Latest reviews by Vanessa Junkin

(2023)
"Well-organized, but hot for inaugural year"
Overall
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Course Scenery
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Parking/Access
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Disclaimer: I received entry to the Ocean City Running Festival to review as part of being a BibRave Ambassador. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Ambassador, and check out BibRave dot com to review, find and write race reviews!

The inaugural year of the Ocean City Running Festival was this year — 2023. The inaugural event offered a 5K, 8K, half marathon and marathon. I chose to run the half marathon. Unfortunately, we had an unseasonably hot day, which of course, no one can control. The half marathon started at 9:15 a.m., which was really challenging in the heat. There is not much shade on the course.

Parking at the Inlet was super easy and free (a lot of times you have to pay to park at the Inlet). I got to the race early because my running club had enough social team members that we were able to set up a tent in the finish area. Having a tent was a really nice perk, and it made it easy to find members of our club.

Packet pickup was also super easy. I went to the small expo at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center the day before the race. I'm fine with a small expo, as I didn't really want to buy anything. It was easy to get my bib and 1/4 zip. I liked the swag, which was a 1/4 zip with the race logo. The finisher medal was an oyster shell that opened up, which was definitely cool for the Eastern Shore and made for a unique medal.

Half marathoners rode buses over to Assateague Island, where we would start our point-to-point race. In my opinion, there were not enough porta-potties at the start. There were some regular bathrooms and some porta-potties, which both had lines. I waited in line for 40 minutes, nearly all the time I had from getting off the bus to starting the race. Thankfully, I was able to go before the start.

Aside from the Verrazano Bridge leaving Assateague, this is a very flat race. The first eight miles are all on the same road. Then, you turn right on Old Bridge Road to head toward Ocean City, head over the Route 50 bridge, run a small amount Downtown and then head up on the Boardwalk to turn around at 15th Street and head back to the finish line.

Aid stations were about every two miles. This would be good for a usual race, but with the heat, it might have been good to have more. The volunteers that worked the event were great, but the tables seemed understaffed. I do realize how challenging it is to get volunteers for events.

The scenery is best/most interesting on the Verrazano Bridge, the Route 50 bridge and the Boardwalk — the rest is a long stretch of a rural road.

I did enjoy the event and felt it was well-organized (with a few tweaks that could be made for the second year of the event). However, I would love an earlier start and cooler weather (of course, out of the race organizer's control). Read my full recap at she runs by the seashore dot com.

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(2023)
"Fun race and unique course, but lots of lines"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
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I run this race every year. It's a course you can only run on race day (pedestrians are not normally allowed on the bridge), so this makes the course very unique, and it's really cool to see the Chesapeake Bay from this angle.

This is the third year the Bay Bridge Run has been run by Corrigan Sports Enterprises and my first year not doing the VIP package. There were lots of lines. Packet pickup went smoothly. I didn't want to buy anything, so I didn't really shop at the expo, but I was able to get my bib and shirt pretty quickly and check a bag with a hoodie and joggers so that I wouldn't be cold after the race.

The race is already pricey for a 10K, and unless you get dropped off, you also have to buy a parking pass for $15 or $20. I ended up purchasing a $15 parking pass and parked at Anne Arundel Community College. Once I arrived at the start, the lines for the porta-potties were awful, and I waited about 30 minutes, missing the wave I hoped to start in as well as the wave after that -- I started at 8 a.m. instead of 7:30 a.m. (waves are every 15 minutes).

There are a lot of walkers at this event, which I totally support, but since the waves are not time-based, you will likely have to do some weaving, especially if you don't start in the first wave.

Because the majority of the race is on the Bay Bridge, it starts out with an incline heading up the bridge, and then has a decline as you head down. Then, there are about 1.5 miles after the bridge, which does include an incline.

There was an aid station around the midway point. I brought water, so I did not use the aid station. This is a cupless event (which makes sense, since the cups could end up in the bay). There were short-sleeve tech shirts and a puzzle-piece medal.

I rated parking/access a "1" and race management as a "3" because I know a lot must go into this race, and for the most part, it went well, but the lines for the buses to get back to the parking lots at the end of the race were a mess. Nobody knew what line they were supposed to be in, and there were two long lines. I wouldn't have minded the line as much if the lines had been clearly separated as to which line was going to what color-coded parking lot. Hopefully this can be improved for next year.

If you have a large enough team, you are able to set up a social team tent at the finish line. My club was able to do this, and it was a lot of fun and made it easy to find each other.

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(2023)
"Fun but hot this year! "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
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This was my eighth year in a row running this race (one virtual), and I plan to continue to run it every year! This year happened to be super hot and humid, but there were three water stops for the 5K, along with an optional fire hose spray at the end. I took one star off for the aid stations because the third aid station ran out of cups, but I was able to get ice. At least there were more aid stations than a usual 5K.

I included the awesome post-race party in the swag — there's a full dinner with pizza, chicken, ice cream and beer, along with a live band. We also got a cotton T-shirt celebrating the race's anniversary. The race is affordable, at $25 in advance. This is an evening race, and packet pickup is held race evening.

It's a flat and fast road course around the Delaware Technical Community College in Georgetown, Delaware. The course is two loops, with the second loop a little shorter than the first.

Parking was super easy this year and I was able to park closer than in previous years. Parking is also free.

This is a fun, well-organized race and I recommend it!

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(2023)
"Always a fun time! "
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I run the Mike Sterling 10K every year, and of course, I love this race because I keep coming back to it! The race has been going on for more than 40 years, and this was my 12th consecutive year running it. It's a small-town race with a great community, and it's always a lot of fun. The course is super flat and fast and goes from the area of the Crisfield City Dock through the town, by the water and then into neighborhoods before heading back to the finish location (by the start) on the main road.

Swag was a soft cotton T-shirt and stickers, and since I picked up my packet early, I got a coupon for a free acai bowl from Playa Bowls. The race entry fee is only $25 (it gets a little higher when you get really close to race day). There were three aid stations for the 10K, and they were helpful.

It's super easy to park for free very close to the start. Packet pickup is held the night before at Wellington Beach.

The race had new race directors this year, and they did a great job and continued the event's legacy! This year, the 5K was changed to a run or walk instead of solely a walk as in years past. There is also a ruck division.

There are some great door prizes and unique overall and age group awards.

Read my full recap at she runs by the seashore dot com.

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(2023)
"Hot but fun!!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I headed up to the small town of Wyoming, Delaware, to run the Great Wyoming Buffalo Stampede 10K for the second time. The race also includes a 5K. The last time I ran this race was in 2015, and I think the heat was what kept me away for several years. It was hot and humid for this year's race, as well, and there was little shade, but it was still well-organized and fun.

The 10K had five water stops, including people that would spray or dump water on you, which was great! The course was mostly an out-and-back that was through farmlands. It went past Fifer Orchards. It was a flat course.

Parking was easy, free and a short walk away from the start. There were plenty of bathrooms and porta-potties. The race was affordable ($35 during race week) and benefits the Downstate Delaware Striders and Riders scholarship fund. In addition to the race shirt (there were men's and women's cuts), runners received a free Italian ice from a nearby shop, along with a beer and watermelon and peaches.

I enjoyed the race, even though I wasn't able to run as fast as I'd hoped because of the heat and humidity — it's in mid-July. The only thing I didn't like other than the weather was that the pins were too big and left holes in my shirt, so you might want to bring your own bib fasteners.

Read my full review at She Runs by the Seashore dot com.

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