Latest reviews by Christine Guenther

(2019)
"Surf City Half Marathon, Legacy Status!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

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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(2019)
"Bahamas Race For the Cure (associated with Marathon Weekend)"
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Course Scenery
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Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
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Decided to get out of the cold PNW and to the Bahamas for a few days and use it as a reason to run some races. I did the Koman Race for the Cure associated with Marathon Weekend as a shake out run in prep for the half on Sunday.

Packet Pick Up: was at a local insurance company who also sponsored the race on Wednesday-Friday. Good luck trying to find it if you’re not a local. I picked up my bib and shirt race morning and ran with the swag if that says anything

Race Start: Montagu Beach, which is 2.5 miles in the other direction of downtown (think past Paradise Island). I may have tried to use it as extra miles if it weren’t dark and I were familiar with the island, but $18 and a cab ride later...

The race itself: true 5K, but too many people congested at the front who were walkers and didn’t pay attention to the walkers at the back. You spent the first mile and change on Bay Street before turning and making your way to Shirley Street. You then went onto Mackey Street and Paradise Island Bridge. Be prepared for some hills over the bridge,it was a bit rough. After getting on Paradise Island, you headed out Harbor Lane and Bayview before heading back and to the finish

Post race: water, fruit available and plenty of vendors to visit with. If you had time, go visit Atlantis, stay for the Survivors gathering and awards, etc.

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(2019)
"Bahamas Half Marathon"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I was looking for any excuse to get out of Washington State during the month of January and going to the Bahamas, getting a new stamp on my passport and running some races seemed like a great way to do it. I ended up going to Nassau with a friend of mine from residency and did the Koman 5K on Saturday and the Half Marathon on Sunday.

Packet Pick up: for the marathon/half marathon and relay, pick up was only available on Saturday from 3-7 pm. It was such a short time frame, I wish it had been open longer because I kept thinking I was going to miss it. It was at the Melia hotel and for anyone coming from the US, I feel like full addresses that we’re use to (123 Main St, city, state) aren’t the norm. It’s essentially a street name associated with the name of where ever you’re going which made getting to the Melia resort a little interesting (at least the taxi knew how to get there). Not a whole lot of vendors. 1 or two running related, some tourism ones and some resort ones. Getting your bib was easy and the shirts were right next to it. The other issue I had was the expo was not close to anything (but there’s maybe not a good place closer to town to get bibs, etc).

The Start: at Junkanoo Beach. It looked like there were shuttles if you were staying at Atlantis on Paradise Island or at the Melia resort. I stayed a few blocks from the start (British Colonial Hilton), which was an easy walk to the start/finish

Start time: 6 AM. Appreciate it because it got warm and humid quickly

Weather: 70s and humid. It got more humid the more the sun came up. At least it didn’t rain?

The Course: the first mile and change was down Bay St to see downtown before taking you to the Paradise Island Bridges. These are your 2 ridiculous hills of the course, as you cross one bridge, hit mile two and turn around and go right back over the other bridge. At least there’s no further hills the rest of the race. You continue on Bay St to Montague Beach and head up Shirley street. By about 6.5 miles in you’re back at the start and heading along the beach. The half marathon goes 3.5 miles out with the full marathon before turning around about mile 10 (right in front of the Hyatt/Melia etc) and coming back. You finish at the Fish Fry essentially. Minus the Paradise Bridges, relatively flat.

FInish: you get your medal and a Bahamas Marathon Towel at the finish. Plenty of food, some vendors if you have time to stick around (which I didn’t as I had to shower and a flight to catch).

Aid stations: every mile starting at mile 2 with water and Gatorade. So needed with the amount of humidity

Race Size: about 375 runners for the half, about 110 for the full (smaller than I thought)

Overall, fun race. Be warned about the humidity, it’s there and I feel bad for any customs agent who may or may not search my checked bag because my clothes were soaked. Wish the expo was opened longer and that there was a little bit more to see at the expo but a good race overall.

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(2019)
"Citrus Heritage Run Half Marathon"
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T-Shirts/SWAG
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I purposely needed to find a way to get out of the PNW and the Heritage Run was my excuse. If only I remembered that I had signed up for, booked flights and hotels for it (life happens- 10 days in a row and going to the Rose Bowl). None the less, I made it out to Riverside for the Citrus Heritage Run.

Packet Pick up: Noon-5 pm on the Friday prior to the race and starting at 6 AM on race morning. They keep it basic with shirts, bibs and that’s about it. Pick up is at the Arlington Sports Complex

Parking: Arlington Sports Complex, Bethel Christian School and one other location that I can’t remember off the top of my head.

Race Distances: 5K, 10K and Half Marathon. And a kids fun run for the little ones

Race Start/Finish: Off Victoria right next to the Arlington Sports Complex. The half starts at 630, the 10K at 730 and the 5K closer to 830/9 AM

The course: I appreciated that it went through the Citrus State Park, however, the 3-4 different terrains took it’s toll on me. Be prepared for road, dirt, gravel and anything that can grow citrus. I feel like anytime we were in the citrus fields, I was trying to not land in a pothole or trying to not sprain an ankle. You start out on Victoria, make your way to Cleveland Ave and then into the Citrus State Park. Once you wind in and out and make it back. On the roads for the rest of the course, be prepared for some out and back portions of the course, before ultimately getting back on Victoria Ave for the rest of the course. Be prepared for some hills the first half and change of the course

Aid Stations: I kind of wish there were more. There didn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to the distance between them. Did appreciate the oranges though

Post race: enjoy some medals, water and bananas. Also a beer tent at the end floor people 21+ years old. I really wish chocolate milk was involved. Also, a few other races were available to sign up for. Some were part of a series that included the Citrus Heritage Run and if you completed it, you got extra bling.

Overall, good race if you’re local, but the terrain part would make me think hard about this one

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(2018)
"Scottsdale Half marathon"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

I was in town for a conference and The Scottsdale Half Marathon happened to be the same weekend, I signed up for it a few weeks ago along with the 12Ks of Christmas. As long as you indicated on one (or both?) registrations that you were doing the Half Marathon on Sunday and the 12K of the 12Ks of Christmas the Saturday before (read the previous day), you got extra bling. Who doesn’t like extra medals??

Packet Pick up: Most of Friday and Saturday at The Runner’s Den running store, as well as race morning.

Distances: Half Marathon and 5K

Start Time: early start to the half marathon (630 AM) if you were going to finish over 3 hrs. Otherwise, 7 AM start for the half marathon and I think 7:45 AM or 8 AM for the 5K

Parking: I parked in the Convention Center Plaza which was close to the finish line. This worked out well for me since I had to bolt as soon as I crossed the finish to get back to my hotel that was close, showered and to the airport

The course: Started in one of the side streets just above Indian Trail Road. There were at least people who knew where they were going that I followed, since it was hard to put it on a map since it was more of a residential street. You went to Camelback Rd and Then to Scottsdale Rd through mile 5 before turning onto Double Tree Ranch Road for a mile. You went back the way you came only on Hayden road for a good 2.5 miles before being directed onto a bike path parallel to Hayden Road through mile 12. We were directed to Osborne Rd and then to some side streets to the Finish at the Civic Plaza. Overall a flat course, be aware though that a lot of this is on roads with traffic, though we were divided up from cars if that makes sense and plenty of police support

Aid Stations: at miles 2.5, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11 and 12. Kind of wish there were a few more earlier on the course

Swag: cool medal and a 1/4 zip long sleeved top. Do the 12ks of Christmas 12K yesterday? Don’t forget to pick up your extra medal in the post race area

Post race: Lots of vendors, mimosas and fun, which I couldn’t enjoy due to me needing to get to the airport

Overall, a good race. Flat for Phoenix/Scottsdale (Did the Craft Classic last year...HOLY HILLS for that race). If you’re in the area, a fun one to do!

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