Surf, Sand and a Beach front party? Yes please!
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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!