Latest reviews by Stephanie Hoppe
My husband is always searching for flat, fast half marathon races, preferably ones with a net downhill. During one such quest, he stumbled upon the Fontana Days Run website and read that “Fontana’s Half Marathon Run is known as the fastest Half Marathon due to the gradual downward slope of the course…There is an elevated drop of 2,125 feet from start to finish and because of this, most participants are able to record their personal record time (PR) in Fontana.” He was sold, and I was along for the ride.
EXPO & SWAG:
The packet pick-up took place outside. This might not seem like a big deal, but the temperatures were close to 90 degrees as we waited in line for almost 45 minutes to get our race bibs. Sweating in the sweltering heat was not the best pre-race activity. So, make sure to get there as early as possible. There were minimal elements to the expo besides the bib acquisition. Despite this, I was impressed with the race finisher shirts and SO happy that they were able to accommodate my need for a smaller size!
The race provided bus transportation to the race start (which was up a mountain!). The bus deposited us at a camp site near the race start. We thought this meant that we'd have access to indoor heated shelters and actual bathrooms. But as we wandered into the camp site, there were no shelters to be found. We realized we were going to be sitting outside in our racing outfits (read: scantily clad) for the next 90 minutes. We were a little off-put by this part of the race, but were definitely excited that we were able to use real toilets before the start.
The race got off to a quick start. I guess that’s to be expected in a race with a 2,125 foot decline. However, right at mile nine, that 2,125 foot decline came to an end, and the course began to even out. There were only 4 miles to go, but my quads were done. Burning with pain, I gradually slowed my pace. I could feel my dreams of a PR slipping away as my watch reported a much slower pace for miles 9 and 10. In addition to the fire in my quads, the sun was heating things up, with temperatures close to 90 degrees. This was probably the most challenging part of the last few miles, since there was very little shade cover to be found.
This course is incredibly scenic and, in theory, should be a fast one. However, due to the time of year (summer) and location (California), it can be a bit dicey. Despite my lack of a PR, I still recommend doing this at least once, since this race is touted as the one of the oldest half marathons in the USA!