Latest reviews by Christine Guenther

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

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!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2018)
"Tobacco Road Half Marathon"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management
Thumb c6dc8f08 fadb 4769 a95a 13957b5a9db7

I’m a mixed bag on this race. I came out for the weekend and to mainly get NC off my list of half marathons needed for 50 states.

Registration: decent prices. Have the option of getting a parking pass, which I’m glad I did, for $10 more and being able to park at the USA Baseball complex. A little tricky though when you’re going back checking your registration afterwards to see if you did or not.

Communication: emails decent the week before the race, however, it would have been nice to know that there was an error in bin numbers emailed out before getting to the expo and/or a way to check online

Expo: small and at the Embassy Suites in Cary, NC. Didn’t realize there was a bib glitch so the bib # I was emailed was off and I had to go check paper listings for the appropriate bib # that was about 7 off. After getting the bib, you had to go scan it across a chip reader and then go to a separate area for shirts. If you got a parking pass, that was another stop. Honestly it was obnoxious to go to 4 different booths to get what you needed. Some area businesses, etc were there

Speaking of shirts: please choose a different vendor. Bella shirts are always inappropriately sized and I always have to go up 1-2 sizes in the women’s sizes. To boot, if you wanted to do a shirt exchange you could only do it Race morning, so if you wanted a different size, you had to drag it with you and deal with it on a different day

Race Day transportation/ Parking: shuttles were available from NetAPP if you chose. You could also get a parking pass (best $10 I spent) or get dropped off. There’s got to be a better way to deal with things over having to get to the start 60-90 minutes before the gun goes off. I felt bad for people who took shuttles and then hung out for long periods of time. Heaters might be a good idea since it’s in the 40s when there’s no sun out

The Race itself: some hills the first and last 2.5 miles. The half and full share the course for the first 2.5 miles or so before you split off on the trail, which is some type or gravel or something that’s mainly packed but sometimes loose. The full goes out and back on part of the trail before joining back up with the half. Course for the half is out and back with water and Gatorade on course, pretty good distribution. Mile markers are clear, which is a plus. Watch out for congestion because it’ll happen, especially when you start getting people going both ways. This made it difficult to get around people. Also issues with people not putting themselves in the appropriate time slots so I felt like I was tripping over people who were slower, or weren’t paying attention.

Post race: some foot available (bananas, oranges, Papa John’s), some food trucks with stuff for sale, water and chocolate milk. Good medal I think, as well. Post race party at 9 AM didn’t have much going on, but maybe it picked up after I left....

Like I said, mixed bag in some ways. Room for improvement but an ok race

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2018)
"RnR NOLA 5K"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I ran the 5K as part of the remix challenge. I did the 5K on Saturday and the Half Marathon on Sunday. Extra bling for days!

Packet Pick Up: either at the expo on Friday or pre race on Saturday. At the expo, if you were picking up for multiple races, you were given a wrist band to claim your remix medal on Sunday after race #2. Packet pick up on Friday was with some longer lines, but quick. They really only separated into 2 lines which slowed things down some. Shirt pick up was close by and you could go explore the expo

The Start: race started at 8 AM at Lafayette Square. 10 corrals total for the 5K.

The race: takes you through part of the business district, Canal Street, Bourbon Street, the French Quarter and Jackson Square. It's an out and back type course with one water stop right before mile 2. With the wave start, it makes things less congested. Since it's so early, not many people are out. You get a quick view of the big parts of town.

The Finish: right around the start in Lafayette Square. You're met with medals, food and water. There was a brass band post race and a few vendors, but not a whole lot to do.

Overall, great quick race to see some of the highlights of town. Flat course and great race for the family to run or walk

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2018)
"RnR NOLA Half Marathon"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I first ran RnR NOLA 6 years ago and came back for the first time since then this year. I did the 5K on Saturday and the Half on Sunday.

The Expo: Option of going Friday or Saturday. No race day pick up for the 10k/half/full on Sunday and you had to pick up your own bib, something I've never been a fan of, especially if you get into a bind. Not a whole lot at the Expo, but I was able to try the Normatec Compression sleeves (must do if you can!). Local races and some other set ups available. Also had the option of exchanging your t shirts for any of the Sunday Events if something didn't fit.

Parking: you could park at the finish of the race and pay for a shuttle to the starting area. If you were staying downtown, shuttles back downtown post race for free

Prices: for the half, up to $150 (open around ~50 if you pre register)

Course: flat. Really flat. Did I say flat? My only issue with the course were the roads. So. Many. Potholes. My hips and low back hated me because of it the second half of the race. The first 7 miles were out and back starting at Lafayette Square (ish) and going through the Garden District out through Loyola New Orleans at Uptown Carlton and back. Around mile 9 we were close to where we stared and went through the Business District and the French Quarters. The French Quarter portion was similar to the 5K route from Saturday, where you saw the big stuff (Cathedral, Jackson Square, Cafe Du Mond, the Market). We ultimately turned and passed through the 7th Ward and headed towards the Art Museum. The half and full split about 12.5 miles in and we continued on into where the Botanical Gardens and the Museum of Art were.

Aid Stations: every 1.5-2 miles with some combination of water, gels and gatorade. Never congested, which was good

Weather: expect some sun, tends to be in the 70s.

Post Race: you got your medal, water and food pretty quick. Kind of annoying to have photographers in your face. Post race party was all in one place with the merchandise tent (where you could also get your medal engraved), the info tents, the remix/heavy medal pick up etc. The Normatec group was also there, but only the marathoners could utilize this, which was really disappointing (literally, no one using it for a good 3 hrs until marathoners started coming through). Music was on going, but really not all that much entertainment wise. I was kind of expecting more.

Shuttles: free back to downtown, which was a plus!

Overall a good race, just wish there was more going on post race and that half marathoners could also utilize the normatec compression.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2018)
"F3 Half: The Only January Chicago Half Marathon"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management
Thumb img 6952

I've spent my fair amount of time in Chicago (I went to college on the Northside of Chicago) and have been in town for summer races and the Chicago Marathon in October, but this is the first time I've done the F3 Half Marathon. I was expecting cold, which it was (though mid 30s in January isn't bad in Chicago, I've been through worse). My only downfall is that I'm horrible controlling my body temperature below 40* so no matter how many layers, I'm kind of in a catch 22.

Packet Pick Up: Started a week before the race and was held at various Fleet Feet and Running Stores in the Chicago area to give the most amount people time to get their bibs. Numbers were assigned as you picked up your bib. I went to the Old Town Location and it was quick and easy. Gave you a chance to shop local as well. Option for race day pick up, though cost $20

Swag: long sleeved light sweatshirt. Only downside was I feel like it runs small.

Race Day Parking/Getting to the race: I stayed in the West Loop and took an Uber to Soldier Field. Other people took public transportation or drove in. Driving in meant longer lines for race day parking at Soldier Field, so be prepared. What helps is a 10 AM start time for the half marathon.

Pre Race: We at least stayed warm in Soldier Field's United Club. Various booths were set up, but no food. Indoor bathrooms also a plus (one of the lines had no women's line and a men's line out the door!). Gear check was indoors if you had stuff to check. Plenty of announcements that were clear as to what was going on as well.

Corrals: self line up, but I did see a few volunteers get on runners who were trying to move up to get to pace groups in the corral ahead of them. Come on, give them a break.

The course: relatively flat, though some minor hills that I felt like were associated with bridges. The first part of mile 1 was around Soldier Field and then the rest of the course was out and back on the Lake Front Path. Not a whole lot to see, but you get some views of the city. Downside is that there was construction on course, s there was mud involved. Additionally, potions of the course got really congested with people sine runners were coming both directions.

Aid Stations: anywhere from 1-2 miles between them. Water at every aid station and some odd sports drink I'd never heard of. Whatever happened to Gatorade and Powerade? For me it meant no electrolytes since I don't do new stuff race day.

Weather : 30s and sunny

Post Race: bling, water and bananas post race as you finished. Afterwards, people headed back to the United Club. You could check your results and get a print out, get some pictures, stretch, etc. Also gave you a chance to warm up if you were meeting people.

Overall, a good race. I'm wondering if they could vary up the course from year to year on different parts of the Lake Front Trail just to change things up. Also wish there was a little more food available after the race!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.