- 3 miles/5K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon
- Road Race
- Event Website
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I ran this race twice (in 2015 and 2017) and I can say that 2017 was a fantastic race experience. This race is in August, meaning that you have a high likelihood that it'll be hot and humid. Thankfully, this year it was overcast the entire time and I beat my course PR by 18 minutes! I will note that despite it not being hot and humid, the organizers definitely had way more water stations out this time around.
Packet pick-up was a breeze. I was in and out of there within 15 minutes. The expo is medium sized and you can get a lot of last minute fuel/gear if you need it.
Parking the morning of the race was SO EASY. Shuttles started taking people from the finish line to the start at 4 am. I got to the finish line at 4:30 am and there was very little traffic. I was pleasantly surprised by how fast I got into the parking lot. Shuttling over was really easy and by 5 am, I was at the start line at Cabrillo National Monument. The view was really beautiful, but I ended up waiting 1.5 h for the race to start. Shuttles stopped running at 5:30 am so you could probably cut it a little closer and not have to wait at the start as long as I did. Eh. You live and you learn. Anyway, the start line can get a little congested at the beginning because they don't allow you to get into your corral until the race actually starts.
I didn't experience that much bottlenecking at the start of the course. I think it's because the bottlenecking starts before the start line so people are already thinned out by the start, which is nice. After crossing the start line, we immediately ran down a hill and ran past the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, a cemetery that is dedicated to veterans. The first 2.5 miles had rolling hills, which weren't that great for my not warmed up legs, but I managed. We headed into neighborhoods and were greeted with people cheering and shots of whiskey. We then headed towards the bay and ran along the bay from mile 4 to 10. There is a portion where you run by the airport, which isn't very scenic, but the rest of the route by the bay is really scenic. At mile 8, my lower back started hurting and I had to slow down my pace by quite a bit. By mile 9, I was mentally drained. I didn't want to start walking because I knew once I started, I'd be more likely to walk again later on so I just pushed on. At mile 10, we started entering downtown and at mile 11, something amazing happened. People were handing out mini sliders! I took one and munched on it as I made my way towards the 6th avenue hill, which everyone pretty much hates. It's probably a 150 ft increase in elevation and just destroys runners because it's so late in the half. The mini sliders must have given me magical powers or something because I powered through that hill. I also grabbed half an otter pop that someone was handing out and munched on it. It was great. I normally don't eat during halfs, but these were what I needed to get my head back in the game. At mile 12.5, we entered Balboa Park, which is this beautiful HUGE park that has museums, a botanical garden, and even street performers on the weekends. With about a half mile to go, I sprinted again. I don't know what it is, but something about finishing strong is really invigorating.
The post-race goodies are packed in a brown paper bag and given to you. This is SO CONVENIENT. I don't like races that don't have bags for you to carry your goodies in. There were a lot of photo opportunities for Triple Crown Finishers and honestly, I wanted to take a photo with their royalty paraphernalia even though I didn't do the challenge. LOL. Maybe next year.
The only thing I didn't really like was getting out of the parking lot at the finish line. Because there are so many runners trying to leave, the parking lot was very congested and it took me 15 minutes to get out of the area. I'd run it again. San Diego is a beautiful city and it'd be silly to not explore it by foot. :)