Runners World Festival

Have you ever had a “pinch me, I’m dreaming” moment?

That’s how I felt this weekend. I’ve blogged for four years but haven’t gone to very many blogging events. When Runner’s World contacted me over the summer…I didn’t believe it was real life.  Immediately I responded  I wanted to come.  I am a runner; I love to run, and Runners World is like the Mecca of Running.

Last year I wanted to run the races, but I was coming off my stress fracture, so I never signed up.  I guess running on a broken foot is dumb.

This year, I had the honor to attend the Runners World Festival as a blogger.  It was fascinating to see the “Behind the Scenes” of a  road race of this caliber.

I arrived on Thursday evening.  The first stop was a tour of Rodale and Runners World offices by none other than Bart Yasso.  I met Bart once at the Shamrock Half Marathon in VA Beach.  He is one of the funniest and most down to earth people. Within a few minutes of meeting he told me my pants were awesome and perfect for the events tonight (I hope he remembers that, and this isn’t awkward to blog).

Photo via Altra's Instagram
Photo via Altra (with the infamous pants)

Bart gave us a complete tour of the offices and even took a selfie with me (well two photos because I’m a chronic blinker)!

I mean...why wouldn't you do that?
I mean…why wouldn’t you do that?

He also invited us and gave us a tour of his house.  I took a photo with his “modern African art” because it seemed appropriate.  It was one of those moments where you take a step back and think: How did I get to this moment of taking photos in Bart’s house?  My life consists of many of those moments, though.

Did I do this right?
Did I do this right?

Throughout the evening, I was able to chat with the CEO of Runners World as well as famous Hannah M and Erica Sara (On a side note, if you ever want or need personalized jewelry Erica makes the most gorgeous and unique pieces).

Hannah's digitial media office...if only I could be so clean
Hannah’s digital media office…if only I could be so clean
Photo from Erica
Photo from Erica

During the tour, we were also fit by the Altra founder, Golden, for a new pair of Altras. We carry Altras at work, but I haven’t run in them personally. It was great to be on the other side of “being fit for shoes” and once I’ve run a bit more in them, I’ll post a review.

I like the concept behind the Altra brand for a wider (or more foot-shaped) toe box and design. I also like how personable the founder is.  He is an excellent and captivating speaker. He did several drills on form and technique with us which I can appreciate.  Although he didn’t touch upon how “not to run like a headless Ostrich”.

Giving us a demo on form (via Altra)
Giving us a demo on form (via Altra)

On Friday, we woke up bright and early to have a trail course preview by Bart. To be honest, I hadn’t made up my mind about running/not running the trail race but seeing how technical it was made me realize it wasn’t a great idea for me.  I took a nasty spill on the pavement last month that involved stitches and shots…I didn’t want to risk that again. Plus I also wanted to be competitive in both the 5k and half marathon races over the weekend.  Looking back, I know skipping the trail race was the best decision for me.

He just kept running....and running...
He just kept running….and running…(photo via Altra)

During the morning course preview, I assumed we were walking around the course, but that was ASSumming at it’s finest. Bart began the tour, and he just kept running…and running…up and down the trails. I don’t usually drink coffee before any running but since I assumed we were walking, I drank 24 ounces 10 minutes on the bus ride over. It made for an interesting preview.  The staff was helpful and accommodating for every pace.  My coffee slogging belly and I made it through the preview just fine.  It was a gorgeous course, and I would love to come back when I wasn’t doing oodles of racing in one weekend.

Golden, myself and Bart
Golden, myself and Bart

Even Golden jogged at my LOLZ trail pace.  While we were out the Altra founders also showed us more techniques for trail running as well as new products they are designing.

Behind the wooded scenes
Behind the wooded scenes
Post Altra Group run
Post Altra run

Afterward, we had lunch and got to meet Deena Kastor. I was so star-struck, but she is one of the most humble and accomplished women.  I think she overlooked how awkward I was.  She was genuinely interested in everyone’s training, racing, and life.  Deena was very friendly and took photos with everyone.  I watched in amazement with how exhausted she must have been!  I left lunch and her seminar feeling motivated and excited for own training.

deena kastor

For lunch, we were provided with lunch from the Meals and Miles cookbook.  As most people know, I’m a terrible cook, but the recipes in the cookbook look easy enough that LOLZ can do it.  (That should be a catchphrase, “it’s so easy…LOLZ can do it”).  I had the burger, salad and pasta salad.  All were great and I’ll never be able to repeat them myself…

So foodie!
So foodie!

The rest of the weekend was spent going to the expo, relaxing and hanging out between races.  It was honestly incredibly nice to just “get away”.  I felt like I was truly on a race caution.

The Runners World Festival and Expo was one of the best I’ve seen.  They had quite a few seminars from simple techniques to giving CPR to “The women’s running body through the years”.  I would recommend the races to anyone, and I plan to go back next year!  I would recommend if you live closer to stay overnight and go to a couple of the races and seminars.  Every race I participated in and watched was so well put together and went off flawlessly.  The seminars were interesting and relevant to anyone who loves running.

It was awesome to connect with so many of the Runners World Staff, readers, people and other bloggers.  I am truly honored to be invited to such a fun filled and well put together event.

Questions for you:
Have you ever taken a “race-cation” or “blog-cation”?
When was the last time you were starstruck? 


  1. I’m kind of star struck every time I see Dave McGillivray (SP?) He has done so much and is an incredible athlete, yet he is humble and approachable.
    I see him at races probably 2-3 times a year and I always try to say hello and shake his hand.

  2. So thrilled you had that experience!! I loved seeing your instagrams over the weekend and can’t wait to read more about the races.

  3. I knew you were there doing cool stuff, but I had no idea HOW MUCH COOL STUFF you got to do! I am very jealous, but very happy you got to do that. I’ve got to visit with Bart Yasso twice now…once in Boston 2011 and once at Marine Corps in 2013. And of course I saw him cheering people on at Mile 10 of Marine Corps and veered over to get a patented Bart high five!

  4. So glad you had a great time! It was seriously one of the best experiences I’ve ever had- definitely a “pinch me” moment!

  5. Congratulations on earning a spot in the festival! You definitely deserved it, and it’s great to see all the behind the scenes things. So cool you got to meet Deena and Bart- I would definitely be star struck! Looking forward to the race recaps :)`

  6. ohhhh that sounds so awesome!! Two very very cool people to meet 🙂 I tend not to get star struck, i dont know why. I remember one time my friends and I were at a restaurant and i think it was kirsten dunst who was there too? and my friend had tunnel vision, i couldn’t focus on anything else hahaha

  7. I’m so excited you got to participate and have this experience! It was such a great weekend, and you definitely got the ultimate running tour of the Lehigh Valley! Hope you come back next year!

  8. i cant wait to see your review on the altraz, I have seen so much social media pressence for them but dont know much about the shoe. very cool you get to test them out! good luck on the half

  9. AH!!! You captured it all SO well!!! I definitely want to back next year and may follow your lead of just the 5k and half! So many great memories and it was great meeting you!!!

  10. such an awesome experience! yay for you. i met Erica a few years ago b/c we have a mutual friend (through running circles) — super fun & talented girl. love this post!

  11. I’m so glad you got the opportunity to have this experience! I can’t wait to hear about it more, IRL. BTW, I’m on a big burger kick and that burger looks so delicious I can’t even.

  12. How fun! That must have been an awesome trip! I’ve met Bart at a few races and he is so nice!

  13. It was so great to meet you, Hollie! Thanks for the injury advice. Much appreciated! And I was totally starstruck by Deena Kastor too!

    1. Let me know if you end getting up a massage. I know I swear by them but I do hope it works for you!

  14. It was such a fun weekend. I am so glad I got a chance to hang with you some during the craziness. LOVE LOVE LOVE your statue pic in Bart’s house. That was a pretty epic tour, lol! Congrats on your 2 races by the way, you were flying.

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