- 3 miles/5K, 13.1/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon
- Road Race
I ran the 5K of the Ventura Marathon races and everything about the process from registration to packet pick-up to the actual race went very smoothly.
The expo was a decent size, and was all outdoors. There was a variety of vendors from Jamba Juice to other races to clothing. The expo turned into the after-party, too, with a live band (that was pretty good!). It was right across the bike path from the beach next to the pier, so there were tons of photo opps and you could go to the water if you wanted to. And the race swag was great! A reusable shopping bag, a hat, a tech tee, and all kinds of goodies (kettle popcorn, ClifBar, etc.). were included!
On race morning, I stayed at a hotel within a mile from the start, so parking wasn't an issue, but it was a little tricky to find parking on the expo day and there wasn't any parking at the venue. I like parking farther away because it's a great warm-up, but I know some people like to be *right* there.
The marathon started first, and then the half and 5K started about 10-20 minutes late, but it wasn't that big of a deal. The announcer kept us updated the whole time, so we were never wondering what was going on.
The course itself was mostly pavement and pretty flat. There were a couple very gradual hills, but you got to go down them as well, so it evened out. I was a little disappointed that the course didn't really have much of a view of the ocean. I thought it was going to be more along the bike path along the beach, but it was on the road that was further away. Then it went into a residential area. It was nice because it started and finished right near the pier and the water, and Ventura itself is a cute little town, but the course wasn't anything super special.
The first aid station was about a mile in, so we hit it twice with the 5K. The volunteers at the aid station, and throughout the venue (at the finish line, packet pick-up, etc.) were great! They were enthusiastic, friendly, and helpful. There were a few groups from high schools, and the kids did an amazing job. I was impressed.
Overall, I wouldn't necessarily call this a race worth traveling to, unless you tied it into a longer trip (like I did). In that case, or if you are a local, I highly recommend checking out the Ventura race next year! It's also a race that you could definitely PR in.