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RECAP: 2021 Air Force (Virtual) Marathon

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Air Force Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

Disappointed, but not surprised.

That was me – when I found out that the 2021 Air Force Marathon would be going virtual for the 2nd straight year. Not the ideal situation, but I made the best of it!

So what happened?

My original plan was to run the Air Force Marathon on September 18 in-person, followed the next weekend with another marathon. Crazy? Yes. Impossible? No. With the switch to a virtual event, I thought for sure I would still be able to run two separate events. However, another commitment (non-running related) took precedent on what would have been Air Force weekend and shifted those plans. As a result, I decided to “double dip” and count my virtual Air Force Marathon the following weekend (September 25) on a day I was already scheduled to run a marathon at another in-person event in Fargo, ND.

How did it go?

To sum it up in one word – painful. However, the first half of the race was actually fairly decent! The temperature was perfect and the course was very cozy, traveling through mostly residential neighborhoods. I was cruising along at a comfortable 9:30-10min/mile pace through most of the first 13.1. The strategy going into the run was to run a 5k and then walk until the the clock completed 30 minutes. For example, I covered the first 5k in about 28:30 and walked until 30 min, then started running again. To my surprise, this approach was serving me fairly well! However, as I got closer to the halfway point, I could tell that my legs were going to have a rough go the rest of the way.

And I was right.

I got to the 13.1 sign and started walking more than I had previously. Traveling through a few university campuses at the beginning of the 2nd half, I found moments of strength – but ultimately those passed and I was back to walking again. As I made my way back across the river, walking was definitely more comfortable, but still painful. Another moment of hope was just ahead around a few more corners as I was fortunate to see my friend Michael and his son Cooper who had just moved to the area! This much needed support gave me a second second-wind and got me moving (even if at a slow jog) through miles 18-20.

And that, my friends…is where the walking took over – permanently. My legs – done. My energy reserves – gone.

As I began the final 10k, moving at my slowest pace of the day, I began to wonder what I would have been feeling had I actually been able to follow through with my original plan of two back-to-back marathon weekends? Probably even worse that I was in that moment! But I didn’t go all the way to North Dakota to simply not finish – let alone not finish TWO events. So, in the spirit of Dory from Finding Nemo, I just kept walking.

As I got within about a half mile of the end, I could see the building where the race would end and got my final surge of energy to “run” it in for the finish. It was incredibly painful, but before I knew it I was rumbling down the ramp and into the arena to the finish! Ultimately, I completed another marathon (technically, two) – but it wasn’t pretty!

Air Force Marathon 2022?

For the second year in a row, I’ve been proud to sign up for the Air Force Marathon – even if it has been a virtual event. The event organizers have once again been fantastic with their communication and building up the event, despite the challenges of going virtual.

I am hopeful that in 2022 the race will be able to return to an in-person event. The build-up for an in-person version of the Air Force Marathon over the last two years is absolutely REAL! Whether it is with BibRave (thank you again for the opportunity!) or on my own, I will absolutely be marking the 3rd weekend in September on my calendar and making the trip to Dayton!

Runner Travel Series: Fargo Marathon (Preview)

Disclaimer: I received an free entry into the Sanford Fargo Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!


If you’ve been following me (here, Instagram, Twitter, etc), you probably know that I’m heading to Fargo, North Dakota this weekend for the Sanford Fargo Marathon. I won’t lie – I’m really excited for this one. Yes, obviously I’m excited because it is a new race for me. However, I’m also really excited because I get to visit with very good friends AND visit a new state! So, as I have done in the past with other running related travel, here are some of the tips, tricks, and best practices that I put into action to make my travel experience for the race as smooth as possible.

First, Plan Ahead

With this trip taking me to a new locale, the basics came first – 1) how to get to Fargo, and 2) where to stay. For this particular trip – happening TOMORROW mind you – I sorted out both of these details more than a month or two ago.

First, how to get to Fargo. When writing a similar post a few years back, I opted to drive to the race – which only ended up being a 6ish hour affair. It was the most cost effective way to go. However, this time I opted to fly to North Dakota because making that drive may not seem bad on the way there, but would be absolute torture coming home after running 26.2.

After making that decision, I have to figure out where to stay. This was SIGNIFICANTLY easier than I had anticipated! There are two primary hotels within eyesight of the start/finish area – which I thought would be incredibly overpriced, but I was wrong! Not really much more expensive a hotel stay on any other weekend anywhere else. Plus, it’s “walking” distance from the airport as well – not that I plan to do that, but it’s nice to know that I could! Obviously, everyone’s preferences are going to vary and specific needs will dictate what type of accommodation work the best, so do your homework and find what works for you and your specific situation.

Have a Plan? Good. Be Prepared to Throw It Out Because Things Happen

This piece of advice applies to many aspects of life – not just travel – but it does bear repeating. Whether you are a traveler or a weekend warrior, know your plan, but be ready to ditch it.  Be patient even when your patience is tested to the max. Finally, be flexible. Sometimes the best experiences come when you have to call an audible. Keep these things in mind when traveling, because occasionally, you may find yourself being rewarded for it in the end!

I can’t wait to get to Fargo and experience all it has to offer. So, whether you are running in Fargo this weekend or simply running a little closer to home – here’s wishing you all a fantastic weekend of racing!

PREVIEW: 2021 Air Force Marathon

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Air Force Marathon as part of being aBibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

Use AFMBR21 to save 20% on your Air Force Marathon event registration


I definitely have September 18, 2021 marked on my calendar and hope to run the Air Force Marathon in-person next year. Hope to see YOU there as well!

Me, after the 2020 Virtual Air Force Marathon weekend – September 27, 2020

Well, here we are – nearly one year later. Take a wild guess what I’m doing next month? If you guessed the Air Force Marathon, you’d be spot on!

Last year, I was fortunate to participate in my first-ever virtual FULL marathon as a result of the Air Force Marathon (as well as others) going virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On a beautiful day in September 2020, I ran the length of the Olentangy Trail in an out-and-back effort to cover the distance. I recapped that experience HERE, but to summarize – it was a fantastic adventure that definitely included some challenges. But now, on to 2021!

2021 – Back To Dayton (I hope!)

With that said, I’ve known about the Air Force Marathon for a while, but have never run in any of the events. It runs around Wright Patterson Air Force Base as well as through the campus of Wright State University – again, two areas you can’t really avoid if you visit that portion of Dayton! As a BibRave Pro, I’ve been afforded the opportunity to participate again this year, so I couldn’t pass it up! Adding to the build up is the fact that this year’s event will be the 25th Anniversary of the race and what a way to return after a year “off”.

Personally, I’ll be approaching the full marathon more like a delayed long run or as a “B” race this time around. I say that for two reasons. First, that mindset will hopefully help me do a little better job of pacing myself a little bit slower and with a better focus on the mental side of things. Secondly, this will be the first of TWO marathons I will run within 7 days of each other! I’ll talk about that other event in another post later this week…so stay tuned!

I’m “from” Dayton

As someone who grew up in the Miami Valley region of Ohio, Dayton was the first real CITY that I experienced. This experience largely consisted of shopping trips, performances with my high school marching band, and grade school trips to the National Museum of the United States Air Force – which I’ll refer to as the Air Force Museum from here on out. After grade school, my most recent trip to the Air Force Museum was in 2010 (wow!) with my then-girlfriend (now, wife) Tammi. Fast forward to 2021, our family – which now includes our daughter Shalane (3) and son Matthew (newborn!) – makes much more regular visits to the Air Force Museum. Tammi and I have always loved aircraft and the history that comes with them and we cannot wait for our children to dig even deeper into that history as well.

Ready to Fly High?

First and foremost, this year’s Air Force Marathon takes place on Saturday, September 18 – which also happens to be the birthday of the United States Air Force! You’ll want to visit the Air Force Marathon website for all the detailed information. To give you the cliffnotes version though, you can sign up for one of a number of race distances, such as:

  • 5K (3.1 miles)
  • 10K (6.2 miles)
  • Half Marathon
  • Full Marathon
  • Marathon 3-Person Relay
  • Tailwind Trot 1K Kids’ Run

If ONE race isn’t enough for you though, you can also sign up for the #FlyFightWin Challenge Series. I participated in the Virtual #FlyFightWin series last year – completing the 5k, 10k, and Full Marathon spread out over three days rather than the traditional two days. You can read more about that experience HERE.

REMEMBER: You can save a few bucks (10% to be exact) on your Air Force Marathon event registration when you use AFMBR21 when you checkout!

So – will I see you in Dayton this year? If so, shoot me a message on social (@presramsey on FB, Instagram, and Twitter) and let me know what distance you’re planning on running!

RECAP: Detroit (Virtual) Hot Chocolate 15k

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Allstate Hot Chocolate Virtual 15k/5k – DETROIT as part of being aBibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!


I can finally say that I’ve earned my chocolate! Not sure what I’m talking about? The TL;dr (too long; didn’t read) version is I signed up for a local Hot Chocolate 15k in 2015 and didn’t get to actually participate. Check out my Hot Chocolate 15k preview for more on that experience.

For now though, here’s my recap of my 2021 VIRTUAL Hot Chocolate 15k!

Location, Location, Location

First, I am fully aware that this run did not take place in Detroit as originally planned. It’s also not lost on me that this makes TWO Detroit events within the last six months that I’ve signed up that have had to be done virtually. That’s okay though. Like so many of you reading this, I have adjusted to running races/events virtually. With that said, there’s no place like home (or close to it) to knock out a virtual race. Since I am training for a slightly more challenging event in early May that involves trails, my choice of location for THIS virtual run reflects that idea.

Flat Preston is ready to go!

I took to Highbanks Metro Park – part of the Columbus Metro Parks system – for my Hot Chocolate 15k. Not the most challenging place to run, but also not a leisurely stroll in some spots. It is, however, one of my favorite parks to run simply because the trails are very well maintained. Additionally, there is one particular overlook that makes any trip to this park worth it.

The view from the Highbanks Overlook Deck with the Olentangy River below.

So I started near the Nature Center, which is where I start most of my runs at Highbanks. The main differences with this run compared to previous efforts was that I wanted to minimize repeating sections AND I didn’t want to loop back to the car before I was done. As a result, I did carry water with me in a hydration vest. This proved to be a very good call!

Two miles into the 15k – feeling good!

Two miles in and after a short break at the overlook deck, I headed back towards the interior of the park to complete the Overlook Trail portion of the run. Once back on the main loop trail of the park (Dripping Rock) I was able to get the remaining 7 miles by running essentially the perimeter of the park. This also allowed me to see areas of the park I haven’t visited in years as well as a few areas I have never visited at all!

Wetlands Viewing Deck at Highbanks Metro Park
Some of my friends would see this a merely a suggestion!
Adena burial mound at Highbanks Metro Park

Ultimately, I was able to get back around the park to my “finish line” in a respectable 1 hour, 41 minutes. I was genuinely more excited to be done and able to say I earned my chocolate than I was in running the actual event!

The finished product! 15k at Highbanks

How SWEET it is!

By now, I’m hopeful that you’ve figured out how excited I was/am to be able to FINALLY complete my first-ever Hot Chocolate event. Even though this version was virtual, I still had a lot of fun with it. A huge part of that was the medal that participants earn for completing their event. When I received the swag bag earlier in the week, I did not realize coming into this that the medal opens and there is a piece of chocolate inside! That was a very welcome surprise and one that made finishing the distance that much sweeter. See what I did there?

As I mentioned in my event preview, major props to the event organizers for NOT including a date on any of the swag – medal included!

SWEETEST medal I’ve ever earned!
Holy hidden chocolate, Batman!

And yes, you better believe I destoyed that piece of chocolate immediately after finishing my run!

Fast forward to the present and I’m excited to get my chance to participate in a Hot Chocolate event – even if it’s virtual. Earlier this week, I received my goodie bag for THIS year’s event and the race organizers really knocked it out of the park! I completely forgot about the Knockaround shades being a part of the Goodie Bag this year, which made for a fantastic surprise. And speaking of the jacket – while I do enjoy my 2015 version, this year’s edition is a definite upgrade!

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The Goodie Bag – complete with chocolate!

Participants could upload their time to the results page AND download a completion certificate

All and all, I really enjoyed my experience participating in my first official Hot Chocolate event. A lot of running events out there are much more focused on the distance(s) or the social experiences. For me though, this event was really about a very particular piece of swag – the chocolate! This event doesn’t exist without chocolate and the swag bag wouldn’t be complete without it either. From the chocolate in the medal to the packs of hot chocolate mix, those are the little touches that took this virtual event to the next level for me – even if I would have received the same items at an in-person event. Regardless, I had a great time running around one of my favorite local spots and had the opportunity to celebrate with some chocolate – doesn’t get much better than that!


The Detroit Hot Chocolate 15k/5k may be over, but you can still participate! Use code BRHC20 when you register for YOUR Hot Chocolate virtual event and snag a free Hot Chocolate branded hat

FINALLY Getting Hot Chocolate

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Allstate Hot Chocolate Virtual 15k/5k – DETROIT as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!


As I’m sure you’ve figured out by the disclaimer above, I’m going to be participating in the virtual Detroit Hot Chocolate 15k. This will be my 2nd experience with a Hot Chocolate race, but it is my 1st time actually getting to participate. Confused? Allow me to share with you the journey between my “first” Hot Chocolate in 2015 and the event coming up in April….

***

Not quite a year after my wife Tammi and I moved to Columbus, Ohio in 2015, I had signed up to run my first marathon in 11 years. It was a slower experience than my first, but still incredibly rewarding and leaving me with the desire to continue running MUCH more frequently than I had been. With that in mind, I sought out another race that I thought would be a lot of fun. That race? The Hot Chocolate Columbus 15k. 

At that point in history, I had just been recently promoted to full-time with my employer. Regardless of that promotion, and as any good employee should do – I had put in my request for a day off on the date of the Hot Chocolate event weeks in advance. This request was approved and I thought no more of it (the request) and got myself pumped to run my first 15k. 

Well, friends…even the best laid plans go sideways sometimes. THIS was one of those times. 

Word came down from our district manager that there would be an all-hands meeting at each of our stores. The day of that meeting just happened to fall on the very same day as my approved day off – the day of the Hot Chocolate 15k. Humph. For those of you keeping track, no – I wasn’t able to get out of the meeting and inevitably had to forego running the race altogether. 

On the plus side, I was still able to snag my goodie bag. To this day, the jacket from the 2015 Hot Chocolate 15k remains my only piece of race swag that I have from an event I never ran! 

 

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My 2015 Hot Chocolate jacket…from the race I never got to run!

***

Fast forward to the present and I’m excited to get my chance to participate in a Hot Chocolate event – even if it’s virtual. Earlier this week, I received my goodie bag for THIS year’s event and the race organizers really knocked it out of the park! I completely forgot about the Knockaround shades being a part of the Goodie Bag this year, which made for a fantastic surprise. And speaking of the jacket – while I do enjoy my 2015 version, this year’s edition is a definite upgrade!

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The 2020 Hot Chocolate goodie bag swag. Saving the medal for the post-race report!

The event planner part of me also give major props to the person who made the GOOD CALL to not put dates on any of the swag. Seems like common sense, especially given the state of the world at the moment, but it opens up more uses for leftover items. The sustainability of the swag is real!

So, even though this event will be another virtual one and it’ll be another run in or around my neighborhood, I’m very happy to say it will be my FIRST Hot Chocolate event – and that is excitement enough for me!


The Detroit Hot Chocolate 15k/5k is THIS weekend, but there is still time to get in on it!

Use code BRHC20 when you register and you’ll snag a free Hot Chocolate branded hat!

RECAP: Team in Training Resilience Challenge

Disclaimer: I participated in the Team In Training Resilience Challenge as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews.

Cancer sucks.

My family has been hit by it multiple times. The whole experience sucks and it doesn’t get any easier. Thankfully, however, there are amazing organizations in the world doing everything they can to kick cancer in the face. The organization that immediately comes to mind for me over all others is The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (or LLS) and Team in Training (TNT).

I was fortunate to team up with Team in Training for the first time in 2019 while participating in the Chicago Marathon (you can read that recap here). Running that particular marathon is a big deal on its own, but running as part of TNT absolutely made the weekend even more amazing. I’ll always support good organizations doing good things for good people and TNT is no exception. They made me feel like part of a family – a freakin’ huge family – and I will never forget that.

What’s the Resilience Challenge?

For the month of September, runners all over the world were recruited to participate in the Resilience Challenge – to come together show resilience in the on-going fight against blood cancers. The challenge was two-fold 1) run/walk/move at least 50 miles in September and 2) raise money to support Team in Training. However, it should be noted that it was free to participate in the challenge and there was NO fundraising minimum.

In addition to participating as an individual, I created a team – Team Strive for the Highest (still accepting donations, by the way – just sayin’), which was composed of family and friends. The TNT web platform allowed us to keep track of our mileage and fundraising, while also keeping our fellow team members accountable. While our team may have come up short on our fundraising goal(s), we still made a difference and each one of us absolutely blew the 50 mile challenge out of the water!

Personally, I raised $75 & completed 86 miles during Blood Cancer Awareness Month to help end cancer. The challenge may be over but there is still time to donate!

I would strongly recommend that YOU consider joining Team in Training for a future event – perhaps even the Resilience Challenge the next time around!

GO TEAM!

REVIEW: Buff Pack Run Visor

Disclaimer: I received a BUFF Pack Run Visor to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!


Over the last few weeks, I’ve been fortunate to test out another product from one of my favorite brands – BUFF. I have acquired multiple versions of their multifunction headwear and have tested out their DryFlx hats in the past as well. This brand has more than earned my attention – and my trust – over the last few years. When the opportunity came around to try something new – I obviously jumped at the chance!

This time around its their Pack Run Visor. Historically, I have not been a visor guy. Up until the last few years, I didn’t really even wear hats on any of my runs. But just as I’ve come around and have incorporated hats into my running gear rotation, I feel as if this visor has easily found a place in the mix as well. Let me tell you why.

SPECS

The Pack Run Visor is a super light, wicking, breathable visor that is able to pack down incredibly small without losing its shape. I love the fact that I can cram a visor in my pocket, take it out, put it on, and it still looks and feels like it always had. This visor is a one-size product that will fit most people, thanks to the 4-Way ULTRA STRETCH built in and is made up of 95% recycled material.

MY THOUGHTS

First off, the most noticeable aspect about the Pack Run Visor is that it is incredibly light. So light in fact that when I received it in the mail, I honestly thought I had been sent an empty package by mistake! It is possible to almost forget that it is on when it is due to the lack of weight. However, I do remember that it is there. There is a seam along the inside of the visor behind the bill that hits my forehead just so that it is somewhat uncomfortable at times, but it’s not every time I wear it so I can definitely let that slide.

(Side note: I’m pretty sure that’s truly the only “negative” I have been able to find with this visor.)

To me, a good hat or visor is defined by the bill. It has to have a good shape to do the job. This visor will make you think that the bill is much less rigid than it really is. To that point, I was concerned a “flappy bill” would make the visor less secure and more susceptible to high winds. NOPE. Once the visor is on, this thing stays put. The visor’s bill takes its rightful place (and shape) once the visor is on and it even feels like a proper piece of head gear.

Finally, the ability of the Pack Run Visor to STRETCH (and subsequently collapse) is fantastic. I didn’t really appreciate the stretchiness at first. The visor felt too much like a headband to me, but that’s a feeling I quickly moved past. This visor not only does the job as a hat/sun shade, but it way it fits on my head also allows it to serve as a sweat guard. That stretch and one-size design packs a double punch of awesome and function. If I want to ditch the visor, but not have to put it in a bag then dig it back out again, I can wrap the visor around my wrist (similar to a rubber band) for easy access!

CLOSING THOUGHTS

BUFF continues to impress me every single time I try something new from them. The Pack Run Visor is the kind of flexible and lightweight item every runner should have. I’d definitely consider this visor as something I’d be comfortable taking out on runs more regularly – or even as a casual item just to wear around town. I may not have been a visor guy before, but I might be one now!

HOW DO I GET ONE?

Head over to Buff’s website and sign up for their newsletter to get 15% off.

Global 24 Hour Relay

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Global 24 Hour Relay as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

I’ve never really been big on participating in anything on Global Running Day. This year is different.

 

As another runner who runs fairly consistent to begin with, the idea of doing a virtual run – let alone a virtual relay – doesn’t typically get me excited. But again, this year is different.

 

This year, honestly – I need this, as do so many others.

Global Running Day is a yearly event where runners from across the globe gather together* and celebrate all things running. And, as you might expect – this year is different. Runners of all abilities have felt the impact of the global pandemic. It seems like everywhere one looks, races have been postponed or simply cancelled. Personally, I had a few events I was hoping to do in the spring, but they – like so many others – have been moved to dates in the fall. Hopefully, those events will still take place. In the meantime, runners have had to move away from in-person group runs and get their group running experience in more non-traditional ways – such as the Global 24 Hour Relay!

 

The Global 24 Hour Relay is just what it sounds like – a “team” relay event that begins at 12:00am on June 3 and finishes at 11:59pm with each runner running a 30-minute segment before “passing the baton” to the next person via text/phone/or email.

So how do I get in on this?

  • Pick Your Team
  • Pick Your Time
  • Run! (on Wednesday, June 3)

On Global Running Day, each runner will receive a text/email/or phone call letting them know it’s time to start their “leg” of the event. At that point, the participant will run/jog/walk/hike/etc for 30 minutes before messaging the next person…and the cycle continues from midnight to midnight!

What do I get?

All participants will receive a medal and t-shirt to be mailed out later in June. Additionally, all participants are entered to win some pretty slick giveaways from companies such as Garmin and Maurten!

Can I Still Register?!

YES!! You can still get in on this, but you have to do it QUICKLY! Registration ends TODAY (June 1) at 11:59pm! Head over to https://www.global24hourrelay.com/ to get registered. 

RECAP: A Christmas Story 10k

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the A Christmas Story Run 10k as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!


I’ve known about the A Christmas Story Run for quite a while, but have never had the opportunity to run it, despite it being on my list of “must run” races. To say I was excited would be an understatement!

“You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out!”

A Christmas Story Run 5k/10k pays homage to the movie of the same name, where the proceeds go directly back into supporting and maintaining the A Christmas Story House & Museum as well as the neighborhood that surrounds it. Many participants in the event are costumed up ranging from Ralphie’s bunny suit to dressing like a leg lamp (It’s a major award!). The race even allows runners to run with their dogs (er, Bumpus Hounds) – I passed on this, but it would be something I’d consider doing with our dog, Ruby, in the future!

“Oh Fudge!”

First, to understand this part of THIS post, you need to have read my pre-race travel post. To anyone who did read it, please know that my best-laid plan was absolutely thrown out the window. I woke up about an hour later than I had planned on, which threw off the rest of the morning leading up to the race. However, once I was in Cleveland and a few deep (thankful) breaths were had, everything went amazing!

“Fra-gee-lay. Must be Italian!”

Before the race started, I was fortunate enough to meet two other BibRave Pros – Amy from Green Bay, WI and Jackey from Buffalo, NY. It’s always nice to meet up with fellow BRP’s and it was a good thing we met up before the race, because afterward was a little hectic!

Speaking of the race, it’s pretty simple when you get right down to it. The 5k is a point-to-point and the 10k (the one I ran) is an out-and-back. The race starts at Cleveland’s Public Square and follows a pretty straightforward course to the Christmas Story House. After leaving downtown and passing Progressive Field (home of the Cleveland Indians), the route crosses the Hope Memorial Bridge, providing a great view back on the downtown skyline. A mile or so later, the view is made even more spectacular when runners enter Tremont by passing a large “Cleveland” sign – perfect for photo ops!

The course makes its way to the titular house where the 5k runners finish, grab their medals, and perhaps a beer while runners in the 10k turn around and head back downtown. As part of registration, all runners receive complementary admission to visit the A Christmas Story House & Museum (a $13.00 value). This perk is cool, but be ready for a LONG, LONG line on race day. I ended up passing on this perk as I had made other plans for the rest of the day. Another line that was anticipated was that to get on one of the many buses from the house back to downtown. Passed on waiting in that line as well and walked back to downtown with a few of my friends and their dogs.

“It’s a Major Award!”

The medal is pretty neat and captures perfectly the “Oh Fudge!” sequence from the movie. The medal is almost covers my palm completely, so it’s not small!

The other swag for this race included a red long sleeve cotton shirt in addition to a green drawstring bag. The shirt is nice, but personally would have preferred a dri-fit or other tech-type shirt. Aside from that, the random LED light bulb we were given in the swag bag was unique, but hey – free bulb!

***

Overall, this race more than lived up to my expectations and provided a great experience. The things I enjoyed significantly outweighed anything I might not have – and that’s a good thing. I would definitely recommend that you check out this race, especially if you’re a fan of A Christmas Story!

Runner Travel Series #2: A Christmas Story 10k

Disclaimer: I received an entry into A Christmas Story Run 10k as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!


On the morning of Dec 7 (tomorrow), I’m waking up at the crack of dawn, running down the stairs in my pink bunny pajamas, and hopefully finding a official Red Ryder carbine action, 200-shot, range model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time! Wait a second, that doesn’t make sense. Tomorrow isn’t Christmas, but it IS the A Christmas Story Run 10k in Cleveland! Here’s a brief primer to get you up to speed. If you haven’t seen the movie A Christmas Story, it chronicles the story of young Ralphie Parker and his quest to get a Red Ryder air rifle for Christmas. I know there is a 24-hour marathon (on TBS?) of the movie right around Christmas. But I digress…

In the real world, the house used in the movie (located in Cleveland, Ohio) has been renovated to its movie glory as the A Christmas Story House & Museum. It is the centerpiece of the A Christmas Story Run 5k/10k. 

***

As mentioned, I’m getting up pretty early to head to Cleveland for this run. How early? Keep reading! For this trip, I have no hotels or airports to deal with and it’s just a few hours by car. However, there are some things that are important to plan out in advance. With that in mind, here are three things that will help make this trip easier – for me, at least!

1. Travel TO Cleveland

I’m only focusing on my travel TO Cleveland as it’s the only part of the trip that could have an impact on the race. I live on the southwestern-most side of Columbus, which means I have roughly a 2.5 hour drive. Keep in mind that I will still have to pick up my race packet AND ensure I’m ready to go for the 9am race start. With that in mind, I’m looking at a 5am departure so that I can ensure the next step works in my favor!

2. Parking / Transportation

It’s not a secret that if one is driving into a large metro area, parking will be a concern. Thanks to my Cleveland Marathon experience from 2017, I feel that I’ve got a pretty good plan. After making the drive up from Columbus, the plan is to park at a metro (RTA) station near the airport – blue dot below – and take the Rapid (train service) into downtown – the orange dot. The ride time is about 20 minutes and would still give me an hour or so to spare before the start of the race. Using the train was super convenient in 2017 for the marathon and cheaper than parking downtown.

Alternatively, my backup plan is to simply drive into downtown Cleveland and park at one of the many garages nearby the start/finish. This will add about 10 more minutes in the car and a few more $$ to the trip expenses, but depending on travel TO Cleveland and the weather – see below – it may become a reality!

Note: The A Christmas Story Run 5k race follows a course from downtown (orange) to the A Christmas Story House & Museum (red), while the A Christmas Story Run 10k turns around and heads back downtown.

3. Weather

Winter in Cleveland means anything is possible. Thankfully, the forecast looks “decent” for a 10k. No precipitation in the mix and a high right around 32 degrees at the start. Of course, Cleveland is on the shores of Lake Erie, which means cold wind and the possibility of lake effect snow is always lurking. My plan here is to layer, layer, layer and keep as warm as possible before the race (read: stay inside)!

Have a Plan, But Be Ready to Ditch It

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. Sometimes the best experiences come when you have to call an audible, but getting to that point might bring stress as well. Thankfully, my trip to Cleveland is only a day trip, but having at least some kind of plan is still absolutely essential.

Stay tuned (on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) on Saturday and see how this all plays out!