This was my first time running this race in 2016. My wife ran the half and I ran the full. The race is smaller which makes it easier to pr. The volunteers at the water stops were amazing! There was also on course entertainment which awesome. They guys who did the drums rocked it. There was no issue with cars. Any cars were quickly addressed by race staff on side by sides. The course is some what flat with some rolling hills. My garmin showed a 183 feet of elevation gain as opposed to 304 feet in the Glass City marathon. There was a long stretch from mile 10 to mile 13 where there was not a water stop. I believe the staff is putting more water stops this year. The backside of the course can be boring but the volunteers and the entertainment breaks it up. My wife and I thought it was touching to have OSP Troopers handing out finishing medals. They had an awesome American Flag that you get to run under.
The parking is limit so we parked at the fairground. We got there early and had no problems taking the provided shuttles to the start line. My wifes bus even broke down on the way back from the half finish and the occupants were quickly picked up by another shuttle. The shuttle service was handled very professionally. There were plenty of porta potties at the start. The bag check was simple and we had no issues. We stayed with family close by so we had no issues with accommodations. My wife enjoyed the coffee shop within walking distance of the start line.
By VLP about 2014
Race is literally 26.2 miles around Grand Lake. It is a very flat course. Some parts of the race are boring (one spot smelled very farm like). There is a long stretch around mile 17 that is nothing but farm land (still very flat) Plenty of water/gatorade stops - one every two miles. Each station very supportive, cheering and dressed in costumes. No traffic to worry about. Start and finish at same location.
This race does have pacers. Pace groups were in 10 min intevals. Race started in the 50's and warmed to lower 70's by finish. Course is very flat and fast. I would recommended starting and staying consistent with pace.
I would recommend booking hotel early. Celina is a very small town. I stayed at the West Bank Inn (capacity of 14 rooms) but Perfect location!! Once we parked I never started my vehicle again until I was leaving. Wonderful italian restaurant that shares the same parking lot. The starting line is walking distance. And an absolutely beautiful view of the lake.