Latest reviews by Erin

(2014)
"solid race, crazy atmosphere, overall good time. worth doing."
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Moved to the Bay Area in 12/13, so naturally, with a heavy training calendar for 2014, I needed to run the world's oldest --103 years in 2014-- road race, B2B, in San Francisco. Everything you've heard about the race is true, such as crazy costumes, wildly inebriated and/or high spectators, a sea of humanity running it officially (28,000+ this year), and the Google Images can speak for themselves.

I ran the race as an actual race, a tune-up for a goal marathon two weeks later, and starting in the sub-seeded/seeded/elite corral made things a lot easier for me, in terms of dodging crazy spectators and other runners. I think that's the most important take-away from this race. You can self-seed when you register (though you might have to provide proof of a qualifying time for the first corral; I don't remember), and if you want to actually race it, then that's where you want to start. If you're down for just a training run, irrespective of time and pace, then it doesn't matter.

Logistics can be kinda a crapshoot with the point-to-point course, but you can get around afterward on public transit, Uber, and the like, but the city gets kinda locked down a bit between all the spectator madness and post-run parade that B2B spawns (and this year at least, a baseball game).

All told, I'd recommend doing B2B at least once. It was fun and despite the crazy spectators who made their way onto the course, the race was actually seemingly well-managed for the most part.

More details about my race: http://www.runningruminations.com/?p=1667

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(2014)
"Santa Cruz half marathon"
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I had the pleasure of pacing the 1:45 group for the half marathon at Santa Cruz. I have never run in SC before, but I had heard that the course was gorgeous, with beautiful views of the ocean and cliffs, and I was not disappointed. :) The course went through some residential areas, some parks/trail areas, and some of the ocean-side cliffs, so collectively, the terrain along the course changed from pavement, to trail, to some-small-rocks-but-not-really-technical areas. There was just a bit of climbing, around 400', enough to keep things interesting, yet the final 3ish miles had a nice descent before literally finishing on the beach in the sand.

My only very slight annoyance about the race was the finish area on the beach. Don't get me wrong; it was absolutely beautiful and actually, kinda novel to be able to finish a race on the sand, but all of the vendors' tents and post-race goodies (food, medics, shirts, etc.) made the entire area a bit of a cluster... and especially with all the runners coming in from the half and the 10k.

It would be lovely to still be able to finish on the beach, but perhaps in the future, at least some of the tents/finishers' items (food, etc) could be moved back onto the street so as to minimize the cluster.

Overall, though, this was a beautiful course and a really positive experience. I'd definitely recommend it.

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(2014)
"Sweatin' for Sammy 10k"
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I decided to run the Sweatin for Sammy 10k pretty last minute (days before the race, after online race registration had already ended). Showing up race day to register wasn't a problem. I was fairly confident going into the race that the course would likely be mismeasured, since there wasn't any mention of any distance certification on the website, and that's what happened. Most racers' watches clocked the distance at closer to 6 miles, and I think the 5k distance was also inaccurate as well.

Anyway, besides the questionable distance, the race is awesome. I enjoy running through Hellyer Co. Park/Coyote Creek trail, and it's almost 100% flat with just a few little hiccup hills. The volunteers were all super enthusiastic, the t-shirts that came with race reg were nice, and the event (most importantly) was an excellent fundraiser for a great cause. The event is also really family friendly because, beside the 5k and 10k, there was also an Easter egg hunt for kids and a little mini-run as well. :)

Overall, I'd recommend the race -- and would love if they got it certified :)

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(2014)
"Oakland running festival/oakland marathon"
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The Oakland Running Festival (ORF) has only been around for five years, but you'd never know that from how well organized everything is, from start to finish. The marathon course is challenging, but it's fair; just do your due diligence when figuring out your pacing plans and by doing substantial hill ascents/descents in training. The community support for this race was top-notch, and in the 22 marathons I've run, this one was hands-down one of the most enjoyable. I'd highly recommend it.

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(2013)
"NYC 2013 marathon "
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The NYC Marathon is the largest in the world--over 50,000 finishers in 2013 alone--and it's a well-oiled machine. All of the pre-race communications are thorough and meticulous, and the race itself is just out of this world. Never have I run a marathon before, even the other majors I've run (Chicago, Boston), where I was constantly surrounded by other runners in somewhat close proximity to me the entire race. The marathon was an absolute blast, thanks in no small part to the absolutely incredible support from all the residents in all 5 boroughs that you run through, and while there is a TON of fanfare that goes into NYC--like the high registration costs, the lottery, the shuttles/ferries out to Staten Island, and all of the stuff in Central Park once you actually finish the race--it's worth it. The course is challenging for sure, with the constant ascents and descents, but do your due diligence, pace intelligently, and train on hills, with some good ascents and descents, and you'll rock it. Run NYC at least once because seriously, it's worth it.

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