Athlinks – Centralize Your Race Data!

Disclaimer: I am promoting Athlinks as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

I was sitting at lunch the other week with a good buddy and colleague (for the sake of a reference we’ll call him Elmo). While Elmo is not a runner, we will often talk about running and upcoming races that I’m training for.

Conversation will usually gravitate toward some rough ideas for hosting a race on his farm in rural NC and making a load of money. Easy, right?!

“Yes”, I tell him. “It’s that easy”, rolling my eyes.

This latest conversation was slightly different. Elmo had a new idea. This idea involved building a website (I work in software development) that would keep everyone’s results in one place.

“Elmo, we already have that”, I said.

He wasn’t listening and continued, “And the race organizers would all send the results in and…”

“Elmo, I’m telling you, this exists already”.

“And people would pay to use such a convenient service!”, he said, finishing his proposal.

“Elmo, this exists! I’m reviewing the site right now. It’s called Athlinks AND it’s free to use!”

While Elmo has gone back to the drawing board to think up more ideas, let me tell you about Athlinks.

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Review: Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k Race – Charlotte

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Hot Chocolate 15k as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!


Race Prep & Signup

In a previous post I’d talked about signing up for the Hot Chocolate 15k in Charlotte, and how I had to upload “proof” of previous race times to get assigned a corral on race day.

I received an email after a couple of weeks to say I had been assigned to corral “D”. I had no idea at the time what that would look like except that they started the corrals off 4 mins apart from each other.

Training for the race consisted of my regular weekday runs with slightly longer runs at the weekend. The two weeks before Christmas that I was out with Vertigo set me back both mentally and physically, and I got a little concerned that my target of a 8.30/mi would be hard to achieve.

Continue reading “Review: Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k Race – Charlotte”

Review: Krispy Kreme Challenge 2018


Those who complete the Krispy Kreme Challenge, have ran 2.5 miles, consumed 12 Krispy Kreme doughnuts and then ran 2.5 miles more, all inside 1 hour! Oh, and on quite possibly the coldest day of the year in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Well, I tried to eat all 12 doughnuts last year and that was not enjoyable at all. This year I had no intentions of completing the challenge, but just to run and enjoy the atmosphere.

The plan was for the whole family to run it this time — only Nathan and I ran it last year. I was going to push our youngest, Xander, in the stroller and then we’d dump all our unfinished doughnuts underneath the stroller to take home.

Unfortunately my wife Liz was unable to run as she has a stress fracture (she is also a runner). So, we pulled in Vinod from our running club and Liz and Xander stayed at home in the warmth.

Continue reading “Review: Krispy Kreme Challenge 2018”

AfterShokz Trekz Air — Shockingly Good Earphones for Running!

Disclaimer: I received a pair of AfterShokz Trekz Airs to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!


I’d consider myself a music guy, a musician even — I listen to a lot of music. But look back over the last couple of years of my run selfies on Instagram and you’ll not find many with me wearing earphones.

I think I have funny shaped ear holes or something. I’ve always struggled with finding comfortable earbuds that will a) sit in my ear canals comfortably for an extended period, and b) not fall out or need readjusting during exercise.

For this reason I mostly go without. It just hasn’t been worth the hassle…

Recently I have had the opportunity to try a pair of AfterShokz Trekz Airs — earphones that don’t even go in your ears. That is because they use bone conduction technology!

Continue reading “AfterShokz Trekz Air — Shockingly Good Earphones for Running!”

Be Brilliant, Be Seen!

Disclaimer: I received reflective strips from Brilliant Reflective to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

Most of my weekday runs happen before the sun comes up, so that means a lot of road running in the dark. It wasn’t long ago I read a post on our community Facebook page complaining about runners seen early in the morning wearing dark clothing. Yep, that was referring to our running club for sure, and a warning that we were not doing enough to be visible.

If any of this sounds familiar to you, then you need to hear about Brilliant Reflective strips. They are highly reflective strips that you can apply to your clothes (or other items) and come in both stick-on and iron-on packs.


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2skin, or not 2skin: that is the question!

Disclaimer: I received pjuractive 2skin products to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

Hands up — who likes a bit of chafing? Anyone? No?

Didn’t think so. No-one likes that. So when the opportunity arose to test an anti-chafing solution, called 2skin from pjuractive, I quickly volunteered.


Fortunately, I don’t experience chafing on a regular basis, and while that’s a blessing it also has a undesired side effect — unpreparedness! So when chafing hits unexpectedly, it can leave me hurting for a day or two.

Continue reading “2skin, or not 2skin: that is the question!”

Review: Race Across Durham Trail Marathon & 10 Miler

It was so exciting to be part of the first ever Race Across Durham Trail Marathon & 10 Miler event. I registered for the 10 mile race, since this was my first ever trail race (and also because I could not run 26.2 miles on a flat surface).

The 10 mile race started at the West Point On The Eno Amphitheater, an open area in the middle of the woods. From there, around 200 runners gathered, ready to run through the trees toward the river to join the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.

The race was timed (time-chip on back of the bib), but there was no starting mat, so time was taken from the starting gun. I wasn’t too motivated by time on this race. I wanted to run it well, and enjoy it at the same time, so not having a starting mat didn’t bother me.

I was expecting a little bit of a bottleneck at the start of the race, because we had to transition from an open field to a single track trail. There was no pushing or shoving. Everyone was very chilled and polite and seemed to be out there to enjoy the day.

It took about 1.5 miles or so to thin out on the trail. I managed to pass quite a few people at the beginning and catch some groups that were running at a pace I was comfortable with.

I was really glad I spent a few weekends before checking out the trail section by section — it was really helpful mentally, as I knew which sections of the trail were most challenging and when I needed to preserve energy during the race.

The trail was well marked, and I didn’t hear of anyone getting lost. I did hear about a number of falls though — I’m amazed I managed to stay on my feet.

It was a tough course. Probably one of my toughest races to date. Just look at how tired I am above. This was taken just after having crossed the finish line.

There were two aid stations. One at 4 miles, and one at 8 miles. I decided not to carry any fluids and rely only on the aid stations. That worked out fine for me.

I didn’t stop during the race to take any photos I’m afraid, so I’m looking forward to seeing some of the official race photos. There were 3-4 photographers stationed along the route. I tried my best to look like a real trail runner when I spotted them.

Here I am with my friend, Dillon, looking a bit more refreshed after some fluids and snacks at the finish. There were shuttle buses arranged to take runners on the 10-15 min trip back to the West Point On The Eno for the race after party. Beer.

Isn’t that a lovely medal? Well, yes it is. Very nice. It has the Durham skyline, with water tower, complete with the Eno State Park and River at the bottom.

I was glad family could come and join me for the after party. It was a very chilled affair — which was fine. There was food and beer, and a band playing in the background. People sat around on the grass field, or at the picnic tables. Xander (below) was happy to have freedom to run around and enjoy himself.

Based on my training runs, I would have been happy with any time under 2 hrs, so to come in at 1hr 45min was a nice surprise. My Garmin logged the course at 9.4 miles, and  11:10/mi pace. The official distance was 10 miles, which brings my pace up to 10:31/mi. I can only assume my GPS signal got a little lost at times which accounts for the missing 0.6 miles.

Official results for yesterday places me in 87th Place, 10:31/mi pace.

A post shared by Alastair Vance (@alastairvance) on


If you’re interested in more of the course details and elevation, you can check out my Strava activity here.

One final note — if you do intend to sign up for it next year, sign up quick. The race sold out in a number of weeks when registration opened at the start of July.