount of vendors throughout the expo, even found my running shoes on sale, which was a perk.

Race morning: stay within walking distance to the race, parking seemed limited (also coming from someone who’s not local). I stayed what felt like a good 3/4 mile from the race. Gear check available, but not close to the finish if you thought about it and out of the way (off Lisgar and Cartier, which felt like a good 5-10 min walk in the opposite direction of where I needed to go to get back to the hotel).

Time: Full started at 7AM, Half at 9AM

Weather: cool, but warmed up quickly. I was the stupid one who forgot a throw away shirt and ended up dumping a good long sleeved shirt 14 miles in 😢.

The Course: some mild hills, but nothing to cry home about. It’d be nice to have some sort of course elevation map available, though I couldn’t find one on the website. You pass Parliament, the War Museum, War Memorial, Rideau and 24 Sussex. They did have ‘xtra mile’ crew at 35k and 40k to help get you through the last few miles. The last few kilometers were with the half marathon.

Aid stations: quite honestly, need some work. I feel like there was no real rhyme between the distances between them. I wish they would have been every 2K and based on prior reviews, this seems to be a recurring theme. I’d also argue that not everyone drinks Nuun (myself included). An idea would be to alternate Nuun and Gatorade/Powerade, I essentially went without electrolytes because Nuun doesn’t agree with my stomach what so ever.

The Finish/Post Race: needs some definite work. You were filtered into Confederation after getting your medal and cup of water/electrolytes. I finished in 4:49 and there was absolutely zero bottled water/chocolate milk etc in the food area for runners. Food was limited by the time i got there and was nearly out. Essentially half a banana that didn’t look good, half a bagel and bag of chips. There really needed some more options and if you’re going to hand out bags to put food in, it’d be easier to have it pre setup for runners to take and go

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