- 3 miles/5K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon
- Road Race
- Event Website
I signed up for this race for the sole purpose of completing the Golden State Half Series (see final medal here: https://instagram.com/p/6alV8qnsrA/?taken-by=desigurrl). Throughout this review, I'll make a couple of comparisons to the Oakland Running Festival (ORF) half marathon, which I ran in 2014. (While ORF is really well organized, I just wasn't a fan.) So, going into The Town's Half Marathon, I just wanted to get it done, earn my medals, and move on. But this race and the race organizers changed my mind about racing in Oakland with their awesome event. I think I'll run this one next year!
For your reference, I paid a discounted reg fee (super sale 1 day) of approx $42, and another $37 for race day packet pickup.
Great communication from race organizers. There was actually a snafu with Eventbrite the day I registered, and I ended up with TWO registrations. Eventbrite and race organizers were able to correct it (and refund me back 1 of the registrations).
I received at least 3 emails during the week of the race - 2 about "important info to know," 1 with my bib number (for pickup), and another 1 confirming the race day bib pick up for which I had paid extra.
I also contacted race organizers several times through their Facebook fan page and always received a response.
Probably my only criticism for race organizers is that I haven't ever been to find an email address where you can contact them. (Which is why I contacted them through their Facebook fan page.) Maybe one exists and it just isn't publicized on their website? I'm not sure, but the organizers could make the "contact" option a little more obvious. All other information presented on the website was straightforward and clear.
THE EXPO / RACE DAY PACKET PICKUP
I didn't attend the expo (paid extra for race day packet pickup) so cannot speak to how the expo was.
However, I did find the race day packet pick up -- which I (mistakenly) thought more people would have done -- was super smooth and easy! Short line to pick up and the gal remembered my name (from looking at all her info earlier). When I asked about completing the series and picking up my extra medal at the end, she said just come back to the same tent, and she could help me out!
If you're doing race day packet pickup, be sure to plan for bag check because you will have the race shirt.
As I said before, I had done the Oakland Running Festival in 2014 (5K and half marathon). That is a really well organized race too, but I felt like the course of The Town's HM was a little different and slightly better.
As much as I hate getting up early before a race, I liked that the race started at 7am (though I did wish BART started running slightly earlier). Even with the early start, the weather was hot and only got more hot as the day went on. I was glad the race started on time and that all the water stations were properly stocked. I should also note that I only saw 1 medical station, and that was around mile 8 or 9. (Maybe there was another one, and I missed it? I'm not sure.)
The on-course support was awesome. Water tables every 2 miles! Volunteers / cops / CHP blocking off traffic at nearly every cross street. I passed several streets where residents were getting frustrated with the situation (long line of cars waiting to get through), and the law enforcement or volunteers were explaining to them how to get around the race ("go down 3 lights and then right turn" or telling the person to back up and go around to another street). I thanked many, many volunteers (including those people blocking the streets). Several of the volunteers and law enforcement people were encouraging to race participants.
The post-race food was awesome. Immediately after the finish line, they handed all finishers Brita water bottles, and there were water storage containers where people could fill up the bottles. There were bananas at one table. I have never been to a race before where, afterwards, they serve blueberry + almond butter OR blueberry + peanut butter sandwiches. A huge thank you to Whole Foods! I was impressed.
THE COURSE / SCENERY
The first 1/2 hour of the race was spent running through areas where they were unloading produce and restaurant workers were starting their days. Then we ran through a bunch of neighborhoods with closed businesses with interesting names and restaurants I felt like coming back to eat at. Then we went through Piedmont and finished up around Lake Merritt (note that Oakland Running Festival also finishes around Lake Merritt).
There were a few slight uphills but not many, and they were manageable.
The medal is awesome! Love the design, love the colors, love that it has the bottle opener (though I'm not sure I'll use that).
The Brita water bottle at the finish (mentioned above) was great. I liked it better than all those plastic bottles usually given out at the finish.
The mason jar was cool and different.