- 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon
- Road Race
I ran the nike women's SF 13.1 as a fundraising participant with team in training. 2014 was the first year that nike eliminated the 26.2 option from this event, and it was also the first time in race history (a decade, I think?) that they completely changed the course. admittedly, I went into this race a bit skeptical for a number of reasons: a) all-women's or women-centered races typically aren't my cup of tea; b) I didn't really care a lot about the Tiffany necklace or the firemen (which is blasphemous for this race, I know); c) I had heard horrible things about the race overall, the management and execution of it, how things flowed on course (see: runners/walkers strife), so suffice it to say that I went into this race with extremely low expectations.
Turns out, I was actually fairly surprised, and Nike can put on a good event. some highlights of good stuff and bad stuff and stuff that'd be worth keeping for future years:
a) free race pics, c/o gameface media: lovely. they've also captured pics here at the SF marathon and the jungle run 13.1 in los gatos (CA), and as has been my experience so far with this company, they're good photographers. bravo!
b) expo nonsense: Nike calls their "expo" an "expotique," so don't go to it thinking that you'll have a typical pre-race expo with loads of vendors. admittedly, I had heard horror story after horror story about how crowded things are at union square (in SF) in the days preceding the event, so I saved myself the hassle and just went to the Nike store at Stanford the weekend before. (doing so probably saved me a lot of money, too, since I more or less removed myself from all the nike merchandise for sale.) :)
c) race start: this year, they had seeded people into corrals, so I think that helped with the congestion of years past. I was slotted into a 9-9:59 corral (minutes slower than my typical HM pace), but I had no problem gettin to the front of my corral and getting out quickly. the race started about 5 minutes late this year, however-- not a big deal, just a tad annoying.
d) swag: a Nike racerback tank top (really like it) and the coveted Nike/Tiffany necklace. there were tons of premiums/giveaways from a lot of different sponsors after the race as well (including smoothies, tons of food [with vegan options!], makeup, sunscreen, snacky stuff, whole foods grocery bag, etc.).
e) scenery: nice and interesting tour of SF on a course that seemed to overlap parts of the Bay to Breakers and SF marathon courses. I enjoyed the hills, especially the very long one between miles 9.5-10.5, up Lincoln :)
Overall, then, I had a really positive experience with this race. I just used it as part of my 23-mile long run for the day, so it was a really fun and lovely way to see the city and to go back out to support the other 25k runners :) My review from my blog: http://www.runningruminations.com/?p=1974
Finally, I'd say that if you want to do this race in the future, don't bother with the lottery and just fundraise for it as a member of Team in Training. You'll have a far richer experience.