- 3 miles/5K, 6 miles/10K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon
- Road Race
While I'd definitely recommend this race to anyone looking for a fast, flat half marathon by the ocean, I'm not sure I'll be running it again next year. I've done this race three times now and each time I feel like the experience grows less and less *exciting*, unfortunately!
In the past, the crowd support and aid stations were on point - tons of people cheering, big groups of students hanging out and doing their thing - this year, there was only one station like that, and it was shocking to see how few spectators there were compared to last year. Seriously, I got more applause and encouragement from the cops that had stopped traffic than anyone on the side of the course cheering us on. The colder weather and wind might have had something to do with that (and yes, I'm a SOLID back of the pack-er, so perhaps they all disappeared by the time I came around?) but there it is.
In everything else however, this race is top-quality: sign-ups are super easy, pre-race communication is clear and abundant, and the fact that the start, finish, AND expo are all in/around the same hotel is a huge plus. I was also lucky enough to get a hotel room in the same place so my experience was super smooth - I'm not sure about those folks who stay elsewhere or show up that morning.
The expo is also a good size - for a race of about 2,000 runners (in both the full and half marathon) it wasn't too crowded or anything, and offered everything you'd expect at a marathon expo and more.
The course is great - while it's technically "flat", there are a few slight hills in the first 5 miles or so, but nothing crazy. It's very cool to run through the tunnel out to the marina, and you might even spot a celeb (Jeff Galloway paced me for almost 3 miles and I didn't even know it was him until afterwards!!), and running on the boardwalk is a mixed blessing: if you're in the thick of it with hundreds of other speedsters and middle-of-the-pack runners, you're probably having the time of your life surrounded by other runners and feeding off their energy. But at the back of the pack where I'm at, you're going to spend pretty much the entire time on the boardwalk either dodging folks who aren't aware there's a race going on, or you're going to be *alone* like I was for most of miles 9-13.1 this year.
One nice thing I will say that I love each year: seeing the finish line for most of that final mile is very motivational and makes the finish pretty awesome. And the fact that there's a full marathon going on is great - there will still be people around at the finish, the aid stations will still be stocked, and the finisher's festival will still be rocking when you get there.
All in all if you're on the fence about this one and run anything faster than a 12:00 mile (or if you don't mind the solitude!), I'd totally recommend this race!