- 3 miles/5K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon, Other
- Road Race
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2016 Surf City Marathon is my second time running the event. 2015 I completed the half marathon. Both years I have never been short of impressed with all aspects of the race. The race expo is simple, and straight forward. You pick up your bib and race packet from the helpful volunteers. the Racing shirt has a very nice design and is long sleeved every year. After bib pickup you are lead to the vendor and race merchandise sections. Parking for race expo is decent and straight forward.
On race morning, like any other major racing event traffic I heavy but parking is available for everyone. Just expect to leave home a bit early to make it to the race on time and get in a warm-up. Since you are right on the beach it will be very cool on race morning, you should be able to ignore it, and enjoy the racing environment, of the 20000 other runners. The announcers keep the energy levels high and announce each wave [pace] start time. The race begins on the street of Pacific Coast Highway, next to the strip of Surf City Shopping and Dining Center. PCH has very wide streets so there is a lot of room for runners to keep moving without the feeling of being squished by the other runners.
Mile 1-7 is a long straight on PCH and a great focus to maintain your speed and stamina for the rest of the race ahead. Throughout this whole part you can see the beach on the left and you can see the gorgeous waves and the definition why they call it Surf City USA. In addition to every other mile there are restrooms and water stops along with entertainers and supporters to help keep you running strong.
Mile 7.1-10 Throughout this part of the race you start to turn off down a beautiful neighborhood, that will lead you to beautiful Huntington park. For a few short miles you run through a gorgeous park with trees, ponds, and many more race supporters, the scenery is great. There are a few minor hills in this part of the race but should be nothing to hard to handle.
Mile 11-14 After you head out of the gorgeous park, you head up a hill that gives you a gorgeous sight of PCH and the distance beach and ocean. You then head down and make your way back to PCH. You then reach the farthest part of PCH and past the Bolsa Chica Wetlands before having a turnaround. At the turnaround CLIF bars are their to give you a pick me up along with GU to keep you going on the race with nutrition and energy.
Mile 14.1-18 at this point you are met up with the half marathoners who are headed to the finish line on PCH. The sort of bad thing for a runner is heading to the finish line only knowing that you are still a far distance away from finishing your race. At mile 18 for the marathoners but is mile 12 for the half marathoners so it is close to the finish line, you have a turnaround again but this time on a beach path closer to the beach. In my opinion this is where the race starts feeling challenging, along with the weather getting warmer.
Mile 18.1-24 With this being the toughest part of the race, this is the part where you have to be smart. You have to maintain self-motivation and constant pace or even a slower pace just to maintain your nonstop run. At this point the sun will be out and all racers are feeling the sting of the marathon. It is a straight with little elevation change, and runs along PCH so it is almost the same course that you have done once already. At about mile 22 you will then do your final turn around and finally head back to the finish line for real. This is the big finish, stay motivated and keep reminding yourself that you can and will finish this race!
Mile 24.1-26.2 You have now made it out of the beach path and are now back on PCH. You have the finish line in your sights and you can see Surf City Shopping Center, you know you are almost done, all have to do is stay strong! Mile 25.5 their are many supporters of the race on your left and right sides cheering you on and watching you head to the finish! The Atmosphere is superb and you can feel the Runners High pulsing through your veins! People are cheering for you and you finally make it to the finish line you cross it with power and you cant help but breakout a smile at the finish! On top of that the cherry on top, the gorgeous unique medal that you will claim and wear with pride! You then get a goody bag full of food that will give you needed nutrients to help you regain your energy. Congratulations to completing the race!
The scenery of this race is amazing and the course is great for any runner on any level. This race is a Boston Marathon Qualifier and a part of the Beach Cities Challenge. Be sure to run the Orange County and the Long Beach Marathons as well. Southern California is full of great races for all runners.
Good luck out there and always remember to Fear No Distance Athletes!