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Mar 18, 2012

ShamRock N Roll Run race review

Today was the inaugural running of the ShamRock N Roll run and I was lucky enough to be one of the people to run in this race located in Downtown Plymouth Michigan.  There's so much to tell.  I'm going to give you the quick version and the long version and hope you enjoy reading about the race.  If you missed it, hopefully you can make next years race based on my review:

Quick Review

Ran the 10k; lots of fun, well organized, plenty of food, goodies and bling plus great location.  Would certainly race this again.  Here's my personal results(Based on RunMichigan(dot)com results posted):

Time:  45:55.8
Men AG(40-44): 14th place out of 96
Overall place:  92nd out of 1322 finishers(Top 7%)
Pace:  7:24 per mile average
PR:  A 10k PR by 46 seconds


Detailed Review with lots of pictures

First I'll give you a summary of my main observations.

  • Well organized race - you knew where to go, where to park, where to start.  This helps eliminate the stress of getting to the race.  It all started with their website and went through to the finish of the race.
  • Course - A great course starting in downtown Plymouth, running through the downtown area, around subdivision downtown and finishing downtown.  Even though this was an open course, the police and marshalls did an excellent job with traffic.  They also did a great job at placing the mile markers in the correct place.  I've been to races where they were off almost a 1/4 mile!
  • Volunteers - Friendly, helpful, cheering, smiling, and knowledgeable.  It's make a difference when you are racing and I appreciate all the efforts they gave.
  • Start/Finish lines - Both well organized.  Even with the crowd, I felt there was plenty of space at the start and more than enough room at the finish.
  • Food/Drinks - Well stocked and very organized - given there was two lines, that helped keep things moving and is appreciated when you just finish a race.  There was plenty of everything for even the last of walkers.
  • Entertainment - I heard them but didn't see them.  I knew they were in the tent but I forgot to go over and see them and get a picture.  Great music.  The entertainment before the race was really nice too.  It gave a really nice hometown feeling.  I also liked having a local child(Race director's Daughter) do the National Anthem.  It keeps that hometown feeling.
  • Atmosphere - All you could see was smiles.  People seeing others they knew.  People chatting about racing and the race.  Nice family atmosphere.
  • Port-o-potties - I'll admit that this is one that I was a little concerned about.  I was not sure there would be enough given the amount of people attending the race.  I will say; however, that I got in line just before the race(20 minutes) and it only took about 5 minutes in a very long line so there was more than enough set up.  I also like the fact that they were placed in a great spot right near everything but out of the way enough to not have to see them the entire time.
  • Registration - Another well organized area.  First, online it was very simple to go in and register for the race and you received a confirmation so you were ready to go.  You could pay online as well, which made things easy, and you could register for more than one at the same time.  At the race, volunteers knew what needed to be done, they did it quickly and we got in and out fast.  We got our shirts and bib and were ready to race.  There were safety pins set up in blocks of four so you could just grab one.  Again, it's the little things like this that make a race really nice.
  • Money's worth? - Absolutely!  You got a certified course, tech shirt, a medal(10k only), great food at the end, a great course starting in a great area.  The police support was awesome and obviously the City support was great as well.
  • Location - it's great starting in a downtown area and finishing there as well.
  • Overall - a great race, very well organized, fun, family atmosphere.  One of the best races I have been too.  Would gladly do this race again!  As I have said in the past, the people at Kona Running Company know how to put together a race for runners but make it fun for walkers and their families as well.

Today's race was the first one of the year for me and likely the first one for many people today.  The weather was absolutely perfect in the low 50's to start the race.  Can you believe we had such good weather?  I'm sure that will go down in the history books as one of the warmest races in March.

Today's inaugural ShamRock N Roll run was by all counts a complete success.  There were thousands of runners for the 10k, 5k and one mile races.  We got there pretty early at 7am and volunteers were already very busy working away getting everything in place and ready to go before the start of the race.  I wanted to get there early to take some pictures for this review.  On the way over to the race, we had seen lightning but it was South of the location in Plymouth and by the time we got to Plymouth, the skies were clear.  My streak of good weather at races continues as this was my 23rd race of my running career.  As you can see below, volunteers were getting everything in order for the food lines under the pavilion.
The finish line was up and ready to go!
They were getting the medals in place and ready for all the 10ker's to receive.  A volunteer was nice enough to put one out on the table so I could get a picture of it.
The First Aid station was ready to go and hopefully was not used at all(at least that I saw)  There was also two ambulances located near the finish line ready to help.  Safety is a priority for the race director!
The numbers on the registration tent(below) were clearly marked at the top so if you knew your number, you could go right up.  If not, they also had a board with all the names/numbers on there in alphabetical order so it was very easy to check in and get your bib and T-shirt.  The volunteers were well organized and it only took a minute or so to get everything.  Of course, as the race neared the lines got much longer but everything went very smooth from my observation.
Here's my brother who raced his first race ever, the 10k!  He's showing off the sweet shirt that you received when you picked up your race bib.  The bib's had the B-Tag on the back for timing using the latest technology to keep track of runners times.
The race even had a place for volunteers to check in so all of them knew what they should be doing and where they should be going.  Speaking of volunteers, there were also many out on the course as well including marshalls and water, GU brew stops.  They were all very enthusiastic and cheering as the runners ran by them.
Here's the board you could go to in order to find your name and your bib number to pick up your bib.  This made things very, very simple.  I forgot to bring my confirmation slip but since the race was so organized, you did not need it.
The race was also very concerned about running out of water given the higher and unusual temperatures in March.  There was plenty of water and food for everyone.  I know this because my Dad and Aunt walked the 5k and there was still plenty of everything for everyone when they finished.
Here's a volunteer putting out the bagels so they were ready for everyone.  I have been to other races where you just grab a bagel as you are in line from a basket.  These were individually wrapped so it made it much more sanitary.  It's the little details that make a race from good to great.  As you can see, they had tons of bagels courtesy of Panera Bread.  Yum Asiago Cheese! Also, you will notice that the volunteers sorted out the type of bagel.  This made things much quicker when you were in line to get something because you did not need to look around for it since it was easy to find.  That certainly made the line move through quicker.  Again, it's these little things that make the race that much better.
 Here's some of the crowd waiting for the start of the 10k.  I happen so see this guy in a Kilt that was running and thought that was really cool.  I just hope he didn't wear it the proper way underneath.  Haha!
I also saw Rose from Hacker Half Marathon just before the race and got a quick picture with her.  She ended up taking two minutes off her PR!  Crazy!  Congratulations Rose!

After the picture with Rose, we headed to the start line to get ready.  There were lots of runners and I was looking to get in line properly this time so I did not have to run around as many runners.  Just before the start, Alan's daughter sang the National Anthem(quite nicely I might add especially for a 12 year old).  Then the dance team in the area did a great dance to a Huey Lewis & the News song, Heart of Rock N Roll.  Alan, the race director, made a countdown, blew the air horn and we were off and running!

Ken over at Stony Creek TNT Coach was there as well volunteering at the start line and cheering on people.  He's a great cheerleader getting everyone pumped up to run.  The first mile was extremely fast for me given the crowd - 7:21 pace.  I picked it up a little bit on the second mile with a pace of 7:17 once things spread out a bit and kept a pretty steady pace thereafter.  Here's what my splits looked like:
 As you can see, I was quite consistent with my speed.  Overall fast for me - obviously since I had a PR for the 10k distance.  You will notice the last split to be slower because I forgot to shut off my Garmin.  Darn, why do I always forget this?  What I also thought was interesting was the overall elevation of the course.  Check it out:

Overall it's a flat course but there is a little elevation in the first mile that I did not realize.  It's nice using the Garmin so you can see what changes it brought.

Of course, the course map was exactly as the race staff showed it on their website.  Here's the Garmin map of the course.  Total measurement of 6.29 on my Garmin which is slightly off since I forgot to turn it off at the end.  The course was slightly longer than the 6.20 requirement so it was perfect and met the certified standard.

After the race, I watched the runners come in while I was also waiting for my brother to finish.  Some people had some crazy costumes like this guy in the green wig!  Haha!  I'm impressed that he was able to push a stroller for 10k!
Here's another woman all decked out in St. Patrick's Day attire.  There were so many people dressed up having fun with it which was great!
 Here's my bother in the black shirt finishing up his race too.
After the race, I was also able to meet up with some local bloggers - Megan & Ryan from WatchMeGoRun and Josh from Clippin' Along.  As you guys know, I have seen Megan & Ryan at many races since they goes to about a billion races a year but this was the first time I met Josh.  All three of them had great times and had a ball at the race as well.
The race had two lines running for the food.  This was a great idea as it kept the crowd moving so things did not get backed up in this area.  People were easily able to get their food and move on.
The lines were also under a pavilion which is the best place for it in case of rain.  Fortunately, the weather was perfect for the entire time we were there.
Later, I watched my other brother come in from the 5k.  He's the one in green with grey sleeves.  Unfortunately, I missed his wife finish as she came in just before him.
It was also great to see Alan Whitehead, the race director talking to people after the race.  It's great that he was keeping up on things to make sure everyone had a great time and things continued to run smoothly.
Just after I saw Alan, my Dad and Aunt came in from walking the 5k.  This was my Dad's first 5k ever and he did great!  He may have been a little overdressed(in jeans) given the weather but otherwise he did good.
After everyone was done, we got some pictures by the pavilion.  Here's my brother and I with our race medals.  Awesome bling I might add especially for a 10k.
Here's another one of everyone else with me including my Dad, brothers and his wife as well.
 This is my Aunt and my Dad after they finished their 5k.  Very exciting!
Of course, when I got home I took a picture of the race bling.  It's really nice to get a medal for a 10k since most of the races do not offer that.  I think you get a lot for your money for the races that Kona Running Company puts together.   I'll be at their next race in June as well with a full report(see below for details of the next race)
And here it is, the race medal place on my non half marathon or marathon race hanger.  If you look closely, you will notice that there are four medals from Kona Running Company races over the years.  My very first race medal was the Solstice 10 mile race in 2010.  A race that I will run for my third time this year - the only race I have run more than twice.

If you ran today's race, give me your input/suggestions here.  I'd love to hear what you thought about the race.  Any feedback left here will also be reviewed by the race staff to continue to improve this race each year.

Think this looked like a great race?  Sorry you missed out?  Want to run another race put on by Kona Running Company?  Up next for them is the 10 miler/10k/5k/1 mile Solstice Run starting at Northville Downs in Northville, Michigan.  Train for hills!  Race date is June 23rd, 2012.  Sign up now for discounted pricing online.  If you want to sign up or learn more about the Solstice Run, you can do so by clicking HERE.

Have a great day and....Keep Running!!!!


  1. Wow, great race report. Love all the photos. Congrats on the PRs Jeff and Rose!!

  2. Great review! Cool that it was a family event for you. Nice job on the PR and great time. It sounds like I'll need to run one of their races sometime.

  3. Great recap!! Sounded like an awesome race! Congrats on the PR!!

  4. Great review !! This race is on my to do list next year!

    I hope to see you at the Solstice Run.

  5. Great job on the 10k PR (and congrats to your brother on his race as well). It was nice to meet you and hope to see you again at another race in the future!

    1. Look at my schedule and you will know if we'll be at other race together. It's under race schedule in the top tabs.

  6. Sounds like such a fun and well put together race! I have to say, while I think everyone dipping their hand into a bin for bagels can be kind of gross I also think wrapping each one individually is a waste of packaging. It's hard to find a middle ground in this if volunteers can't hand them out one by one.

    Congrats on the PR! Hope you had a great time celebrating today!

  7. Great recap Jeff! It was awesome to see you today and I agree with all of your points about this race. It's certainly one I'll do again! Great job today :)

  8. Nice run, the training is paying off if the PR are coming, maybe you need to stay on a marathon program all year round and you will keep running PR's.

    So what is next on the cards, and are we going to see more PR's there?

    1. Unfortunately not, next race is a half two weeks before a full so it's just a training run for me. Maybe a little harder so I keep it under 2 hours but not going to be pushing myself. I have thought of staying on a marathon program all year to continue improvement but that is tiring. Ha!

  9. Congrats on the PR! You have gotten to be so fast!!

  10. Congrats again on your PR! Sorry we missed each other. One of these races we'll have an actual conversation and take a photo together (of course)!

    Love the way you broke down the recap. And I agree, Kona did a fantastic job. Sure, they're a little pricier than most, but I can't complain about a nice tech tee, good course, and excellent post-race snacks!