- 3 miles/5K, 13.1/Half Marathon
- Road Race
This race is put on by the same folks as the Long Beach Half and Full Marathon and you really see the quality in this event.
The race "headquarters" (start/finish/parking/expo) are all based at the LA County Fairgrounds. You do have to pay for parking, but if you're there for both races (5K and half, Sat and Sun), your parking coupon is good both days, so that's cool. T-shirts this year were ugly sweater printed tech tees and one of my absolute new favorites. I love that they really change their designs up every year and this one did not disappoint!
The course can be considered challenging if you don't run hills regularly. The half course starts in the fairgrounds, skirts out for a bit, comes back onto fairground property, up the drag strip (like the 5K), and then out to head to Bonelli Park and Lake Puddingstone. Much of the course is through the park (one full loop), which is good rolling hills. Stay on pace and they won't kill ya, but enough to challenge you, most certainly. The last three miles of the course come out of Bonelli along the south border of Brackett Airport, so it's fun to see prop planes coming and going before you head back into the fairgrounds, down the drag strip again and into the finish.
The expo is small, but quite a bit of vendors out and about on both days, both races and community organizations alike.
Run the 5K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday and earn the Golden Snowflake Challenge medal to get a 3-medal weekend! My only complaint is that there is no day-before pick up so EVERYONE (5Kers, challengers) has to come early(er) Saturday morning to pick up bibs and gear before the 5K starts. Thankfully, 5K starts later than most (8:30) and because of the lines, the 5K was actually delayed until 8:40 this year.
Overall, GREAT race. I'll be back again!