Whenever I do race reviews, I try to keep the size of the race in mind. This is my 9th half this year, and while I love all the bells and whistles that come with a well-established race like the Rock ‘n’ Roll series, it’s important to note that smaller, less-established races have other factors to consider. Even with that being said, this race needs some major tweaking.
Pre-race: I paid $15 extra to pick up the packet on race day. While I question why they charged for this (there weren’t all that many people participating and they could have easily done race-day pickup for everyone), I appreciated not having to drive out there twice. Parking was easy, but cost $10—something that should either be free or included in the race fee. That did cause a bit of a backup at the gate.
Course: The course was beautiful and challenging, and I appreciate not running through a parking lot for miles like some less-established races tend to do. However, I think there are some things that the organizers should be upfront about. I asked the FB page how hilly it was and to have an elevation profile—they said there were no major hills, but there were numerous steep hills on this trek (including running downhill on loose dirt), and sometimes that’s hard to tell this from an elevation profile. Also, having to cross a stream over small rocks (TWICE) was not mentioned. I would suggest that the organizers are much more upfront about this. It was interesting going across it at the beginning of the race and more of a nuisance than annoying, but having to go across it again with tired legs towards the end was bad. My shoes got wet on both crossings, and running in wet shoes is NO BUENO. Additionally, the stream crossing caused a backup and those of us who were running for time, not just to complete the race, were upset by this. Perhaps this should be advertised as an “Adventure Race” so when things like lots of running hills, over streams, and running downhill on loose dirt come up, we’re not as surprised. As far as the mileage goes, there was a lot of cross over between runners coming and going. I actually quite like out and back races, but with the numerous zig-zags it was A) easy to get lost (many runners complained about running extra miles) and B) very easy for people to cheat. I would suggest to race organizers to utilize cones for those cross over areas. I still don’t know exactly how much I ran that day or if I even went on the right path. Not closing down roads was an additional issue, and I was delayed numerous times in waiting for a car to move or trying not to be run over.
Post-race: Was okay, I suppose. There wasn’t much going on. I would have appreciated volunteers passing out water after we crossed the line, but that’s not a big deal. I can say that there were plenty of water stations and the volunteers seemed very friendly. The medal was also great, and I enjoyed getting a sleeveless tech-shirt for a change.
I don’t think I would run this race again, but it definitely was not the worst I’ve done. If they advertise this more accurately, they will probably get a different type of runner who can appreciate a more adventurous run.