Latest reviews by Christine Guenther

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

Ran the Smuttynose Half Marathon this weekend to check off NH off my half marathon state list. I was in Boston for a conference and drove just over an hour to Hampton, NH. I got in shortly afternoon on Saturday.

Expo: The expo was from 1-5 pm on Saturday at the start/finish area. Not a whole lot there. There was race day registration available. Bib pick up was based off last name. After you get your bib, you go get your fleeces. I appreciate fleeces because I have way too many shirts. I wish it would have started maybe around noon or something along those lines. Held outside under tents. Takes about 10 minutes tops.

Race day: the half marathon started at 8:05 AM (the 5K at 8:40). The first 2 miles and change were around a loop around the start before heading out towards Seabrook Town Beach and back. Mile 5-6 took you down the main drag. After mile 6 and change we made our way along the Atlantic before turning into part of town and running along the streets for 2 miles or so. After mile 10, we headed back into town and finished along the main drag.

Aid Stations: Feel like this part could do some work. On the way back, not so many of them. I feel like since there were parts that were out and back, the water stops should have been in the middle of the road so you could get to them from both sides.

Parking: Make sure you get there with enough time to park or your parking aways out.

Getting there: be sure to look at the directions. There was bridge work on the main way in, so I took an alternate route in order to avoid traffic

Swag: medals, fleece

Post Race Party: food and alcohol along the beach. Since I had to get to the airport,I couldn’t enjoy it, but it looked like fun :-(

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(2018)
"Hayden Lake Quarter Marathon"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Signed up for the Hayden Lake Half Marathon initially and my plan was to do back to back halves with the Spokane Half Marathon the next day, however plans changed race day.

Packet Pick up: either at the Kootanei Fairgrounds the Friday before the race (essentially just bibs, shirts, etc there) or on race morning. Some vendors present on race morning though.

Parking: literally on the side of the road leading up to Honeysuckle Beach. It's a small race, but still that seemed so odd to me. I was really hoping nothing was hidden underneath the pine needles to punch a hole in my tires.

Race Distances: Marathon, Half Marathon, Quarter Marathon

Start Time: marathon at 7:30 AM, Half Marathon at 8 AM, Quarter Marathon 830 AM

Pre race: While walking to the race start, I noticed cones on the sign of the road with different colored arrows. The marathon had started as I was walking to the start and the marathon runners were essentially running on the side of the road. At that point, decided to go from the half to the quarter marathon

Want to switch races: not as easy as dropping down or going up to whatever distance you want to switch to. You literally had to go to the timer and tell them what race you wanted to go to so they could move your number to that race, the system wasn't smart enough to know if you were starting a certain time, you were with whichever race was going off

Pre race announcements: not your typical, get to the start, etc. We were running on an open course and cones/colored arrows were marking the course. No more than 2 people across. If you wanted to pass, you had to do it on the inside. If you were going too many people across, in the middle of the road, etc, you were penalized: first a verbal warning, than a 5 min addition to your time then DQ'ed. Did I see this enforced on course? absolutely not.

The course: it's Idaho, there's hills. You'll see some so be ready. Had to know what colored arrows to look for (marathon- blue, half-green, quarter-white), but there were times where two distances were on the same roads, but only one colored arrow. Just over a mile in, some of us were so confused because the white arrows weren't there. Things thinned out some, and there was a pretty decent hill between miles 2-3 (my time showed it). Then it was pretty much down hill with some of the same course on the way back. Saw people in the middle of the road at time and all types of versions of passing. There were some pretty questionable road intersections we passed through, though they had people there. One of them you could go straight or left with traffic coming towards you in addition to behind you.

Post race: some food, water, post race vendors. Not to excited

Not going to lie, I'd rather save the 50 minutes it took me to get to the race than go back next year. Almost felt like something you'd do on a group run, but if you're local, it's an option

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

First year running the Bismarck Marathon. I was looking for a race to knock off North Dakota from my Half Marathon race list and this happened to fall on a weekend I wasn’t working so here I came. It’s a Saturday race with a 5K/10K/Half Marathon/Marathon, all on the same day. I got in late on Thursday night and made it over to my hotel in downtown Bismarck.

Expo: 9 AM to 9PM on Friday prior to race day at the start/finish area over in Cottonwood Park. The race had emailed out some instructions on where to go, but there was no obvious place to find where the packet pick up was on the race website. When you got to Cottonwood Park, there was no good direction as to what entrance to go into, which was a bit confusing because there were 2 different entrances. After I made it to the correct intrance, it took about 2 minutes to get my bib and swag. They assign you a bib right there, rather than ahead of time. They also had past race long sleeved shirts on sale for $1 which was good since I needed a throw away shirt. No frills expo, that’s for sure. If you couldn’t make it on Friday, they had race day pick up starting at 5:30 AM.

Parking: 2-3 different lots which was more than enough on race day.

Start time: 7:30 AM for the half and full, 7:40 AM for the 5K, 7:50 for the 10K.

Race course: relatively flat, though some hill when you’re going over the bridges. That was meh when you’re running over bridges into the wind. There were some areas where you were crossing intersections, though there were plenty of police and volunteers directing traffic. Course itself was a loop course. The first 5.25 (ish) of the half marathon was with the full marathon before the full branched off. On the half course, there were still some full marathon mile markers because it looped back around at some point and picked up the half course for the last part of their race. It would have been helpful to have some sort of color system to differentiate mile markers for the 5K/10K/Half and Full mile markers, as there was a lot of overlap with some of the miles. The only thing that differentiated the markers was a little bit of writing in the right upper corner of the miler markers that were hard to see. Also, no time on course, so be sure to have your Garmin or timing device.

Post race: simple. They had medals as you finished, chocolate milk, water and bananas

Qualifier: For the Boston and New York City Marathon.

Overall a good race. Small for sure (~330 people for the half marathon). I wish they’d split the 5K/10k to one day and the half/full marathon on another to make a challenge out of it. Just a few things above that I’d change

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(2018)
"ValleyFest 10K"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Each year in Spokane Valley, there’s a 3 day festival with multiple things to do, food, games, festivities and parades. Part of that is a Duatholon (5K run, 11 mile bike, 5K run), and a 5K/10K run. This was my first year participating in the run. I did the 10K(and then added some miles afterwards on my own).

Packet Pick up: At Fleet Feet Spokane Valley Friday and Saturday. I couldn’t make it due to work, but on race day, any packets left over were laid out for people to get. You get a bib, shirt and some handouts

The course: relatively flat, though some occasional inclines. Nothing terrible. The run starts and ends at Plantes Ferry Sports Complex. Aid stations every 1.5 miles or so. THe course itself is out and back. The 5K turn around is 1.55 miles out and the 10K turn around is 3.1 miles out. Have to be careful for non racers on course (runners, bikers, etc). Course is mainly on Centenial Trail.

Post race: water available and awards to overall top 3 in each race

Overall, small race, but good to get some miles in

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(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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