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Review of Catalina Island Conservancy Half Marathon by Derek Abbey

Posted by: on March, 14 2012

First I’ll explain the final grade, as it might not make sense when looking at the grades across the board. I give the race an overall A because of the great course and the experience. It is a beast of a course that will challenge you heavily. I love being dropped off on one end an island and then expected to run your way out. Basically, see you back in Avalon. Access to the preserve is amazing. Some amazing views of the ocean on both side of the island.

The support on the course was great. While they could increase the number of tables. The volunteer that were out there in the heat were great. Enthusiastic and encouraging and plenty of options at each table. Water, Gatoraid, food, snacks…

I got to the bib pickup location early and spent a long time in line, which was disappointing considering the relatively small number of runners. Expected something more in the swag bag, besides a few fliers, but really that isn’t why I run the race. I was happy that they didn’t hand out shirts to the racers until they finished the race. The medal was unique to the race and cool. The gear for sale seemed nice, but a little too expensive for my taste.

The significant downhill at the end of the race took a toll on my knees and once I finished I sought out the medical tent to get some ice. Wanted to avoid some swelling from the beating they took. No med tent? No ice for hand out? Hmmm. There was an EMT there in case something scary happened. I was able to find some ice and the staff was helpful. Got some out of the coolers that the drinks were in. Just thought it was odd that it was an afterthought.

The little vehicle traffic on the course was disturbing. Also the few roads that course took through Avalon should have been blocked off to traffic.

Those were my critiques, but overall I had a great time. Easy fixes. I was told that the director this year was new though I didn’t verify it. The small number of racers was nice and the atmosphere at the end was energizing. I will likely try to run the race again or come back out for the ECO marathon later in the year. It was great to take the ferry out and spend the night on the island. I think next time I’ll try to tack on an extra day to just relax out there after the race. It wasn’t crowded because it was the off season, so there was plenty of rooms.