Latest reviews by Erica Haynes

(2015)
"Shutting the Island Down! "
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I'll be honest I do have mixed feelings about this race. It was an inaugural race so I did not expect perfection, however, since the race directors also put on another popular race series I did have somewhat of high expectations about the race. Overall, there were many elements that made me excited about this race that was promised early on that were later phased out without warning.

Pre-Race: There was lots of communication and they were quick to respond to any last minute questions on Facebook which I really appreciate. They also sent out the race t-shirt ahead of time so that you could train in and post pictures (free race promotion lol).
Expo: The expo was definitely lacking. First off, there was only one local running store selling products, a few area races and law enforcement booths recruiting people. I will say the race gear was way overpriced, at $25 a shirt, I've spent less on higher quality shirts at bigger name brand expos. The room also smelled horrible which made me feel incredibly sick especially after the pasta dinner. Packet pickup with a breeze, took no time, and was super organized.
Pasta Dinner: I don't think there was anything they could do change this since they didn't cook and serve it themselves. Basically it was line service and you only got two meatballs, a choice of tea or water, and cake that was still halfway frozen.
Race Day: Since this was a point to point race you parked close to finish line and took a shuttle to the start. They clearly gave directions and time frame for the shuttles and it was the most efficient shuttle service I have ever seen. Runners were warned that shuttles would stop at 5:45, an hour before race start time. Totally fair. The start line was typical with self-seeding and you lined up with your pacer. Unfortunately the 5:30 pacer I planned to run with as long as possible was not there, and there seemed to only be one pacer per time as most races have two. There were potties at the start but no water. There should have been water for two reasons, they delayed the start by nearly 20 minutes to allow last minute shuttles, and the first water station wouldn't be for three miles in after you got off the causeway. The race itself was insanely scenic and the crowd and aid station support was great, unless you were doing the full. The races split at mile 12 and the full continues down a long stretch of sand for seven miles out and back. It seemed to be the least supported part. You saw people every 1.5 miles at aid stations but there was nothing else going on there besides sand. For a back of the packer in which the crowd is smaller anything would've helped to beat the mental game of a marathon. This is where the advertised 20 selfie stations would've came in handy. There was no selfies stations, period. This was not the marathon of the selfie as it originally used as a marketing technique. The Gu that was mentioned on Facebook to be at mile 18/22, was nonexistent. No bagels, bananas, oranges, nothing but water and a store brand gatorade for those on the marathon course... and sand. Also, initially there was supposed to be finisher shirts which I was beyond excited about (someone posted about this same thing on Facebook), and it turns out that was also done away with without warning.
Post Race: I didn't even bother to partake much in this, by the time I finished nothing was left, no bagels, just bananas and oranges, people to stretch you, medical, a nice medal, and beer which I don't even drink at Claytons. I was really disappointed that there wasn't any chocolate milk which is a staple at practically every half marathon or full marathon.
I can't say for sure if I would ever return back to run this race, but I do think the half course was pretty great and provided some gorgeous scenery, but there was just too much that got me excited about the race, that I ended up not getting.

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(2015)
"Keepin' it Neutral!"
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Libby puts on fantastic races in Fairview and Allen. There's nothing greater than being able to easily pick out the race director and feeling comfortable with approaching them. Since this is a local race, this is a smaller run, capped at 950 for the half I believe, but with big race swag. This is a bit of a challeneging course due to the hills, but the scenary, mainly the hugh houses and alpacas make it work every single hill. Also, one of the great things about it is the massive community support you get, it's unreal. If that wasn't enough, they offer the most pacers I've seen in any other race, they have them in five minute increments up to a 3:00 finish time. Once you cross the line you're given your medal, and this is where it's fun, those who choose UT will get an orange custom bib (w/ name), orange shirt, and orange medal, OU will get red swag, and this year the neutral color was blue and it, along with the logo, changes yearly. There's an ample amount of snacks, chocoalte milk, water, and bundt cakes to help you refuel. Aside from the awesome course scenary and swag the two things that really make this race awesome is FREE race photos and FREE childcare which is great for couples with children who want to run together. I will definitely be back for the 2016 Showdown!

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(2015)
"Cheers!"
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Packet Pickup/Expo: We did the VIP packet pick up and it was beyond worth it. It held at the Evan William Bourbon Experience in their basement Speakeasy. I know it just sounds awesome. With the private packet pick up there weren’t any lines and it was quick and easy, we gave our names, got our wristbands and were able to verify our shirt sizes and were given the option to switch sizes if needed. Fortunately mine fit perfectly and I love having a dri-fit long sleeve, you don’t get those very often in Texas. In addition the shirt and bib we got a water bottle and drawstring bag. After retrieving our goodies we were quickly invited to have some traditional bourbon cocktails and appetizers. It was freaking delicious.

Race Day:
We didn't drive to the race start, but I didn't notice any traffic backups like you normally get with races of this size. Gear check was a breeze and there were plenty of volunteers who were easy to spot for last minute questions. I’ve never seen volunteers who are there solely for answering questions. From what I was told by another Pro the potty lines were quite long, but I didn’t have to go so I can’t really verify this information. Despite having 3000 runners it was not a corralled start, it was self seeding and everyone seemed to be pretty courteous of others and let people by as needed, but it did get to the point to where there simply wasn’t any room. But, even starting at the back I was across the start within three minutes and with no problems.

Course: Just gorgeous. It was mostly asphalt and it took awhile to get adjusted to it since it was uneven at some parts and I’m used to paved concrete roads. Now, being a Texas girl, I loved seeing the fall foliage and it just felt like fall. Yes, it was rainy and humid but there’s nothing anyone can do about that. I was just happily cruising along until the hills. Yup. The first one was steep and full of curves, and took a chunk of my energy. But what goes up must come down, three times to be exact. However, the course scenery made everything much easier to handle. The water stations were properly spaced and well stocked. I wish the PowerAde would’ve been on a different side or different cup, but they were vocal about what was what. One thing I did notice was the lack of on course photographers. I would’ve enjoyed seeing pictures of myself with the fall leaves to remember this race, but oh well.

Post Race: Once you got your medal you were quickly greeted with small water bottles, and heat sheets. Once you turned the corner there was a table stocked with PowerAde, bagels, bananas, etc. and it was placed so that there could be two lines. The post race party was legit. I’ve ran several big name races such as Dallas Marathon and Rock N Roll events and I’ve never had such a great time at a post race party. There was beer, bourbon samples, donuts for sell, a band, pizza, burgoo and just great people. There was plenty of seating (especially when the rain started) and while the lines were long they seemed to move pretty quickly. There was also the Urban Bourbon Walk as part of it in which if you visited different bars around Whiskey Row you were able to collect pins in to add to your medal. Unfortunately we found out at the end of the party that there were only 250 pins per place, and with 3000 runners that doesn’t leave much of an opportunity to get all the pins…especially when the places open before the post race party ends. Basically we got halfway lucky and got 2. Perhaps next year there could be more, or have it start later in the day.

Overall: I would go back to run this race in a heartbeat! For a race that isn’t a name brand race such as Rock n Roll, Hot Chocolate, Divas, etc. it packed the same high quality element for a lot less money, and crowds. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a scenic course and events before and after the race.

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(2015)
"Applesauce to the Rescue!"
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The Plano balloon festival is iconic to the area so it only makes sense to run one of their races. The half course is the same as last year and winds through Oak Point Park and local neighborhoods. The newest addition this year was Go-Go squeeze applesauce on the course which was a nice treat to have as opposed to a gel. The post race is awesome, but I dislike how it's just for runners, and the food is a bit on the greasy side. Other than that I greatly enjoyed myself and the opportunity to walk around the festival to eat more random junk food while there.

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(2015)
"Hot and Crowded"
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I love love love RunProject races. They're local, give locally, are reasonably priced and have great swag for all distances. With that, I don't know if I would personally do this race again, I do recommend you try it at least once because the course scenery is just gorgeous and my honest true complaint is how crowded the race is. I could never fully settle into my race pace, and when part of it is a turn around and you're running against traffic across a small bridge, things get uncomfortable. Even more so whenever there's hundreds of you running over a cement bridge across a lake and you can feel it bouncing, not a fun part. They did offer lots of water stations and ice towels and one and the finish. There were plenty of vendors post race, most importantly Dr. Pepper was there and I had a great time. Until the nearly .75 mile walk back to my parking spot. So arrive early if you want a good spot, since there's technically not a true parking lot.

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