Surf, Sand and a Beach front party? Yes please!
"Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Surf City Half Marathon to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!"
Spoiler alert...I loved this race...
I have heard from others in Southern California how fun this race is, and in 2017 it didn't dissapoint.
For those of you that may not know, Huntington beach is a big surf city. This event captures the true essence of the city and brings it to life. The course runs along the Pacific Coast Highway, offering views of sand and surfers enjoying the waves.
My weekend started with packet pick-up. I drove down to the South Bay area from LA and was pleasantly surprised with free expo parking. I was even more surprised when I walked in to this amazing expo. First stop was the effortless bib and packet pick up, then on to the expo. The expo was so energetic with a little something for everyone. There were product booths, race merchandise for purchase and even a auto show of VW Vans..which played off the surf town that Huntington beach is.
On Sunday, I headed to free parking area which was about 10 min from the start area. The race provided frequent shuttles to the start area. The weather was a little chilly at the start, but the expo tents were still up and they allowed runners to hang out inside until race start. This was pretty big race, at least 15,000 participants (for both the half marathon and full) so corral starts were necessary. However, the corrals were not monitored so people were starting whenever they wanted. (this didn't bother me much, as I wasn't racing, however it could be an issue for those that were)
The course was an out an back loop, running on the pacific coast highway. The scenery got a bit boring after a while, but since it was out and back you were constantly surrounded by runners. I found this quite energizing, and was even able to see a few friends. Post race was when the party really started. Picture beer garden and a killer band. The energy of this race did not disappoint!
So what did I like about the event?
**Awesome expo and amazing swag. (tons of giveaways and free post race beer)Did I mention a medal as big as my head?
**Large corral areas which prevented clogging at the start line.
**Free race day parking, with very efficient shuttles.
**Relatively flat course, good for conquering a PR goal.
**Cliff provided protein bars and gels on course.
**Post race party was great, with both indoor and outdoor options.
What did I wish was different?
**Limited hydration at water stops. Plenty of water, but some aid stations only had water.
**Really boring course, I'm glad I brought music
**Large crowds made it challenging to meet up with friends before the race.
Overall I loved this race, and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a warm weather get away weekend or a race to run with friends. I'll be adding this one to my yearly list!
"Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Palm Desert Half Marathon and 5K to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!"
What do you get when you mix Palm Trees with an amazing community race? The Palm Desert Half Marathon.
Located in Palm Desert California this is one of the oldest races in the Cochella Valley. Offering a 5k and Half marathon distance, it's definitely the perfect race to make a family affair.
I arrived race morning (after getting up before dawn to drive in from Los Angeles) to a very organized race day pick up. The race start and finish is in the Palm Desert Civic Center Park, a beautiful location with tons of parking (major perk!). Packet pick up was effortless and very organized which gave me extra time to stretch and relax after my morning drive.
I was running the half marathon which I believe had just under 600 participants. Even though there was a small amount of participants, the race seemed to have a strong following among local runners. I spoke to others who had run the race numerous times and even heard Olympian Summer Sanders was running.
As the race began, I settled into a comfortable pace thankful for the overcast sky to cool the temps. The course is fairly simple, and huge 13.1 mile loop down the highway, and back to the park. It was somewhat flat with a couple rolling hills throughout. There wasn't much excitement to the actual course (very little crowd support) but it was lined with Palm Trees. I honestly don't think I have seen that many palm trees in one day.
The event was very well organized with accurate mile markers, numerous water stations and even cliff energy shots. The finish was a great party, with a band, beer garden and even a kids dash. (on a side note, the entire park was covered with turf vs real grass. I found this super odd, but a big reminder of what it was like to live in the desert)
What did I like about the race?
*Free race day parking, easy in and easy out.
*Super easy race day packet pick up
*Great Family party atmosphere post race with a beer garden benefiting Martha's Village.
*Tons of aid stations with ample volunteers.
*Easy to navigate course, not to many twists and turns
*Nice swag, cotton t-shirt and very cool medal.
*If you are properly trained, this course could easily give you a PR.
What do I wish was different?
*Really boring course, most of which was on the highway.
*No crowd support, thankfully I came prepared with the Bib Rave Podcast to listen to.
*Post race food, was fruit and cookies..but then again there was beer.
Overall, even with a very boring course, I really liked this race. It's a well run event with a fairly moderate course. If you are local to the Palm Desert area, then definitely add this one to your list.
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