Ok, I know my posts are getting a little race-heavy. Sorry. I have four races in October so bear with me ;-)
Race website: http://www.freedomsrun.org/
Read my recap here. Then read the race review below!
Pre-race information, logistics, organization
Pros: Lots of informative emails, facebook site. Race was well-organized for a small race and you could call the organizer's store if you had any questions.
Cons: Most of the website's info is under "FAQ" so, like, you have to read the whole thing.
Lodging and transportation:
Pros: Host hotel (Holiday Inn Express) was great and moved continental breakfast up early (4 am!) so runners could eat before the race. Buses to and from race.
Cons: It's far away from any major airport - so expensive trip. Slight snafu with buses at to the start - not enough seats - but they figured it out.
Swag: Reusable bag from Newton, plastic water bottle, beer glass, tech T-shirt. Most-awesome medal EVER, made by a local jeweler. I put mine on my key chain. Nothing else - no coupons, fliers, whatever. I expected more advertisers, you know?
Pros: It's beautiful and varied. The course covers dirt road, hard-pack/gravel, pavement, bridges, and stairs. There are incredible views along the towpath and history throughout.
Cons: Having all the hills starting at mile 16 is tough but doable. The race finishes running in traffic - divided by cones - and this narrow section is right about where you meet up with half-marathon walkers. Thus you are stuck behind walkers and can't really pass unless you want to get run over.
Pros: They had all kinds of edibles - chomps, gus, fruit. Plus water - even bottles - and gatorade. Volunteers were awesome.
Cons: Aid stations are far apart (4 miles) and the trash cans for cups are right next to the aid stations so you have to stop or chug or throw your cup in the pristine forest.
Scoring: Chip timed, but don't be clever like me and walk to the start (I think I was the last person to cross the start!) because only gun time is reported, not chip time! Prizes were loot from the organizer's running store.
- There are about 5 spectators on the whole course. Seriously. If you need spectators to cheer you, forget this race!
- Bring a water bottle
- Wear sunscreen. The first half of the course is in the chilly morning in the shade. The second half is in blazing sun and I got a nice burn.
- The towpath section can be quite rough - roots, grass, rocks, dead things - especially if you have to pass anyone and must step off the beaten running path. Wear thick-ish shoes.
- No time along the course so wear a watch if you care
- The kids race is fun! Watch it! This year winner ran a 5'37" mile.
- The area is rich in history - make time to sight-see.