Submitted by chsfromca
April 9, 2014
Ran the Half.
1. Lots of street parking due to the early start.
2. Cool views running over the bridge.
2. Not enough water/gatorade. Was really hot and I started to dehydrate.
3. Very few refreshments at the finish. Bottled water but it was warm.
4. After the bridge, the course was very boring. Just running on long streets next to the harbor.
5. Just a white cotton Tshirt given away.
Submitted by lbclove
September 4, 2013
Last year I ran the 5.3 distance of Conquer the Bridge and this year I decided to try out the 1/2 marathon course. Let me start by saying that the race director was awesome in answering questions quickly and in assisting me with packet pick up for friends for who flying in from out of town. I have never had that experience with any other race director and I was very impressed by that.
The race start time of 6:30 was great and it was nice and cool out. The atmosphere was very upbeat the turn out was smaller than what I expected but that actually made it kind of nice. Trying to maneuver last years 5.3 crowd was huge pain. It made getting photos on the bridge a piece of cake and a large number of us ended up with some really great shots.
I thought the course was really beautiful. The view on top the bridge is breathtaking but most of the race took place on terminal island which is not open to the general public. It was so quiet and peaceful to me it was a runner paradise.
It would have been nice if the water station at the bottom of the bridge was accessible however, most us of being experienced runners brought out own. Especially in light of the fact that it has been so hot and humid. I never count on a race having everything I need so I always bring my won GU and water just case they run out. They had 2 more waster stations set up that you hit twice making it a total of 5 water stations and I thought it was really great that the local police had truck load of bottled water they were handing out as well. While they did have an official medical tent set up I did see several ambulance with personal on stand-by. They also had plenty of volunteers and police along the course to help as well.
This is the first year Conquer the Bridge did not have day of packet pick up however they had a 3 day time period to pick up packets and I have never ran a 1/2 marathon that had same day packet pick up so I am not going to whine about driving 20 minutes to pick up my goodie bag. They have never had the best shirts but unless a race is giving out a really awesome tech shirt like Surf City I am probably not going to wear it anyway.
The medal was nicely designed and a great addition to my collection. I was tiny bit disappointed by the ribbon because it did seem plain and cheap. It would have been cool if the ribbon would have said inaugural with the year or something like that. However, this is the first year of the 1/2 marathon it it was bound to have a few hiccups.
A large number of us had ran Disney all weekend and then ran Conquer the Bridge so we were not the first ones across the finish line. As a matter of fact a lot of the 5.3 people had crossed by the time we came in so the bananas and oranges were all gone. After I was given my medal and a bottle of water something really wonderful happened two young men approached us handing out fresh donuts from the bakery! That was a first for me and I was happy to donuts over a banana any day.
I like the challenge of Conquer the Bridge and like running 1/2 marathons all year long so I would defiantly so this race again next year.
Submitted by Sandy K
September 3, 2013
The Good, not so good, and improvements for next year
Ran the Conquer the Bridge Half Marathon on Monday, September 2, 2013. This was not my first time to participate in this event. Ran the inaugural 5.3 miler in 2010. That year, they ran out of water at the turn around point and finish line. Told myself, never again. When I received an email about the addition of a half marathon, I figured, by now they will have worked out all the kinks and will have a smooth running race. Think again.
* It is fun to run, jog or walk over the Vincent Thomas Bridge. Even if you are scared of heights, it is a great experience. And the views are amazing.
* Loved the early start (6:30am) for the half marathoners. It was nice we were separated from the 5.3 mile run.
* The sound system at the start was great. You could hear clearly and the music was upbeat.
* The course was well marked and traffic control was great.
* The medal was well designed and unique.
* Nice size mile markers.
* Lots of volunteers at the water stops.
The Not so Good
Where to begin? The race fee for the half marathon was $100. For that price, a runner expects something. Water, Gatorade, post race snacks, tech shirt, heavy medal. What we got was water, well designed (but light weight medal), cotton tshirt with the same design that has been used for the last 3 years. In comparison, you can pay $150 for a Disney race, get fireworks, heavy well designed medal, tech shirt, water, Gatorade and an amazing post race snack. If the race director is looking for a small town race, then keep the race fee around the $50-70 range. More folks would be willing to sign up if the fee was reasonable in price.
More port-a-potties at the start and on the race course. I saw 3 on Navy Way around mile 6.
The first true water stop for the half marathon participants was around mile 5. There was a water stop at the bottom of the bridge but it was inaccessible to runners. The water stop was set up on the opposite side of the road. And due to the 4 foot high cement road divider, runners could not access that water stop. If the race had placed the water stop next to the cement divider, volunteers could have at least handed water over the cement divider. Once again, poor planning.
Areas of improvement
1. Do not block off the entrance to Ports O’Call, which provides enough free parking for all participants, volunteers, family, etc. Unless you live locally, you would never realize you could drive to 22nd street, and circle back around to Ports O’Call. And it is possible they opened this up after the half marathon runners ran by. Who knows? Either way, poor planning.
2. Advise runners, volunteers and traffic control folks if the meters would or would not be enforced that day. I asked two police officers and their response was “we don’t know”.
3. Allow runners to pick up their race packets the day of. Per the website, it said “There will be no race day packet pick up”. At the race start, they were offering race packet pick up. This was probably due to the low participation they received.
4. Have more water stops for the half marathon and provide Gatorade. It was a warm day, and folks needed to have their electrolytes replaced.
5. Offer post race snacks. Orange slices, bananas, bagels, etc. If you do not want to offer it for the participants of the 5.3 run, the set aside a separate tent for the half marathons.
6. If they want to continue to offer a half marathon distance, adjust the time limit so walkers are welcome. This will may help improve participation.
7. While the medal was nice, the ribbon around it was plain. To save on money, redesign the medal and eliminate the date and add a creative/colorful ribbon that has “Finisher and Date” on it. They could always add the year as a separate piece and attach it to the bottom of the medal.
Overall, would I run this race again? I doubt it. Especially if the registration fee stays at $100+. Would I participate in the 5.3 miler, perhaps. It just depends on the cost.
Submitted by Scott Devine
August 26, 2013
As runners, we all dread running hills. Well, here’s a race that dares you to face your fears head on… and back again. 2013 marks the 5th anniversary of the Conquer The Bridge run ove the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro. The basic course is a 5.3 mile out and back over the 4th largest suspension bridge in CA. And trust me, when you’re way up on the bridge’s apex you get a rush (and a breeze) unlike any you get at sea level…for those of you wondering, the bridge itself is 1500 feet long (about the length of 5 football fields) of course when you’re running it feels like 1500 miles.
Now the race is run on Labor Day proper (Monday as opposed to normal Sunday runs) but it’s a nice way to make room for your Labor Day cookout, and the 8am start time is nice… not too hot yet, not too early. The entry fee is also reasonable $35-$50 depending on when you register.
The pre-race is pretty standard, local bands or DJ playing “wake up” tuness as you line up along the main drag. Parking isn’t too bad in the neighborhood (some street available) and you won’t find too many parking lots trying to up their normal prices.
The race itself is a lot of fun, since it’s not a proper 10k, it just seems to have more laid back feel to it, people just want to have the chance to traverse aka “conquer” that dang bridge. Don’t expect too much water support (they can’t set anything up on the bridge itself), just at the turn arounds, so I’d advise you to bring your own water belt or bottle.
The post-race is decent, featuring a few booths (some post race chow and standard swag) and a casual way to cool down. Oh, and now that the Battleship Iowa is docked nearby, you’ve got something else to look at and go see after the race. I’ve done the ship and it’s worth taking the tour.
And as an added bonus, this year for the first time they’re adding a half-marathon version of the run (basically running the course twice)…this one costs a bit more, but is limited to 2000 runners and you get a finisher’s medal. One gripe I have is the T-shirt…it’s a standard cotton deal (no tech option) and in the past sporting a pretty basic design. Probably one of those put it in the closet and forget it kind of shirts.
Still this “local” race has real nice feel to it… and something I look forward to running. It’s a nice way to break in the fall race season and start prepping for the half and full marathons to follow.
I recommend you give it a try.
Submitted by lbclove
April 6, 2013
This is race is one of kind and it was such a crazy challenge. Get as close to the front of the start as possible if you a running. A ton of people walk this race and have no clue about proper race etiquette and that other people may not want to try and jump curbs to get around the and there friends walking 5 wide. I ran with my camera in my hand so that I could take pics and not have to stop To my surprise they came out pretty well. The hardest part about the race is not going over the bridge the first time or even the second time. It is the incline leading up to the turn around. I am not sure why this is but I heard the same thing from other runners too. Take water with you because Cal Trans will not allow a water station on the bridge. Post race left a lot to be desired, The lines were really long for a banana and water. The t-shirts were a little obnoxious so I don’t; wear mine but overall it is a great race for the price.
Submitted by gavini
February 29, 2012
only day of the year you can run across this bridge! of course the nature of the event means you have some big hills, that bridge is high up, you go over then down then back up and down again, starts and ends with a flat straight away. fun and unique i enjoyed the challenge of those hills. Unfortunately no jogging strollers allowed though.
wasnt much to offer at the post race in the way of snacks and drinks, a couple sponsors but seemed to be less than average in that regard to me.
parking was easy on the downtown streets of san pedro, a short walk to the start line.