Race Reviews

Global Running Day
24 Hour Virtual Relay 2020

We’re All In This Together

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Global Running Day 24 Hour Virtual Relay as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassdor), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

While running is oftentimes an individual sport, the running community seems to me to be more important now than ever before. Even as we have to run our races individually or with small groups of people, we recognize that we are a part of something bigger. This felt especially true for me on June 3rd (aka Global Running Day). As part of a worldwide celebration of running, I signed up for a 30-min time slot from 10:30 to 11:00 am. Even though I am 2 hours from Chicago, I was running as a representative for the Windy City. At 10:30 am I got an email from someone I will probably never meet saying, “Officially passing the baton! Have a great run, happy global running day!!” And with that, I was off.

But on this run and on this day, when I should have been celebrating running, the running community, and my love for the sport, I instead felt heavy. Heavy over the loss of Breonna Taylor. Heavy over the recent loss of George Floyd. And especially heavy over the loss of Ahmaud Arbery. As I ran that day, I thought of Ahmaud and how he was senselessly murdered while out jogging. I am a white, 6’6″ male that has never had to worry about losing my life while out jogging. And that’s not fair. But now is the time to do something about it. As a running community, we have to come together. We have to become allies for people of color. We have to stand up for one another. An act like this can never be allowed to happen again. And even though my races for the year may be cancelled, I look forward to the day when I will be on the starting line with people from all nationalities, countries, ethnicities, and races.

Soldier Field 10 Mile 2020

Quaran(Ten) Miler

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Soldier Field 10 Mile as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassdor), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

What a weird time for running and races! With the COVID-19 pandemic and everything shutting down, races are not the same. When I signed up for this race a few months ago, I expected to be in Chicago at the starting line on May 23rd. I expected to be surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of other runners. I expected to run as hard as I could, and maybe even get a new PR. I expected to run through a city full of vibrance and life. I expected to be able to go to a pizza place and get some Chicago-style deep-dish pizza after the race. Instead, I ended up running my 10 miler in Nappanee, Indiana. Instead of cars, there were horse-drawn carriages. Instead of people, there were cows. Instead of high rises and skyscrapers, there were silos and barns.

As I ran past cows and horses and fields and fields of corn, I couldn’t help but think of how my life and everyone else’s life has changed in the last few months. When I signed up for this race, I took for granted that I would be able to run it in the city. But even though the race wasn’t what I imagined, it was still such a blessing. It was a blessing that I was healthy enough to run. It was a blessing that I was able to run the 10 miles with friends (and actually 6 additional miles because they were running an even longer race that had also been cancelled). It was a blessing that I got to run outside without a mask. It was a blessing that I was able to stop thinking about all the issues and problems in this world right now, even for just a little bit.

Whereas almost every other sport has had to completely stop in these last few months, running goes on. This is the beauty of our sport. It doesn’t matter what’s going on, we always find a way to run. I remember when I first started to run in high school… at the time, I did not handle cold temperatures very well. Whenever it was below freezing, I would go downstairs and run from one side of the basement to the other side. Back and forth. Over and over and over and over again. Based on my calculations, it would take 50 or so back and forths to equal one mile… and I would usually do a few miles. Even though some might think this is insane, I think this is what makes running beautiful.

Bank of America
Chicago Marathon 2019

ChicaGO run this marathon!

Such an awesome experience! This was my first big city marathon, and it was an unforgettable and amazing atmosphere. In the other two marathons I had run before Chicago, I ended up running alone quite a bit from miles 18 to 24. This was when I needed people the most too! Both of these previous marathons I bonked super hard and came nowhere close to reaching my time goal. I went into this race thinking that I would probably bonk again and not come close to the 3 hour mark and BQ I was shooting for. I ran the first half of Chicago in around 1:27 and was feeling good. By the time I got to mile 18 (where I normally start to bonk), I was still feeling good. Once I got to mile 20, I realized I might actually have a shot at breaking 3 hours! The crowds the entire race were amazing. Spectators lined basically the entire course, and every time I thought about slowing down, I would be urged on again by the crowds. Not only that, but I was surrounded by about 45,000 new runner friends. I for sure never had to worry about running alone in this race. But despite the huge number of runners, I never felt claustrophobic or squeezed in. It was such a perfect environment for running! And all the volunteers did such a great job, regardless of whether they were handing out Gatorade or directing runners. Overall, I ended up finishing the marathon in around 2:56.30. I was so grateful and felt so blessed to have finished under 3 hours. I didn’t have super high expectations going into the race, but the flat terrain, perfect weather, and amazing crowds all combined to create a perfect situation for a big PR! ChicaGO run this marathon! You won’t regret it.

Dances With Dirt
Gnaw Bone 50K 2019

WHAT HAPPENED TO MY SHOE?!?!

This race will not disappoint! The first two miles and the last two miles are definitely some of the trickiest. These stretches of the race are full of thick, thick mud. At the start, the mud isn’t too bad. But by the end of the day, when hundreds of runners have trekked through this mud, it becomes ankle-deep and shoe-sucking. When I was about a half mile from the finish, the mud sucked my shoe straight off my foot (Dances With Dirt? More like Fights With Mud!). It took me a couple minutes to yank it out and get it back on! The first half of the race went by pretty quickly. It was a beautiful day, and I was just admiring the beauty of Brown County State Park. As I started to grow a little tired, I found a running buddy. Some of my favorite times in ultramarathons have been when I’ve run with someone and just chatted for a few miles. In this race, I ran about five miles with a high school teacher. It helped the miles go by super fast and I didn’t even think about how much I still had to run. Once we went our separate ways, things got a little more difficult. Around mile 18, I was hit by hill after hill for a few miles. As someone that lives in West Lafayette, IN, I was not used to hills in the slightest. The hills wore me out, and to make matters worse, we then had to run a mile or two off course. There was no trail, and the only thing to guide me were small little pink ribbons. I almost got lost a time or two, but the race volunteers did an overall good job of marking the trail! Once I thought I was finally done with most of the hills, I came across a set of wooden stairs. And when I say a set of wooden stairs, I mean a LOT of wooden stairs (146 to be exact). This is the last thing you want to see towards the end of an ultramarathon, but I eventually made it to the top! After this, the end was only a few miles away. If I could handle the hills and the stairs, I knew I could handle the rest of the race. I finished in the top ten overall, but boy was I exhausted! Despite all the mud and hills and stairs, it was a great event and so much fun! I would definitely recommend this race to anyone and everyone looking for adventure! But make sure and bring an extra pair of shoes in case the mud takes yours.

Carmel Marathon 2019

Wet and Wild!

The Carmel Marathon did not have the most ideal weather in 2019. Let’s just say that there was a bit of rain. It poured right up until the race started, but luckily for us the weather cleared up a little as we began to run. It was still a wet and wild time! I ran most of the race with a pacer, and he was such a nice guy! He was super energetic and did a great job of distracting me from the fact that I was running 26.2 miles. The first half of the race went super well, but as we neared the half marathon finish, all the runners around me started disappearing. While I was running in a pack of around 20 at the beginning of the race, by the halfway point I was only with two runners (the pacer and one other guy). With the weather what it was, not many fans were out in support. This, along with the fact that there weren’t many other runners around, led to me giving in to the bonk. I bonked super hard. While this course is super super flat and conducive to fast running, I run best with a bunch of fans and other runners around me. So this race wasn’t my best, but I still really enjoyed it overall! Even though the weather was terrible, I was still able to enjoy the beauty of the course. Quite a few miles are run on the Monon Trail, which is a beautiful bike path surrounded by blossoming trees! I would definitely recommend this race if you’re trying to qualify for Boston. Almost 25% of runners qualify in this race! Hopefully next year it’ll be better weather for you!