"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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