Latest reviews by Erica Haynes

(2018)
"No Headphones Needed!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
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Getting There: It was a 6pm start and the races recommended that all runners take the monorail to SLS which was great considering you don't have to deal with traffic and can just easily follow the crowds to figure out where to go. Once off the rail you just walk the hotel and casino and across the street to the starting line at the festival grounds.

Start Line:They really needed more signage. Several runners and myself included, had no idea which direction to really walk in since there was not an iconic start line arch, or signs directing us. I just happened to look up to see white balloons high in the sky with corral numbers and knew that was the they way to go.

Course:The 5k was flat, out and back, organized, and crowded… but still fun. It was the perfect shakeout run. Lots of entertainment and some pretty good views of the strip at the turnaround point. Only downside is when you’re running in, and you think you’re done, so you give it your all and it's dark and you can't see the tiny finish line… then you realize you're just running in a snake formation through the grounds to get to the finish. It's a tad bit misleading... I would've preferred this extra distance to be on the street, but the vibe was amazing so it was enough to help me power through.

Post Race: Standard fare, water, banana, granola bar... there were concessions open which gave you the option to buy food. There was also a headliner concert going on as well to keep the Vegas vibe going past the race.

Overall: Why not do this!? It's a perfect little shake out run in Vegas that really works to help build up the hype and excitement for the next events.

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(2018)
"I Will be Back! "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Expo: It's your standard large race expo feel, but amped up a bit with all the merchandise for purchase. I could've easily dropped some major cash, but I was trying to be responsible. I do recommend getting there early as it did get busy about two hours after it opened, and it made it hard to navigate the area with official merchandise. Also, check your corrals before leaving the bib pickup area, as if you need to change, you will need to loop all the way back around and cannot backtrack.

Start Line: RnR recommends using the monorail, as. result everyone was on the monorail. It's still the best option for ALL the races since the strip is shut down and traffic is horrible. But do plan to spend 45ish minutes traveling on the rail. For the 10k, you would take the monorail to SLS station, walk through the casino and immediately be at the start. There wasn't a lot signage, but it was daylight and on the middle of the street so it was hard to miss. For whatever reason, they were not checking bibs for proper corrals so paces were mixed in together. But it did start on time which is always great. Also, please note that due to a different start location and time, 10k participants do not get an opportunity to see the headliner concert.

Course: Plenty of aid stations and entertainment. Roads were properly blocked off and secure. Since this is the shorter distance of the day, there are more people who are out just having a good time, so if you're there for a PR or for a serious run in general. Try to start in the front to avoid this. The race heads to downtown and immediately loops back towards to the strip. It's flat, with plenty of things to see, and hear, but it does have the least amount of strip views in comparison to the other distances ( you do still finish at the exact same spot though). About halfway through the 10k is moved to the right and shares the side with the marathoners. But in theory, if you're on target with the race's minimum pace, you will not be impacted by any elite marathoners and it will remain full with only 10k participants.

Post Race: I like snacks. Beautiful strip views, water, Pringles, and heat sheets... need I say more?

Overall: Great race experience and a really good introduction to the RnR Vegas weekend. Running the 10k just made me want to push for the half marathon next time!

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(2016)
"Double Bling!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
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This was my first time to run the 2015/2016 New Years Double race. As with all of the races of the Active Joe series it's very simple, family friendly, and fun.
Registration was easy, it's held online through a major race registration company and this race sells out months before race date every year. However, due to awesome race management they have a refund policy as well as a wait list. So even if it's sold out, there's still hope.
Communication: Leading up to the race there are plenty of email sent to remind everyone of the little details such as a physical address for the race, packet pickup details, course maps, and race distance specific details.
Pre-Race: I had volunteered the morning of so I got there well before the other runners and easily found a spot to park at. It seems as if there's plenty of parking as it held at a local park.There wasn't much going on before the race, it was dark, cold, and runners had access to race day packet pickup as well as real park bathrooms. Due to the small starting area runners are sent off in corrals, each corral went off on time and worked seamlessly.
Race: This race loops around the park goes through a tunnel to a local neighborhood trail where you hit the first and only water station at about mile 1.5. The first day (new years eve), the volunteer sent us the wrong way, instead of to the tunnel, we were sent back around the park making the race longer at almost 3.5 miles, and zero aid stations. With the faster runners, and earlier corrals, coming through, this made the sidewalks quite crowded as they began their second loop. On the day race we were sent the proper way and got to use the aid station and all was well.
Post Race: Basic bottle water, bananas, and bagels. It was cold so I didn't stick around long, but the race bling was amazing. For running both days I got the challenge plate to attach my two medals to, it's truly what makes this race unique.
Overall: Do this race, it's a unique opportunity and you're guaranteed to have a fun and well organized race.

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(2016)
"Food & Fun! "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

Registration was quick and easy and was online via the race’s website. As most races the longer you waited, the higher price you pay your entry. This race has a distance for everyone ranging from a 2k to a 15k. They were very good about announcing rate increases on social media channels as well as other updates regarding the race. Days leading into the race I received a series of emails with more details about the race such as street closures, expo hours and requirements, start times, updates for the weather (more medial stops were added), etc.

Packet Pickup was held during their expo that I could not attend so Angie picked up my packet with a copy of my ID and written permission. Out of towers do have the option for race day packet pick up as well.

The 15k was the last race to start. There’s so many races and categories that the first race, 5k, started at 7:50. With this being such a warm day, it would’ve been so much better for the 15k runners to start at 7:50 instead of 9:00. By that time, it was already warm and it would only continue to get warmer as the race progressed. Also, with there being such a good chunk of time between the 5k and 15k it would’ve been awesome to have a challenge to run both to earn an extra challenge medal.

The start was a self-seeding corral by pace, or pacer, and at 9:00 we were off, I love a race that starts on time. The race takes you through downtown for a bit and past some beautiful churches, Cherry St. and up a hill into a residential area.

Going into this race, I didn’t expect much as far as course scenery, but I found it to be quite fantastic and a great distraction from the hills. Speaking of hills, this is a hilly course. There aren’t major hills, it’s just seemed to be a bit of a constant roll which is something I personally was not ready for.

Since this race was so close to Halloween there were lots of runners and spectators dressed up, including this guy dressed up as eleven who had his own beer stop. Across the street there was another unofficial stop with other beverages. It's always great to see the local community come out to support runners and this race had plenty of that.

We came to the last official water stop, which like all of the others had water first and gatorade second, which I will forever argue is backwards, and each station had a different flavor of gatorade.

The course loops back towards where it started at and the next thing you know, you’re crossing the finish line. You’re immediately given your medal and a nice ICE COLD towel which was perfect for this day. Followed by that you get a full size candy bar, sandwich lunch pack from McCalisters, a reusable ice pack, and a tote bag. But that’s not all, there was also a beer garden and a ticket to score some cute mini donuts which were warm and perfect.

Overall, I really enjoyed running the Tulsa Run and the race goes above and beyond to provide their runners with the best swag possible. I would love to see a 5k/15k challenge added on as well as more race photographers. I didn't get a single picture of me which was a bit disappointing, but not the end of the world.

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(2016)
"Nice Tour of Aggie Land! "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
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Elevation Difficulty
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Overall: It was a good race. It provided a great tour of the A&M campus and the organization and communication for the race is top notch. This is truly a race that cares about the entire experience for their runners from start to finish and I respect that 120%. Everything about this race was well organized and I would happily run this race, or any other race from these race directors.

Communication: leading up to the race was amazing, email were sent out about every other day with each one having new information. In addition they sent one final email with links to all the previous emails so there was no way you could miss anything.

Packet pickup: It was held at Nutrabolt Headquarters, a major title sponsor of the race, in one of their cross fit competition. There had been a mention of an expo that would take place up and until 6:00 and you could do late packet pick up until 8:00. I rushed down to College Station to make it on time, only to be disappointed with the “expo” it was a quick packet pickup arrange by your bib number which was made available beforehand, a I only saw one local running store with a small area selling items. I can honestly say that I did expect a little bit more from the expo. But it is what it is and parking was free and close so that's why it got two stars from me.

Pre-Race: Parking was easy and maps were provided in the emails sent out and it was a short walk to the start line. One of things that I will never forget about this race was how it started. Of course with this being Aggie Land the fight song was played and Sarah participated in some odd what I would call “Aggie Lines” and they said a prayer. Races that pray before the start have a special place in my heart. In a time in which everyone is offended by everything, I respect this race director’s choice to remain in his faith and to speak freely.

Race: The race started on time and took us through a scenic route of the campus. The 10k stayed within the campus, and the half marathon headed out of the campus maybe a mile or so after the 10k/half split. The half continued on through a local neighborhood that definitely had a bunch of college residents, as well as a neighborhood that a fellow runner as I nicknamed as professor island. Overall, it was a nice looking course. There were some hills here and there but I wouldn’t describe this as a hilly course. But just know, around mile 10 there is a hill that will make you question life a little bit. All of the water stations were well stocked and the volunteers were amazing.

Post Race: After finishing inside of the famous Kyle Field ( yes I was bummed I didn’t get to actually finish ON the field) you were given your medal, water, and a chance to see if a medic if needed. The post race party was held just outside and you were given your finishers shirt, and stein for your beer. In addition to beer, sticking true to the Oktoberfest theme, they had pretzels, and brats, and a cute cutout to take a German bar maid style of picture.

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