- 3 miles/5K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon, Other
- Road Race
The Long Beach Marathon! A definite staple race that is essential to Southern California. A partner race to the Beach Cities Challenge along with the Orange County Marathon and the Surf City Marathon. As a citizen of Long Beach it is nice to be apart of a local race that brings in over 20000 athletes to bike or run Long Beach's events every October. This was my third year running Long Beach, first two times I have completed the halfs, this year I completed the full. I have to say the difference between the half and full marathon is much different, and the full marathon deserves some praise and recognition!
The Long Beach Race Expo is nothing short of great for obtaining all of your needed race gear and future race information. Packet Pickup is easy and simple in the Long Beach Convention Center. First you receive an email containing your bib number information before attending the expo, so you can avoid a wait time to pick up your bib. Bib pickup lines were very short and for every bib number line, there were two volunteers helping with pickup. The volunteers for this marathon are all very helpful. You are then directed to race shirt pickup, where you get your shirt and exchange sizes if need be. Long Beach race shirts run big, so be sure to check your size of the shirt, nevertheless the designs of the shirts are great! After packet pickup you are then free to roam around, and checkout the race merchandise and race vendors. Many big brands and races make an appearance at this race expo! Such as (just to name a few)- Honey Stinger, New Balance, Procompression, OC marathon, Surf City Marathon, Rundisney, 2xu compression, GU, and many others! In addition if you are a 3+ year racer be sure to pick up your bonus Beach Bums Shirt! A fun bonus for running legacy. After packet pickup, make sure to head home, rest up and carb load for the next day is race day!
Since the Marathon time is 6:00 am compared to the Half Marathon start time at 7:30 it is essential you get up early to take care of any needs you have before race time. Normally I would say that traffic is bad for this marathon, but you run at this earlier time, traffic is not as bad because most of the Half marathon racers have not shown up yet. Be sure to leave early and arrive at least 45 minutes before start to avoid any traffic either way. It is much easier to take the freeway and not the streets. When I ran the Half Marathon traffic was horrible, and it took me an hour to get to the race. The marathon only took 10 minutes to get there due to the lower amounts of traffic. At the start line there is plenty of restrooms, leading to short wait lines for restrooms that is if there were lines. For the marathon, there is one start time for all marathoners and bikers. Don't worry, the bikers have a much different course compared to the runners. The race starts at 6 am for the wheelchair racers and bikers and 6:05 for the marathoners. For the marathon everyone starts at the same time. For the half marathon it is in wave times. Be sure to be ready for a great race after the Star Spangled Banner!
Mile 0-1: The race begins by going through the beautiful Downtown Long Beach the Pike. You run along Pacific Coast Highway, making your way to the Queen Mary Ship.
Mile 1.1-6.7: The Queen Mary in the Long Beach Harbor is a staple as a must see landmark for the city of Long Beach. For the first six miles of the full or half course, you stay in Downtown Long Beach where you just take in the beautiful sights of Long Beach. Be sure to Check out the light house, the aquarium of the pacific, and run along the "pike path"! Yes the first six miles are very scenic!
Mile 6.8- 9.5: Depending on whether you are running the full or the half and how the weather is, this long stretch of the course can make you or break you. For these next three miles it is a long stretch of nothing but beach path through Long Beach. The Two Half Marathon events I ran through Long Beach the heat was very intense. There was no shade and the sun was blazing and I have heard that this year was the same story. So if you are running in those conditions expect to feel the heat and plan ahead! However for the Full Marathon, the conditions were gorgeous! Thanks to the 6 am start time, the cool weather made this long section a breeze to run through. Of course be sure to run long straights in your practice regimen to prepare for this part of the race. Every mile in this race there are water stations with NUUN or water and plenty of race supporters cheering you on along the way! Every other mile there are restrooms, in case you need them. Once you have completed this part get ready to run through the neighborhoods of Belmont Shores! Congrats you are done with 10 miles!
Mile 9.6-12: After completing the bike path you get back up to PCH and start to turn into a neighborhood area. At about mile 10 a friendly family gives out countless Honey Stinger brand gels to help all racers continue through the race. A huge plus along the tough race. Throughout this part of the race you pass by the bike racers, where they are on a much longer mile distance. Nothing but homes and some hills along this part of the race and beyond.
Mile 12.1-13.1 (halfway point)- This part is where you make it to Belmont Park and by Mother's Beach (a calm beach with no waves, perfect for children) you run this way on the road and you hit a water station while making a small turnaround to the half marathon checkpoint. Congrats on getting through the first half of the marathon!
Mile 13.2-15: After passing through the park area get ready to tackle some hills right away! You continue going through residential areas until you make it to the next major street. You run through another park, passed the Long Beach Armadas local baseball team stadium, and by Wilson High School! Throughout the race there are many young school cheerleaders cheering for you along the race. Wilson is one of them! It is truly motivating in this part of the race. Keep on pushing hard, because after mile 15 is where your discipline and self-motivation needs to come into play!
Mile 15.1-17: Passed Wilson High School, you head towards the Northern part of Downtown Long Beach, and start making your way to my college, California State University of Long Beach! This part is a long road with one sort of major hill incline! Just keep moving forward and save yourself for the big hills through the campus of CSULB! At this point the weather is still cool but the sun is starting to shine through.
Mile 17.1-19: At this point, you have now entered the CSULB campus. Right away you head up a hill driveway. After 17 miles this can be very tough. Then you make a left and you are always climbing up at this point, just keep your control as the hills get higher and higher. Eventually you will hit mile 18 and start going down a hill very fast, try not to go down to fast to avoid injury, but you can gain good speed at this part. After this you then complete your square around the campus and make it past mile 19 back on the road. Be sure to get water from the next water stop. Congrats on making it past the hardest obstacle of the race, now it is time to make it to the finish line!
Mile 19.1-21: At this point of the race you are just going back the way you came, back up the hill making it back to Belmont Shores, back passed Wilson High School and making it back to PCH. Plenty of water stops are along the way and I have to say I am thankful for them along the way back. This is truly the toughest part of the race, pretty much for any marathon event. Keep on Going!
Mile 21.1-24: Passed Wilson High School, you start to exit out of the neighborhoods, run on PCH and join the Half Marathon runners. The runners are clearly sectioned off. You have plenty of space to run on the marathon side. The sun is clearly out at this point but at this point you shouldn't be worrying about the temperature. You have the view of the beach as you start heading back in to the city of big towers of Downtown Long Beach. It may feel like a while but just keep remembering you are almost to the finish line, just a straight away from mile 22. Just Keep it Going!
Mile 24.1-25.7: This mile you are in full city, but keep powering through this part for you are very close to the finish line, maintain control and start to kick in your last power up for a great finish. Many supporters are watching and hoping for a great finish for all racers. Also congratulating everyone for a great race just about done! The excitement levels are way up at this Point!
Mile 25.8-26.2(Finish!!!): After making a left turn you are going down a small downhill which makes conditions perfect for a fast finish! Crowds are watching and cheering for everyone to cross the finish line. It is truly an awesome feeling hearing the people cheer for you, and the race announcers announcing your fast finish, in that moment you know why you race! To achieve that Runners High! The Finish Line is gorgeous with a race clock that hopefully says the time you want! If you run this race I truly hope you achieve the same feelings I have felt from this truly amazing race! After the finish line you get your awesome medal and have plenty of pictures taken. Plenty of nutritional snacks and water is given right away as well! Congratulations! You did it! You completed the Long Beach Marathon!
Post Race Party- After the race there are plenty of activities to do if you plan on staying after the race. Activities include: A beer garden, massage center with first aid, Many Food Trucks, Bands with music, and many club tents that are there to support many of their athletes. Overall the Long Beach Marathon has much to offer and deserves to be one of California's finest races! Attracting an average of 25000 racers this is a race you definitely have to put on the race bucket list! Hope to see you out there for the 2017 event!
Until then Keep Working hard and always remember to Fear No Distance Athletes!