Submitted by chsfromca
January 7, 2016
First time in 2015, last time in 2015.
Yes, it’s a net downhill course and the medals are nice and there is lots of refreshments at the finish but the cons far outnumber the pros.
1. There is no race-day bib pickup. Why, I don’t know. There are only 3,000 runners in this race. Race-day bib pickup could be accomplished for that many runners.
2. Because of #1, I paid $8 to have my bib sent to me in the mail. Evidently they didn’t do it since it didn’t arrive. I was told to go to Solutions tent to get a replacement. When arriving they only gave me a bib, no bag, shirt, etc.
3. Since I didn’t get a bag at solutions, I had no bag for bag check. I had to go to the Chevron station to get a plastic bag for my gear.
4. The water stations are plentiful but highly disorganized and poorly staffed. The poor kids there were frantically trying to pour enough water in the cups to keep up.
5. Its not really very scenic except for the finish, Just running along a freeway for most of the way.
6. At the finish I was finally able to get my goodie bag and shirt but they were out of my size. Even though I specified Men’s Medium on my entry form when i registered in April. Had to settle for a HUGE large shirt.
7. Since they gave me a replacement bib, I was not associated with my bib number in the results. I had to contact them to attach my information with the new bib number. They have since done this.
Submitted by SD Tri Guy
January 4, 2014
I’m an experienced marathoner and triathlete, and I’ve run over a dozen half marathons in San Diego.
The inaugural San Diego Holiday Half Marathon held its packet pickup at Road Runner Sports. The race is capped at 3,000 entries so I wasn’t expecting a big expo or big crowds. I went later in the day and there were a few vendors with no lines, and no hassles. Race shirt is a long sleeve tech tee.
Since its a point-to-point course you have the option to park at the start or the finish. I chose to park at the finish and got there at 5:30 (2 hrs. before the start) and easily found parking on the street near the shuttle pickup. No line for the shuttles either. Pre-race staging area is the parking lot of the Albertson’s. Kinda funky but that’s to be expected with community grass roots races. It was about forty-five degrees prior ton the start. They had two tower heaters in the parking lot for runners to huddle under but could probably use 8-10 more. A lot of runners went inside Albertsons to keep warm and got coffee (Starbucks inside) water, bagels, electrolytes, etc before the race. They had a row of porto potties on the east side of Albertsons parking lot that a lot of people didn’t see. I used the porto potties thirty minutes before the race and I didn’t have to wait in a line.
The course was as advertised on the website. Mostly downhill with a small hill at mile one. Most of the course is run on a bike path so there’s limited crowd support after the start and before the finish stretch. Adequate water stations with a few electrolyte stations mixed in, as well as a gel station in the middle of the course. Definitely a PR-able course!
The finish is at Torrey Pines State Beach parking lot. They gave out race medals and had water and bananas. Would be nice to have juice or electrolyte drink and some other food choices (oranges, bagels,etc). I didn’t check in a gear bag so I can’t comment on that aspect. They had a live band play with over a dozen vendors, but would’ve been nice to have a beer garden to help celebrate with other runners!
Overall, a very good experience. You never know what you’re going to get with inaugural races, but this was very well run and organized. I heard a lot of good things from other runners after the race. They just need to fine tune a few things. I hope they start a Legacy Loyalty Program because I plan on returning next year! The San Diego Holiday Half is on its way to becoming a holiday tradition for many San Diego runners.
Submitted by cherylames
January 2, 2014
Pre-race packet pick up was at Roadrunner Sports. Packet pick up was easy enough and the long sleeve tech shirt they gave out was nice. Roadrunner offers an extra 10% off on packet pick up days so I took advantage and picked up a new pair of custom insoles to wear for the Holiday Half.
Instructions for parking at the start line were posted on the website but when my husband and I arrived at the designated parking lot we realized it was about a half mile to a mile away from the start. We decided to drive closer to the Albertson’s shopping center and look for street parking instead. We didn’t want to walk a mile back to our car after running 13.1 miles. We were lucky and found street parking across from the Albertson’s.
The corals were clearly marked and they started the race on time with waves taking off every five minutes or so. The first couple miles of the course was uphill but it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting them to be. The San Diego Holiday Half was my 15th half marathon and since it was touted as a “mostly downhill” course I was expecting a PR. I probably shouldn’t have gotten so ahead of myself. I loved the rolling hills from miles two through nine but the last four miles were tough. Running on the flat part of the course and having to propel yourself forward is harder to do after you’ve been jamming down the hills for several miles before that. My legs were tired and I missed my PR by less than a minute. Plenty of water stations and I appreciated the mile markers. They even handed out gels about a few hundred yards before a water station and I appreciated that. It helps to have some water to wash down the gel with.
Post-race it was easy to turn in your timing chip, collect your medal and grab some hydration. Walking to the shuttle pick up you had to walk past the runners coming into the finish so it was nice to cheer them on as we walked by. Shuttles were easy to get onto. Not too long of a wait.
Overall, it was a nice inaugural event put on by the race directors and volunteers. I’ve decided that I will be back for 2014 since this race and I have some unfinished business. I want to come back and get that PR.
Submitted by Aileen Daly
January 1, 2014
This was my first half marathon, so I didn’t really know what to expect other than what was stated on the website and my experience with shorter runs.
Packet pick-up: Pick up was simple and similar to many other runs in San Diego that have pick up at Roadrunner. With registration, I was prompted to choose pre or post race transportation; however, since I registered months prior, I forgot which I selected and my packet did not indicate my choice. I decided to park at the start and get bussed in the end.
Pre-race: Parking at the start was easy; however, the parking was technically only for customers. I am not from that area and I didn’t know where else to park and there was no clear sign, so I decided to risk it and, thankfully, my car was still there in the end. I wish there was clarification on where exactly to park. I prefer not to think too hard prior to a race. There was a row of Porter Johns available, but I still had to wait in line 25mins just to use it.
Course: Where to go next was clear and hydration was appropriately spaced out. Loved the mile markers. They were large enough to read from a distance (I was that odd person that touch each one throughout the course). I loved where the photographers (including the remote controlled aerials helicopter photographer things) and spectators were spread along the course to keep the motivation going. The website indicated that the last 4 miles of the course was flat… NOT true. The last mile was pretty much uphill. And the “rolling hills” were more frequent than I imagined. Not bad at all, just not expected. Though I’ve driven the general route before, it’s much different running it. The approach to the finish could have been MUCH more eventful. I knew the finish was in the parking lot, but I did not see the finish sign until I was closer (the curve into the parking lot where the finish was located blocked everything). Usually, I get a huge adrenaline rush when I see the sign or something that states something along the lines of “almost done” or “100 yards left”, but there wasn’t anything before the curve.
Post-race: I almost didn’t get a medal since a few people finished around the same time… I had to ask for one. The volunteer apologized for not giving me one and I didn’t mind. Just thought that was odd, then again my mind was not 100% yet. The shindig at the end was normal (vendors and music) and the buses were easily accessible to return finishers to the other lot.
Overall: LOVED the race, the people who participated, and the experience. The tech shirts look and feel great. So happy to finally do a half, especially an inaugural event. I should have worn something more holiday friendly for the event! See you all next year!
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