Although I’ve never had a negative comment on any of my reviews, I feel that since this was such a big race, that I should remind you that these reviews are solely based upon my experiences, and the resulting opinions I have because of them.
I got to the pickup around 10 a.m. on Saturday. It was pretty easy to find out where I was supposed to go, and it only took me a few minutes to get my bib, and other materials. Schwag bags were stationed at another table, and then you went to another area to pick up your race shirt. The race shirt was a nice technical tee and I loved the fact that I didn’t have to take a women’s fit shirt even though they were offered. I chose a men’s/unisex medium so that it was longer, since in my experience women’s sized clothes only get wider as they go up instead of wider and longer. I wasn’t impressed by my schwag bag contents, although there were one or two things in there that I liked. I then ventured to the RNR merchandise area, and found a cotton t-shirt that I liked to purchase also. Unless a finisher’s shirt becomes available on their website, I will probably have a friend put finisher on my shirts for me.
After that, I walked out into the rest of the expo area, which I don’t feel was set up in the most conducive way. It seemed like everything was very bunched together, and it was hard to navigate the expo, and I feel as though I missed out on several vendors who were advertised on the RNRSTL’s facebook page.
Traffic wasn’t at all bad trying to get down to the race, and I got there early enough that finding parking wasn’t a big deal either. I got to park very close to the finish line, and that wasn’t much of a hike to the starting line. I got to use the Brooks VIP Porta Potties (if you like Brooks shoes/apparel, then I highly recommend spending the dough to experience this at least once if it’s offered at a race near you). Everything seemed to move pretty nicely. I was able to get into the corral I wanted and there was plenty of space to stretch it out before hand as well.
Everything went smoothly until the five-minute delay in the start. I’m not a huge stickler for time, but it appeared to have taken me close to 30 minutes to even get the chance to cross the start line.
The course wasn’t too bad. It did run through some parts of the city that I haven’t been too before, and place that I have. I wouldn’t really label the course as “hilly” but there were definite inclines that had my quads screaming. I knew this ahead of time because I looked at the elevation chart for the course, but apparently some people had been told that the course was very flat. I would definitely not label that course as a “flat” course.
They had bands or cheer groups stationed pretty regularly through out the course which was nice to run by and see them performing. There were also tons of volunteers and spectators which made everything seem a bit more friendly. I never felt lonely. Special thanks to the guy giving everyone high fives at like mile 12-ish. You rock dude!
They also had lots of medical aid tents/areas set up which was nice (although I did not use one) and tons of porta potties on the course. The only thing with the porta potties is that people tended to line up and stick way out into the course, which was a little challenging to try to dodge them all. Actual water/aid stations were about halfway through each mile. I was a little disappointed that some had already run out of Cyto-max & fruit, but it wasn’t anything life threatening. They were really big on bananas at this race, which is ok, but for people like me who are allergic to them, a little more variety would be nice.
The finishing area wasn’t crowded and people were able to make their way through with ease. The only thing that really pissed me off was the fact that they ran out of half marathon finisher medals. Normally I could over look this, and I did for about 5 minutes. But honestly, it was a capped race that sold out. I can’t believe that that many people dropped from the full to the half. Plus, they ran out of finisher’s shirts. Which I didn’t even know they would have. Because I definitely would have bought one had I known they were there.
I really feel like the main focus of the finishing area was the MGD 64 beer garden place, and the special tent area they had set up for the people who ran for the choice charity of the race. I’m sorry, but you should focus a little better on all your participants. There was minimal recovery foods (bananas, a few oranges, and some really gross breads) and I didn’t see any Cyto-max iced down. The only thing that was cold was the bottle of water they handed me. So I didn’t get to eat anything until about an hour after I finished. Partially my fault, but the offerings at the end weren’t very plentiful.
Also, maybe next year you could pick a band that had more than two hits and didn’t have to cover everyone else’s music. For instance, The Urge. Local STL band with some great stuff. Sugar Ray just wasn’t an incentive for me to even think about sticking around.
Overall, this race was pretty good. I don’t nessacerily feel like I got my moneys worth, but I don’t feel completely cheated like I have before at a race. I would probably do it again, and just be better prepared myself, and I am going to cut them some slack as this was the first RNR event held in St. Louis. However, since RNR is such a huge association that’s been doing these for so long, it’s hard to be that forgiving.
I would rate this race a 7 out of 10. Do it for the fun aspect, but there might be another race worth running more.
A few special notes
While I applaud and appreciate and recognize your efforts, please remember that some of us half marathoners have worked equally as hard, and are just as deserving to be there as you. I saw several full marathoners cut through our course and then bitch at us for being in their way. Don’t cut corners and that wouldn’t happen! I’m not saying it to all of you, but clearly there are some out there who think they are quite superior. If you want to pass me, just say so. I run to the extreme right so that I am not in the way of the faster runners. I always thought that was the etiquette and I’m pretty certain that is what they announced on race day. You stick to your course and I’ll stick to mine.
It’s called the race course for a reason. DO NOT JUST WALK ACROSS IT WITH YOUR DOG, CHILD, STROLLER, ETC. I will run into and I will be pissed. There is nothing on the other side of that street that is that freaking important at that given moment. Also, don’t step into the course to have your runner pose for pictures with their entire family. YOU ARE IN THE WAY! Be respectful of the hundreds of others on the course.
Dear Other Runners/Walkers,
I get that you are with a group of friends. I get that this is special for you. I really do. And I’m not trying to sound like a heinous bitch, but for the love of God, PLEASE do not link arms, hold hands, whatever and take up the entire width of the finishing corral. Especially if you are walking. Wait until you get close (and I mean very close) to the actual finish line. I had to bob and weave around so many people because I was trying to finish strong, and they were casually walking it in. Be respectful of your fellow competitors.