Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Virtual Minions Run to review 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!
When the opportunity to run a virtual race that was connected to the lovable Minions, I just couldn’t pass it up! I saw it as a great way to spend some time with one of my sons who doesn’t enjoy running that much but always is up for fun runs like this one here. I have to disclose that the real selling point for my son was the AMAZING swag that came with his registration. He loves the t-shirt and the medal is obviously a winner for him but it was the winter pom hat that was the clincher! Loves the pom hat and, for that matter, so do I!
The race being virtual made it easy to find a time for both of us to take on the 5K and we were able to do at a leisurely pace. I loved that we were able to run, jog, walk and talk the whole time. It made for a great bonding experience.
The virtual support was positive as well. I was emailed about the registration confirmation and delivery of my son’s swag packet. I was also informed of my medal being delayed and that it would be coming soon as well (I had registered much earlier than my son hence the difference there) and they were supportive on social media channels as well. I only give the race management section 3 out of 5 stars since I’m still waiting for my medal after being told it wouldn’t be long until it arrived. Otherwise, this was a very fun virtual race to participate in and I would certainly do it again, whether it be Minions or some other fun option.
On May 1, I ran the Non Cancelled Marathon put on by Silver Circle Sports Entertainment. I’ve had the pleasure of running several of their races during the last year during the pandemic and they have done an excellent job abiding by safety protocols and providing a friendly and secure racing environment. The weather lined up nicely on race day, for the most part. There was a nasty 16-20mph wind that gusted frequently in one direction which not only gave resistance but made it slightly more chilly than it should have felt with the temperatures that day.
Aid Stations: I have to give this zero stars since this is the only thing to not return to normal yet. No aid stations and you were responsible for your own hydration and fuel for the race.
Expo Quality: Again, zero stars since there was no expo. Packet pickup was before the race (or the day before if you drove out to the organization’s headquarters in a 3 hour time window. Packet pickup was smooth and simple though; wear you mask while in line and grab your bib and pins if needed. Your verification was sent via email in the form of a Q-code. Nice and easy, just scan.
Course Scenery: This was an out and back course so the scenery didn’t change and if you did the marathon, like me, you got to run this out and back FOUR times. Yeah, four times. Buuuuut, the race was out on a paved trail and there were a lot of birds to look at while running. I even saw a sandhill crane attempting to camouflage itself in a marsh area off the course. That was pretty cool to see so close. Also, this race allowed for spectators and was that awesome to hear! Even if they were cheering for others or just cheering in general, it was really great to hear! It made what could have been a drag of a race into a more splendid experience.
Elevation Access: Minimal. Slight incline going in one direction and one or two very small up and downs just before the turn point.
Parking Access: There was some parking lots near the race start/finish but those filled up quickly. But there were plenty of side streets to park on so everything was good.
T-Shirt/SWAG: A bright red t-shirt with the race name and sponsors on it and a medal were the items provided for all race participants. I like the shirt; it has a nice feel to it and red is always a winning color in my book. And the medal, well, they didn’t like about it, lol. They promised the largest medal ever and it is gigantic! It announces you finished and in a big way.
The Silver Circle Sports group does a great job with these events and, in the last year especially, have been incredible having races that actually took place. They communicate very well, constantly sending out updates and they answer your direct question within one day of you submitting a query. I can’t say enough about how good of a group they are. I know when I sign up for a race by them, it will take place and I will have a good time, no matter what type of race it is.
This was a fun run that I signed up for very late in the game and close to the race date. Wasn’t sure if I wanted to drive to the location but it ended up being a fun time as I had signed my two sons up as well. I couldn’t get them to dress in costume for the run (full disclosure, I didn’t either) but there were plenty of others who did dress up which made for a festive atmosphere. It was a very chilly Halloween morning but at least the sun was out shining so that helped. The race was called the Fore Miler because it’s original location in Milwaukee County allowed it to have that distance but when it moved to this location, there was only room to safely make it a 5K distance.
Expo Quality/Aid Stations: I am including both of these in the same column since, due to COVID-19 restrictions and precautions, there was not an expo nor any aid stations. Packet pickup was done the morning of the race, just aside from the starting line. Very efficient.
Parking Access: Pretty easy to find a spot. Ample free public parking around the area and was close by to the starting line and downtown Oconomowoc.
Course Scenery: I give this four stars but the start and finish of the race really earn all of that. The mid point of the race you find yourself running through a suburban neighborhood that wasn’t blocked off (we were told it would be that way) so there were a couple of drivers looking perplexed at all these runners, lol. But the start and finish point had you run across a bridge in between Lake Fowler and Lake Lac La Belle; just some beautiful looking scenery going across that bridge. The water was so blue and calm. Some of the trees in the area still had their colorful leaves. Just a nice sight to run through.
T-Shirt/Swag: Fun looking orange t-shirt with Milwaukee Monster Fore Miler written across the front in a design but just above the loop where it says “Fore Miler” was the actual location of Oconomowoc listed, so I thought that was cool. The medal has a runner running away from a spooky tree a and there are bats on it with an orange background; nicely done. They also threw in some Halloween candy with the packets. Yum! Also a free beer from SteelTank Brewing! Free beer is always good, lol.
So, overall, I liked this race; it was fun and if it returns next year, I will be happy to run it again. They say they will return to the original location so it can be four miles again but I’d almost say that this was a much more beautiful area to run through, just my opinion. The Silver Circle Sports Entertainment group did a fabulous job putting this race together. They have been excellent taking care of social distancing for these races and making sure people follow the rules so that they can keep putting on races. Bravo to them!!
Any questions or comments, feel free to give a shout!! As always, happy running!!
Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Kansas City Marathon to review 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!
What to do when the race you train for and prepare to travel to simply gets canceled and all of it’s out of your control? Well, 2020 made that a reality for just about all races across the country. Many returned entry fees or deferred entries to their 2021 race but the Kansas City Marathon chose to do something different, something special and that stuck to their goal and mission of why they put on the race in the first place. They gave options. You could defer your entry to next year’s race. You could outright donate your fee to the Kansas City Sports Commission and Foundation, a non-profit group that not only organizes the Kansas City Marathon but also takes the lead in maintaining and selectively acquiring a diversity of amateur and professional sporting events for the city. Or you could transfer your registration over to their One Million Mile Challenge, a contest for all runners to participate in and collectively run one million miles all while reaching benchmark distances where the group would hand out prizes to random participants.
Yeah, it isn’t the same as running the streets of Kansas City, especially if you were planning a trip to the area for this monumental race. But, it’s a great way to keep your running base engaged and interested as well as planning to come back the next year for the race. This challenge allowed you to “race against” fellow runners to see who can get the most mileage, depending on the distance you selected. I say “get” because the challenge is still going on and you can still register for it if you want and gain a chance to win one of remaining benchmark prizes by being randomly selected. The extension for the One Million Mile Challenge runs through December 15 and costs $40 to register. There’s a mile tracker and you receive a race-branded t-shirt, a finisher’s medal, race bib, a digital finisher’s certificate, a Challenge finisher item and more!
I know I was disappointed by the Kansas City Marathon being canceled this year. I had very much looked forward to this destination race and exploring the city and surrounding areas for a few days. I hope the opportunity presents itself for 2021, because I almost certainly will be there. Until then though, this was a nice option put on by the race organizers who have been in constant communication through all of this and continue to do so while the Challenge has been going on.
I hope to see you as well on this course next year for an amazing experience in an amazing city with some very deep culture. Happy running!!
Let’s start with this: I signed up for National Procrastination Day Half Marathon very last minute and on a whim/desire to just run a real race for the first time since January. How crazy and desperate was I? This was my first trail race since 2017 and I never, ever train on trails. At all. Seriously, never. Add in the fact that the half marathon distance for this race had a loop of three times going up a hill labeled “Killer Hill” and it definitely earned that reputation; holy cow was it steep! Now, this being a race taking place during the pandemic, social distancing and all that jazz, I’ll explain why I give this race 4 stars.
T-Shirt/Swag: You receive a pretty sweet long-sleeve t-shirt with the race name on it and a fun slogan on the back: You put the ‘pro’ in procrastination….I thought that was too funny! And the finisher medal they provided was a pretty nice medal. Post race didn’t have the usual fanfare of tons of people (they discouraged spectators, obviously) but there was some edible treats like Gatorade, pretzels and a granola bar that you could have on request.
Course Scenery: It was great. The race took place in a beautiful state park with wonderful trails and view points to look at while running; not to mention looking out from the top of Killer Hill. It’s been so long since I’ve done anything lengthy like this on trails so, for me, it was an amazing change of pace and I loved it. I’ll throw the Elevation Difficulty category into this section since they go hand in hand. My Strava app listed it as 1,102 feet of gain. So, yeah, it was a lot, lol. Not just Killer Hill either; there were some other inclines that were just tough where they were laid out on the course, but, of course, thankfully there were some declines too. Just gotta look out for those roots and rocks!
Parking Access: Easy and simple, except it required a park sticker otherwise you needed to pay five dollars, cash. Of course I drove in the vehicle WITHOUT the sticker AND failed to go to the bank the day before so I had no cash on me. Oops. Besides that, once inside, it was easy to find where to park and to get out after the race as well. Nicely organized….which leads to….
Race Management: Great job by the Silver Circle group who put on the race. They had had all the precautions in place so that there was social distancing for all runners as we queued up for the race. There were staggered start times for each wave of runners so there was no bottling up at the start or even during the race itself. I never felt too close to anyone on the course. You were required to have a face mask while waiting in the start line and post race if you were waiting for another runner to cross or just needed to stretch out. Now, I gave low scores to Expo Quality and Aid Stations but not because they were horrible. They really deserve an N/A since they didn’t exist for the obvious reason of COVID-19 and the risks having them before the race and on the course.
I enjoyed this race and the, albeit brief, event around it. The course was great; it was a nice return for me to a trail race. The race organizers and all of their volunteers were absolutely wonderful. Friendly and encouraging when crossing the road in the park (where there was a person slowing/stopping cars) and the gentleman running at the back of the pack cheering on those runners to the random volunteers just monitoring mile marker points also offering up kudos. They all were just a great group of people at a real life racing event and they made it enjoyable when it easily could have been a hassle. Bravo! If ever in the mood to “procrastinate” you should run this race when in Wisconsin!