The Avocado Half Marathon & 5k is was located in Fallbrook (Live Oak Park). I came from Long Beach so it was a 1.5 hour drive. There were 3 locations to park for the event: Live Oak Park (reserved for those who e-mailed in advance as only 120 slots were available), Fallbrook High School, and a church in the area. Those who parked at the church / high school had to get shuttled two and from the event. I planned to arrive early and expect delays since I was coming from Long Beach. I had no trouble waiting for the shuttle as I did not have to wait long nor were there a lot of people waiting for the shuttle. There could be a little more signage as to where to pick up the packet (day of) as I mistaken the tents at the finish line area where I would pick up packets. Regardless, Packet Pick up (day of) was easy. The line was short and volunteers were prompt in expediting the process of picking up packets. The bib is not generic and contains the picture of an avocado with the timing chip in the back. The T-shirt is a very nice white tech T shirt that with a large picture of an avocado on the front and the text ” 1st Annual Avocado Half Marathon & 5k”. There were no porta potties, even though this were a small event. I would recommend adding a couple since lines to the ladies restroom varied. Since this was a smaller event it was easy to just jump in to the start line compared to large events, great for having just come from the restroom!
Course: Fallbrook is a small community wedged between mountains and rolling hills. The course was on the road with an abundant amount of foliage. Since I reside in Long Beach, I definitely took the time to enjoy the scenery of Fallbrook. This course was just a little on the hilly side, but having trained on hills prior to the event, did not affect my running, I actually welcomed it. Aside from the scenery, what stood out the most of the Avocado Half Marathon was the people of Fallbrook. The Avocado half marathon was anything but a lonely hilly country course and long periods of quiet running – the people of this town cheering on the sidelines were full of life and excitement which made running it more fun. I was surprised at the turnout of people at the end of their driveways cheering my fellow participants, ringing cowbells, passionately yelling words of encouragements, waving motivational posters, and even handing out goodies (oranges or small gatorade) to help replenish our lost nutrients. My particular favorite sign was of a girl who was holding a sign that said “Touch for POWER!” I’ve participated in smaller half marathons and never had this much participation from the community, Fallbrook’s Avocado Half Marathon & 5k set the bar in that category. There were water stations at every couple miles of the race. If I had one request it would be to provide a porta potty at every few miles. I was perfectly fine running the whole way without stopping but I did overhear a group that asked me if I knew there would be restrooms along the way. Finishing was great having a line of cheerleaders and people from the race cheering. A person at the finish line was announcing each person who crossed the finish line.
When I reached the finish line I received my medal. A Gold medal shaped like an avocado with the text Avocado Half marathon and 5k 1st annual. Although, the date of the event was wrong 2.22.14 instead of a 4.12.14 (I figured the medals were made for when the event was previously to take place on 2.22). Instead, just have the year? Half Marathon finishers received the same medal as the 5k participants with the only difference being a beautiful green ribbon for the medal with a picture of a avocado and text “Avocado half Marathon” and “1st annual” for the Half and a standard green ribbon for the 5k. At the finish line there was plenty of water, orange slices, bananas, granola bars and jelly belly sport beans. The finisher times were updated frequently and posted on a board for participants to view. There were a few vendors there to check out as well. The shuttles to the church & highschool were prompt and we got to our car swiftly.
I’m so glad that I decided to sign up for the Avocado Half Marathon. Even though it is a 2 hour drive from home, it was well worth it. I loved the country/rural hilly course. The people of Fallbrook along the course at the sidelines were amazing. I really like the design of the medal & ribbon (for the half), and the T-shirt is a nice white Tech shirt. Of course, being the 1st annual Avocado Half Marathon and 5k there could be a few details ironed out, like adding a few more porta potties at the beginning, along the course, and adding more signage. Regardless, I really enjoyed running the 1st annual Avocado Half Marathon and hope that it continues in the years to come with much success as I will make sure to be signing up for those as well!