Latest reviews by Christine Guenther

(2018)
"12K’s of Christmas 12K"
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I was in Phoenix for a conference and found the 12K’s of Christmas 12K. Yes I live in Spokane, that has Bloomsday (probably the largest 12K in the US), but I’ve managed to be working the past 2 years (that’s besides the point). What’s even better is if you do the 12K and the Scottsdale Half Marathon Sunday, you get extra bling. Sold!

Distances: 1.2K sled run (think kids and pups) 6K and 12K

Time: 1.2K at 9 AM, 12K at 10 AM and 6K at 10:15 AM

Location: Freestone Park in Gilbert, WA

Packet Pick Up: They had pick up from 3-7 at San Tan Ford Dealership in Gilbert. I kind of wish I would have just done race day pick up because there was minimal parking (I get it, it’s a car dealership). Race day pick up started at 7ish (maybe?)

Swag: socks and a huge medal at the end of the race

Parking: more than enough at Freestone Park (free!)

Pre/post race things to do: they had a good amount of vendors set up, some were race related, a lot were pet and dog related. The race works to race funds to get pets adopted in Maricopa county.

Race itself: pet friendly (and by pet, I mean dogs in this case). If you’re a runner, be aware that there are dogs at the race and dogs running with their human at this race. If you’re a dog lover but your dog doesn’t like other dogs, probably not the race to bring the cute fluff ball along to. The 1.2 k started first and was pretty much over by the 12K. The 12K started at 10 AM and I wish it were about an hour sooner. I feel like there was a lot of standing around and waiting happening before the race, but what can you do. The race itself was very flat. It was on a running path that was a combination of gravel, pavement and sidewalk, which I felt (mainly the gravel). There were some road intersections that we crossed but they were blocked off by police. There were Carolers every 1 K and water stops fairly well distributed along the course. It was an out and back course, so you knew what you were expecting in a sense.

Post race: food and water was available and some food trucks if you had time to stop by for some

Overall, a race to do if you’re in the area. Wish it started an hour earlier. I did appreciate that dogs with their humans and strollers started after the runners without dogs or strollers. It’s on a multi surface course, so be aware of that!

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(2018)
"Scottsdale Half marathon"
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I was in town for a conference and The Scottsdale Half Marathon happened to be the same weekend, I signed up for it a few weeks ago along with the 12Ks of Christmas. As long as you indicated on one (or both?) registrations that you were doing the Half Marathon on Sunday and the 12K of the 12Ks of Christmas the Saturday before (read the previous day), you got extra bling. Who doesn’t like extra medals??

Packet Pick up: Most of Friday and Saturday at The Runner’s Den running store, as well as race morning.

Distances: Half Marathon and 5K

Start Time: early start to the half marathon (630 AM) if you were going to finish over 3 hrs. Otherwise, 7 AM start for the half marathon and I think 7:45 AM or 8 AM for the 5K

Parking: I parked in the Convention Center Plaza which was close to the finish line. This worked out well for me since I had to bolt as soon as I crossed the finish to get back to my hotel that was close, showered and to the airport

The course: Started in one of the side streets just above Indian Trail Road. There were at least people who knew where they were going that I followed, since it was hard to put it on a map since it was more of a residential street. You went to Camelback Rd and Then to Scottsdale Rd through mile 5 before turning onto Double Tree Ranch Road for a mile. You went back the way you came only on Hayden road for a good 2.5 miles before being directed onto a bike path parallel to Hayden Road through mile 12. We were directed to Osborne Rd and then to some side streets to the Finish at the Civic Plaza. Overall a flat course, be aware though that a lot of this is on roads with traffic, though we were divided up from cars if that makes sense and plenty of police support

Aid Stations: at miles 2.5, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11 and 12. Kind of wish there were a few more earlier on the course

Swag: cool medal and a 1/4 zip long sleeved top. Do the 12ks of Christmas 12K yesterday? Don’t forget to pick up your extra medal in the post race area

Post race: Lots of vendors, mimosas and fun, which I couldn’t enjoy due to me needing to get to the airport

Overall, a good race. Flat for Phoenix/Scottsdale (Did the Craft Classic last year...HOLY HILLS for that race). If you’re in the area, a fun one to do!

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(2018)
"Abbott Dash to the Finish"
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Did the Dash to the Finish as a shakeout for the Marathon, especially since I came in from Washington State (a good 6 hr flight with connections).

Packet Pick Up: Monday through Wednesday, pick up is at the NYRR Run Center. Thursday and Friday, packet pick up is at the NYC Marathon Expo at the Jarvitis Center. Anyone can pick up your bib for you, but just keep in mind there’s no bib pick up race morning. Bibs were assigned at pick up. If it doesn’t automatically connect to you, don’t worry they upload everything at the end of each day.

Swag: a Beanie. I actually appreciated that because I have way too many shirts than I know what to do with or wear.

Expo: enjoy it if you go Thursday/Friday of race week. Lots of vendors and things to do

Race Start: off 41st and 1st Ave by the United Nations. Easy to get to either by walking or the MTA.

The Race itself: Some baby hills if anything, more so around Central Park. You head to 42nd St for a mile before turning onto 6th Ave. You keep on going until you hit Central Park, just past mile 2 before heading into the park for the last 1.1 mile. The course doesn’t follow the last 5K of the marathon for the entire course, but you hit a lot of it once you turn into Central Park. The finish is at 67th St, right at the finish of the marathon.

Post Race: You get a small bag of food and water before being directed out a few blocks later. Keep in mind, if you do the full marathon, you get earlier in the 5K over the marathon.

Overall, good way to get involved in the marathon weekend if you’re in watching someone or if you want a shake out run for Marathon Sunday

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(2018)
"NYC Marathon 2018"
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This is my second NYC marathon, the first being in 2011 (pre hurricane Sandy). I flew in from the West Coast on Thursday prior to the race and spent the next few days getting situated.

The Expo: open to anyone, but if you’re picking up your bib, no one can pick up bib for you. It has to be you with photo ID and your race confirmation sheet sent out about a month before the race. If you forgot your confirmation sheet, they have bib number print station for you to print out your number slip and take it to your number station and get your packet. If you signed up for a poncho, there’s a wrist band that you HAVE to wear race day to get out before the bag pick up and to get your poncho. After your bib, you walk next door and pick up your shirt (they have an area for sample shirt try ons, but the shirts sanitation are meh). You’re directed into the New Balance Area (apparel sponsors for the marathon) where you can buy clothes, etc. After that you hit the main floor of vendors. Plenty to choose from and look at.

Race Transportation: be on the look out for emails to choose transportation in August. If you don’t choose, you either end up with something assigned to you randomly or you have to see race solutions at the expo. In 2011, I did the Staten Island Ferry and you ferry over before catching a boat to Ft. Wadsworth. This year I took the Midtown Bus from the NYPL. Be prepared for security and some lines that move. It took just over 80 minutes on the bus, I took a nap. Be prepared to some down time pre race though.

Runner’s Village: separated by corral colors. Your Bib will have which wave you’re in (unless you’re a pro wheelchair racer or a pro female racer), that will be 1-4 as well as a color. The color corresponds to where you enter from (orange, blue, green). They had water, coffee, Gatorade, bagels, bananas, etc), plenty of porta potties that I used about 5 times, areas to donate throw away clothes,etc. If you have a bag check (read, didn’t chose the poncho option), there’s UPS trucks to check your bags at, but be sure to have them checked in plenty of time (they have closing times).

The Start: Be prepared for multiple waves (pro wheelchairs, pro women, pro men with wave 1, wave 2, wave 3 and wave 4) staggered over very 20-30 minutes. You have to be in your corrals within a 20 min time frame and they close 20 min before your start since you have to walk to the Verizzano Bridge and that takes some time. Orange corral is on the left of the top of the bridge, Blue is on the right of the top and green is on the bottom.

The Course: You hit all 5 borroughs! You start in Staten Island and the first 2 miles are over the Verizzano Bridge. You hit your highest incline on the Verizzano Bridge (1st mile uphill, 2nd mile downhill). The orange and blue corrals go side by side and we joined up with the green corral at mile 3 in Brooklyn. Brooklyn is fairly flat and the crowd support you get is unreal. That’s your welcome to NYC. You spend a good 10 miles in Brooklyn before heading into Queens for 2 miles. Just after mile 14/15 you head on the Queensboro Bridge. Queensboro actually took a lot out of me and slowed me down this year. It took a toll on my legs with a gradual incline. After you hit the downhill, and come out on 1st Ave, you hit the energy of Manhattan. You have about 3-3.5 miles down First Ave and a whole lot of support as you head into the Bronx for a few miles. After a mile, you hit your last bridge of the day heading back into Manhattan on 5th Ave for the last 5 miles of the course. I was never happier to see Central Park and the charity cheer zone. Still some small hill like shinnanegans that you don’t realize when you’re not 20+ miles into a race. Was never happier to see the inside of Central Park at mile 24. You run through Central Park up past mile 25, before coming out along 59th street and crossing over towards Columbus Circle and heading back into Central Park the last 800 m of the race.

The Finish: Be prepared for congestion and slow moving ness; let’s face it, everyone’s tired and hurting a little bit. You’re presented with your medal and a heat sheet. Option for pictures, but people stopping to take their own added slowness. They had a recovery bag with water, Gatorade and food. I wanted some Chocolate milk which wasn’t there. If you had the poncho option, you cut out around 77th street, but you walked a good half a mile to get there. We walked a long time to get to the poncho (as in out of the park and to the street before they were even in site). Be sure to have your wristband on and to show your bib (has a P on it to match your wrist band).

Things to be aware of: I love the NYC marathon (I came back a second time for it). HOWEVER, because it’s so popular, it’s very congested. Even during the race, I feel like I ran another 1/2-1 mile trying to get around people who were walking/in the wrong starting corrals or going 5 people across. There were cheering sections that were so far in it actually made it difficult to get through. Also the finish is ridiculously congestion and slow moving. There has to be a way to fix that. The finish is off 67th, the first exit point if you weren’t VIP was 77th. I finished at 3:38 PM and it took me an hour and 20 minutes to get to my hotel off 54th and 7th. There are definitely slow moving areas so be aware of that.

The energy is wonderful, plenty of fluids. Definitely a must do race if you can!

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(2018)
"Charlotte Turkey Trot 8K"
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This is my 10th year doing this race (out of the last 11 years) and I’ve seen some changes over the years. This year, they had the 8K start at 830 (as opposed to 9) and the 5K start at 930 with the option of doing an 8K/5K challenge (I wish I’d seen that earlier, I would have been all over it).

Packet Pick Up happens the Tuesday and Wednesday before at the Dillards parking lot and you can pick up for family/Friends. There’s also race day pick up but no registration on race day

Race Options: 1 mile fun run, 5K, 8K and a kids fun trot

The race itself: didn’t seem as crowded as prior years, but still crowded at the start. The start happens in front of the South Park Mall before taking you through some of the business parts of town. After a mile or so, you get the residential parts of Charlotte with the lone major (ish) hill after mile 2, that really didn’t seem that bad this year. Just after 3 miles, you turn down Sharon Road for just under a mile before turning Down Colony road. This year, we had to do an out and back portion on Rexford Road before turning into the parking lot of the South Park Mall

Post race: water and medals at the finish and food as well. Seemed less congested and less of a hot mess than prior years

Overall, fun tradition. Wish they would have done a little more advertising about the change in race times because I’m pretty sure people weren’t aware of it. Something though to keep coming back for if you’re in the area

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