- 3 miles/5K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon
- Road Race
The Monterey Bay Half Marathon is a beautiful race! How could it not be, you're basically running along the Northern CA coast for the entire race. The race begins along the wharf and while there is a lot of traffic, we easily found a place to park, warm up and get to the start line. The race starts at 6:50am (for the elites) and there are are 14 (I think) corrals that go about every 5 minutes. I was in corral D. It was easy to find where I needed to be, get there and comfortably find a spot to wait for the start. The announcers at the beginning were awesome! They were funny, got the crowd excited to run and did a great job getting everyone through the start.
The beginning of the race starts in Monterey. We ran through some neighborhoods and under a bridge on Lighthouse Ave on our way to Pacific Grove. I REALLY liked running under the bridge because they had colored lights and music and it was a unique experience. After that we head into PG - and I have to say Pacific Grove's residents were much louder and enthusiastic than Monterey's (step it up Monterey, jk). We ran down Cannery Row and past the Aquarium which was super cool. It was very quite, not a lot of people out but there were some Aquarium employees out there dressed like jelly fish and other kinds of fish cheering us on. Loved it! About mile 3.5 you hit the longest hill on the course. Personally, I like hills and that is one of the reasons this race was so fun. This hill was tough though!
Once you go up Fountain Ave you go back down 17th Street and are on Oceanview Blvd from miles 4.5ish to basically the end of the race. The turn around is near Asilomar State Beach, there were a ton of people out there cheering us on. There were headwinds starting about mile 6, so I was super excited to see the turnaround hoping for a tailwind...but no. More head winds. This was basically an out and back course, which I am not usually a fan of but the views were so amazing that I didn't even care. Since it was an out and back we got to see the elites run by - which is always so inspiring to me. It was also a great chance to cheer on the runners that were a little slower, and they cheered right back.
The last 3 miles were on a bike path and it got a little crowded, but I was still able to make my way through as I sped up to the finish. As we crossed the finish we were met by volunteers who handed us our medals. The race medals are actual pieces of art, hand crafted by a local artist. I am not big on medals but this one I really love and I am going to keep. I was disappointed that they make the women take the pink medals and the men got the yellow ones - same with the race shirt. Women got pink (I hate pink) and men got yellow. That was really my only complaint. So, overall an amazing race!
Runners were directed to the food, there was a decent selection, then to the post race area where there was music, more food, beer, and massages. There were sustainability stations, with 1-2 volunteers assigned to each place to make sure everything was where it needs to be. This was another aspect of the race that I loved! Sustainability!! Everything about this race was well organized, and I can't wait to run the Big Sur 12k next year (which is hosted by the same organization). Honestly, I think this is my favorite half marathon that I have ever run and I'll likely be back for next year.