• Huntington Beach,
    United States
  • February
  • 3 miles/5K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon, Other
  • Road Race
  • Event Website

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Christine Guenther

Spokane, Washington, United States
73 121
"Surf City Half Marathon, Legacy Status!"
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Race Management
Christine Guenther's thoughts:

So this is my fourth year doing Surf City and third in a row (2013, 2017-2019), partially because I like to get out of the inland NW of Washington State in January and February. The past 2 years, I’ve flown into John Wayne Airport (Orange County), which if you can, please do because it’s closer and less stressful than LAX.

Hotels: I stayed at the Waterfront Hotel the past 2 years (right at the race start/finish), though it’s a bit more pricey. I’ve had same day flights out, so it’s one of those gotta get a shower and to the airport sort of things. I’ve also stayed at the Double Tree in Santa Ana with family in the past, they do shuttles and pre race/post race stuff and do a great race.

Expo: typically from 1-7 on Friday and 10-4 Saturday before the race. If you want to packet pick up day of, it’s an additional $25 (and you typically have to sign up for it at registration). I wish it would open an hour or so earlier on Saturday, just for crowds. You can also pick up for friends/family. This year bib pick up was by QR code and your bib was assigned to you at pick up. If you’re picking up for people, you can only pick up for 2 additional, need their ID and QR code. I picked up for a friend and it was painless and simple. The downside though of numbers assigned at the expo is you can’t personalize your bib, which I’ve done the last 3 times I’ve done Surf City. Always a big expo, outside and under a tent. Tons of vendors, an area for legacy status runners where you get an additional shirt, plenty of photo ops, etc.

Race time: 630 AM for the marathon, 7 AM for the 5K, 745 AM for the half marathon. I always wish they’d do the half at like 715 and and the 5K at 745, especially this year where the weather was sketchy and rain anticipated.

The course: primarily on the Pacific Coast highway. There’s a few mile portion where you go through the neighborhoods of Huntington Beach from miles 3-6, but the rest is on Route 1. It does get a little mundane and there’s not a whole lot of crowd support the further out you get, but there is some. Be ready for a hill heading into the neighborhoods and around mile 10. The biggest crowd support is the first 1-1.5 miles and the last 1-1.5 miles. The marathon splits from the half about 4 miles again before rejoining somewhere on Route 1, though they leave us again just over 12 miles in for the half marathon.

Aid Stations: plenty of stations every 1-1.5 miles depending on where you’re at. I tried some Nuun and nearly puked so I went without any electrolytes and could feel it. Though I appreciate Nuun, I wish a Gatorade/Powerade option was available.

Post race: medals, food baggies, some vendors from the expo were still up and running pre and post race. Chocolate milk by TruMoo too! Beer garden, area for legacy runners as well (Run the half or full 3 years in a row) is also there.

Pros: decent course, plenty of aid stations, typically good weather, though this year cloudy and nearly poured down rain on us, good atmosphere. They did go to Bib timing this year (about time!)

Cons: lots of first time runners going 4-5 runners across or people walking in the middle of the road. Wish there was more crowd support. Also wish they didn’t get rid of bib personalization. Additionally, it seemed like they were packing up some of the water stations early despite runners still on the out portion of the course (I was coming back in after the turn around).

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